Inca Jungle Trail: An adrenaline filled adventure to Machu Picchu

4 May, 2021 | Reccy Guide

The Inca Jungle Trail to the Lost Citadel is one of the most adrenaline filled routes through the Peruvian Andes to Machu Picchu. This trail leads adventurers through the Andes while allowing them to experience extreme sports such as mountain biking, river rafting, and zip lining. Beginning in the ancient Inca city of Ollantaytambo, hikers are able to travel through the history, flora and fauna within the jungle of the Andes. 

Explore trip itineraries, accommodation, transport, required gear, fitness plan, insurance and more

The 4-day Inca Jungle Trail is the best route option for an adrenaline seeker looking to do extreme sports while being surrounded by the nature and history of the ancient Inca Empire.  

The Inca Trail

This route option to Machu Picchu requires visitors to book with a guided tour to experience all of the extreme sports. Going with a guided tour on the Inca Jungle Trail offers visitors the ease of being transported to each activity without having to pre plan their trip. Beginning with mountain biking the tour company will bring a bike to the Abra Malaga Pass, so cyclers are able to enjoy the ease of biking down a mountain. As well the tour company will organize river rafting, zip lining, visiting the natural hot springs, and touring the lost Citadel of Machu Picchu. The guided tour will plan accommodations, transportation, and provide meals throughout the 4 day trek to the ancient Inca city. 

When packing for the Inca Jungle Trail, it is important to bring clothing that can be used for extreme sports in varying temperatures. The best time to visit Machu Picchu is during the dry season, which is from May to September because there is less rain and it is warmer. However, hikers should still pack for both cool and warm weather. Things that should be brought are athletic wear, hiking shoes, running shoes, a bathing suit, rain jacket, and toiletries. The trek does not involve camping and overnight stays will be in a hostel or hotel, allowing trekkers to pack lighter. 

The highest point on the Inca Jungle Trail is in the Abra Malaga Pass that stands at 4,316 meters above sea level, because of this it is important to acclimatize to the altitudes within the Peruvian Andes. Compared to other treks, hikers will not be spending the majority of their time in very high altitudes and will be sleeping at lower altitudes in cities and villages. However, to prevent sickness it is recommended to arrive in Cusco a few days prior to departing on the Inca Jungle Trail trek. 

The trek begins by transporting hikers from the city of Cusco up a mountain to the Abra Malaga Pass (4,316m), where adventures will start the trail by cycling down to Huamanmarca. This is the highest point that will be reached on the Inca Jungle Trek. The extreme sport of cycling down a mountain will pass the incredible sceneries of coffee and fruit plantations. After lunch in the village of Santa Maria, trekkers will continue their adrenaline filled day by going river rafting in the Vilcanota River. After rafting through the river, hikers will return to Santa Maria for dinner and to check into their night’s accommodation. 

View of the river

The second day on the Inca Jungle Trail is the most challenging, trekkers begin hiking early in the morning to travel 12 km through the original Inca trail that passes the jungle, cocoa leaves, and coffee plantations. After a long day of hiking, adventurers will arrive at the hot springs of Cocalmayo, which are incredible natural baths that look out towards the Urubamba River and have stunning mountain views. This is a perfect place to relax after a long day of hiking through the Peruvian Andes. The evening will end in Santa Teresa, where hikers will eat at a local restaurant before heading to their lodgings. 

The third day begins with a hike to ‘Cola de Mono’ to go zip lining. Adrenaline lovers will be able to spend 2 hours zip lining between mountains across a breath-taking valley. Following the thrilling morning, trekkers will be transported to Hidroelectrica for lunch and following that will hike the last stretch of the trail.  To complete the Inca Jungle Trail, hikers will walk 10 km to Aguas Calientes, which is the town that sits outside of Machu Picchu. 

The fourth and final day of the Inca Jungle Trail trek is reserved for visiting the ancient Inca Empire of Machu Picchu. It is important to bring your passport with the pre-purchased entrance ticket. After entering Machu Picchu, exploring the incredible ancient city with the guided tour will take about 2 hours. After this, hikers are able to discover the Inca city further and take photos before departing back to the starting point of Cusco.

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