SHORT INCA TRAIL 2 DAYS
The 2 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a shorter and less strenuous way to experience the original Inca steps and still finish the trek at Machu Picchu through the Gate of the Sun (Inti Punku).
The Inca Trail 2D/1N hike passes by 2 archaeological sites along the way, has a variety of flora and fauna, and is rich in history. The 2-day hike is 14km/8.7m, climbs to 2,700 m/8,858 ft, and is classified as an easy-moderate hike with minimal altitude gain. If you like the idea of hiking directly to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate, but want a shorter hike, then the 2D/1N Inca Trail is the right one for you.
This trail requires a permit and a limited number of people can hike it per day. These places fill up quickly, so it is essential to book well in advance (at least 3 months recommended). The minimum number of passengers needed for the trekking trip: 2 people (1 person or private or personalized treks possible for an extra charge). Maximum number of walkers per group: 10 people (special, private groups may exceed the maximum).
DAY 1: CUSCO – CHACHABAMBA – AGUAS CALIENTES
Private transport picks you up from your hotel very early (4am) and takes you to the train station in Ollantaytambo. We take the train for about 1 hour and 45 minutes until the beginning of this trek on the Inca Trail, at Km 104 or Chachabamba.
After the train ride, we cross the Urubamba River to get to the checkpoint where we will show you our permits, tickets and original passports (make sure you have the same passport number as when you made your reservation for this trek). Once the tickets are stamped, we will begin our 4-hour climb to the Wiñaywayna (eternally young) archaeological site (2,700 m/8,858 ft) where we will have lunch.
After lunch we will continue for 1 1/2 hours to reach the Sun Gate, the entrance to Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail, and then another 1/2 hour to reach the agricultural area south of the city of Machu Picchu (where the most famous pictures of the site are taken). After our arrival to the city of Machu Picchu we leave the park and take the bus that takes us in 25 minutes to the town of Aguas Calientes (2,040 m/ 6,692 ft).
Once in town, you will be taken to a hotel for the night and can visit the local hot springs if you wish before or after our dinner at a local restaurant.
The trekking distance is approximately 14 km (7 hours walk)
DAY 2: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
Waking up and having breakfast is very early (approx. 4am) so we can take one of the first (5:30am, 25 min drive) buses directly to Machu Picchu (2,400 m/7,875 ft). Once we arrive at Machu Picchu you will show your ticket and passport. If you are a student you must bring your ISIC card with you or you will not be allowed to enter. From the entrance, it is a 15 minute walk to the famous views of the southern farming terraces at the end of the Inca Trail.
Enjoy the sunrise over the site of the ruins and the fascinating tour of Machu Picchu with your guide who will reveal the mysteries of this magical place, explaining the history and flora/fauna. Your guide will spend about 2 and a half hours telling interesting and surprising stories, explaining the temples and special sectors.
Your Machu Picchu tour will end between 9 and 9:30am, after which you will have some free time to take pictures and explore. The new rules for 2019 have divided the entry times into three time slots per day. Our tour includes the first ticket (6-10am), so at 10am you will have to leave the ruins site unless you choose to buy an extra time (or two).
If you wish to do one of the additional hikes inside Machu Picchu (Huayna Picchu or the Machu Picchu mountain) you will have to buy a permit beforehand, as well as an extra time slot at Machu Picchu (these new rules are dictated by the Peruvian government and we regret the inconvenience).
When you finish exploring the ruins site, either at 10am or later if you have booked more time, take one of the many frequent buses down to Aguas Calientes. There are many restaurants to choose from and your guide can also help you suggest a good place to eat. After eating something, you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo, where a private transport will take you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Meals: Breakfast at the hotel, snacks on the tour
Overnight: Not include
- Pre-tour briefing the night before the walk to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
- Pick up from your hotel in the morning or from our starting point Plaza Regocijo (your choice)
- Professional English-speaking guide
- Private transportation to Ollantaytambo
- Tourist train tickets to and from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and back
- Entrance to the Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex (Day 1: last schedule, Day 2: first schedule 6-10am)
- Permission for the Inca Trail
- Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back.
- Guided visit to Machu Picchu
Hotel (double room) in Aguas Calientes and dinner at a local restaurant
- Meals (Day 1: light breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, Day 2: breakfast and snacks)
Dietary needs: able to satisfy any dietary preference/need
- First aid kit including an oxygen tank
- Private transportation from Ollantaytambo to your hotel in Cusco
- Hotel before/after the trip
- Walking sticks (must have an intact rubber bottom)
- Lunch and dinner on the second day
- Additional hikes within Machu Picchu that require a fee (Wayna Picchu and
- Machu Picchu Mountain: 85 USD each) – it is essential to book in advance as they run out soon. The extra hike includes extra time at Machu Picchu.
- The extra time in Machu Picchu (60 USD). To stay all day you would need two extra time slots (Peruvian government regulations)
- Entrance to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes
- Articles of a personal nature/souvenirs
- Travel insurance and medical/evacuation insurance (mandatory)
- The tips for the guides are optional, but they are highly recommended if you enjoy walking.
Prices may vary according to your needs and preferences, contact us through the following options of your preference or send us a reservation to answer your questions. We will be happy to help you with your trip.
What to bring
Everything you need for the day should be stored in your backpack that you carry because all the items you leave with us will not be available while you are walking. It is recommended not to walk in cotton or jeans in case of rain, as cotton takes a long time to dry. It is also recommended to wear hiking boots or trail shoes, as normal shoes do not have much traction, especially when it has rained.
- Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
- Sun hat
- Lip balm
- Hiking shoes/boots with a good grip
- Hiking pants (or shorts) and shirts (capes)
- Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional Peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
- Backpack and rain cover
- Rainwear – rain jacket and pants (optional for the pants), you can buy a cheap poncho before the walk
- Cash for tips from porters (in dollars or Peruvian soles), cooks, riders, guides, purchase of items along the way, for the city, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash must be in perfect condition (broken or damaged bills of any kind are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
- Swimsuit, flip flops, towel for the hot springs you may visit (not all trekking/travelers have this) if you wish to go
- Torch/flashlight/lighthouse (and batteries)
- Insect repellent – essential for this trip
- Extra snacks if desired (beyond the snacks provided by us), for example, if you have a favorite protein bar, since Cusco does not sell items like this.
- First aid kit, including protection against blisters (although your guide will have one, you may want to bring your own)
- Personal medications and toiletries you may want/need
- Camera, extra memory cards, batteries and solar panel/power bank
- Water bottle or water bladder for refilling.
- Passport (must be valid 6 months after the final travel dates for most countries)
- Passport copies (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc.)
- Plug adapter.
- TSA-approved travel locks (or cut them off, U.S. only)
Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information.
- Any medications you are currently taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)
- Small, quick-drying towels and/or composting wipes for quick cleaning at the end of the day
What to Bring: Medications – medications are optional and depend on your specific needs
- Antibiotic for travellers’ diarrhoea or respiratory tract infections
- Antibiotic for a serious bacterial infection
- Medications for stomach upset/indigestion
- Medication for the prevention of altitude sickness (requires a prescription from your doctor and has contraindications for certain people and possible side effects)
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (some people find this helpful in preventing altitude sickness as well. Talk to your doctor for more information)
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Anti-nausea medication for dizziness or altitude sickness, if needed.
- Cold/flu medicine
- General analgesic/fever reducer
- Vaccines – recommend updating all boosters (MMR, tetanus, etc.)
- There are no toilets on the site of the ruins. There are toilets just outside the entrance, the cost is 1 sol per entrance, and they provide some toilet paper. If you leave close to the time your ticket expires, you may not be allowed to re-enter.
- You are allowed to carry a small backpack (less than 20L)
- They no longer allow box lunches to be taken to the site of the ruins. We recommend bringing extra snacks (we also provide snacks) or going down to Aguas Calientes for lunch and back depending on how long you have booked at Machu Picchu
- Plastic water bottles are no longer allowed, so please come prepared with reusable water bladders/water bottles.
- Please do not climb on or disfigure rocks or leave trash or debris of any kind.
- Our recommendation is to add extra time to allow for more time at the ruin site (with or without an extra walk).
For Explorape, the best time or month to visit Cusco is June, around the 24th of June, the main reason is that Cusco is on a holiday, so you can enjoy shows in the streets like: typical dances, folkloric parades, etc. This is without any additional cost.
You also have the option to see Inti Raymi, one of the most important festivities of the Incas.
But, you will see many tourists, and if you don’t like them much, you can visit Cusco in its low season, which is from November to April, although it rains in Cusco at this time, but something that is spectacular is that the mountains are green.
The Short Inca Trail is not as high as others in the region, so the climate is warmer in general. The night in Aguas Calientes is around 55F/13C, and you stay in a hotel. During the day it can be quite hot if the sun is out; anywhere from 60-80F/15-26C. Keep in mind that if the weather is rainy or cloudy, it will be colder. As with any high-altitude hike, you will need to wear many layers to adjust to fluctuating temperatures and adequate protection from sun and rain. And yes, snow is possible (though unlikely) on the Inca Trail.
This Trail is classified as an easy to moderate walk. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco at least 2 days before the trek.
This tour requires 2 types of tickets, one for the short Inca Trail and the other for Machu Picchu, which are already included in this tour.
If you want to visit Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will have to add 15 USD and we recommend you to book it well in advance
The Inca Trail has 500 spaces available daily.
The Inca Trail is closed in February for repair/clean-up.
If you wish to volunteer or donate, we can put you in touch with various communities in Cusco, who need help in various aspects, our main contact is:
Cristo Rey Tikari School: Located in Ocongate distric, close to Ausangate Mountain. They need some basic things like: clothes, toys, books, pens, pencils, brushes, etc.