Family trip to Machu Picchu

by on 13th February, 2015

Family trip to Machu Picchu

Tullio, our Peru-based representative, shares his family’s recent ‘back door to Machu Picchu’ trip.

Eschewing the traditional Inca Trail, Tullio used 4x4s, bike and feet to make his way to the famous Inca citadel, powered by mangos and hot baths.

All part of the Andean Trails’ service of finding new routes all the time.


Tullio writes:


Day 1

“We left our Cusco hotel around 07.00 and headed for the Sacred Valley.

It’s early January and the fields look nice and green. We pass Ollantaytambo and then follow another road that little by little starts climbing nonstop. Two hours later and we reach the Abra Malaga pass (4,316m), then down to the start point at 3,500m.

After lunch, we got on our bikes, and the whole journey (apart from a couple of stretches) was downhill.

It was so nice to see the geography changing as you were going down; we passed a few villages on the way before arriving in Santa Maria at around 5pm. Here we are at 1,250m so temperatures are nice.

Our hotel is a small basic but nice and clean…including private bathroom.


Day 2

After breakfast we start our walk to Santa Maria.

After 20 minutes we cross the Urubamba river and find the remains of old Santa Maria, town that was badly affected by floodings more 15 years ago. This first part of the walk goes through fields with different kinds of fruits, mangoes being what abound the most. You just have to pick one of the so many that are found under the trees.

We continued onto one section of the Inca Trail network, with beautiful views of the valley below.

After lunch we walk a path by the riverside all the way to thermal baths in Santa Teresa. Nothing better than arriving here after a long day and have a dip in these crystal clear warm waters…not to mention the setting….just beautiful. We catch a combi to to Santa Teresa town, around 15 minutes away, where we have a well deserved dinner and sleep in a comfortable bed.


Urubamba river Machu Picchu Peru

Urubamba river, Machu Picchu, Peru


Day 3

There is no rush today so we were thinking of paying a visit to Colade Mono zip line, but the weather was against us with persistent rain and fog so we decided to go back to the thermal baths.

We were supposed to walk from Santa Teresa to Hidroelectrica (about 2.5 hours) but we cheated and instead we got public transport, which took about 25 minutes. Here we found a small restaurant just by the rail track and had some soup and finished our fruit supplies that we got back in Santa Maria.

We had a bag of about 10 mangos (which cost us US$3) and another bag with about 5 huge avocados (also about US$3). We then started our walk to Aguas Calientes, following the rail track. We saw more than just a few people doing this, both directions; I guess in the dry season there has to be lots of people.

We arrive in Aguas Calientes sometime in the afternoon and after checking in our hotel we go out to explore the town.


Day 4

The day started really bright but by the time we decided to go up to Machu Picchu, the clouds had gathered and of course by the time we arrive in Machu Picchu the rain started….no where to hide really, so ponchos and rain gear were put on.

We follow our guide through the different areas of this big site….still in the rain but an hour later the sky starts to clear and by midday the sun is out there shinning and showing Machu Picchu at its best.

We have some time left and walk up in the direction of the sun gate to get another view of Machu Picchu.


Machu Picchu Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru


By 2pm we start making our way to the bus stop to gown back down to Aguas Calientes and catch our train back to Cusco.

Well, we decided that we would stay in Ollantaytambo and enjoy this town….really pretty.”

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