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The route of goodies to Machu Picchu

The most varied!
The most varied!
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  • 4 Days, 3 NightsStarting point: your hotel in Cusco or Ollantaytambo
  • Difficulty: medium. Some hiking experience needed.
  • April through Decemberand book at least 96h in advance
  • Sustainability Score: 39

Cocoa, tea, coffee, tropical fruits. Are they familiar to you? On this journey you will learn and meet the people who make it possible for you to enjoy them on your table.

The route of the goodies is a slow proposal to get to Machu Picchu.

The first day you will be able to appreciate wonderful landscapes of high jungle forest where live inspiring people like Alcira who has continued with the family tradition of growing and processing high quality tea, Julia who has an orchard where she grows a variety of fruits, coffee and cocoa.

On the second day, 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, we will bathe in turquoise hot springs until we reach the hydroelectric plant where we will walk to Mandor an initiative to protect the ecosystems of the park of Machu Picchu with waterfalls, orchids, and birds.

On the fourth 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 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 of Machu Picchu! If you have fewer days or money to spend, try the Short Coffee Route to Machu Picchu

If you take a closer look, you will also realize that this tour has one of the best Sustainability Scores! You can be proud of yourself if you book this tour. If you want, have a look at all of our tours with a Sustainability Score of 30 or more

Day by Day

Day 1Cusco or Ollantaytambo - Huayopata (1.500m)

You will be picked up by your guide from your hotel in Cusco (around 7:30 am) or Ollantaytambo (around 8:30 am) -if you’re in other areas of the Sacred Valley, please check the FAQs- and driven to the Abra Malaga Pass, at 4300 m.a.s.l. From here we will drive to Alciras’s house, located at 1500 m.a.s.l. Along the way, you will experience the different ecosystems and climates: from the high plains and glaciers to the lush upper jungle and banana trees! Thanks to your private transportation you can sometimes stop for a photo, but not too often: these are regular taxis that have to do various rides today.

Upon arrival at Alcira’s house, you will have some time to freshen up, then we will go with one of her family members to take a walk along the té plantations where we will learn about the different varieties of tea and picking techniques, then we will go to the factory to see the process of making black, white and green tea, we will also have the opportunity to create our blends of teas together with medicinal herbs. Next, we will go to Julia’s house where our lunch will be waiting for us and where we will spend the night.

In the afternoon you will go with Julia or one of her family members to take a walk along the plantations, to learn about all kinds of coffee, fruit, and cocoa they grow here. You will also be able to taste different fruits and make juice! Making your chocolate is also possible: ask Julia if she has some cocoa (depending on the season).

Dinner and overnight stay at Julia’s guestrooms.

Day 2Huayopata - Huacayupana (1.650m)

After a delicious breakfast, it is time to say goodbye to this nice family. Together with the guide, you will take a private taxi to the trailhead via Santa Maria, which leads to Alejandro’s house. Then 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 (if you’re afraid of heights) to Alejandro’s house. 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 3 Huacayupana - Mandor (2100m)

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 will walk on the beautiful and adventurous path by the riverside. 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 a fear of heights.

Upon arrival at 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 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”. After arriving at the train station called Hidroeléctrica, you will have lunch (not included) and then continue on your way* to Mandor where you will have the first views of Machu Picchu.

Mandor is a biodiversity conservation initiative located 4 km from Aguas Calientes (Machupicchu village). Staying in this idyllic place means discovering the biodiversity of Machu Picchu along with beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, and butterflies, while freely walking the trails of the property. tonight, you will stay in beautiful Mandor.

*The hike along the railways is optional and the distance can also be done by train, but we suggest going for the first option since it’s just a 2-hour walk (approx.; flat terrain). We need to know in advance if you want to take the train since you cannot buy tickets at the train station in Hidroeléctrica on the day of its departure. The train ticket can be added throughout the booking process and costs USD 31 p.p.

Day 4Mandor - Machu Picchu (2.430m) - Ollantaytambo - Cusco

Depending on the time of entry to Machu Picchu we will walk from Mandor (approximately 1hr) by the railway to the bus station to take the bus to Machu Picchu (arrange the time in advance with your guide). Also known as “The Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu is spectacularly situated on the Urubamba River at an altitude of 2,430 m (8,840 ft). Around 1430 AD. the Incas built it for the emperor Pachacuti; strategically and well hidden among deep canyons and impressive mountains called the Apus (the mountain gods). Therefore it was a well hidden and completely protected fortress.

In the morning you will have a tour of 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 Cuzco. You will arrive back there between 17.00 and 19.00 pm. 

Important note: only one day-backpack per person is allowed on the train back to the Sacred Valley. Please, pack only what you need for the few days you will spend on your way to Machu Picchu and leave your big luggage in your hotel. Read more about this in our FAQ’s further down. 

Slide through some images of this trip

Why is this experience RESPONSible?

The Route of goodies is a wonderful example of a slow travel and 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 Tea, Cacao, 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!

Read here how the Sustainability Score was elaborated


Price Includes

  • Towels
  • During the first days:
  • Taxi from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Alciras's house and then to Julia's house
  • English-speaking guide for four days
  • Activities,at Alciras's house
  • Lunch, activities, dinner, overnight stay and breakfast at Julia's house (triple room)
  • Lunch, activities, dinner, overnight stay and breakfast at Alejandro's house (double room)
  • Dinner and overnight stay in Mandor (double room)
  • On the last day:
  • 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

What to Bring

Frequently Asked Questions

About the tour itself

Is this tour physically demanding?

Well, yes, a little bit. As mentioned in the Day-to-day description, the first day has quite some steep uphills (Inca stairs) that go on for around two hours. If it is hot, this can be quite strenuous. Fortunately the landscapes make it worth it! 

If you or (part of) your group cannot hike uphill for over two hours, you may take another route (up to one hour hiking uphill) or even pay an additional fee to the driver for a private transfer up to Alejandro’s house. 

By the way, if (one of) you suffer from vertigo, this route might also cause problems. The precipices are quite impressive, you’ll have to cross a suspended bridge and even cross the river on a small ropeway. Of course, your guide is always there to assist. 

What is the highest point during this route?

By car, you’ll pass the Abra Málaga which has an elevation of 4.330m (14,200 ft). When hiking, the altitudes are rather low: between 1.500 and 1.800 meters (5,000 to 6,000 ft). Therefore this hike is perfect for unacclimatized travelers or people with altitude-related health issues. 

What's the accommodation like at the local hostfamilies?

Nowadays, almost every room of our coffee farmers has its own private bathroom ensuite. Here and there, when they have more guests, they might make use of additional rooms where the bathroom is outside, but these are exceptions. 

The coffee farmers have rooms with twin beds, double beds and multiple beds. Usually, there is enough space for double occupation. If there is another small group when you visit, traveling families might have to share a room. You will never have to share a room with strangers nor with your guide. 

The rooms are located next to the farmers’ own house, but not inside them, for more privacy for both. 

One of the rooms at Julia’s homestay.


One of the rooms at Alejandro’s homestay.


At Mandor you will get super comfortable, even if you will be next to the railroad, but the space is ample and the surrounding forest is very pleasant.

One of the rooms inside of a bungalow at Mandor Lodge.

Do the local families speak English?

No, they don’t. However, your guide will be with you all the time to translate whatever the coffee farmers are explaining.  

What kind of weather should we expect during this route?

Most of the coffee route takes place at lower altitudes; the area is also known as the “high jungle”. It’s generally quite hot and humid during the days, but nicely fresh during the nights. It can rain anytime throughout the year but from January to April the chances are very high on much rain. 

Find more info about climates in Peru in our blog “Best Time to Travel to Peru“. 

Is this a private excursion or will I share the experience with other travelers?

In the high season, our Coffee Route is quite popular. We include it in many of our our Custom Itineraries, so you might meet other people. Groups will never be larger than six, unless two larger groups travel together, for example, two families. In the busiest season, there might be a second group (with their own guide) staying in the same family. We will always make sure that your experience with the family remains authentic and intimate, for example by offering meals at different parts of the house or at different times. 

Where can I leave my big luggage during the trek? Especially if I start this tour in a different location than I end it?

First of all: you won’t have to carry your big luggage throughout this whole trek. Actually, on the train that takes you from Aguas Calientes back to Ollantaytambo on the last day, only one backpack (that does not exceed 6 kg or 13 lb) is allowed per person. So, pack only what you need for the few days and take this with you in your backpack. 

What about your big luggage then? Well, it depends.

If you stay in Cusco before this trek and want to end up in Ollantaytambo afterward, we will pick you up in Cusco on the first day, drive past your hotel in Ollantaytambo, where you will be staying after your tour and leave your luggage there. Then, at the end of the tour, we will take you from the train station in Ollantaytambo to the respective hotel, where you will check in and retrieve your luggage. 

If you stay in Ollantaytambo before the tour and in Cusco afterward, just leave the luggage directly in your hotel and, when we come back from the tour, we will pick it up and take it to Cusco for you. 

If you stay in the same location before and after the tour, you will of course just leave your luggage there and retrieve it upon arrival back to the hotel. 

In any case, we will take care of your luggage. Just let us know in which hotels you will be staying before and after the tour and don’t worry about it any longer. 

How to get To Cusco or Ollantaytambo if you're in other areas of the Sacred Valley?

As the pick-ups will be made only in Cusco or Ollantaytambo, we recommend you be already in these two cities, or at least in Urubamba (since it’s close to Ollantaytambo, it will only take you 30 minutes to get there using the local or private transportation). But in case you’re in other areas you will have to manage how to get to the meeting point on time.

  • If you’re in Chinchero we recommend you go to Cusco. The time it takes from here to Cusco is approximate 50 minutes.
  • If you’re in Calca we recommend you go to Ollantaytambo. The time it takes from here to Ollantaytambo is approximate 60 minutes.
  • If you’re in Pisac we recommend you go to Cusco. The time it takes from here to Cusco is approximate 60 minutes.

Keep in mind that in case you take local transportation it may take a little bit longer to get to your destination than if you take a taxi

Is there a source of filtered or boiled water available in the accommodations?

Yes, you will find a source of filtered or purified water available in the accommodations in Mandor, and also in the houses of Julia and Alejandro.

General questions

For questions about booking a tour, prices, preparation for your trip, health and safety or other themes, please check our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you can’t find your question & answer, email us and we’ll add it!

Your Hosts:
The tea route - Cusco

Alcira Cuba

Alcira is our new treasure that takes you to Machu Picchu.

Alcira has a dream and this is that more and more people get to know more and more about her teas.

She is part of a family dedicated to the production of tea for more than 13 years and was the winner of the national award of the entrepreneurial woman of the year in the region of Cusco. Thanks to her work she is activating the local economy by creating added value to her teas and contributing to the communities with a fair payment, technification and positioning the regional brand.


Julia the coffee farmer along the coffee route to Machu Picchu - RESPONSible Travel Peru

Julia & José

Julia is one of the pioneer collaborators of RESPONS, since we started she has received many travelers and it makes us very happy to see how tourism has helped her children to go to college, start their own ice cream business and increase the number of rooms.

Julia produces high quality fruits as well as cocoa and coffee and cooks like a goddess.

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

Alejandro & Elvira

Ever since Alex 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.

Alfran 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, Alfran is now still working for us as a driver, while Camila is studying medicine. 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. 

The Route