Stay Within Local Communities and Experience the Magic of Machu Picchu
The Coffee Route is a unique, alternative experience that takes you to Machu Picchu while meeting and staying with remote coffee farmer families along the way. Travel the spectacular mountain road, from the cold heights down into the upper jungle. Cross rivers with a zip line (optional), and walk Inca trails with steep stairs carved into the sides of high cliffs. Journey through wild landscapes to reach the homes of your host families, who will welcome you and show you how they produce their organic and unique coffee.
Into the Cloud Forest
To reach the start of the bike route, we leave from Cusco (or Ollantaytambo) to the Malaga Pass at a dizzy 4,300 meters above sea level. Here begins the tremendous three-hour descent to the cloud forest at 1,500 meters, watching the landscape changing and feeling the revitalizing, fresh air on your face. Then we will arrive at the farm of Julia and José in Huayopata, where we can have some rest and enjoy a delicious lunch. We will learn about the cultivation of coffee beans and other fruits and the cacao process (the latter only from September – April). We stay with this lovely family for the night.
Specialist Coffee, Remote Regions
The next day, after breakfast, we set off to the starting point of the Inca jungle trail. At this point begins a spectacular 2.5-hour walk, but if you’re afraid of heights, there’s the possibility to take a shorter hike, just over an hour in length. We will arrive at Alejandro’s house just right for lunch. Afterward, we will learn all about the production of organic coffee in this remote part of the Andes from one of Peru’s specialists. His family will wait for us in the evening for dinner. They will share their stories with us – the perfect end to the day’s adventures before spending the night in the simple but always comfortable guest houses of our newly made friends in the middle of nature.
Cocalmayo and Lucmabamba
The third day starts with a 3 to 4-hour hike to Santa Teresa, although it is also possible to go by car part of the way. In Santa Teresa, we will visit the thermal baths of Cocalmayo to refresh the body before continuing. Close by is a zip line (an optional excursion for thrill-seekers!) to have some fun before continuing the trip by car to our next host: Enrique’s, in Lucmabamba. If we are not too tired, he will be happy to give us a tour around his plantation. We will also get to know his wife Teófila, who will surprise you with original coffee creations (this led us to give her the nickname: “Starbucks of the Woods”!). Here we spend the night in his comfortable guest houses, which contain private bathrooms.
Machu Picchu Mountain and Inca Trails
The fourth day continues along the well-preserved Inca Trail that connects with the Salkantay route. You’re given an almost continuous view of Machu Picchu Mountain in the distance until you reach the so-called Hydroelectric station. Here we will have lunch (not included) and we suggest taking the train to Aguas Calientes afterward. The cost for the train is USD 33 p.p. and can only be paid in dollars directly at the train station. You can also choose to walk to Aguas Calientes from here, but do bear in mind it’s another 2.5 to 3 hours of hiking. We then have an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes (a basic hostel, or even better if you decide to stay halfway away from town in the beautiful Mandor gardens!).
To end a spectacular journey, the fifth day does not need much explanation: Machu Picchu! Read our ten best tips to enjoy Machu Picchu here.
It is also possible to do the Coffee Route in fewer days. Contact us if you like more adventure, nature, and community tourism and combine them with Machu Picchu.