The Inca Trail treks to Machu Picchu are extremely popular and book out months in advance. Furthermore, they carry a hefty price tag: several hundred (if not thousands of) dollars, which was more than we were willing to pay.
Nonetheless, we didn’t want to miss out on the trekking experience. So, with the power of our internet sleuthing skills combined, we found an alternative option.
We booked a colectivo from Ollantaytambo all the way to Hidroelectrica, a small hydroelectric plant, for $30 USD. From there, it was only a two-hour hike along a set of train tracks to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu.
It may not have been a fancy multi-day trek, but we still got the trekking experience, since the entire hike followed a beautiful, meandering river through the jungle. Small jungle plantations dotted the way, and for the first time in my life, I was able to taste a truly fresh banana right from the tree after purchasing it from a farm stand (it was divine).