Chocolate & Coffee Route to Machu Picchu

From Bean to Bliss
From Bean to Bliss
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Build a Custom Tour

Looking for something a little different? At Impactful Travel, we specialize in crafting custom itineraries tailored to your unique travel desires and ethical values.

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  • 3 Days, 2 Nights
  • April through DecemberOn national holidays an additional fee applies
  • Starting pointYour hotel in Cusco or Ollantaytambo
  • Group size: 1 - 8this is a PRIVATE tour
  • Difficulty: mediumSome hiking experience needed
  • BookingsAt least 4 days in advance
  • Price range: $ 460 - 685Single traveler $ 1055
  • Sustainability Score: 58

Our Chocolate & Coffee Route to Machu Picchu is a unique, alternative experience that takes you to Machu Picchu while meeting and staying with remote farmer families along the way. On this three-day adventure, you will trek along a picturesque Inca trail to reach the home of a family who will warmly welcome you and introduce you to the process of producing their distinct organic coffee. Before this, you’ll have the opportunity to visit another family who, in addition to coffee, cultivates cacao and makes chocolate, offering a taste of their diverse agricultural practices.

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 our Coffee Route to Machu Picchu! 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.

Day by Day

Day 1Ollantaytambo - Huayopata - Huacayupana (1.650m)

This morning, starting at 6am, you will be collected from Ollantaytambo and transported to the striking Abra Malaga Pass, situated at 4300 meters above sea level. Our journey continues towards Julia’s house, situated at 1500 meters above sea level, offering a captivating transition through diverse ecosystems and climates. From the lofty plains and glaciers to the verdant upper jungle teeming with banana trees, the scenery is truly mesmerizing. While traveling in private transportation, occasional photo stops are possible, though limited as these are regular taxis that have to do various rides today.

Upon reaching Julia’s house, you will be greeted by either Julia or one of her family members for a leisurely stroll through the lush plantations. Here, you’ll encounter a diverse array of coffee, fruit, and the star of the tour – cocoa. Get hands-on by crafting your own chocolate and indulge in a delightful tasting experience.

After an early lunch you continue by transportation to the a trailhead which leads 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 (if you’re afraid of heights) to Alejandro’s house.

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon around Alejandro’s farm and a delicious dinner.

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

Day 2Huacayupana - Aguas Calientes (2.100m)

After breakfast, at aprox. 8am, you will take the tour on Alejandros coffee farm and learn all about the coffee making process from one of Peru’s best specialists: from harvesting the beans to your own cup of coffee.

After this activitiy (around 11am) it is time to say goodbye to your new friends. It is a short (aprox. 40 minutes) but beautiful walk to the main road from where you will take transportation to the town of Santa Teresa. Here, you can enjoy lunch at a nice restaurant (we recommend Kat Café), however if you´d like to visit the hot springs of Cocalmayo we recommend to have lunch there or at the train station.

For the afternoon you have two optionsplease let us know in advance:

  1. You can either have a short visit at the hot springs of Cocalmayo (about 10 minutes from Santa Teresa) and afterwards take the train from the Hidroelectrica train station to Aguas Calientes. The train leaves at 14:50 (you have to be there 14:20 the latest, your guide will keep track of time).
  2. Alternatively, if you´re up for a bit more trekking, continue on foot from the Hidroelectrica station to Aguas Calientes (approx. 2,5 to 3,5 hours) – a really nice walk, mostly flat which also provides a first glimpse on Machu Picchu from below.

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 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 at 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 the active ones 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 (called time slots).

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

Slide through some images of this trip

Why is this experience Impactful?

The Chocolate & Coffee Route to Machu Picchu 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, making use of local transport and other local services. 

On your way, you will also meet two coffee farmers. With one of them, you will learn about the process of coffee-making and stay at his home. Thus you will generate an additional income for him and his family, and give value to his work. This is a great example of a tour taking you off the beaten path. 

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

  • English-speaking guide for three days
  • Taxi from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Julia's house
  • Chocolate tour and lunch at Julia's house
  • Transportation from Julia's house to the trailhead
  • Activities, dinner, overnight stay and breakfast at Alejandro's house (double room)
  • Transportation from the road below Alejandro's house to Santa Teresa (or directly to Cocalmayo thermal baths)
  • 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 Cuzco
  • Towels

Price Excludes

What to Bring

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Chocolate & Coffee Route to Machu Picchu

I want to book on short notice. Is there anything I should take into account?

If you want to book the Coffee Route to Machu Picchu on short notice (which can even be a few weeks in high season), the best thing to do is to quickly check whether there are still Machu Picchu entrance tickets available on the date(s) you want to be there. Machu Picchu tickets tend to sell out very quickly and this can be a real deception. If there are fewer than 50 tickets available, please go ahead and buy them immediately! We won’t book them for you until we have received your payment, so this saves you a lot of time. Of course, we wil deduct the price of the Machu Picchu entrance tickets from your tour price before you make your payment (if you have informed us on time; otherwise it’ll be a refund for you.)

So go ahead and check if there are still Machu Picchu entrance tickets available and then book your desired Coffee Route to Machu Picchu. If you need help or inspiration, read our blog Get Ready to visit Machu Picchu.


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 the Chocolate & Coffee Route to Machu Picchu?

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 host family?

During this three-day Coffee Route to Machu Picchu, you will stay with one local hostfamily. 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. 


              View of Alejandro’s garden.                  One of the rooms at Alejandro’s homestay.

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 Alejandro’s house.

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

Julia Guerra

Julia is one of the pioneer collaborators of Impactful Travel (formerly known as RESPONSible Travel Peru), 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 Pérez smiling to the camera | RESPONSible Travel Peru


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 family have been receiving hundreds of visitors since then, end everyone comes back talking about their hospitality, their smiles, Enjoy their wonderful food and the beautiful rooms built by hand 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 our Cusco office, Alfran 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. 

The Route