Rafting in the Inca Jungle

Inca Jungle Trek Info.

Ultimate Inca Jungle Information

The Inca Jungle appeared a few years ago as an alternative trail to the iconic Inca Trail. On this tour, you won't just hike as on the other trail that leads to Machu Picchu; you will experience a varied of fun activities along the four-day tour. There is also a short version of the Inca Jungle that can be made in only three days, skipping the hiking section that usually is on the second day on the classic tour. In this article, you will find the necessary information to have an idea of what the tour involves and be ready for your adventure of a lifetime in the high jungle of Peru.

Machu Picchu through the Inca Jungle


The Inca Jungle Tour to Machu Picchu involves so many different activities, terrains, and climates that it’s possibly one of the hardest trips to pack for. From mountain biking, which starts at 4,300 meters, where usually the weather is cold and windy, and sometimes you will be over the clouds with incredible vistas of the Andes mountain, to hiking in the high jungle, where the weather turns hot, especially during the walking up section on the second day. Thinking about the varied weather that you will find along the Inca Jungle, it feels like there is a lot of stuff you’ll need for all those different activities, but on the other hand, you’ll be carrying it all yourself while you hike (it is optional to send a vi taxi), so you want to pack light. The advice is to pack as little as possible.

Weather and altitude along the Inca Jungle

The Inca Jungle Trek's weather depends on which season you go for it; April to November is the dry season in Cusco, and December to March is the rainy season. The temperatures don’t vary too much throughout the year, but there is much more rainfall on the trail between November and March. The days are mostly warm to hot, with sporadic rain and cool nights and mornings. Rainfall can be very heavy; a dry bag or bin liner for the things inside your bag can come in handy.

The altitude on the Inca Jungle Trek is generally lower than that of Cuzco (3,400 m), so after a few days acclimatizing, you should be fine. The very first part of the tour, though, starts at 4350 m for some incredible downhill mountain biking, so you might want to take coca leaves, sweets, or tea to help with the altitude sickness. After this, you’ll be at much lower altitudes.

  • Santa Maria town: 1,250 meters (4,101 ft)
  • Santa Teresa town: 1,580 meters (5,189 ft)
  • Aguas Calientes: 2,040 meters (6,692 ft)
  • Machu Picchu: 2,430 meters (7,972 ft)

  • Mountain Biking in the Inca Jungle

    The mountain biking, being at a much higher altitude, is usually very wet. You will start off cycling through thick clouds and mist, and further down, you’ll probably encounter heavy rain as well as having to cross a few streams on your bike. You’ll have protective gear on, so just wear warm, quick-drying clothes. It takes about 2 hours to descend from the mountains to the forest on an asphalt road; the distance to ride is 43km (26 miles); in all our groups, the guide goes ahead and makes some signs to avoid any accidents. He also makes some stops along the way to enjoy the views or just relax the legs.

    Biking Inca Jungle

    Water Rafting in the Inca Jungle

    The whitewater rafting on the Inca Jungle Trail is without a doubt one of the highlights of this tour. This section of the river has incredible rapids, which makes it fun even for beginners who could be experiencing this activity for the first time. The class levels that you can find in the Santa Maria River are varied from I, II, and III, with little sections of III+. Your tour begings with a safety talk of the activity from your proffesional instructors with large of experience, following with the rafting gears which they provide you to have more confi. in the water.

    Once you are ready, you are going into the river to practice a little and see how the team on the boat will work along the way. The rafting takes about two hours in total, with some stops while you are rafting down the valley. Once you finish it, the van will pick you up to return to your hotel and drop you there.

    Hiking on the Inca Jungle

    The Inca Jungle Trek offers an incredible section of hiking through the forest with the opportunity to visit some local families and their farms. The hike with Vidal Expeditions will start near San Pablo, where the trailhead begins with an easy section. After an hour of hiking in the jungle and exploring some fruit lands such as avocados, magos, papayas, bananas, and more, we will start climbing up to reach the Inca Trail, where you will have a breathtaking vista of the valley and learn the history of the Incas.

    This section of the Inca Trail connected Machu Picchu with the Jungle in ancient times. You will hike on its steep steps with some stairs that go down and up. During the afternoon, you will keep hiking to reach the thermal baths and relax at the end of your hike, enjoying the views around you.

  • Hiking distance: 15km (9 miles)
  • Max. Altitude: 1,700 meters (5,577 ft)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Best View from the Inca Trail

    The Hot Spring

    The hot springs of Cocalmayo are one of the highlights of the hike on the second day of the Inca Jungle Trail. Just imagine relaxing in the pools with a mountain view after hiking the entire day. It is without doubt the best way to finish your busy day! On the Inca Jungle you will find four pools of different temperatures, from 25 Celsius as the coldest one and 38 Celsius the hottest, the water comes from under the ground and it keeps the same temperature all around the years. Here you will find shops to buy some drinks or cocktails or to rent some towels or swimsuits. Lockers and restrooms are available as well.

    The zip line in the Inca Jungle

    As we mentioned before, The Inca Jungle offers different activities that you can do in a multi-day tour on your way to Machu Picchu. The zipline is a fun activity that involves flying over a valley attached to a wire that goes from one side to the other between the mountains. Our zipline activity offers four different cables that you can fly on in different positions and a bridge.
    Before you fly, you will be given all of the necessary information, and the instructors will provide you with the appropriate and best-brand zipline equipment.

    Zipline Inca Jungle

    Machu Picchu as final distination

    After three incredible days in the Inca Jungle Trek, we will finally enjoy the iconic Machu Picchu at the end of your journey. Your guide will take you early morning to explore Machu Picchu before the crowds arrive and be amazed by the fantastic sunrise at Machu Picchu, have a guided tour visiting the most outstanding temples of the New Seven Wonders. Spend a few hours there and then back to Aguas Calientes to rest or explore the town. In the afternoon, you will board the train to ride to Ollantaytambo and finally the bus to Cusco.

    What does Vidal Expeditions include in the Inca Jungle?

    As the tour leader operator in Cusco, we decide to include 95% of the things during our tours that lead to Machu Picchu, so that our customers can enjoy as much as possible the wonder of the Inca Jungle. Let's see below what we include during the 4-day Inca Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu version.

    We Include
  • Pick up from your hotel: Wherever you stay in Cusco, we will pick you up the first day to start your Inca Jungle Tour.
  • Transportation: We include private transportation that will take you to the beginning of the mountain biking.
  • Tour Guide: During our different excursions, we include a professional English-speaking guide with years of experience.
  • Machu Picchu entrance fee: We include a Machu Picchu ticket in the first schedule at 6:00 a.m.
  • Bikes and gears: Our bikes are well maintained and daily checked.
  • Accommodations: We work with local accommodations (a lodge, hostel, and hotel on the last night).
  • Meals: We use local and fresh ingredients to prepare a varied menu and care about your diet.
  • Extra Activities: On our Inca Jungle package, we include the rafting and ziplining.
  • Bus Round Trip: We always include the bus service from Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes.
  • Train Ticket: On the way back after having explored Machu Picchu, we include the train ride to Ollantaytambo.
  • Hot Spring Entrance: For your relaxation, we include the ticket to the hot spring.
  • First Aid Kit
  • This is just a part of what makes us different from other companies.

    What to Pack for your Inca Jungle

    Unlike with the more strenuous hikes, there are no porters to carry your stuff, so only bring exactly what you need. You can leave all your other luggage in storage at your accommodation in Cusco. Bear in mind that everything you bring will be on your back for around eight hours on the second day.It's worth taking note of a few heavy things you definitely don’t need—a sleeping bag or blankets, blow-up pillows, jeans, make-up, bulky toiletries, or more than one bottle of water. You can buy bottled water all along the way—roughly every two hours on the full-day hike—so just take one bottle, or better yet, a lightweight water bladder like a Platypus or Camelbak.
    Below find the list what to pack for your Inca Jungle Trail 4-Day

    Packing list

    To Wear
    • One jumper/fleece for the mountain biking and cooler evenings.
    • Walking shoes/boots (or very sturdy trainers) – these should be waterproof. The hike isn’t too demanding, so walking shoes rather than hiking boots are fine and are more lightweight.
    • Comfy hiking socks to wear with your walking shoes if needed.
    • One change of footwear for evenings (as lightweight as possible – preferably flipflops)
    • Raincoat or poncho
    • Either: one pair of comfy shorts and one pair of walking trousers
    • One pair of walking trousers that zip off into shorts (the best option). The recommendation is the Travel Extreme Zip Off Walking Trousers from Mountain Warehouse, as they are also anti-mosquito – perfect for the jungle hike.
    • Optional – One pair of leggings or light comfy trousers – to wear during evenings or while you’re walking trousers dry out.
    • No more than four t-shirts or vest tops – comfy stuff that you don’t mind getting dirty
    • (For girls) one sports bra
    • Underwear
    • Sleepwear

    Hiking to Machu Picchu

    When you leave on the first day, it’ll be cold, so wear one or two of your t-shirts under a jumper and raincoat, plus walking trousers. Girls should wear their sports bras too. You’ll be given full protective gear, including jackets and trousers, to go over everything. When you finish mountain biking, you can take your wet clothes off and leave them in the sun to dry while you have lunch. If you’re doing the white-water rafting (which I recommend), just wear swimwear under the provided plastic clothing, as you’ll get completely soaked—and your clothes won’t dry in the humid jungle.

    On the second day, just wear your walking trousers again if they’re zip-off, or go for shorts straight away if not. It’ll be hot and humid most of the day.

    On the third day, you can wear shorts and a t-shirt for the ziplining and the hike, but keep a raincoat or poncho to hand. Aguas Calientes can be cooler at night, so comfy trousers are handy if you plan to browse the shops and market.

    The last day is tricky, as you’ll leave around 5:30 a.m. when it’s pretty cold, so you’ll want warmer clothes and a sports bra for tackling the climb, but once you’re in Machu Picchu and the sun is up, it gets very hot. You probably won’t need a jumper, as once you start climbing, you’ll warm up quickly enough. We recommend wearing leggings or trousers and one of your already dirty t-shirts, but taking a bag with shorts and a clean t-shirt (and a spare bra, for girls) and changing when you get to the top. If you plan on climbing either Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu when you’re inside, don’t bother changing until after that! You can leave all your other stuff at the hotel in Aguas Calientes to make the climb easier; if you’re in a group, you can share one backpack with food, water, and changes of clothes and take turns carrying it.


    For the first night the accommodation has only cold showers, which you won’t want to spend long in. It’s worth just waiting for the hot springs on the second evening and the hot shower at the Aguas Calientes hotel. You don’t need to take your normal beauty regime or make-up, it’s heavy and unnecessary. Just tie your hair back, stick a hat on and be grateful for your light backpack as you hike along steep Inca trails!

  • Sun cream
  • Insect Repellent – make sure it’s strong and that you have plenty of it.
  • Sachet or small bottle of shampoo
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • One roll of toilet paper (don’t skip this –during your hike you won’t see a toilet with paper in it!)
  • Anti-bac hand gel
  • Small shower gel/bar of soap
  • You can buy shampoo in Aguas Calientes when you arrive and wash your hair in the hotel shower that evening.

  • Extra Items

    • Camera
    • Batteries or charger
    • Sun hat
    • Sunglasses
    • Water bladder or bottled water
    • A few snacks like energy bars (you won’t need too many)
    • Dry sacs or plastic bags to wrap your clean clothes in, in case it rains.
    • Swimwear and a towel – to save space we really recommend a lightweight travel towel like the Pack towel
    • Passport (you need this to enter Machu Picchu so don’t forget it!)
    • Cash (there are no ATMs at all). All your meals are included with the tour, but you’ll want cash for snacks and bottled water
    • All of this should fit into one backpack of 20L-30L, so you can leave your big backpack and all your other luggage in Cusco.

    Let's explore the most fascinating Peruvian high jungle


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