Coffee Route to Machu Picchu

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  • 3 Days, 2 Nights
  • Difficulty: medium. Some hiking experience needed.
  • April through December

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. On this three-day version you’ll hike a beautiful Inca trail to reach the house of the family that will welcome you and show you how to produce their organic and unique coffee.

On the third day you’ll be visiting “The Lost City of the Incas”: Machu Picchu is one of the most famous and spectacular sets of ruins in the world.


P.S. We offer several versions of this Coffee Route! If you enjoy hiking, you should definitely consider the sportier four-day version of this route, which adds a beautiful route through the cloud forest passing by Inca ruins with a unique view on Machu Picchu!

Price Includes

  • Taxi from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Santa Maria
  • English-speaking guide for three days
  • Lunch, activities, dinner, overnight stay and breakfast at Alejandro's house (double room)
  • Overnight stay in Aguas Calientes (double room)
  • Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to the entrance of Machu Picchu and back
  • Entrance fee Machu Picchu
  • Private tour through Machu Picchu with your coffee route guide
  • Train Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo
  • Private transfer from the Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco

Price Excludes

  • Taxi (or different public transportation) from Santa Maria to the trailhead, approx. 10 soles p.p. (organized on site by your guide)
  • Snacks to make it through the morning (lunch might be somewhat late)
  • Crossing the river by "cable car" at Cocalmayo (sometimes you have to pay for this: 5 soles p.p.)
  • Entrance to the Cocalmayo hot springs (10 soles p.p; optional)
  • Taxi (or different transportation) to the Hidroelectrica train station: count on approximately 25 soles p.p. (arranged by your guide)
  • Lunch and dinner on day 2 and day 3
  • Overnight stay on day 3

What to Bring

  • To begin with, you can only bring 6kg of luggage per person on this trip, due to restrictions on the train. At least include:
  • Light clothes, hiking shoes, hat and raingear
  • Bug repellent, sun screen and sun glasses
  • Cash and passport
  • Necessary toiletries
  • Reusable water bottle

Why is this experience RESPONSible?

The Coffee Route is a wonderful example of a sustainable trip. Instead of taking the tourist train to Machu Picchu, you are slowly traveling towards the site through its backyard, using the services of the Machu Picchu Coffee farmers, local transport companies and other local services. By hiking the ancient Inca Trails you give an important incentive to maintain these archaeological treasures. Eating seasonal food based on local produce and refilling your water bottle with the family’s water filters will further decrease your impact whilst you make your way largely on foot to Machu Picchu. Well done!

Day by Day

Day 1Cusco or Ollantaytambo - Huacayupana (1.650m)

From Cusco or Ollantaytambo you will be picked up by your guide to take private transportation to Santa María (passing the Malaga pass at 4300 m.a.s.l. along the way), from where you will take other transportation to the trailhead of the path leading to Alejandro’s house. You can choose the most beautiful hike (2 to 2,5 hours with some steep parts) or a shorter hike of about 1 hour and 15 minutes (only if you’re afraid of heights). Upon arrival, Alejandro’s wife Elvira will serve you a delicious lunch!

In the afternoon you will learn all about the coffee making process from one of Peru’s best specialists: from harvesting the beans to your own cup of coffee.

Overnight stay at Alejandro’s nice accommodation. Some rooms share a bathroom with a hot shower; other rooms have this ensuite.

Day 2Huacayupana - Aguas Calientes (2.100m)

After breakfast it is time to say goodbye to your new friends. From Alejandro’s house you will walk to Santa Teresa, around four hours of walking, enjoying a multitude of flowers on the way. If the river level allows for it you can walk the beautiful and adventurous path by the river side. If not (during the rainy season), you will just follow the road or take a taxi for part of the route if you do not wish to walk (as much). On the way, you will also have to cross the river in a kind of cable-car cart: not for people with fear of heights.

Upon arrival to the hot springs of Cocalmayo (10 minutes before Santa Teresa), you can enjoy the three swimming pools or, if you’re lucky, relax in the sun.

For the thrill seekers it is also possible to enjoy a zipline experience! This adventure can take place only 20-25 minutes from Santa Teresa. Please coordinate beforehand with us or your guide.

Lunch is in Santa Teresa or at the train station (not included).

Finally, you will take public transportation to the train station called “Hidroeléctrica”. From there you will continue to Aguas Calientes (on foot approx. 2,5 to 3,5 hours; train is optional and can be decided on site).

In Aguas Calientes you could do a little walk around town and have dinner in one of the many restaurants. You will probably want to go to bed early, to be one of the first to go to the Machu Picchu entrance: the gates open at 06:00am!

Day 3Machu Picchu (2.430m) - Ollantaytambo - Cusco

From Aguas Calientes you will take the bus to Machu Picchu, early in the morning (you can decide the time in advance with your guide). Often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu is one of the most famous and spectacular sets of ruins in the world. It is located 2,430 meters above the Urubamba river. The Incas started building it around AD 1430 as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti, strategically located between deep canyons and impressive mountains called Apus (Gods for the Incas), so it was a well hidden and well protected fortress.

In the morning you will have a tour in Machu Picchu (duration: 2-2,5 hours).

Our tip for active people is to climb the Machu Picchu Mountain after the tour: not the over-visited Huayna Picchu. The Machu Picchu mountain is a little higher (climbing one and a half hours) but offers a nice panoramic view of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu mountain and the underlying Urubamba river. In addition, the path and the nature on the way are beautiful, and because of its limited number of visitors, it feels like an escape from the hustle and bustle of Machu Picchu. Note: you must decide beforehand whether you want to do it or not: it is a different entrance ticket and there are fixed times of entrance (time slots).

The same afternoon, after your visit, you will take the train back to the Sacred Valley and then private transportation back to your hotel in the Sacred Valley or Cusco.

The Route

Your Hosts: Alejandro and Elvira
11Alejandro and Elvira receive you in their lovely lodging along the Coffee Route to Machu Picchu - RESPONSible Travel Peru

Alejandro & Elvira

Ever since Alejandro and Guido visited the Coffee Route families back in 2011, we have a very good relationship with them. Together we have made this route better, more popular and more sustainable. Alejandro and Elvira have been receiving hundreds of visitors since then, end everyone comes back talking about their hospitality, their smiles, Elvira’s wonderful food and the beautiful rooms handbuilt by Alejandro.

Alfrán and Camila, their children, are adults by now but you still might see them when you visit the family’s house on your way to Machu Picchu. After an internship in the RESPONS office, Alfrán is now still working for us as a driver. Wonderful how we can continue to support this hard-working family and keep enjoying their excellent services.

We are sure that you will love and remember your visit to this family just as much as we did, back in 2011.