9. From Cusco: Classic Inca Jungle Trek with Return by Train
DAY 1: Cusco - Abra Málaga - Huamanmarca - Santa María or Santa Teresa (overnight depending on option chosen)
Pickup from your accommodation in Cusco between 6:00 - 6:30 AM. Transfer to the highest point, Abra Malaga at 4316 meters, from where you will descend by bike for 3 hours, passing streams and vegetation until you reach Huamanmarca. Then, you will be transferred to the town of Santa María, to have a typical lunch and free time to explore plants like Coca and coffee with your guide. You can choose to add on a rafting activity available at an additional cost (Level II, III and IV).
If you choose the 3-day option, you will continue the route until you reach the thermal baths of Cocalmayo in Santa Teresa, which have medicinal and therapeutic waters. After relaxing, continue in a 40-minute walk to the town of Santa Teresa where you will overnight in a family lodging.
If you choose the 4-day option, you will have free time until dinner time in Santa María, and will overnight.
DAY 2 for 4-day option: Santa María - Quellomayo - Termas de Cocalmayo - Santa Teresa
Start the hike with a gradual climb for 3 hours. This area is tropical and you will appreciate organic products of different varieties such as coffee, cocoa, avocado and medicinal plants.
Along the way you will also appreciate natural attractions such as the "El Velo de Nusta" waterfall, and the highest pass of the day, "Pastogrande", at an altitude of 1900 meters. Stop for lunch at Islayunca. Continue to an unexplored waterfall, then walk 2.5 hours so you can enjoy the hot springs of Cocalmayo in Santa Teresa. After relaxing, continue on a 40-minute walk to the town of Santa Teresa where you will overnight in a family lodging.
DAY 2 for 3-day option / DAY 3 for 4-day option: Santa Teresa - Hydroelectric - Aguas Calientes
After a typical breakfast, you can choose add on a zip line adventure after. In this case, after the activity, you will be taken by transport to the beginning of the trail to Aguas Calientes at Hydroelectric. If you don't add the zip-lining activity, you will be taken by bus straight to Hydroelectric. Then, start a 3-hour trek along the train tracks through the jungle to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, enjoy lunch.
After lunch, your guide will show you to your accommodation. Have dinner in a restaurant and plan with the guide for the next day for Machu Picchu visit. Overnight in Aguas Calientes.
DAY 3 for 3-day option / DAY 4 for 4-day option: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Cusco
Get up early in the morning and 4:30 AM to start the walk towards Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. The steep walk up will last approximately 1.5 hours, and the objective is to witness the sunrise from the Inca citadel and be the first to arrive. The walk up to Machu Picchu requires a fair physical condition - you can also choose add on a bus to Machu Picchu at the checkout, if you don't want to do the walk.
Enjoy a 2-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu and the surrounding sites. Enjoy free time to take photos and look around the citadel. If you chose one of the extra hikes to one of the mountains you will split ways with the group to go by yourself to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain — you can choose to add on these hikes at the checkout.
Leave Machu Picchu and return to Aguas Calientes at around 11:30 AM (walking or by bus, depending on what you choose). Once in Aguas Calientes, board your train to Ollantaytambo, and take a minivan from there to Cusco. Be back in Cusco around 9:30 - 10:00 PM. The drop-off will be in San Francisco square in the historic center, near the Plaza de Armas.