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Short Inca Trail

Not Rated


2 Days

Tour Type

Customized Package

Group Size

16 people


Fixed Date


The Short Inca Trail is a great way to hike to Machu Picchu in a short amount of time.

On day 1, you’ll join the Inca Trail at Km 104 and hike up towards Winay Wayna. Visit these Incredible Inca ruins – the most impressive on the entire Inca Trail! – before continuing on to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). You’ll have your first glimpse of Machu Picchu from here. There is a lot of uphill walking on this trek, over the stone steps first laid by the ancient Inca. Along the way, you’ll enjoy spectacular vistas and a wealth of flora and fauna all along the Short Inca Trail. Bypassing Machu Picchu itself, you will walk or take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, to spend the night in a hotel.

On Day 2, take the bus back up to Machu Picchu to explore this fascinating site. You’ll have a guided tour and possibly time to visit some of the alternative attractions, like the Inca Bridge. You may also want to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. These hikes require an extra permit which must be requested at the time of booking.

Tailor-made suggestions for this itinerary:

* Stopover in the cultural Cusco and stay at some of the beautiful boutique hotels we have to offer.  Ask us about our 3 night Pre and Post Cusco Package which includes a comprehensive Cusco City Tour and more

* Choose from our range of comfort to luxury hotels and cruises to the Galapagos Islands

* Extend your stay in Peru and explore some of its other highlights including Arequipa, the Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca

* Add in a 3 or 4 day trip to an Amazon lodge or upgrade to an Amazon Luxury Cruise.

Our Small Group Short Inca Trail starts only on Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays. If you wish to experience the Short Inca Trail on a private basis and start any day of the week, please contact us. The Short Inca Trail does not operate in February.

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Day 1: Cusco - Km 104 - Wiñay Wayna - Machu Picchu
Day 1:  Cusco - Km 104 - Wiñay Wayna - Machu Picchu

We start early (5:00 am!) as we travel by car from Cusco to the train station. From here, we travel by Vistadome train on a very picturesque route for 2.5h until we reach kilometer 104, the start of the trail for us. Shortly after crossing the bridge over the Vilcanota River we visit the site of Chachabamba (2050m / 6,725 ft), a lovely archaeological site with water channels and fountains.

From here, we will hike upwards for about 8km (approximately 4 hours). The trail is well established, but there are many stairs and the hike is mostly upwards! While this is one of the easiest treks around the Cusco region, you still need to have a reasonable level of fitness to complete it. After our upwards climb, we arrive at the Inca site Wiñay Wayna (‘Forever Young’) (2670m / 8,759 ft) This is an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector, and an urban sector. Many consider this the most impressive site on the whole Inca Trail!

After lunch, we continue for about another hour until we arrive at Inti Punku, the Sun Gate (2730m / 8,956 ft), where you will have your first dramatic view of Machu Picchu (2400m / 7,874 ft). After getting those classic photos, we will walk down the last part of the trail towards the ancient city itself. Before entering Machu Picchu, we will take a side path off the trail to go down to Aguas Calientes, as we will visit Machu Picchu on Day 2. From here, we take the bus down to Aguas Calientes. After checking into our accommodations for the night, we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner and then it’s off to bed, in preparation for the next day’s early start.

Total Distance: 13km
Walking time approximated: 7 hours
Maximum altitude: 2670m (8,759 ft)

Hotel Category:
Comfort: Casa Andina - Standard
Superior: El Mapi - Inkaterra

Meals included: Lunch & Dinner

Day 2: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco
Day 2: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

After an early breakfast at the hotel, we will head for the bus to be on the first trip up to Machu Picchu. Your 4h visit to Machu Picchu can be spent exploring some of the alternative routes, like the Inca Bridge, after which your guide will give you a 2-3h walking tour of the historic citadel.
After our site visit, we take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes. From here, we’ll take a train to Poroy where you’ll be picked up in our private vehicle to return to Cusco.

If you’re feeling adventurous you may wish to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, but take note: this requires an extra permit, and they can sell out well in advance! Be sure to tell us at booking if you would like to add one of these hikes.

Total Distance: 11km (6, 84 miles)
Walking time approximated: 6 - 7 hours
Maximum altitude: 4,200m (13,776 ft.)

Meals included: Breakfast


  • 1 night accommodation in Aguas Calientes.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary.
  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of your Short Inca Trail trek departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the train station
  • Train ticket to Km 104
  • Bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu
  • Train ticket (Vistadome service) from Aguas Calientes to Poroy
  • Private transport from Poroy to Cusco.
  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Inca Trail Permit (includes entry to Machu Picchu)
  • Breakfast on the first morning
  • Sleeping bags (there is no camping)
  • Tips for the guide
  • Flights to/from Cusco
  • Travel Insurance
  • Entry fee to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain
  • Entrance to the hot springs

Handpicked Hotels

The short Inca Trail include a Comfort Hotel as a part of the package. If you would like to upgrade, you can select any Superior or a Luxury hotel option for an extra cost.

Simple, clean, and bursting with character, our Comfort hotels offer superb value without compromising style, location or amenities. Comfort level hotels are closest to North American 3 star standards.

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For an upgraded experience, our Superior hotels feature impressive common areas, spacious rooms. Some hotels of this type include amenities found in higher class hotels, including pools, spas, or terraces. Superior level hotels are closest to North American 4 star standards.

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Our Luxury hotels offer high standards of comfort, style, and service with extensive attention to detail. Almost all feature amenities such as pools, spas, and private terraces. Luxury hotels are closest to North American 5 star standards.

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Tour's Location


How prices are based?
Prices are "from" per person based on twin beds or double share bedroom in a Comfort Hotel Category.
For an upgrade to a Superior Hotel Category, please insert “2” in the Category check box.
Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability.
Rates for solo traveler, triple share or more travellers are available on request - please inquire.
Booking, daily permits and general information
Only a special few actually get to hike the Inca Trail every year. Peru’s permit system means that just 500 people are allowed on the trail every day – approximately 200 visitors and 300 trekking staff. Permits are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and are in very high demand: they can sell out as much as 6 to 8 months in advance! Once spaces have been booked, NO OPERATOR CAN OFFER YOU A SPACE. All spaces are personal and non-transferable, and there is no waiting list, so if someone cancels, their spot cannot be taken by someone new. Also note that the Classic Inca Trail is closed in February for maintenance.
What should I bring?
Hiking boots – very comfortable, worn-in if possible, waterproof.
Luggage: daypack designed for hiking, adjustable hip and shoulder straps. Main luggage should be easy to carry
Wind and rainproof jacket
Fleece pullover (layering lighter garments is better than one heavy fleece).
Thermals – long johns and vest (it gets extremely cold at night)
Hat and gloves (fleece or other)
Sun hat – with visor or brim, sunglasses
Clothing should be comfortable, light and fast drying (jeans not recommended). Cotton hiking, trousers cotton long and short sleeve.
Shirts, hiking shorts, plenty of socks, bandana.
Pair of trainers, sandals or other comfortable shoes.
Water bottle canteen or Nalgene bottle
Headlamp / torch and batteries
Toiletries – including sun block and high factor sun cream, insect repellent, lip balm, biodegradable soap and shampoo.
Blister treatment
Knife (Swiss model)
Medicines (in case you have a special requirement)
Snacks (if you prefer one special)
Departure dates?
The Inca Trail is not open in February.
Minimum participants?
Trekking groups operate with a minimum of 2 walkers.
What's the group size?
Actual group size may vary but is based on 1 lead guide for every 8 trekkers.
Guided tours in Machu Picchu are regulated to 1 guide for every 16 visitors.
If your Inca Trail trekking group is over 16, you will be broken into two separate groups each not exceeding 16 people.
Other notes?
The Inca Trail is not open in February.
A scanned copy of your passport and a non-refundable deposit must be provided upon booking an Inca Trail trek. This is due to government regulations which require complete passport details and full payment of the Machu Picchu entrance fee in order to issue a permit. Your reservation will only be confirmed when we have your entrance ticket in our hands.
If your passport number changes after you book, you must tell us immediately or you may lose your booking. If the name or number on your passport is different from the name or number on your Inca Trail permit, you will not be allowed to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund.
You must carry your original passport with you on the trail.
If you booked a Short Inca Trail tour at a student rate, you must bring your valid student card on the trail with you. If you do not present your student card, you will not be allowed to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund, nor given an opportunity to pay the full rate.
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