shortest hike to machu picchu
The short Inca trail to Machu Picchu If you are short in time this may be the best hike option for you.
Short Inca trail to Machu Picchu 2 days
2 day Inca Trail With Hotel
Price $ 780 USD 8+pp
Get ready to Explore in the mesmerizing Winayhuayna inca Ruins
Rediscover the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu and Huaynapicchu
Private guide, leading you to the awe-inspiring wonder of Machu Picchu.
Hotel accommodations in Cusco & Sacred Valley, for every budget.
Meet and greet airport service
PRE TREK INFORMATION
How To Get To Cusco City?
Currently, the airport in Cusco serves exclusively domestic flights but is not open 24 hours. As a result, all international travelers arriving by plane must disembark in Lima and proceed to get a domestic flight to Cusco.
Even if your flight to Cusco is scheduled on the same day with the same airline carrier, it is necessary to retrieve your luggage in Lima and check it in again.
The best way to reach Cusco is by air, and luckily there are several options from different airlines. LATAM or START PERU are highly recommended, although they can be a bit pricey in high Season. They offer the most flights and flexibility.
Just keep in mind that delays or cancellations may occur recomendable to bring with you travel insurance. The high altitude of Cusco makes landing a bit challenging, especially in bad weather conditions. If you’re up for an adventure, bus travel is always an option.
Although it can be a long journey, the buses in Peru are well-maintained and quite comfortable. This option is particularly encouraged if you’re coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Arequipa, Puno. If you’re traveling from Lima, be prepared for a 21-hour bus ride. Safe travels!
How To Treat The Elevation In Cusco Peru
Treating altitude sickness in the city of Cusco, Peru, which sits at a high elevation of about 3,400 meters (11,150 feet), requires some precautions and strategies to help your body acclimate to the thin air.
Altitude sickness can range from mild discomfort to severe symptoms, so it’s important to take it seriously.
Here’s how you can treat elevation sickness:
– Gradual Ascent: If possible, try to gradually ascend to higher altitudes over a few days rather than going directly from sea level to Cusco’s altitude.
– Take Breaks: Plan for rest days or shorter activities upon arrival to allow your body to adjust.
– Drink Plenty of Water: Staying well-hydrated helps your body cope with altitude. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption, as they can contribute to dehydration.
– Allow for Rest: Listen to your body and get plenty of sleep during the first few nights at high altitude.
– Eat Lightly: Consume easily digestible foods and avoid heavy, greasy meals that can stress your digestive system.
Diamox (Acetazolamide): This prescription medication can help prevent and alleviate altitude sickness Please consult a doctor before using it and discuss potential side effects Diamox.
6. Supplemental Oxygen:
– In severe cases, supplemental oxygen might be necessary. Some hotels in high-altitude areas offer oxygen tanks for guests.
7. Avoid Alcohol and Smoking:
– Alcohol and smoking can worsen the effects of altitude sickness. It’s best to avoid them while acclimating.
8. Listen to Your Body:
– Pay attention to any symptoms like headache, shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, or dizziness. If symptoms worsen, it’s crucial to descend to a lower altitude.
9. Natural Remedies:
– Some people find relief from altitude sickness by drinking coca tea, a traditional remedy in the Andes. However, it’s important not to overdo it, as excessive consumption could have negative effects.
10. Consult a Doctor:
– If you have a history of heart or lung problems, or if you’re concerned about altitude sickness, consult a doctor before traveling to high altitudes.
Remember that everyone’s body reacts differently to altitude, and there’s no way to completely avoid altitude sickness. It’s essential to be prepared, give your body time to acclimate, and seek medical attention if symptoms become severe.
How Is The Weather In Cusco Peru?
Cusco, Peru, has a temperate and relatively mild climate due to its elevation in the Andes Mountains. The city’s high altitude of around 3,400 meters (11,150 feet) influences its weather patterns. The climate is characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons. Here’s an overview of the weather in Cusco:
1. Dry Season (May to September):
– This is considered the best time to visit Cusco, as it experiences less rainfall and generally clearer skies.
– Daytime temperatures are mild, ranging from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F).
– Nights can be chilly, with temperatures dropping to around 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F).
– It’s the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds, especially around popular attractions like Machu Picchu.
2. Wet Season (October to April):
– The wet season in Cusco coincides with the Southern Hemisphere’s summer and is characterized by more frequent rainfall.
– Daytime temperatures during this period are similar to the dry season, but nights might be slightly warmer.
– Rainfall is heaviest from November to March, with January and February being the rainiest months.
– Rain showers can be intense but are often followed by periods of sunshine.
– This season is considered the low tourist season, so there might be fewer crowds and lower prices on accommodations and tours.
Keep in mind that weather can be unpredictable, even during the dry season, due to the city’s high elevation. It’s a good idea to pack layers, including warm clothing for the nights, as well as waterproof gear for potential rain showers. Additionally, the weather in Cusco can vary based on the specific month and even week, so checking a reliable weather forecast before your trip is recommended.
Bring Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is an absolute must! 🌍✈️ Whether you’re planning trips for months or embarking on adventurous journeys, unexpected events can strike at any moment. Protect your investment and embrace peace of mind with the right insurance. Need assistance? We’re here to connect you with an expert agent who’ll guide you through the process! 🛡️💼
Health Concert Along the Inca Trail
Open communication with your Tour Leader regarding any health conditions or concerns is vital. Although our guides are not medical professionals, they are equipped with first-aid training. Additionally, we collaborate with a clinic in Cusco to provide support to our team when needed.
Please that you assess whether a Tour is suitable for you. Consulting your physician to confirm your fitness for travel and participation in planned activities is recommended. It’s also important to seek your physician’s advice regarding vaccinations and medical precautions. Please note that One Travel Destinations does not provide medical advice. It is your responsibility risks and requirements of each aspect of the Tour based on your unique circumstances, limitations, fitness level, and medical needs.
If you experience severe altitude sickness or any other condition that prevents you from hiking, but you still want to visit Machu Picchu, we will gladly assist you in coordinating a train trip. Please note that since this will be a new itinerary, additional fees may apply. However, we will make every effort to utilize as much of the original plan as possible to keep costs to a minimum.
If you encounter difficulties during your hike and are unable to proceed, a dedicated porter will accompany you to the nearest road. They will wait while a car is arranged to pick you up and transport you to the closest health clinic for assistance.
Comparison Between Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain in terms of time, distance, and location
Machu Picchu Mountain: Price $80.00
– Time: The hike to the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain usually takes about 3 to 4 hours round trip, depending on your pace.
– Distance: The trail is approximately 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) one way, making it a total hike of about 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).
– Location: Machu Picchu Mountain is located to the northwest of the Machu Picchu archaeological site itself. It offers panoramic views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding area.
Huayna Picchu Mountain: Price $80.00
– Time: The hike to the top of Huayna Picchu generally takes around 2 to 3 hours round trip.
– Distance: The trail is shorter but steeper, with a distance of about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) each way, making it a total hike of around 2 kilometers (1.2 miles).
– Location: Huayna Picchu is the iconic mountain that rises directly behind Machu Picchu. It offers breathtaking views of Machu Picchu and the Urubamba River valley.
Both mountains require a separate entrance ticket and have limited daily slots due to conservation efforts and the preservation of the sites. The hikes are considered moderately challenging and involve steep ascents, uneven terrain, and sections with stairs and narrow pathways. It’s important to consider your fitness level and any altitude-related factors before attempting either hike.
Machu Picchu entrance Times and Circuits
As of our last update in September 2023, Machu Picchu has specific entrance time slots to manage the flow of visitors and preserve the site. These times may vary, so it’s important to confirm the current entrance times with our office before your visit. Here’s a general idea of the entrance times:
There are typically two entrance time slots for Machu Picchu:
1. Morning Entrance:
– The morning entrance allows you to enter Machu Picchu early in the day.
– It often starts around 6:00 AM and lasts until around noon.
– This entrance time is popular for visitors who want to experience Machu Picchu in the cooler morning hours and have more time to explore the site.
2. Afternoon Entrance:
– The afternoon entrance is usually from around 12:00 PM to 5:30 PM.
– This time slot is often less crowded than the morning entrance and can be a good option if you prefer a quieter experience.
It’s also important to book your tickets well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your preferred entrance time.
Pre Departure Briefing
We kindly request you to join us at our office or your Hotel for the pre-trek briefing, which takes place at 7:00 PM on the evening before your trek. If you are unable to attend at this time, we would be more than happy to arrange an alternative time that suits you. The briefing session typically lasts between 30 to 45 minutes, during which you will also answer any last questions for the short Inca Trail.
Pick-Up Time For The Inca Trail Trek 2 Days.
ONE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS stands out as one of the few companies that offers hotel pick-up services. If your accommodation is located within Cusco City’s central area, your Tour Guide will arrange the pick-up time during the briefing session. Please note that pick-up times may vary by 30 – 45 minutes due to traffic conditions and previous pickups.
Cusco, a city steeped in history, boasts charming cobblestoned streets and narrow passageways. However, it’s important to note that smaller hotels and Airbnb options are often nestled in car-inaccessible streets, sometimes located on hilly terrains. As a result, hauling luggage could pose a challenge. For a more convenient stay, we highly recommend selecting accommodations with easy accessibility. We have curated a list of comfortable hotels that are easily reachable for both pick-up and drop-off purposes.
Certain treks offer the convenience of pickups in the mesmerizing Sacred Valley, as described in detail below.
The List below outlines potential pickup locations for the start of our tour.
Trek Possible Starting Locations
- Inca Trails Cusco, Urubamba, Yunahuara & Ollantaytambo
- Salkantay Treks – Only Cusco
- Lares Trek – Only Cusco
- Huchuy Qosqo Trek – Only Cusco
- Ausangate and Rainbow Trek – Only Cusco
- Day Tours Cusco, Urubamba & Ollantaytambo
Return To Cusco After Your Hike
Returning From Machu Picchu requires a lot of logistics, and our office staff will take care of each detail.
From Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes, you will take a 25-minute bus down to the village. Buses are first come first serve and run all day.
You will take a train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo or Poroy Train Station. Your tour guide will give you the last details in Aguas Calientes also he will provide yor train tickets. Make sure you get to the Train station 30 minutes ahead of time.
* Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo is 2 hours
* Train from Aguas Calientes to Poroy is 3.5 hours
Once you arrive at the train station, look for a tour transfer wearing our Logo Sign. He will then drive you to San Francisco Square, Cusco
* Van ride from Ollantaytambo to nearby San Francisco Square is 2 hours Aprox.
* Van ride from Poroy to nearby San Francisco Square is 30 minutes
Once you arrive near San Francisco Square, you will separate into separate pre-paid taxis and be driven back to your hotel.
Inca Trail Travel Information
The classic hike along the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an awe-inspiring adventure that ranks among the most breathtaking Destinations in the world! Constructed by the Incas during the 15th century, these paths, known as the Qhapac Nan or Inca Trails, formed an extensive network that played a crucial role in connecting their vast empire, spanning across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
As the capital of the Great Inca Empire, Cusco held outstanding significance. Not only did it serve as the epicenter of all Inca Trails, but it also facilitated connections with various destinations throughout South America, spanning an astonishing distance of over 40,000 kilometers.
Embark on the renowned Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, a captivating journey that commences at Kilometer 82 – Piscacucho Village. Nestled within the Sacred Valley of Cusco, Peru, this trail showcases the allure of the picturesque Ollantaytambo district in the Urubamba Province. Discover the enchanting beauty of this remarkable path renowned worldwide.
The Incas built the Iconic Classic Machu Picchu Inca Trail in the 15th century. It is thought that the same people who built Machu Picchu also built the Inca Trails. The trail was used for trading between Cusco and the area around the Amazon region.
Following the Spanish invasion, this trail remained lost for several years alongside Machu Picchu, until it was rediscovered in 1915 by Hiram Bingham III, an American explorer on his quest for the Lost City of the Incas in Peru. Today, the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu stand as renowned tourist attractions, epitomizing the splendor of Peru destinations.
Weather conditions along the Inca Trail can be highly unpredictable and constantly changing. While there are two distinct seasons, it is crucial to be adequately prepared for all possible weather scenarios when embarking on a hike to magnificent Machu Picchu.
The wet season runs from November to March
The dry season runs from April to October
The temperature during the Machu Picchu Trek varies significantly depending on the altitude and season; temperatures can reach as high as 80°F (27°C) during the day and drop below freezing at night, so hikers must come prepared for hot and cold weather conditions.
Hiking the Machu Picchu Inca Trail can be challenging due to its length and high altitudes; however, its rewards make the experience worthwhile; Its breathtaking scenery will impress anyone while feeling great satisfaction from having accomplished something big!
Inca Trail altitude map
Inca Trail Map One Travel Destinations
Inca Trail permits
For those seeking to embark on the iconic Classic Machu Picchu Trek, securing permits well in advance is crucial. With a daily limit of just 500 permits encompassing porters, chefs, tour guides, and fellow adventurers, planning is essential.
Short Inca Trail length
Stretching approximately 13 km / 8.08 miles through the majestic Andes Mountains, the Inca Trail trek leads from (Km 104) to the enigmatic lost city of Machu Picchu.
When the Inca Trail is fully booked, there are alternative treks to Machu Picchu worth considering.
Below, you’ll find a comprehensive comparison of the top tours, allowing you to make an informed decision. The Inca Trail stands as one of the world’s most sought-after trekking routes, but if availability is limited, these alternatives offer equally rewarding Hiking experiences.
Inca Trail vs. Salkantay Trek
When deciding on a trek to Machu Picchu, two primary options present themselves: the legendary Inca Trail and the awe-inspiring Salkantay Trek. Both routes boast breathtaking landscapes and offer an unforgettable adventure, yet they do exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart.
Embark on the Inca Trail hike, the ultimate choice for an awe-inspiring Machu Picchu trek. Renowned for its popularity, this remarkable journey will guide you through breathtaking landscapes and unfold a passage through history. As you trace the ancient path of the Incas, the Classic Machu Picchu Trek culminates with a magnificent entrance through the Sun Gate, revealing the marvel and awe of Machu Picchu in all its glory.
The Salkantay Trek presents an exceptional alternative to the Inca Trail, offering a less crowded and more affordable experience while immersing you in stunning landscapes. At a staggering height of 6,271 meters (20,549 feet), Mount Salkantay reigns as one of Peru’s tallest peaks, treating adventurers to awe-inspiring vistas from its summit. As an additional bonus, the Salkantay Trek concludes with a visit to Aguas Calientes, where you can relax in a comfortable hotel before embarking on the journey to Machu Picchu.
Inca Trail vs. Lares Trek
For those seeking an exceptional alternative to the Machu Picchu Trek, the renowned Lares Valley Route offers a rich cultural experience with a slightly less rigorous journey compared to the Salkantay and Inca Trail.
Embark on an extraordinary 4-day journey along the legendary Inca Trail, leading you straight to the majestic citadel of Machu Picchu. This iconic trek winds through breathtaking mountains, where secluded campsites become your sanctuary overnight. Finally, you’ll make your way to Machu Picchu through the revered Sun Gate, basking in the rare experience of reaching this awe-inspiring destination purely on foot.
The Lares Trek offers a more compact, four-day alternative that commences in the quaint village of Lares and culminates at the majestic site of Machu Picchu. While it may not boast an abundance of Inca ruins en route, it presents an exceptional option for those seeking solace from bustling crowds and a desire to gain firsthand insights from the locals. To reach Machu Picchu, a train journey and an overnight stay at a hotel in Aguas Calientes are requirements.
Classic Inca Trail vs. Short Inca Trail hike
The iconic Classic Inca Trail is renowned for its 4-day trek, the test of endurance, and immersive experience. However, an alternative option, the Short Inca Trail, offers a shorter yet equally captivating journey. Now, the question arises: which one is the perfect choice for you?
The awe-inspiring Classic Machu Picchu Inca Trail covers a 26-mile (42-kilometer) journey that spans four days. Commencing at Km 82, nestled within the Sacred Valley, the trail culminates at the renowned Machu Picchu.
Along the path, trekkers will be treated to breathtaking vistas of alpine forests, picturesque mountain valleys, and vibrant jungles. Brace yourself for traversing high-altitude passes, gracing the pinnacle of 13,829 feet (4,215 meters) above sea level.
The Short Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu spans (13 km / 8.08 miles) and can be accomplished within a single day. Commencing at Km 104 and culminating at Machu Picchu, this route, although not as diverse in scenery as its lengthier counterpart, still traverses breathtaking landscapes, encompassing captivating cloud forests.
Inca Trail vs. Quarry Trek
For adventurous travelers seeking unique experiences, there lies another awe-inspiring trek known as the Cachicata Trek, also referred to as the Inca Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu. The Cachicata Trek presents an extraordinary, lesser-known route to Machu Picchu, awaiting exploration by only a fortunate few.
Embarking on the Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu is a truly unparalleled adventure, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that captivates the hearts of countless travelers. This epic trek amalgamates thrilling challenges, mesmerizing landscapes, and the richness of history and culture. It culminates in the extraordinary reward of reaching Machu Picchu through exhilarating hiking, offering an unforgettable journey that only the courageous few dare to undertake.
For those seeking a shorter and more manageable trek, the Quarry Trek stands out as an excellent choice. Spanning a mere 20 miles, this trail offers a captivating journey to some of the most breathtaking viewpoints in the Sacred Valley. Notably, it presents a compelling alternative for travelers seeking to avoid the bustling crowds typically found along the Inca Trail.
Inca Trail vs. Choquequirao trek
Embark on an extraordinary adventure through Peru’s untamed terrain, where the Inca Trail and Choquequirao Hike await. These two remarkable treks lead to magnificent ancient citadels, offering breathtaking panoramas of the majestic Andes mountains and the enigmatic Inca ruins. While both journeys hold captivating allure, it is crucial to note their distinctive characteristics.
The Inca Trail is widely favored over the Choquequirao trek due to its popularity. However, the Choquequirao trek, although more challenging, presents a unique and less crowded experience, characterized by authenticity. While the Inca Trail usually takes 4 days to complete, the Choquequirao trek offers a variety of durations ranging from 4 to 10 days, allowing for a more customizable experience.
Inca Trail Marathon
The Inca Trail Marathon stands as one of the world’s most beloved events—an extraordinary race set amidst the breathtaking landscapes of Peru, tracing the iconic Inca Trail to the mystical Machu Picchu. Renowned for its formidable challenges as runners face high altitudes and rugged terrains, this marathon is a test of resilience. Yet, courageous athletes around the globe embrace the hardship, driven by the promise of an unparalleled, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Every year in May or June, the remarkable Inca Trail Marathon takes place. The race commences at KM 82 of the Inca Trail, situated about 2,000 meters above sea level. Runners immerse themselves in a captivating journey through lush jungles, majestic mountains, and awe-inspiring ancient ruins, culminating at the majestic destination of Machu Picchu. With a total distance of approximately 42 kilometers, this race is a true testament to endurance and adventure.
Inca Trail elevation gain
The Short Inca Trail starts at 2,000 meters and ascends to 2,700 meters at the Sun Gate, before descending to
Inca Trail Reservations
If you’re considering embarking on the renowned Classic Machu Picchu Trek, it is crucial to secure a reservation well in advance. This trail is globally celebrated as one of the most sought-after hiking experiences, and obtaining a spot can prove to be quite challenging.
To secure a reservation for the trail, it is imperative to book through an accredited tour company such as TreXperience. When making your reservation, ensure you provide your passport information and select a preferred start date for your hike. Please note that the Inca Trail ceased operation in February.
For optimal chances of securing a spot, it is advisable to make your booking at least six months in advance as availability tends to diminish swiftly. Once your reservation is confirmed, all that remains is to pack for your upcoming adventure!
Inca Trail’s highest point
The Short Inca Trail starts at 2,000 meters and ascends to 2,700 meters at the Sun Gate, before descending to Machu Picchu. The Classic Inca Trail, on the other hand, begins at Km 82 and reaches its highest point at Dead Woman’s Pass which sits at 4,215 meters above sea level.
Inca Trail 2 days
The Inca Trail provides a wonderful opportunity for those with limited time to experience the trail’s beauty. This 2-day journey unveils breathtaking views of the majestic Andes Mountains. Beginning at Km 104, just an hour’s train ride from Ollantaytambo, you’ll embark on a 4-5 hour hike to the remarkable site of Wiñay Wayna. Following a delightful box lunch, continue your trek to the Sun Gate (Initupunku), where your first awe-inspiring view of Machu Picchu awaits.
Inca Trail 5 days
The Inca Trail offers a 5-day slow version, perfect for those seeking to savor the breathtaking scenery at their own pace. This leisurely journey grants ample time to capture mesmerizing photos, immerse in awe-inspiring vistas, and explore ancient ruins. Moreover, this trail variant proves ideal for individuals with varying fitness levels, as it presents a less demanding experience than its shorter counterparts. Secure your spot early as bookings for the Inca Trail fill up rapidly, especially during the peak season from May to September.
The Sun Gate or Intipunku
Sungate, also known as Intipunku, serves as the official entrance to Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail. The vistas from the Sun Gate are truly awe-inspiring, and standing atop Machu Picchu, absorbing it all is an indescribable experience of grandeur and beauty.
Inca Bridge in Machu Picchu
Constructed by the Incas during the 15th century, the Inca Bridge spans a deep gorge with a towering height of approximately 60 meters (200 feet). While its exact purpose remains ambiguous, it is widely speculated that this remarkable structure served as a convenient means for the Incas to traverse the gorge, bypassing the need to descend into the valley below.
The construction of the bridge suggests its primary purpose was defensive, serving to impede enemy access to the citadel. The Inca Bridge located at Machu Picchu stands as a remarkable testament to the ingenuity of engineering, leaving a lasting impression on all who behold its splendor.
Training for Inca Trail
Getting ready for the Machu Picchu Inca Trail can be quite challenging. Here are some helpful suggestions to fully relish this extraordinary trek.
Once’ve confirmed your tour booking, it’s time to kickstart your training and embrace regular hikes. Gradually increase your physical activities and aim for a 30-minute walk or run three to five days a week to enhance your overall health. Remember, robust leg muscles are crucial for navigating Vietnam’s hilly terrain, so incorporate squats, lunges, or venture on mountain hikes from home to prepare for your upcoming adventure.
When planning your excursion to Machu Picchu, allocate ample time to acclimatize to the high altitude of Cusco. The trail guides you to heights of 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), making progressive acclimatization essential to prevent altitude sickness. Prioritize your well-being by acclimating gradually and embracing the breathtaking journey that awaits you.
Inca Trail stairs
The Inca Trail offers a range of routes, each with varying numbers of stairs depending on the path you select. The exact count of trails fluctuates annually due to maintenance and updates, making it difficult to provide an exact number.
However, we can offer valuable insights from previous hikers to give you a better idea of what to expect during your trek. Rest assured, we’ll help you prepare for an unforgettable experience!
A study conducted on hikers who completed the Inca Trail revealed that they took approximately 5,000 to 7,000 steps. On average, it takes around 200 to 300 steps to cover a mile, equivalent to roughly 120 to 190 steps per kilometer. When embarking on the Inca Trail, be prepared to encounter numerous stairs. Rather than feeling discouraged, remember that the invaluable experience gained from this journey will make it all worthwhile.
Inca Trail facts
The Inca Trails form a historic network of pathways and roads, stretching over 4,000 miles across the magnificent Andes Mountains. Among these trails, the renowned Classic Inca Trail gracefully links the charming city of Cusco with the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu.
Over 500 years ago, the Incas constructed the legendary Inca Trail, which still stands as one of the world’s finest hiking trails today. Stretching across 26 miles and spanning four days of awe-inspiring trekking, this remarkable trail is nestled in the majestic Andes Mountains of Peru, at an elevation of 13,000 feet.
The Inca Trail offers a gratifying hiking experience, presenting breathtaking panoramic vistas of majestic mountains, lush valleys, meandering rivers, and awe-inspiring ancient ruins. However, this trail presents numerous challenges for trekkers, including narrow paths with steep ascents and descents, as well as unpredictable weather conditions.
Typically, adventurers invest four days traversing this magnificent trail, although shorter or longer options may also be available.
WHAT TO SEE
The Inca Trail is a world-renowned trekking route in Peru that leads to the ancient city of Machu Picchu. Along this trail, trekkers have the opportunity to explore a variety of archaeological sites, experience diverse flora and fauna, and delve into the historical significance of the region. Here’s an introduction to these aspects of the Inca Trail:
The Inca Trail is dotted with numerous archaeological sites that showcase the advanced engineering and architectural skills of the Inca civilization. Some of the notable sites along the trail include:
Also known as the “checkpoint of the royal Inca trail,” this site marks the beginning of the 2 day Inca Trail and offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains.
2. Wiñay Wayna:
This site includes terraced agricultural areas and well-preserved structures. Its name means “Forever Young,” possibly referring to the surrounding waterfalls.
The Sun Gate serves as the primary entrance to Machu Picchu, offering a mesmerizing view of the first panoramic vista of this awe-inspiring ancient city.
3. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a place of unparalleled uniqueness and abundant opportunities for exploration that we leave to your own discretion.
Flora and Fauna:
The Inca Trail traverses diverse ecosystems, allowing trekkers to witness a range of flora and fauna as they ascend through different altitudes:
1. Highland Vegetation:
The trail starts in grasslands and cloud forests with various types of moss, ferns, and orchids.
2. Montane Forest:
As trekkers climb higher, the landscape transitions to cloud forest, with trees covered in bromeliads and abundant bird species.
3. Páramo Ecosystem:
In higher altitudes, you’ll find the páramo, a unique high-altitude ecosystem characterized by hardy grasses, small shrubs, and cushion plants.
The Inca Trail was a vital route in the Inca Empire’s extensive network of roads. It served as both a pilgrimage route and a means of communication between different parts of the empire. The trail is a testament to the Inca’s engineering prowess, as it includes intricately built stone paths, staircases, and bridges that have withstood centuries.
The significance of the Inca Trail lies not only in its historical importance but also in its role as a gateway to Machu Picchu. The trek offers a profound cultural and spiritual experience, allowing trekkers to connect with the ancient traditions and ways of life of the Andean people.
Keep in mind that trekking the Inca Trail requires careful planning, including obtaining permits, hiring guides, and preparing for the physical demands of the journey. It’s advisable to book with authorized tour operators and adhere to responsible trekking practices to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the area.
WHY YOU SHOULD HIKE WITH ONE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS.
LOCALLY OWNED COMPANY.
Founded by former Inca Trail Tour Guide Cesar Conde, One Travel Destinations is a locally-owned company in Cusco, Peru. It proudly stands as the sole tour operator and agency with deep roots in the region, offering unparalleled expertise and insider knowledge.
With its dedication to utilizing top-of-the-line equipment like REI tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags, One Travel Destinations has established itself as a trailblazer in the industry, driving impactful change.
Embark on a remarkable hike with One Travel Destinations, where indulging in culinary delights is almost guaranteed. Our talented chefs undergo specialized training annually to craft exquisite meals throughout the journey. Prepared with fresh ingredients, our buffet-style food selection includes delectable options spanning breakfast, snacks, and lunches complete with soup, main courses, and hot beverages. To welcome you at each campsite, we’ll treat you to a delightful hot drink during our happy hours. For dinner, be prepared for a culinary journey featuring soup, main courses, and desserts. As an added convenience, we ensure all hikers have access to potable drinking water while on the trails.
At One Travel Destinations, we prioritize the comfort and convenience of our valued clients. That’s why we offer exclusive access to portable ecological toilets at all of our campsites. Rest assured, these facilities are available solely for the private use of our esteemed clientele, ensuring a seamless and eco-friendly experience for everyone involved.
Our hiking services encompass porter assistance, allowing travelers to bring along 7 kg (16 pounds) of personal belongings while on the trail. Our dedicated porters will shoulder the responsibility of carrying all your belongings, ensuring your trek is hassle-free and enjoyable.
HOTEL TO HOTEL SERVICE.
One Travel Destinations provides convenient hotel-to-hotel service for all our travelers. Our comprehensive services start by offering direct pick-up from your Cusco hotel accommodation and conclude with a seamless drop-off in Cusco. Experience seamless and hassle-free transportation throughout your journey with us.
FREE LUGGAGE STORAGE.
At One Travel Destinations, we go the extra mile to provide exceptional service. That’s why we offer complimentary luggage storage for all your extra bags and personal belongings. So, whether you’re exploring the city or catching a flight, you can trust us to keep your belongings safe and secure while you enjoy your journey worry-free. Experience hassle-free travel with One Travel Destinations!
TOP QUALITY SERVICE.
We are the only company that prides itself on consistently receiving excellent reviews on TRIPADVISOR. Our satisfied customers have raved about our exceptional services, describing the unforgettable experiences they’ve had on our tours. With us, you can expect nothing less than a remarkable journey filled with immersive adventures, knowledgeable guides, and delightful discoveries. Join us for a tour that will leave you with cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
Overview of Inca Trail Express Trail Tour to Machu Picchu!
Embark on the incredible Short Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu – A unique chance for those seeking a memorable journey but with limited time. Discover the marvels of this ancient trail in just 2 days, making the most of every moment. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary adventure!
Experience the best of the Classic 4-day Inca Trail, alongside hidden Inca ruins nestled within the lush cloud forest. Arrive at Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) as the afternoon fades, granting you a unique opportunity to behold the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu in serene emptiness.
The 2-day Short Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is ideal for great adventurers, couples, solo, and groups of friends, and families with children. With just one day of hiking followed by a day of exploring the fascinating citadel of Machu Picchu, it offers the perfect blend of adventure and exploration.
Why book with One Travel Destinations
- Places we visit: We visited Chachabamba, Wiñaywayna, Sun Gate (Intipunku), and Machu Picchu, huayna Picchu is Optional.
Enjoy the best view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate (Intipunku).
- Tour Guides: OneTravel Destinations tour guides are professionals fluent in English and experts in Peruvian history, flora, and fauna.
- Hotels: We work with top-rated 3 to 5-star hotels in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo), such as Sumaq INN, Intipunku, and Waman Hotel in case you want to sleep next to Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge Hotel is available; you can upgrade hotels, or you can book your hotel.
Meals: For the first lunch, we provide a box lunch prepared with fresh local products; dinner is served in a local restaurant in Aguas Calientes. Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free options are available.
- Trains: One Travel Destinations is the only company that includes the Panoramic trains during the Short Inca Trail. You will travel to Km 104 on the Expedition train. To return on the second day, you will board the Vistadome panoramic train with comfortable seats and wide windows to enjoy the fantastic landscapes.
We have a 2-day hiking option: The Short Inca Trail with camping
Distance: 16 km / 10 miles
Duration: 2 days 1 night
Depart: From Cusco or the Sacred Valley
Destination: Machu Picchu
Hiking Level: Moderate
Accommodation: 3 to 4-star hotel
Type of Tour: Adventure – Cultural – Hiking
Highlights: Book with Confidence and Flexibility Arrive at Machu Picchu twice at exclusive hours Return on the Panoramic trains (Vistadome or 360°).
Small-group tours for a personalized service Short Inca Trail at a Glance:
Day 1: Cusco — Ollantaytambo — Km 104 — Machu Picchu (16km, 8 hrs) Start in Cusco around 4:00 am and drive to Ollantaytambo to take the first trains to the Short Inca Trail – Km 104. Hike for about 7 hours to Machu Picchu, arriving in the afternoon through the Sun Gate and enjoying Machu Picchu almost empty. Later, take the bus down to Aguas Calientes. Dinner in a local restaurant, and spend the night in a hotel.
Day 2: Machu Picchu (The Lost City of The Incas) (3 hrs) On the last day, you will wake up early. have breakfast at the hotel, and take the first buses to Machu Picchu and explore the citadel on a 3-hour guided tour. After exploring Machu Picchu, you will board the Panoramic Vistadome train to return. Arrive in Cusco around 7.30 pm, back in your hotel.
Day 1: Cusco — Km 104 by Train— Sun Gate - Machu Picchu — Aguas Calientes.
We usually will pick you up from your respective hotel in Cusco around 4:00 a.m. (depending on your hotel location) and drive to the Ollantaytambo train station.
If your hotel is located in the Sacred Valley or Ollantaytambo, the pick-up could be around 5.30 a.m. For all travelers hiking the Short Inca Trail, we recommend staying the day before somewhere closer to the train station in Ollantaytambo; this way, you can save 1.5 hours of travel from Cusco.
If you participate in a tour like Sacred Valley the day before, you can request the drop-off in Ollantaytambo and spend the night in a hotel. One Travel Destinations will pick you up from any location near Ollantaytambo or Cusco.
From Cusco, it’s a 1-hour 30-minute bus drive to the train station in Ollantaytambo, where we will board the first trains and travel along the Urubamba River until we arrive at km 104 – Chachabamba (located in the cloud forest). We will head straight to the checkpoint at Chachabamba to start your Short Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu.
Pro Tip: You will need the original passport to pass the checkpoint and have time to prepare for the hike, use the restrooms, and warm up.
Our first stop is the beautiful Inca site of Chachabamba, where your tour guide will introduce you to Inca history and Machu Picchu. After exploring the beautiful Inca site, we will hike along an ancient Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
The first section of the Short Inca Trail is a gradual uphill hike for 4 hours until we arrive at Wiñaywayna (the place that never gets old); this is one of the most beautiful Inca sites on the Classic Inca Trail. We will take some time to explore this stunning archaeological site while enjoying spectacular views of the Andes.
Lunch: A packed lunch and some drinks will be provided; once fed and energized, we will continue our hike to the Sun Gate (Intipunku) to catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu Citadel – a truly unforgettable sight.
Sun Gate: We will arrive at Sun Gate around 3 to 4 p.m. when the crowds from Machu Picchu have left, allowing you to enjoy this place with few people.
End of the Hike: It’s another one-hour downhill hike from the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu, with breathtaking views. We will arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon and have the unique opportunity to experience the citadel almost empty. This day is the perfect photo opportunity! Then take the bus to Aguas Calientes, have dinner in a local restaurant, and spend the night in a 3-star hotel.
Restaurant: Dinner is served in top-rated restaurants in the town, and your hotel is also located on exclusive sites with a private bathroom, hot showers, WiFi, and beautiful views.
- Highest altitude: 2700m / 8858ft
- Distance: 16km / 10 miles
- Duration: 7 hours
- Meals: Lunch, snacks, and dinner
- Accommodation: Susanna INN (or Similar)
- Difficulty: Moderate
Day 2: Machu Picchu Guided Tour — Return to Cusco
Fig.2 – Dead Woman Pass Most Elevated Point Along the Inca Trail 4200m/13000f.
On our final day of the Short Inca Trail tour, we will get up very early to prepare for the highlight of the trek, visiting Machu Picchu – the Lost City of the Incas. Breakfast will be served in the hotel, and we will board the bus to Machu Picchu. Arriving as the sky brightens, we will visit the city’s incredible views. You can watch the spectacular sunrise over Machu Picchu on a clear day.
Your guide will take you on a 2 to 3-hour comprehensive tour of the city before leaving you in Machu Picchu to explore or climb either Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Montaña (tickets must be booked as far in advance as possible and not Included).
Explore the most remarkable places of Machu Picchu with a private exclusive TreXperience tour guide, visit the temples, palaces, and farming terraces, and learn the history of Machu Picchu.
Optional: After the Machu Picchu tour, you can hike down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes using the Hiram Bingham original trail; on the way, you can visit the Machu Picchu museum, butterfly station and enjoy the fantastic views.
Your tour guide will explain how to take the bus from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included). You will have time to explore the town, choose the restaurant of your preference, and buy souvenirs in the local market; later in the afternoon, you will board the Panoramic trains (Vistadome or 360°) and bus back to Cusco. TreXperience Team will meet you off the train and return you safely to your hotel. The arrival time to Cusco is around 7.30 pm.
Altitude: 2400 m / 7874 ft
Duration: 3-4 hours tour in Machu Picchu
Meals: Breakfast (hotel)
- Passport: Unexpirered validated for 6 month
- Valid, STUDENT CARD (if you booked as a student)
- Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)
Inside Day Pack
When it comes to daypacks for hiking, it is advisable to opt for a smaller size for better convenience. Please note that bags larger than 25L are not permitted inside Machu Picchu. However, there is a secure storage facility available outside the citadel gates where you can safely store your bigger bag.
- Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
- Water storage: Water reservoirs like Camelbaks are encouraged – but enough for at least 2-3 liters.
- Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
- Water: 2 liters is enough.
- Rain gear
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
- Extra Money for Drinks & Tips
Another item for the Shot Inca Trip
- 2 Convertible hiking pants
- 2 wicking t-shirts
- Undergarments. ( girls )
- 2 sets of hiking socks
- 1 Rain jacket
- 1 rain pants
- 1 sun hat
- Bug spray
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Toilet paper
- Personal medication
- First aid kit: band-aids, moleskin, etc.
Your personal travel advisor will build a tailored itinerary. (408) 898 8724
Your personal travel advisor will build a tailored itinerary. (408) 898 8724
In Trip Support
24/7 emergency assistance from English-speaking staff.
MEET OUR TEAM
Founded in 2016, One Travel Destinations offers the finest boutique tour packages. Our travel advisors are trusted by over-satisfied travelers every year.
CESAR is originally from Cusco, currently living in San Jose, CA. With a background in tourism ( TOUR GUIDE ) and business, he has over 15 years of experience in the industry. Cesar has extensive knowledge of Peru and has traveled to Europe, the South Pacific, the Bahamas, Hawaii, and more. He is passionate about research as a Digital Nomad and photographer. Cesar is a dedicated professional in the business field.
R.N San Jose University
Owner of Blissful Travel Escapes
Her first experience of South America was when she traveled through Argentina and then to Peru… but she liked it so much she stayed! She realizes that traveling is always going to be an important part of her life but for the time being.
Price Per Person From:
One Tourist – Price Per Person
*Kindly take note that the prices indicated above are solely valid for the year 2024. The rates may differ based on the scheduled departure dates. We suggest that you reach out to one of our Travel Advisors for a complimentary quotation and additional details. Best Regards One Travel Destinations.
4: am Pick Up time from Cusco Hotels
Pick Up From Airport Cusco City
- Private transport from your Cusco hotel to the start of the tour Ollantaytambo
- Bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Train Machu Picchu – Cusco (Vistadome Train for 5-star and 4-star packages / Expedition Train for 3-star packages)
- Transfer from Cusco train station back to your Cusco hotel
- Professional, knowledgeable bilingual Tour Guide.
Food On The Inca Trail:
- High-quality meals to provide the necessary energy for this challenging trek
- For more information about the trek, please see our Inca Trail FAQs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Inca Trail Trek & Tours FAQs: Usually before booking the Inca Trail, you will have questions, such as the best time to visit Inca Trail Trek and Machu Picchu.