4. From Cusco: 5-Day Alternative Macchu Picchu Adventure Route
Day 1: Arrival in Cusco
Make your way to Cusco at your own pace and enjoy the rest of the day to walk around town and make the last-minute preparations for your trip. Make your own way to your accommodation and attend your mandatory pre-departure briefing that evening. Get a good night’s sleep ready for your adventure to begin.
Day 2: Mountain biking and rafting
Depart from Cusco in the morning and make the journey to Ollantaytambo for breakfast and to pick up some snacks before continuing to the Malaga High Pass. Here, enjoy a 2.5-hour bike ride down through the lush and humid jungle. See Huamanmarca Archaeological site along the way and cruise through fruit plantations and over rivers before arriving in Santa Maria village.
From Santa Maria, enjoy a scenic 2.5-hour rafting adventure through class III and IV rapids on the Urubamba River, or alternatively, spend some time exploring the village on your own. Spend the night at a rustic guesthouse in Santa Maria.
Day 3: Trek to Santa Teresa
After an early breakfast, begin your day of hiking through the jungle. Observe beautiful pristine landscapes, abundant flora and fauna and friendly locals. Stop for lunch halfway during the trek to relax and refuel. In the afternoon, arrive in the village of Santa Teresa where you may choose to recover in a thermal hot spring.
Day 4: Zip-line and trek
Fly through the treetops on a 2-hour morning excursion on South America's highest canopy zip-line. Traverse over 2,500 meters of cables with the longest ride covering 400 meters and the highest at 150 meters.
Afterward, take an easy 3-hour hike along the train tracks from Santa Teresa to a hydroelectric station for lunch. After lunch, continue for another 3 hours to reach Aguas Calientes (most people hike this portion of the trek but there is an optional train ride from the hydroelectric station to Aguas Calientes). In Agua Calientes, pay a visit to one of the many internet cafes, cafes, or shops before retreating to your hotel for the night.
Day 5: Machu Picchu and return to Cuzco
Catch one of the first buses to Machu Picchu to appreciate the city in the early morning light as the mist dissipates. Enjoy a 2-hour walking tour followed by some free time to explore the city on your own. If time allows, visit the local market and shop until the train whistle blows, signaling your return to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you will take a bus back to Cuzco arriving around 8:00 pm.