I have already written a detailed report about our trip to Ecuador.
This series of posts will detail our trip to Peru and ultimately one of the new seven wonders of the world – Machu Picchu.
This post (part 6) will cover the first day of our 4-day Inca Jungle Trek with Loki Travel. Check out our other posts to learn more about our trip to Peru.
- Part 1: Traveling to Machu Picchu: The Basics
- Part 2: Planning travel and lodging
- Part 3: Travel from Cusco to Ollantaytambo
- Part 4: Things to do in Ollantaytambo, Peru
- Part 5: Eating in Ollantaytambo, Peru
- Part 6: Cycling down a mountain
- Part 7: Hiking on an Inca Trail
- Part 8: Zip lining and hiking to Aguas Calientes
- Part 9: The climb to Machu Picchu
- Part 10: How much did our trip to Peru cost?
Inca Jungle Trek, Day 1: Cycling Down Abra Malaga Mountain
We wanted to see Machu Picchu, but instead of taking the quick and easy (and expensive) way via train, we decided to do a 4-day Inca Jungle Trek. Note that this is different than the traditional 4-day hike to Machu Picchu along the Inka Trail.
We chose Loki Travel, and the 4-day trek, including food, lodging, entrance to Machu Picchu and a train back to Cusco, was a very reasonable $250 USD. The cost is about the same as taking a day trip on the train, but this way you get four days of food, lodging and fun for the same price.
Note that the tour included return transport back on the very last train, and you get back to Cusco at about 1:00 a.m. In hindsight, I recommend you pay extra for an earlier train. We did not enjoy sitting around all day waiting for the last train. We would have rather paid the extra to be back at our room earlier, take a hot shower, and get to bed.
The night before the trek, we had to meet at Loki Hostel in Cusco for an hour for an orientation meeting and to pay any balance on our bill (note that, since we had been staying in Ollantaytambo, we had to take a colectivo back to Cusco in order to take this tour)
The next morning, before the sun rose, we departed from Loki hostel. I found that the easiest thing to do is to spend the night at Loki Hostel, since we departed so early. A bed in a 6-bed dorm was 35 Peruvian soles (about $11 USD). A private room is about 150 soles (about $40 USD). Be aware that it can be loud at night because not everyone is getting up at 5:00 a.m. to do a jungle trek.
We departed very early and climbed in a big van and after about two hours, we arrived at a restaurant outside of Ollantaytambo and had simple but good breakfast.
Cycling Down a Mountain
After breakfast, we drove about another hour to Abra Malaga for the start of our 60 kilometer bike ride down the mountain.
The scenery was amazing and made me excited to get started.
One of the guides rode up front, and the van followed behind. At first the ride was a bit scary, with sharp turns near the edge of the road. But I went slowly at first just to get a feel for the bike and get more comfortable. After about 20 minutes, we made a brief stop.
We got back on the bikes . This time I felt much more comfortable and rode a little faster. After about 30 minutes we made another stop.
Thrilling Ride to the Finish
After this second stop, we got a view of our final destination in the valley below and were told we weren’t stopping agian until the end. Our guide said the road was less steep and he was going to ride faster if anyone wanted to go with him. By this time, I felt very comfortable on the bike and a few of us went for it.
The only thing you need to be careful of is water crossings. There were 11 spots along the way where there was a little water running across the road. You have to be careful to slow down and not turn in the water. One person didn’t heed the advice and went down. They were fine because of all the bike gear and pads we were given.
Oh my gosh! The ride was so exhilarating. For about an hour there was amazing scenery while the wind whipped through my hair (helmet) as we wizzed down the mountain. I would love to do that ride again!
White Water Rafting
After the bike ride we got in the van and drove for about 30 minutes to the town of Santa Maria. There was an option to go “white water” rafting. The cost was an additional $30 USD and the people who did it said they enjoyed it.
We chose to relax back at the jungle lodge instead.
Jungle Lodge for the Night
We ended up spending the night at a jungle lodge outside the town of Santa Maria.
The setting was secluded and spectacular.
The rooms were spartan and, warning, there was no hot water. However, the dinner setting and food was great.
Once dinner was over, we sat around and talked a little, but once it started to get dark, everyone went to their rooms, as we were getting up early and we knew we had a long day of hiking ahead of us on Day 2.
Summary: Cycling Down Abra
The bike ride was so exhilarating! I loved it. Even my wife, who didn’t want to do it at first, really enjoyed it. I would gladly do that over and over. It was a very early start today, and the long drive was nice, but not overly exciting. If you like rafting, pay the extra $30 to do the rafting. However, if you are not interested, hanging out at the jungle lodge in the afternoon was very relaxing. I loved how isolated and surrounded by nature we were.