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Machu Picchu (Part One): The Inca Jungle Trail

Updated on January 5, 2014
Iammattdoran profile image

Matt is an avid traveller and self-confessed 'man of the world'. He is passionate about his home city, Manchester, and about travelling.

Machu Picchu: Inca Jungle Trail

Machu Picchu - Inca Jungle Trail
Machu Picchu - Inca Jungle Trail | Source

Machu Picchu: Inca Jungle Trail

When planning a trip to South America and Peru a visit to the world-famous Inca city of Machu Picchu is almost certainly going to be at the top of the must-see list. And for good reason. The ancient Inca city is breath-taking and it’s not only the city itself that is the highlight: part of the fun can be found in making your way to the ancient Machu Picchu – trekking, mountain biking, white rafting, zip-lining your way through the sacred valley from Cusco. A 4-day trek such as the Inca Jungle Trail outlined in this hub is an extremely rewarding and satisfying way of visiting the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Read on to find about more about the Inca Jungle Trail.

Inca Jungle Trail – 4 Days / Three Nights

We arranged a trip to Machu Picchu whilst we were in Cusco. We booked it two days before the trip was to begin so I don't think there's any need to book this one ahead. There are literally hundreds of tour agencies in Cusco so it can a bit intimidating when trying to find a good one. Ask around and read some reviews on Trip Advisor and you’ll find a reputable agency. The Inca Jungle Trail is not the classic Inca Trail (the classic Inca Trail is closed during Feb for maintenance and you have to book it months in advance).

Inca Jungle Trail Mountain Biking

Inca Jungle Trail Mountain Biking
Inca Jungle Trail Mountain Biking | Source

Inca Jungle Trail: Day One

The first day of the Inca Jungle Trail is spent mountain biking from a height of 4000m+ above sea level. We drove for about an hour and a half outside of Cusco to a little further beyond the historic town of Ollantaytambo. The guide kept the speed at a reasonable level during our descent. At first I was a disappointed as I’d hoped to be able to pick up some speed. This was a good thing really though, as the rest of the group weren’t so confident on a bike and it allowed me the opportunity to really admire and absorb the amazing mountain scenery around us. Historically the first day would end with some white water rafting but we’d been told that all rafting on the river had been suspended indefinitely due to some recent fatalities caused by negligent tour operators. This gave us the afternoon to chill out and enjoy our excellent dinner before retiring for an early night to get refreshed before the hiking element of the Inca Jungle Trail.

Inca Jungle Trail day 2

Inca Jungle Trail day 2: Crossing the raging river in a basket
Inca Jungle Trail day 2: Crossing the raging river in a basket | Source

Inca Jungle Trail Day Two

The second day of the Inca Jungle Trail started early, as we’d expected, with a filling breakfast and a briefing about the day’s activities. We all piled into a 4wd pick-up truck and drove for about 20 minutes in the pouring rain to the starting point of our trek. The trek was at a nice gentle pace and thankfully it didn’t rain for long. Along the way our guide gave us interesting insights and explanations about the local people, the landscapes and landmarks and about the history of the area. During the day we trekked along part of an ancient Inca trail - which is a good job considering we were doing a trek called the inca jungle trail!. There was also a ‘first’ for most of us on this day too, as we had to cross a raging river in a kind of basket that was pulled across the river by a kind of pulley system. It was scary as hell but a lot of fun.

Machu Picchu Guidebook

The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour
The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour

It's possible to hire a guide at Machu Picchu and if you split the costs with others then the fee is reasonable. However, this book acts as an excellent guide and if you have the time you can really make a full day of it and explore every nook and cranny of the city.

 

Inca Jungle Trail Day Three

Inca Jungle Trail day 3: Landscape of the Sacred Valley
Inca Jungle Trail day 3: Landscape of the Sacred Valley | Source

Inca Jungle Trail Day Three

The third day of the Inca Jungle Trail began with optional zip-lining across some of South America's highest and longest cables. One of the cables was over one kilometre long. As we’d only recently done zip-lining elsewhere we decided not to do this as we really didn’t have the extra money. It looked like a lot of fun though and the guys in our group who did do it had a great time. We went to cheer them on but there were selfish reasons for this. It was to get out of trekking to our next destination, something the zip-liners were missing because of the time taken to do their activity. So we went with them and when they’d finished we were driven to our next destination. This resulted in us only having to trek for three hours and not six. Considering we all had a bit of a hangover from over-doing it the night before – something none of us expected to happen! – this worked out just fine. And so by late afternoon we completed the Inca Jungle Trail and arrived in the town of Aguas Calientes, the tourist town in the valley below Machu Picchu. That evening we said goodbye to our Inca Jungle Trail guide to whom we’d all become close. We had an excellent meal and then took an early night to prepare for our 4am start the next morning.

Machu Picchu Quiz


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Inca Jungle Trail: Climbing Machu Picchu

Inca Jungle Trail day 4: Setting off to Machu Picchu at 4am
Inca Jungle Trail day 4: Setting off to Machu Picchu at 4am | Source

Inca Jungle Trail: Day Four

At 4am we awoke, dressed, and stumbled down to the lobby to meet the rest of our group. To our surprise the hotel had already laid out breakfast even at this ungodly hour. We ate as much as we could and even hastily threw together some sandwiches to take with us as we knew it would be a long day. Then at about 4.30am we started our walk towards Machu Picchu in the dark. You have the option of either trekking up to Machu Picchu or taking the bus. We all agreed that we wanted to trek. We’d trekked this far so it wouldn’t seem right to skip the last section in favour of the bus. It took us about 25 minutes to walk from our hotel in town to the check point by the river. Once through the check point it’s a steady climb up that will take around an hour. Even at such an early hour the heat was started to build and the humidity meant that we were practically wet through with sweat at the halfway point – there was good reason for the guide advising us to pack a change of t-shirt. When we made it to the top caught our breath and captured our achievement with a group photo and then we went off to find our guide who would give us a tour for two hours before we were free to explore by ourselves.

Inca Jungle Trail: Machu Picchu

Inca Jungle Trail day 4: Views from the dawn trek up to the ancient inca city of Machu Picchu
Inca Jungle Trail day 4: Views from the dawn trek up to the ancient inca city of Machu Picchu | Source

So that's my experience of the doing the Inca Jungle Trail with Lorenzo Expeditions You can read all about my experience at the Machu Picchu site in part 2 of this hub. Thanks for reading!

Inca Jungle Trail Poll

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Machu Picchu on Amazon

Stone Offerings: Machu Picchu's Terraces of Enlightenment
Stone Offerings: Machu Picchu's Terraces of Enlightenment

Although I'm happy with the photo's I took of Machu Picchu with my basic digital camera I'm blown away by the more professional looking photo's in this book. Looking at the pics in this book just makes me want to go back. Get this book and then get yourself over there!

 

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    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      Woww.Just wow. Voted up.

      This is surely on my list. Is it safe to travel here alone ?

    • Iammattdoran profile image
      Author

      Matt Doran 2 years ago from Manchester, UK

      Thanks Akriti. It is safe enough to travel alone, but it's good to join a tour group from Cusco. That way you get to meet people and have more experiences.

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      Thank you so much for the info :)

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      By the way have you ever been to India ?

    • Iammattdoran profile image
      Author

      Matt Doran 2 years ago from Manchester, UK

      Yes I spent a month in India in 2012. North and South. It was great!

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      That is so good to know.

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