Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu

Silly-looking man with arms outstretched in front of the same Machu Picchu photo everyone takes, ruined city in the mountains with green courtyards.

Obligatory Machu Picchu photo. Pro Tip: You have to start hiking at 4:30 in order to get to the top early enough to shoot it without tourists everywhere.

What to say about the Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu. It’s one of the more relatively active ways to get from Cuzco to Machu Picchu. It involves hiking on the famous “Inca Trail to Machu Picchu”, but does not require a 6-month reservation to do it. It’s extremely fun, and if you get lucky with the pricing, it’s cheaper than taking the train. 

The nuts and bolts: The Inca Jungle Trek is four days and 3 nights. The four days consist of one day of downhill mountain biking and three days of hiking. The fourth day leaves you at the top of Machu Picchu just before sunrise, and you’re free to go where you want from there.

The 3 nights are spent sleeping in actual beds in little hostels and guest lodges along the way.

For us, all food was included except for the first morning’s breakfast, and all meals on Machu Picchu except for a sack lunch. I paid $178 dollars for the whole trip, not including return train fare. When you break that down, the train itself would cost $77, the hostel stays would cost at least around $40 dollars if you’re staying in mixed bed dorms, the bike rental and transport would cost you between $30 and $50, and having a guide each day would cost you $20 to $30 a day, so you’re well ahead of the game even before you factor in food.

Since I very rarely take tours because I consider them to be huge ripoffs, I was really surprised by just how much value we were getting for our money.

I was very fortunate to be going into the trek with three friends, and our group was a very good match overall. We ended up going out several of the nights along the way, and had a great time.

There were a few optional add-ons for the tour – namely rafting and ziplining. We were given the option to book these in advance when we booked the trip at the EcoPackers hostel in Cuzco, for $30 each. I declined both, since I figured there’s no way that my money would be turned down if I changed my mind later on. And sure enough, we would have been welcome on both trips.

The rafting was on a 2-3 section of river, and not that I’m any kind of skilled rafter, but I’ve been on 4s and 5s many times since I was a child, so that sounded a bit tame for my taste. Some likeminded friends and I instead put our feet up at the guesthouse, drank some beer, and watched the world cup on a comically tiny television. Good fun was had by all.

The ziplines looked pretty cool, but I have also done more than my fair share of ziplining, so we gave that a pass in favor of an additional hike that it ended up gave us some pretty amazing views of waterfalls. If you’re really tired by day 3, it would make sense to do the zipline, because they end up getting a ride in a van and skipping out that hike entirely.

While I’ll get into more detail in my other posts, the trip was great fun, and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re able to get some friends together to hike it with.

For me the best part was almost definitely the downhill mountain biking – whipping around curves at 50kph was a new experience for me, and one I’d love to have again.


Posted on by Brandon Green in Uncategorized

About Brandon Green

Brandon is a former investment banker who now travels the world full time. Brandon is on twitter @brandonbrucegreen and on Google +.