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From Cusco: 5-Day Alternative Macchu Picchu Adventure Route

Sightseeing ToursArchaeologyMeet the LocalsNature & AdventureNational ParksNature & PanoramaOutdoor SportsExtreme Sports & AdrenalineFood & DrinksBikesViewing PointsEcotourismOff the beaten trackAlternative ToursMedium-risk activitiesHigh-risk activities

Discover an adrenaline-pumping alternative to the Inca Trail with this jungle adventure. Experience high-altitude mountain biking and trekking to reach Machu Picchu, combined with rafting and zip-lining activities.


  • Enjoy a thrilling downhill bike ride in the Andean jungle
  • Visit spectacular Machu Picchu with an expert guide
  • Trek along the railway to Aguas Calientes
  • Zip through the longest zip-line in South America


Day 1: Arrival in Cusco Make your way to Cusco at your own pace and enjoy the rest of the day to walk around town and make the last-minute preparations for your trip. Make your own way to your accommodation and attend your mandatory pre-departure briefing that evening. Get a good night’s sleep ready for your adventure to begin. Day 2: Mountain biking and rafting  Depart from Cusco in the morning and make the journey to Ollantaytambo for breakfast and to pick up some snacks before continuing to the Malaga High Pass. Here, enjoy a 2.5-hour bike ride down through the lush and humid jungle. See Huamanmarca Archaeological site along the way and cruise through fruit plantations and over rivers before arriving in Santa Maria village. From Santa Maria, enjoy a scenic 2.5-hour rafting adventure through class III and IV rapids on the Urubamba River, or alternatively, spend some time exploring the village on your own. Spend the night at a rustic guesthouse in Santa Maria.  Day 3: Trek to Santa Teresa After an early breakfast, begin your day of hiking through the jungle. Observe beautiful pristine landscapes, abundant flora and fauna and friendly locals. Stop for lunch halfway during the trek to relax and refuel. In the afternoon, arrive in the village of Santa Teresa where you may choose to recover in a thermal hot spring. Day 4: Zip-line and trek Fly through the treetops on a 2-hour morning excursion on South America's highest canopy zip-line. Traverse over 2,500 meters of cables with the longest ride covering 400 meters and the highest at 150 meters. Afterward, take an easy 3-hour hike along the train tracks from Santa Teresa to a hydroelectric station for lunch. After lunch, continue for another 3 hours to reach Aguas Calientes (most people hike this portion of the trek but there is an optional train ride from the hydroelectric station to Aguas Calientes). In Agua Calientes, pay a visit to one of the many internet cafes, cafes, or shops before retreating to your hotel for the night. Day 5: Machu Picchu and return to Cuzco Catch one of the first buses to Machu Picchu to appreciate the city in the early morning light as the mist dissipates. Enjoy a 2-hour walking tour followed by some free time to explore the city on your own. If time allows, visit the local market and shop until the train whistle blows, signaling your return to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you will take a bus back to Cuzco arriving around 8:00 pm.


Hotel pickup on day 2 All transportation during the hike Bilingual guide Machu Picchu entrance fee 4 nights accommodation 4 breakfasts 3 lunches 3 Dinners Snacks Mountain biking equipment Rafting trip and equipment Zip-line adventure First aid kit with oxygen
Airport pickup and drop-off Meals on day 1 and 5 Santa Teresa hot springs entrance (20 soles) Hotel drop-off Macchu Picchu trekking permit (133 soles per adult, 67 soles per student) Gratuities

Important Information

  • Hostel or hotel accommodation is available on day 1
  • On days 2-4, single travelers will share a room with another traveler and couples will share a private room
  • This is a moderately difficult hike, with a few long hiking days combined with multi-sport activities such as mountain biking, river rafting, and/or zip-lining, you will need to be physically fit in order to participate in these activities
  • The following items are recommended: hiking poles, waterproof clothing, hiking boots, sandals, warm socks, a sweater, thermals, a hat, gloves, sunhat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a torch, camera, extra batteries and memory card, waterproof camera bags, hand sanitizer, personal first aid kit, a bathing suit, water bottle and extra cash
  • Please note that the cost of food and drink can triple in price once on the trail
  • You will not be accompanied by a guide during bus and train transfers

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