This review is based on the Inka Jungle Trek booked through Loki Hostels, Cuzco. This alternative trip to Machu Pichu was a great experience that I’d like to share! I have received several questions on this tour over the last couple of year. So I decided to write an “official” Loki Inka Jungle Trek Review 🙂 Hope this helps and that you all will have a great adventure!
Please note: I did this trip in 2011 so things may have changed!
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Living in Peru
In July 2011, I finished my studies in Lima, Peru and departed for Cuzco to see world-famous Machu Picchu. As my funds had largely vanished at that point and I hadn’t booked 3 months in advance, the “official” Inka Trail was out of the question. Slightly dissapointed, I heard (with emphasis on heard – not experienced myself) the following things about the official trail:
Pro’s of the Inka Trek
– the real Inka trail feeling, you see a lot of the original steps
– it’s a lot of hiking
– you arrive at the sun gate, where with a bit of luck you see the sun rise over MP
Con’s of the Inka Trail
– you camp
– it’s only hiking
– it’s expensive ($400 +)
– you have to book far in advance
– there are A LOT of tourists on the trail as it’s always booked out
Sooo, I had to look on! I ended up with Loki Hostels – a large hostel party chain and decided to book my trip with them. The “Inka Jungle Trek” it was! If you’re looking for a great for value trip that also gets you to Machu Pichu, read on!
Loki Inka Jungle Trek Review
We had booked a so-called Inka Jungle-trek to Machu Picchu and this trek really had everything that I could have wished for!! Together with an awesome group of Dutch people, French guys, New-Zealand/Australian people and a bunch of Chilean girls we took off for our first day. This is really a backpackers tour, and has that vibe!!
The night before the trek starts, you’ll have a briefing in your hostel about what to bring and about the itinerary. Good way to meet your group mates and the guide. (+). We stayed in the Loki hostel in Cuzco, which was a very nice place! It’s located in a very central location, the security is good and it was lots of fun! Loki is a typical party chain 🙂 So sometimes the parties may get loud, but the facilities were good!
Early rise! This day started with an uphill drive of a couple of hours to 4200 meters. Then we got on our mountainbikes and flew down the mountain over a partly asphalt/dirt road. It was sooo amazing. The views were stunning and the adrenaline kick was great! The equipment was fairly good, you got a helmet and some additional protection. Doesn’t look that fancy though ;). Bikes were fine, brakes worked.. some people fell a couple of times due to the sand but yeah, that’s part of it. Nowhere near as dangerous as Death Road in Bolivia (again, what I heard) because the roads are quite broad.
When we got down we stayed in a small village, had some cold beers and washed all the dust of our hairs. There was the opportunity to go rafting that day, but we skipped! Early bed time, because a 20 km walk was waiting for the second day.
Again, it was a great day! 2 hours uphill climbing which was really tough, but then some 18km plain which was good fun. I’m not sure if all tours do this, but with the Loki Inka Jungle Trek we ended up at some hotsprings to relax all the sore muscles! That night we stayed at a village a bit bigger and it was time for a party! With our group of 20 people we occupied the whole “discoteca” and drank the cheapest dirtiest sweetest cocktails and had a serious blast!
Next morning it was early rise to go Zip-Lining! Hanging on a cable, zipppppping over a beautiful valley! Definitely one of the most amazing things I did in 8 months, such adrenaline!! You can also skip the ziplining and meet the group again for lunch and hike the rest. After some more hours of walking we arrived at Aguas Calientes, the town where people land to get to Machu Picchu. Aguas Calientes is touristy and fairly ugly, but there is kind of an exiciting vibe from the people waiting to get up to Machu Picchu. Next to joining a tour, there are many ways to get to Aguas Calientes and then to Machu Picchu in a cheap way.
Again, early rise! We woke up at 5am to climb up some 1000 steps to the entrance of Machu Pichu. you can also choose to take bus transport .We arrived completely soaked and then had to get in the cue to get more soaked, it was raining sooooo much! So when we finally got in it was pretty dissapointing, the whole mountain was covered in clouds.. but YEAAAAAAAH at 2pm it finally cleared up and we got the most amazing views over Machu Picchu!
We also climbed Huayna Picchu, but by the time we got up it was still cloudy. The two-hour explanation from guide was quite nice, but we were too frozen to actually enjoy it. Included in the price is the train back to Cuzco where you will arrive pretty late.
Loki Inka Jungle Trek Review – Final word
– do it! It’s an awesome trek and you’ll meet cool people
– Our group loved the variety in the trek. I like hiking, but the mountainbiking, hot springs and ziplining really added value
– It was great to sleep in hostels and not camping in altitude, rain and cold. It’s pretty tough on the body, and there are some hot showers in the hostels which is fabulous 🙂
– don’t underestimate altitude – take a couple of days in Cuzco to acclimatize. If you come from Bolivia it will be a bit easier.
– don’t expect too much from the hostels. They are fine, but that’s it 🙂
– go ziplining! so awesome 😀
– Bring your ISIC card – it’s already worth buying it if you only use it for this trip. It will save you 20$.
– We paid 140$ per person at the time (July 2011)
FYI: we booked about 2 weeks in advance and were asked to transfer 100USD per person to the travel agent. I would NEVER do this in South-America, but as Loki is a well recognized hostel chain we took a chance and it all worked out. We decided to book in advance because we had a very tight schedule. In general, booking is not necessary in Peru or other countries in South-America.
I hope this Loki Inka Jungle Trek review will help you in deciding what trip to take. As a general message, don’t stress too much about it 🙂 If you are open minded and up for an adventure, any trip will make you happy!