Machu Picchu is undoubtedly Peru’s most popular tourist attraction. This incredible archaeological site is one of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World, receiving more than 1.5 million tourists each year. There are different ways to get to Machu Picchu. The most common is to go by train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and then take a bus to the archaeological complex. Another option is to hike there. There are several routes to do it. In this article, we’ll share one of the most authentic ones: the Coffee Route to Machu Picchu.
The Coffee Route to Machu Picchu is not only a path to get to the world-famous tourist attraction. This route is an unforgettable experience that allows tourists to share some days with local communities and learn about their way of life. This route is recommended for anyone who wants to have an authentic and sustainable tourism experience.
The coffee route starts in Ollantaytambo, from where you will be picked to go to Julia’s house. Along the way, you will experience different ecosystems and climates: from the high plains and glaciers to the lush upper jungle and banana trees! Julia will be waiting for you with a fresh lunch made with local products (Julia’s special dish is trout, but she also offers other options).
In the afternoon, Julia or her husband, Jose, will take you to walk along her plantations. Once there, she will explain to you the different crops she grows, such as coffee, cocoa, and several fruits. Depending on the season, you can help her with the harvesting or drying of the coffee or cocoa. If you are lucky, you could also make your own chocolate with Julia’s cocoa and honey. Delicious!
You will spend the night at Julia’s. The next morning you will have breakfast with all her family. Then you will be picked by a private transportation that will take you to the trailhead via Santa Maria, which leads to Alejandro’s house. You can choose between two options: a 2:30 hours hike with breathtaking landscapes, but some steep parts, or a 1:15 hour more tranquil hike. Once in their house, Alejandro and Elvira will share a delicious lunch with you.
In the afternoon, you will learn all about the coffee-making process from one of the experts. You will start by harvesting the coffee beans, and you will finish by drinking one of the best cups of coffee you’ve ever tried!
Alejandro’s house is at a perfect elevation, so you will enjoy the fresh air, perfect for a comfy night at his guest rooms. In the morning, Alejandro will take you to his farm, and you will pick some fresh fruits for a healthy breakfast. Right after, it’s time to say goodbye to your new friends. From Alejandro’s house, you will walk towards Santa Teresa for about four hours. Ten minutes before your arrival, you will get to Colcamayo, where three hot springs will be waiting for you. Swimming and some sunbathing (if weather allows) is the perfect combination to relax after this beautiful but long walk.
Once in Santa Teresa, you can have a well-deserved lunch. Then, you will take a transport to the train station called “Hidroeléctrica.” From there, you can decide if you want to continue walking (2:30 more hours) or take the train to Aguas Calientes (also called Machu Picchu Pueblo). A nice dinner here and a well-rested night is essential for the next day’s adventure: Machu Picchu.
This is a 3 days and 2 nights experience. If you want to include Machu Picchu, you should add one more day to your itinerary.
What to bring?
- Shorts and short sleeve shirts
- Light pants and long sleeve shirts
- Light jacket
- Waterproof jacket
- Hiking shoes and socks
- Mosquito repellent
- Swimming suite
- Photo camera
Note: This is an authentic tour that has been designed with locals and provides them extra incomes while respecting and valuing their daily agricultural activities. This is the perfect way to really get to know the locals from this area of Cusco.