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Inca Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu 3 days / 2 nights

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Summary

If you are short on time (or energy) you can still enjoy the highlights of the Sacred Valley and Inca Trail. On this tour, you’ll visit the most beautiful site on the Inca Trail, Wiñay Wayna, and arrive at Machu Picchu in only three days!

Itinerary


DAY 1: CUSCO – SANTA MARÍA: BIKING (55KM) AND SANTA TERESA HOT SPRINGS

We will start the Inca Jungle Tour by picking you up from your hotel in Cusco at 6.30 a.m. and driving you to Abra de Malaga, the highest pass in the Vilcanota Range, at an elevation of 4,350m/14,271ft. From here, we will bike downhill until we reach the small town of Santa Maria far below at 1,430m/4,691ft. Along our journey we will pass picturesque rolling hills and the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcanota Mountain Range. We will have opportunities to take some pictures along the way as well, as it is going to take around 3.5 or 4 hours of downhill riding to reach our destination. While taking in the majestic views, the ride is wonderful and relaxing at the same time. When we finally arrive, we will have some free time to rest, then we will take the bus to Santa Teresa. After a day of biking, we can relax in the hot springs of Santa Teresa before ending our day.

  • Highest altitude: 4,350m /14,272 ft
  • Distance: Approximately 55 kms
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Weather: Windy, possibly chilly on the road.

DAY 2: SANTA TERESA – AGUAS CALIENTES : TREKKING (16KM)

We will begin our second day of the tour at 6:30 a.m. with an energizing breakfast. An extra option for this morning of the Inca Jungle Tour is a zip-line tour, which will cost an extra US $35. Today, the climate will be even more tropical as we approach the ancient city. We will walk for approximately 5 – 6 hours until we reach Aguas Calientes, walking by way of the truck road to a Hydro-Electric Power Plant, where there is a sacred ceremonial Inca site called Intihuatana. From here, we can glimpse Machu Picchu Mountain from a distance above the mountain ridge. We will arrive at Aguas Calientes by trekking along a path by the railroad tracks. Once we arrive in Aguas Calientes, we will take you to your hotel. That night, we will share a dinner with our guide as he briefs us on the plan for the next few days before we retire for a good night´s rest.

  • 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 3: MACHU PICCHU- CUSCO

We wake up early at 4:30 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.

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.

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Price

 US $300 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.

Discounts

  • Student Discount $20
  • Under 18 Discount $20
  • Under 7 Discount $50

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 origin 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

WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO COLLABORATION

In case we do not meet the minimum group size or we do not have enough people to operate the tour ourselves, we reserve the right to occasionally collaborate with other tour operators. In these cases, the client will always be notified in advance

Additional Options

Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu and can be seen in most photos of the ruins. It is a 45-minute hike to the top. While this hike is done on your own, your guide will direct you to where this hike begins. This requires a separate entrance ticket that we can secure for you with advance notice, for an additional $30 per person.

Machu Picchu Mountain

Machu Picchu Mountain is the other mountain that stands above the Machu Picchu ruins. It offers even more stunning views than Huayna Picchu, but takes an hour and a half of steep climbing to reach the top. This also requires a separate entrance ticket that we can secure for you with advance notice, for an additional $30 per person.

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 and 8:20 p.m. 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.

Included / Not Included

INCLUDED

  • Professional guide who is fluent in English and spanish
  • Private bus to Santa María or biking point
  • Bikes and Safety Equipment
  • 2 Breakfast, 2 Lunches and 2 Dinners
  • 1 Nights Basic Accommodation (Santa Maria, Santa Teresa)
  • 1 Nights  Basic Accommodation Aguas Calientes
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu
  • Guided Tour of Machu Picchu
  • Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco

NOT INCLUDED

  • 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
  • Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING

  • Original passport
  • Small daypack
  • Hiking boots
  • Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Comfortable trousers
  • Sun hat or cap
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Water
  • 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.
  • Water
  • Toiletries
  • Personal medication
  • Camera
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Cash

OPTIONAL ITEMS TO BRING

  • Shorts
  • Plasters and bandages
  • Sandals
  • Bathing suit for hot springs in Santa Teresa (Not included in the price)

FAQ

Pre-Trek Briefing

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 day will 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!!

Return train at the end of the Inca Jungle Trek: Your return train to Cusco is the Expedition train, which departs either at 7:00 pm or 8:20 pm. We can also book an earlier train (2:55 pm, 4:35 p.m, or 6:20 pm) for you if you prefer, at an extra cost of US $25. The train we will book depends on availability and will be confirmed at your briefing. There is also an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train which is an extra US $65 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 your hotel in Cusco.

Can I change my return train ticket?

It may still be possible to make changes to your return train ticket if you don’t want to take the train you originally booked. 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. Changing the ticket will be subject to availability of spaces on the train.

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.

Are river-rafting and ziplining included in this tour?

Ziplining is available as an optional activity on this tour. It is not included in the cost of your trek and is an additional US $30 per person. River-rafting is not available on the three day Inca Jungle Trek.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

Where do I have to be on the morning of the trek and where will I be dropped off at the end of the trek?

On the morning of the trek departure, we will pick you up from inside your hotel in Cusco (don’t wait outside in the street) and drop you off either in the Plaza de Regocijos ( next to the main square) or Plaza San Francisco (two blocks from the main square) upon your return to Cusco. You won’t be dropped off directly at your hotel/hostels.

It helps us if you try to stay in a hotel/hostal that is within a few blocks of the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). If your hotel/hostal is far away from the main square we will ask you to come to our offices with the exact location and name of your accommodation. If you are not staying in the city center, we cannot pick you up from your hotel. You must take a taxi to the center.

The guide will come into your hotel and ask for you at reception. Because the centre of Cusco is full of small cobblestone streets, our larger bus/van is not permitted to enter certain zones in the city centre, so you will then have to walk a short distance to where the bus/van will be waiting for you. Traffic regulations prohibit large buses/van from entering the main square but usually after 10pm we don’t have a problem and will be able to drop you off in the main square upon your return. You can then take a taxi back to your hotel (between US$2 to US$4 for a taxi).

If we have to drop you off in Plaza San Francisco, you may be a bit disoriented (some people may need to be woken up!!) but we recommend that you ask for directions to the Plaza de Armas and our guide or driver will be happy to help. It’s only two blocks away, but usually it’ll be quite late at night so it is best to walk together as a group back to the Plaza before taking a taxi or walking back to your hotel.

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. However, if you want to add any extra activities like climbing Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, it will cost 20 dollars extra per person, but please note that the 20 dollars is valid only before we book your entrance fees. If for some reason you want to add this extra climb once we have booked the ticket, it will cost you 65 dollars per person.

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 day.

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.