Welcome Gap Year Students!
We're excited to play a role in your Gap Year Adventures. Machu Picchu is a fifteenth century Inca city with spectacular, beautiful, and breath-taking scenery, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
We have several different options to reach Machu Picchu to fit your travel schedule and budget, including a program specially designed for Gap Year students outlined below.
For other trips to Machu Picchu please click HERE
gap year special - Inca Jungle Trail to machu picchu
The Inca Jungle Tour is a trek that combines adventure sports such as mountain biking, rafting & zip-lining with hiking & culture over a 4-day route, ending at Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu.
As a locally owned tour operator in Cusco we offer specialized service, with exclusive routes, qualified guides (fluent in English, and with vast local knowledge), high quality downhill mountain bikes, and the safest options for rafting and zip-lining.
We recommend that our clients reserve their tour several months in advance to confirm ticket/permit availability for all their activities.
Day 1: Pick up in Cusco. Mountain Biking & River Rafting
Day 2: Trekking on the Inca Trail & Natural Mountain Hot Springs
Day 3: Zip Line in the Jungle & More Trekking on the Inca Trail
Day 4: Machu Picchu! Drop off in Cusco.
- In-country transportation
- Permits & tickets
- Food & water
- Professional tour guides (does not include tips for guide)
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Incredible experience!
What's not Included:
- Hotel upgrade to 3-star hotel (if wanted)
- Tickets to climb Huyana Picchu (£60)
Day 1: Biking & Rafting
- Meals: Lunch & Dinner
- Accommodation: Local Hostel
- Min. Altitude: 1,200m
- Max Altitude: 4,316m
- Distance traveled: 21km
The Inca Jungle tour starts with an early morning pick-up in Cusco, between 5:30 - 6:00am from your hotel or a central location for those staying outside the Historic Centre. We will travel in a private bus into the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Urubamba Valley) to the town of Ollantaytambo (arrival around 8:30 am). Here we will make a short stop where you can buy breakfast and any last-minute purchases such as ponchos, snacks, repellents, etc. We’ll then continue by bus for the next hour and a half to the highest point of the tour – the mountain pass Abra Malaga (4,330m above sea level).
In Abra Malaga we’ll commence the first part of our adventure – the biking tour!
We provide all necessary equipment for the ride - helmet, vest, knee pads & high quality bikes needed for the descent. Once you are kitted up, we’ll take an incredible bike ride that lasts approximately 2.5 and descends through the lower jungle to the town of Huamanmarca.
On the way we will pass through canyons, ghost towns, orchards, and mountain streams. The climate will change from snow-capped mountains to the warm, humid jungle, full of fruit trees and varied fauna and flora. Our private van will follow us with our luggage and offers support in case of emergency. We will arrive in Huamanmarca around 1.30pm where, after a change of clothes and a brief rest, we will have a delicious buffet lunch in a local restaurant, enjoying typical local cusine.
After lunch we’ll catch a bus to the town of Santa Maria, where we begin a new adventure, river rafting! This trip will be taken to a rafting camp near the Urubamba river, where they will receive detailed instructions for the activity and the safety equipment, including helmets and life jackets. In the raft you will accompanied by a guide, and a rescue boat will follow to supervise the adventure.
Depending on the season the river is between class III and III+ (medium risk) with exciting speed and some turbulence, but all controlled and supervised by experienced guides, certified in extreme sports, who have excellent knowledge of the geography, climate and local environment.
*During the wet season (January to March), there is a chance [depending on rain fall amounts] that the river will rise to higher levels and the rapids will turn into dangerous class IV or higher. In this event, for safety reasons, we will have to cancel the rafting and refund your payment*
After the rafting adventure, we’ll finish the afternoon at the hostel where we will enjoy an amazing dinner and spend our first night surrounded by lush forest vegetation, accompanied by an orchestra of jungle sounds.
Day 2: Hiking on the Inca Trail to Natural Hot Springs
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
- Accommodation: Local Hostel
- Min. Altitude: 1,280m
- Max Altitude: 1,700m
- Distance traveled: 12km
Our second day begins at 7:00 am with a delicious local breakfast and a nice cup of homegrown, homemade coffee in the middle of the jungle. We’ll be hiking today, starting around 8:00 am, after approximately 30-40 minutes we join the original Inca Trail! Along the way you will witness the diverse flora and fauna of one of the richest biodiversity areas in the world. Fruit trees such as pineapple, papaya & banana grow all around us, and different species of birds flutter around.
After around 2.5 hours of walking, we’ll arrive in Quellomayo village, where we will have lunch and take a rest in hammocks. After the break we continue trekking for around 3 hours, crossing farms, waterfalls and rivers (including one we cross in a cable car!). At around 4 pm we arrive at Cocalmayo - better known as the hot springs of Santa Teresa, where we will have the opportunity to take a relaxing, warm bath. Cocalmayo offers several relaxing hot springs, each with its own temperature.
After the break at the hot springs we continue walking for about 40 minutes until we reach the town of Santa Teresa where we will stay for a night. (There are taxis available for this last stretch if you prefer, price not included). After dinner you will have free time to explore the town, or just relax and take a nap. Santa Teresa offers a variety of local pubs and discotheques where you can enjoy the nightlife, taste typical Peruvian beverages and meet the locals.
Day 3: Zip Lining in Jungle & More Inca Trail
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
- Accommodation: Local Hostel
- Min. Altitude: 1,600m
- Max Altitude: 2,040m
- Distance traveled: 16km
Today we have breakfast again at 7am. After breakfast we continue exploring the routes followed by the first explorers who discovered Machu Picchu and other important archaeological sites. In Santa Teresa we will be taken to our zip line activity where they will spend around two hours zipping across the valley, enjoying spectacular scenery as they fly by. After the activity they will be taken by bus to the area known as ‘the hydroelectric’, where we will enjoy lunch.
After a break we continue walking along the railway, enjoying beautiful waterfalls, coca and coffee farms and much more. After 3 hours of walking we’ll arrive in Aguas Calientes, also called Machu Picchu Pueblo, around 4 pm. Here, in a hostel with hot water and wi-fi, we spend the third and final night.
In the evening we all meet together for dinner in a local restaurant, followed by a briefing about the fourth day -- Machu Picchu! You will also have time to explore the town on your own. In Aguas Calientes there are more hot springs, so if you would like to rest in the warm water, you will have opportunity to visit them (additional cost - £5).
Day 4: Full Day of Machu Picchu
- Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
- Accommodation: Hotel in Cusco (Not Included)
- Min. Altitude: 2,040m
- Max Altitude: 2,450m
- Distance traveled: 1.5km
- Optional Activity: Huyana Picchu - £60
The last day of the Inca Jungle tour will start around 4:00am to make sure we arrive early to Machu Picchu, and have more time for exploration. First, we will hike through the high forest, climbing ~1,500 stairs, to reach the gates of Machu Picchu at 6am. After entering the complex our tour guide will lead you, for about 1.5 hours, through the spectacular ruins of the ancient Inca city. After the guided tour you will also have plenty of time to explore Machu Picchu on your own.
After a life-changing visit to Machu Picchu we’ll take the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, where we will be picked up and transferred back to Cusco by bus. The journey ends in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. Please note that you will be descending by yourself from Machu Picchu to the train station in Aguas Calientes, because some people will want to stay longer in the ruins, some shorter, and some will climb additional mountains, so will have a train at a different time.
Important!!! Remember that you have to be at the train station in Aguas Calientes at least 30 minutes before departure of your train. The standard departure time for the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo is at 9:50pm, unless you booked another option. Remember to leave Machu Picchu with enough time to get there 30 minutes before this time. Usually it takes around 2 hours to come back on foot from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes, but it depends on the person and their physical condition and may take longer. We will not be responsible if someone misses their train.
For travelers that booked the hike up Huayna Picchu or Alternative Mountain (Montana Vieja), these hikes will be start after the guided tour of Machu Picchu. Note that it will take around 45 minutes to reach the top of Huayna Picchu. The path is very steep and narrow, but worth the extra effort, as the view from the top is absolutely breath-taking. Climbing Alternative Mountain will take about 2 hours, but the route is not as steep as Huayna Picchu, although this mountain is higher.
After touring Machu Picchu, we'll catch a 10-minute bus back to Aguas Calientes, where we'll board a train to Cusco where you'll be picked up from the station by Kusa Treks and taken by to your hotel.