You will be collected early from your hotel in Cusco in private transport, and transported to the Abra de Malaga (or a point below, depending on the group). (approx 3 hrs drive) Here we will start an interesting and sometimes slightly hair-raising downhill ride on our mountain bikes. (depending on previous experience) This is suitable for people of moderate fitness, who like a bit of a challenge. Approx cycling time is about 4-5 hours but you will be accompanied by a support car at all times, so if you want to retire, you can get into the car. For the hardy, we will cycle all the way to the small high jungle village of Santa Maria. Other groups prefer to end earlier. We will have lunch en route and visit some Inca ruins. This road can be compared to the “Worlds Most Dangerous Road” heading to Coroico in Bolivia.
Tonight, you will be staying in new homestay in Huayopata. This is a small village approximately 15 minutes before Santa Maria. Your host is working with the new cooperative COCLA tours. She has a basic room, but no shower facilities as yet. She will prepare you a meal and can also take you to visit the tea processing factory which is nearby. Tea is found at this altitude, between Inka tambo and Huayopata. Huyro is the tea centre of the region
Leaving our host family in Huayopata, we will hike for a short period along the road before taking a trail through coffee and coca plantations and also pass through farms which grow tropical fruits like oranges. After climbing for a while we connect with a “tropical Inca trail” – that is, an Inca trail from the time of the Inca empire. This is also known as the alternative Inca Trail or the Jungle Inca Trail. There are great views along this section and we descend via impressive Inca Stairs while admiring the canyon of the Vilcanota River. (please note, this is VERY challenging for those with vertigo or a fear of heights!)
After several hours hike, we arrive at our host´s home, in the small village of Huacayupana. We will then be the fortunate participants in a new but well thought out community tourism project. The family is part of the coffee cooperative Huadquiña and COCLA TOURS cooperative and have received mircro-finance assistance to construct two basic rooms, and a hot shower bathroom. (it should be noted that capacity is currently only 4 people, and if the group is larger than 4, the remainder of the group will be camping, on a first come-first served basis)
In the afternoon you will learn a little about the family´s life, helping them on their farm collect coffee, or perhaps drying coffee or running the coffee through the basic mill. *please note – your daily activities will be governed by the season and the actual activities of the family when you arrive. Therefore it can´t be guaranteed what you will actually be doing – but as you are participating in the family´s daily activities its sure to be an interesting insight. Your meals will be with the family, who have been trained in hygiene and food preparation. By 9pm, everyone will be sound asleep after a hard, yet satisfying day!
important notes * you will be guests of a Peruvian family. Please respect their cultural norms and behave in a sensitive manner. (ie we don´t encourage drinking while staying with the families) *note this route has changed due to the flooding and subsequent damage to the trail, bridges and Colcamayu Hot Springs.
After breakfast with the family, we will start our morning´s hike to Aguas Calientes. There are a number of alternatives – a short half hour walk, an hour and a half´s climb and a 3 hour hike into Santa Theresa. Your choices depend on how much you would like to hike, the advice of your guide and how long you would like to stay visiting with your host family. At some stage we will take local transport to the Hydroelectric plant, where we will have a late lunch in a local restaurant. Here, time permitting; we will visit an unrestored small Inca ruin. We will take the local train that departs at 6.30pm and takes approximately 1 hour to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes. We will stay the night in Aguas Calientes, in a basic hostal and enjoy a celebratory dinner in a local restaurant.
NOTE: An alternative for Day 3 is as follows: Early in the morning a taxi will take us to the Cola de Mono zipline. For those who do not want to take on the challenge of the zip line you have the option of taking a forest walk at Cola de Mono. After lunch in Santa Theresa, we will drive to the Hydroelectric Station. Here you have the chance to see a small but interesting Inca ruin while waiting for the train. The train departs at 6.30pm and takes about one hour to arrive at Aguas Calientes. En route you can look up and see Machu Picchu above you. We will stay the night in Aguas Calientes, in a basic hostal and enjoy a celebratory dinner in a local restaurant.
NOTE: As Cola de Mono is an optional activity, the price is ADDITIONAL to the price of the itinerary.
Early in the morning (before dawn) we will take a bus up to the ruins of Machu Picchu . (Bus included in price) so that you can appreciate sunrise from the Watchman’s Hut (or Inti Punku if you get up very early). You will then have a three hour guided tour of Machu Picchu with your guide. After your tour you can further explore the ruins by yourself or climb Huayna Picchu for that classic photo of Machu Picchu . Please note that you need to start climbing Huayna Picchu by 12 noon. Also try to fit in a visit to the Temple of the Moon or the fabulous Inca Bridge . We highly recommend walking down from Machu Picchu to get a feeling for the vegetation and also the audacity of its builders. Its a 1-2 hour walk back to the village of Machu Picchu or, you can take the bus which is included in your ticket. We return to Cusco in the afternoon by the backpacker train (leaves either at 2.30pm or 6pm) and are met by a driver at Ollantaytambo who will transfer you directly back to your hotel. You will arrive in Cusco approximately 4 hours after your train’s departure from Aguas Calientes.
Aguas Calientes upgrade package (optional)
This is an upgrade package for treks that already include a nights stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, but you would like to upgrade the standard of hotel, meals and train service. This price doesn’t change depending on the number of people in the group.
Prices – Standard Aguas Calientes Upgrade – $140
Comfort Plus Aguas Calientes Upgrade – $180
** The difference between the Standard option, and the Comfort Plus option, is the standard of the hotel.
Both packages include the same meals and trains.
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