The Inca Jungle Tour is a very popular tour among travelers, and with good reason! This tour was created for those who want to combine trekking with other exciting activities, such as biking, rafting, and zip-lining. However, the Inca Jungle Trail ends at same magical destination: Machu Picchu, the glorious Lost City of the Incas. The Inca Jungle Trail is the perfect package for those seeking some adventure while making their way to Machu Picchu.
Day by Day
Day 1: Cusco – Santa Maria
On the first day of the Inca Jungle Trail, we will pick you up from your hotel and drive through the Sacred Valley to the Malaga High Pass, where you will see stunning views of the Sacred Valley region below. At this pass, we will have a safety briefing and begin our journey on mountain bikes down a winding road with amazing views of the jungle. After approximately four hours of riding downhill, we will arrive at the jungle village of Santa Maria (1,500m/4,950ft), where we will stay in a hostel for the night.
In the afternoon, you can choose to go river-rafting in the Urubamba river as an optional addition to your adventure!
- Highest altitude: 4,350m /14,272 ft
- Distance: Approximately 21 kms
- Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
- Weather: Windy, possibly chilly on the road.
Day 2: Santa Maria – Santa Teresa
On the second day, we will leave our bikes behind and start hiking early in the morning (approximately 8:00 am) through the highland jungle. As we descend, we will observe beautiful landscapes, meet local people, and learn about native plants and animals. You will trek past coffee plantations, small rivers, and fruit trees. In the afternoon, we will arrive at the small riverside town of Santa Teresa, where we will stay in a hostel for the night and you you will be free to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the natural hot springs!
- Walking Time: Approximately six to seven hours
- Highest altitude: 1,700m /5,577 ft
- Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
- Weather: Warm, sunny, and humid.
Day 3: Santa Teresa – Aguas Calientes
On the third day, we will again wake up early for a refreshing jungle breakfast (approximately 7:00 am) and start walking at about 8:00 am.
There is an optional zip-line activity available on this day, for an additional US $40 per person. Those trekkers who choose this option will be bussed to the zipline location, where they will spend two hours flying through the air across stunning stretches of jungle! Once finished, they will travel by bus to Hidroelectrica to reunite with the rest of the group.
Those who do not choose to go ziplining will walk approximately three to four hours through the cloud forest to Hidroelectrica, where the entire group will eat lunch together before continuing to Aguas Calientes (about three hours of walking alongside the train tracks and around the base of Machu Picchu mountain.)
We will arrive in Aguas Calientes around 4:00 pm, check into a hotel where you can take a hot shower, and then get some dinner. Go to bed early, because you will have an early wakeup the next day!
- Total Walking Time: Approximately six to seven hours
- Distance: Approximately 16 km
- Highest Altitude: 2,040 m / 6,692 ft
- Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
- Weather: Warm, sunny, and humid.
Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
We wake up early at 5:30 a.m. for breakfast and to take the early morning bus up to Machu Picchu. Arriving early at Machu Picchu will allow you to witness the beauty and the magic of this ancient city in the early morning light. Once in Machu Picchu, you will have a two hour guided tour of this ancient city. After the tour, you will have free time to explore the city on your own. If you still have energy and a ticket booked in advance, you can also do the 45 minute climb up Huayna Picchu (2,720m/8,923ft). From Huayna Picchu, you will have stunning views of Machu Picchu below you.
After you finish exploring Machu Picchu, you will take the bus or walk back down to Aguas Calientes, where you will catch a train back to the Sacred Valley. You can expect to arrive back in Ollantaytambo by 8:30 p.m. From there, we will transfer you by bus back to your hotel in Cusco.
USD per person
After we have received your booking form and confirmation your deposit was made, we will send you an electronic receipt confirming your trek has been officially booked and the exact departure date of your trek.
Returning train Included in the cost of this tour/trek is the Expedition train, which departs either at 6:20 pm or 7:00 pm DEPENDING ON AVAILABILITY.
Can I get an early train ticket?
We can also book an afternoon train that departs 2:55 p.m. or 4:22 p.m. at an extra cost of US $35 per person the train we will book DEPENDS ON AVAILABILITY.
Please, notice that 35 dollars extra you will pay also will cover your private transportation to bring you back from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco
There is also an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train which is the extra US $75 per person. Please let us know your preference at the time of booking the tour. Unfortunately, none of the trains go straight to Cusco—they run either to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. In either case, we will transfer you back by bus to Cusco.
Can I change my return train ticket by myself?
At the time of your tour, it may be possible to make changes to your return train ticket if you don’t want to take the 18:20 p.m train. You will have to take your train ticket personally to the train station in Aguas Calientes and ask them to change the return ticket for an early one. You will probably be asked to pay an extra administration fee, which will depend on the train service and departure time. Please notice that once you will change your returning train you will responsible to cover your own transportation back to Cusco
How long is the journey back to Cusco?
You will be traveling for approximately 3 hours before you arrive back in Cusco. First, you will travel for 1.5 hours by train to the Ollantaytambo train station. Then you will be picked up by your driver outside of the train station. The driver will be holding a sign with your name on it so that there will be no confusion. If you do not see the driver initially, wait for them outside of the train station. Once the driver has picked you up, you will travel for another 1.5 hours in a private van/car to your hotel/hostel in Cusco. Arrival time in Cusco will depend on train availability. You will receive your return train tickets once your guide has finished your walking tour of Machu Picchu.
Student Discount $20
Under 18 Discount $20 per person
Under 7 Discount $50 per person
Important Notice Regarding Student Discount Eligibility
We offer a student discount (USD $20.00). However, due to several incidents of users falsifying personal data, the ISIC card is no longer valid for purchasing a discounted tour. As of July 1, 2017, the rules for purchasing student tickets to Machu Picchu have changed: discounts are only available with presentation of a student visa granted by the Peruvian embassy or consulate in the student´s country of origen and/or by the National Superintendent of Migrations. These documents must be provided at the time of purchase; discounts cannot be applied retroactively and refunds or reimbursements in this case are not available. Please send us a scan or photocopy of your passport, student visa, and university ID card or transcript so that we are able to secure your discount.
- Professional guide who is fluent in English and spanish
- Private bus to Santa María and other necessary points
- Bikes and safety equipment
- 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners
- 2 nights basic accommodation (Santa Maria, Santa Teresa)
- Basic hotel night accommodation Aguas Calientes
- Entrance to Machu Picchu
- Guided tour of MachuPicchu
- Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
- Breakfast on the first morning.
- Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day
- Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (10 soles)
- Tips for the guide
- One way bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
What you need to bring
- Original passport
- Hiking boots
- Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
- Hand sanitizer
- Comfortable trousers
- Sun hat or cap
- Insect repellent
- We strongly recommend to bring your Camel Back and water canteen due to that government of Peru will not allow disposable plastic bottles anymore on the Inca trail and in Machu Picchu.
- Toiletries/Toilet paper
- Personal medication
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Cash (in small denominations of Peruvian nuevo soles)
Optional items to take
- Plasters and bandages
- Bathing suit for hot springs in Santa Teresa (Not included in the price)
At Inka Trail Backpacker, providing a personal experience and ensuring you are thoroughly prepared for your trek is very important to us. Before you depart on the Inca Trail trek, you will receive a briefing in our office. At the briefing, you will get to meet our staff, receive maps and a detailed description of each day of your tour, be given duffel bags if you have hired a porter, and have the opportunity to ask questions.
Do the tour guides speak English?
Our team of guides are all local to the Cusco area and speak both Spanish and English fluently. Many of them also speak Quechua (the native language of Peru). With degrees in tourism and with two years minimum of experience under their belts, they are full of energy, information about the native flora and fauna, and the Inca sites, with a vast knowledge of Andean stories and legends.
How many people are there per group?
The size of your group depends on the day’s activity. The maximum size of our group service is fourteen people, and the minimum is two to three people. For groups of over eight people, we also employ an assistant guide to help out (the assistant guide is a fully qualified guide but may lack some of the experience of the main guide or still need to improve his/her English skills.)
Is the Inca Jungle Trek difficult? Do I need to be fit?
Yes, you must be moderately fit and exercise regularly to do this trek! Your first day will be spent bike-riding downhill on the road; the second and third days will each involve several kilometers of walking over “Andean flat” terrain.In preparation, try walking ten kms per day or go to a fitness club in the months leading up to the trek. It is also important to be well acclimatised to the altitude. Try to spend at least three or four days in Cusco (3350m/11,047ft) prior to starting the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu.
Renewal or change passport number?
If you plan to renew or change your name on your passport between making your trek booking and starting your trek, you can book your trek or tour with your current passport number or name, but you must send us a copy of your old passport and a copy of your new passport when you have them. We can then make the change with the government before you arrive. The extra cost to make the change is US$25 per person. (This will cover the change in number or name for your Inca Trail Permit, Machu Picchu Entrance, and train.)
If you do not advise us of the change or do not want to pay the fee, bring the original of both passports (the old and new one). You can enter Peru with your new passport but you must show the government authorities your old passport in order to enter the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu or train. If you cannot do so, you will not be allowed to start your trek by the government officials. All names and numbers must match!!
What about toilets?
All of the hostels have clean, private bathrooms. However, bathrooms along the trail are limited, and you may have to pay (usually 1 sol) to use them. If you do need to use the toilet between sites, please defecate away from the trail and water supplies; you can dig a hole, or cover your feces with a rock, and take the paper with you in a bag to deposit in one of the several bins along the way.
Tips for the Staff: Tips for guides are always welcome. The group will pool money for the tip, this is not an individual amount.
Refunds: If Inka Trail Backpacker fails to confirm the reservation, your payment will be refunded in full.
Health and Safety: A participant must declare if he/she has any sickness or medical disorder and must bring his/her own medication. We recommend that you meet with a doctor before you book the trek if you have questionable health.
Food on the Inca Jungle Trail: On the Inca Jungle Trek, you will eat all included meals in local restaurants with your tour group.
Can I have vegetarian, vegan, or special meals?
We offer standard meals as well as a vegetarian meal option. Just let us know if you want vegetarian meals when you book your trek.
Vegetarian meals have no red meat, chicken or fish. We will assume that eggs and dairy are OK. We are unable to cater specifically for vegans as it is too complicated for our cooks (remember they are cooking in a tent). Most of our main meals in the evening are served as a buffet service so you can always leave out what you don’t like. If there is a particular food that you don’t like (i.e. tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, etc) we will ask the cook to do his best to leave them out of the dish, but we cannot guarantee this. We can also cater to lactose-intolerant and gluten free diets (mild reactions only, no life threatening allergies accepted- see below). We reserve the right not to accept a trek booking based upon dietary requirements, this may be because we already have several people booked requiring special meals and don’t want to further inconvenience our cook. Thanks for your understanding.
Standard (no dietary requirements, will eat everything)
No red meat (chicken & fish ok)
No fish (red meat and chicken ok)
Lactose-free (mild reactions only)
Gluten free (mild reactions only)
Unfortunately, we don’t offer a combination of the above i.e we don’t accept vegetarian AND gluten-free.
Storage during your trek: You can leave any of your belongings that you do not want to bring on the trek at your hotel or hostel you were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to securely store your belongings for you.
When do I need to pay the balance for my tour??
We require everyone to be in Cusco at least two nights prior to starting the trek, although three nights is even better. You must pay your trek balance at least two days before the trek departure. For example, if your trek departs on a Monday you must come to our office before 7:00 pm on Saturday to pay the trek balance. This ensures that everyone in the group is well acclimatized to the high altitude before starting the trek.
Are river-rafting and ziplining included in this tour?
River-rafting and ziplining are both available as optional activities on this tour. They are not included in the cost of your trek. River-rafting, on the first day, will be an additional US $30 per person; zip-lining on the third day is also an additional US $30 per person.
How many people will be sharing a room in the hostels?
In the hostels, there are three types of room available: matrimonial (one double or queen size bed), double (two beds), or triple (three beds). If you are traveling alone, you will share a room only with other members of the same sex. A private room can be made available for an additional cost. Each room has a private bathroom.
How many days will I need to acclimate to the altitude before the Inca Jungle Trek?
It is very important to be well acclimated before exerting yourself on a trek. This is why we require everyone to be in Cusco for a minimum of two days prior to regular treks like the Inca Trail and Inca Jungle. However, if you are doing the Salkantay Trek, you will need at least four days to acclimate because this trek occurs at much higher altitudes than Cusco. You can use this time spent acclimatizing to visit the city of Cusco, nearby Inca ruins, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Can I wear sneakers on my trek? Why do I need hiking boots?
Both sneakers (trainers or running shoes) and hiking boots are suitable for this hike. However, whichever you choose, be sure that they are broken in and will be comfortable over long distances. Lightweight, waterproof hiking boots are especially recommended.
Do we have to carry our backpacks while we ride bikes?
No, you can put your daypacks in the support vehicle, which will follow behind us as we ride down the road. However, you will not be able to access the packs during the ride. Therefore, if you have an extremely small or light backpack which will not interfere with your riding ability, you may want to carry it to hold sunscreen, water, or other essentials. (There are water bottle holders attached to the bikes).
How long will we be riding bikes?
The bike ride portion of the first day will last approximately three hours.
How long will we be river-rafting, if we choose that option?
If you choose to participate in the river-rafting, the activity will last approximately two hours.
If I don’t want to go river-rafting in Santa Maria, what can I do instead?
If you don’t choose to participate in the river-rafting, you can either relax by the river, or explore the village and surrounding areas with your guide.
What about altitude sickness on the Inca Jungle Trek?
To avoid altitude sickness on the trek, we recommend that you spend time in Cusco or in the Sacred Valley beforehand. If you have never been in high altitude, we recommend that you first spend a day in the Sacred Valley, because it is at a lower altitude than Cusco city.
Is the Inca Jungle Trek difficult?
All of the treks are fairly difficult and you should be well prepared and healthy prior to starting the trek. You have to be moderately fit to complete this hike. To prepare, try walking 15km a day or start going to the gym a month before the trek. We will cover a lot of distance in the first two days of this trek.The good news is that everyone in the last few years who has started a trek has finished it!
Do I need to make an Inca Jungle Trek reservation?
As of July 1st, 2017, tourists will be able to access Machu Picchu from either 06:00 to 12:00 or from 12:30 to 17:30. Given this limit, we highly recommend that you book your tour far in advance, especially if you are interested in going during the peak tourist season (May to September). Machu Picchu entrance tickets and train tickets are often sold out weeks in advance.
Is there an oxygen bottle available during the trek, just in case?
Yes, all our tour guides take an oxygen bottle with them along the trail and will provide oxygen as needed.
Do we go to Machu Picchu for sunrise?
Your entrance time to Machu Picchu will depend on when you book your trek. As of July 1, 2017, there are two possible entry times to the site: 6:00 am to 12:00 pm, or 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Your ticket will grant you entry for either the morning or the afternoon—not both. The morning entry is significantly more popular and quickly sells out—unless you book your trek two to three months in advance, we cannot guarantee a morning entry.
If you book far enough in advance to secure a morning entry, you will start to hike up to Machu Picchu at 4:30am, arriving at the site by about 6:00 am—just in time for the sunrise!
Is Machu Picchu entrance ticket included in the price ?
Yes, the Machu Picchu entrance is included in the tour package.
Are there any hidden costs in the trek?
No, as a company, we do not have any hidden costs which is why we list everything that is not included in our tour on our own website. However, we highly recommend that you take some extra money with you on the trek (about 300 soles, at least). Small bills in soles are recommended.
Are breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the price every day?
Yes, all meals are included except the first breakfast on the first day, and lunch/dinner on the last day.
Is drinking water included in the price?
At meal times we will give you tea, coffee, etc to drink. During the trek, you may have to buy water directly from the local people, which is possible approximately every two hours. Remember that the price of the water will be more expensive than in the city.
How much stuff can we take? Do we carry it ourselves?
We recommend bringing no more than a 35 or 40L backpack to carry your things, as you will carry it yourself on the second and third days.
Is there a minimum group size and what happens if Inka Trail Backpacker does not meet that minimum size?
We require a minimum group size of just two people. During the last few years, Inka Trail Backpacker has always managed to meet the minimum group size for ALL of our departure dates and has never had to cancel any group departures due to group size.
In the unlikely event that we do not reach the minimum required number of persons, we reserve the right to combine our clients with another trekking company of similar cost.
Is transportation to and from the Cusco airport included?
No, transportation to and from the airport is not included in your tour. Please plan accordingly.
Is there a direct train to Cusco from Machu Picchu?
The train travels between the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley and Aguas Calientes, a small town located fifteen minutes below the Machu Picchu complex. The journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is an hour and forty minutes. (The return journey will be about three and a half hours, because the drive from Ollantaytambo station to Cusco is about an hour and forty minutes.) From Aguas Calientes, it is either a fifteen minute bus ride or hour hike up to Machu Picchu. There is no direct train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Although there is an additional station located at Poroy, about 25 minutes from Cusco, it is not always open. Train service from Ollantaytambo, meanwhile, is constant and reliable. Furthermore, taking the train from the Poroy station extends the total length of your journey between Cusco and Aguas Calientes to more than four hours, instead of three and a half.
What vaccines do I need for my trip? Will I need malaria pills?
Before traveling to Peru, you should consult your doctor. Routine vaccines, Hepatitis A, and typhoid vaccines are recommended for most travelers by the CDC. Some travelers may also need vaccines for Hepatitis B, rabies, and yellow fever. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should also be advised that the Zika virus is present in Peru.
Malaria pills are not necessary for these treks.
Do you recommend a rain poncho, or is a rain jacket okay?
The rainy season in Cusco is generally from November to April, when there are near-daily showers and the ground—especially in trekking areas—is wet and muddy. However, there are occasional showers throughout the rest of the year; you should always pack a rain jacket, regardless of when you plan to visit. For treks, a rain poncho is highly recommended—since you will be walking through rain for potentially several hours without shelter, a poncho will be much more effective at keeping all of your belongings and your base layers warm and dry. Waterproof shoes are also strongly recommended.
What if I get sick on the trail during my tour?
In the event of illness or injury, we will offer all of the support and care we are able; however, you should carry any medications you expect to need with you (ask your doctor for specific recommendations or prescriptions for altitude sickness, traveler´s diarrhea , colds and sore throats, and pain or inflammation). If you are not capable of completing the trek, we will transport you back to Cusco, where you can seek medical treatment. However, the cost of this transportation is not included in your tour and you will be expected to pay the additional expense—for this reason, we highly recommend travel insurance for your trek.
Will I have a private bathroom in the hostel?
Yes, in all of the hostels that we book for you, you will have a private room and bathroom.
Do I need walking poles?
Although not required, walking poles are recommended for any trekkers worried about joint stress or balance. They also are quite helpful in providing stability and leverage on especially steep climbs and descents. If you do not have poles or are unsure how to use them, we are able to rent them to you and provide instruction.
What documents do I need to bring to Machu Picchu?
As of July 1, 2017, you must have your original passport to enter Machu Picchu. You also need to have your entrance ticket, which your guide will give to you at the appropriate time. The passport that you bring to Machu Picchu must be the same one that you used to book your tour and entrance; if you change or renew your passport between booking and your trip, please be sure to bring the originals of both.