When you hike the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you will see impressive Inca ruins, expansive mountain views, lush subtropical vegetation and extraordinary ecological varieties. The Ancient Inca Road goes through the National Park and takes you through the Sun Gate with unforgettable views of Machu Picchu! We will pass through cloud forests and finally into subtropical vegetation. People hiking the short Inca Trail Trek will have the privilege of seeing the famous Machu Picchu Citadel in the afternoon on the first day and also visiting it the next morning! This trek was designed for those with little travel time who would like to experience a part of the Historic Inca Trail and walk to the New 7 Wonder of the World: Machu Picchu!
Short Inca Trail Trek – TRIP DETAILS!
ITINERARY FOR THE SHORT INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
DAY 1: CUSCO – KM 104 – WIÑAY WAYNA – SUN GATE – MACHU PICCHU
Your Inca Trail Trek Begins!
You will wake up early for your adventure of a lifetime! Your guide will pick you up at your Cusco hotel at 4am. Rest or even sleep a bit more in our comfortable, private transportation on the way to Ollantaytambo. When you arrive at the train station, your guide will give you your lunch to add to your daypack. Your train departs Ollantaytambo at 6:10 and you will have just over an hour on the train to enjoy the scenery and have breakfast (not included). Your hotel can provide you a picnic breakfast to take with you or you can pack your own breakfast.
You get off the train at the famous Km104, where your trek begins! (2,000m/6,560 ft. above sea level). After crossing the Urubamba River on a picturesque foot bridge, you will show your passport at the checkpoint and visit your first Inca site nearby. The first hour and a half are a gentle upward climb. Along the way, you will stop at several outlooks where you have an expansive view of the Urubamba River. You also pass through several microclimates, including cloud forest, so be ready for damp or even rain at any season of the year. The next hour and a half are a slightly steeper uphill with a beautiful waterfall as your reward at the end of the hike!
When you cross the bridge below the waterfall, be sure to take some time for photos and as you do you will find yourself gazing up at the spectacular Wiñay Wayna! (2,600m/8,500ft above sea level) These amazing Inca ruins have a fascinating history and some parts are still hidden by the dense jungle. This close to Machu Picchu, you are hiking through lush sub-tropical jungle. Your guide will tell you all about the ruins, plus the incredible flora and fauna of this microclimate and answer any questions you have before the short 5-minute walk to your lunch spot.
You have lunch at a covered shelter at the Wiñay Wayna campground, which is the last campground for those hiking the Classic Inca Trail. Nearby are outdoor sinks to wash your hands and also restrooms. Take your time enjoying your hearty, gourmet lunch and admiring the tropical flowers around the campground. Be sure to notify us of any food allergies or dietary restrictions when you book!
After lunch, you have a mostly flat walk to the Sun Gate, from which you have your first view of Machu Picchu! Though the hour-long walk is a gentle rolling up and down, it does end with a set of steep stairs carved directly into the bedrock by the Inca. Once you reach the stairs you will know that you’re almost at the Sun Gate! As you turn the corner from the Sun Gate, you will enjoy your first breathtaking view of Machu Picchu. So, take some time to savor the moment and take photos. The last 60 minutes down from the Sun Gate provide many opportunities to take more photos of Machu Picchu from this unique vantage point. There are also a couple more important Inca sites between the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu, so make sure to go slowly, enjoy your time walking in the footsteps of the Inca on the Inca Trail and ask your guide questions about these historical places on the last bit of your hike to Machu Picchu.
Once you reach Machu Picchu, you will have time to take more photos from the viewing platforms above the site (Guard House), where you can take the famous postcard pictures of Machu Picchu. You will arrive in the afternoon, as the archeological area starts to empty of tourists, which gives you the opportunity to take beautiful photos in the afternoon light with fewer people in your shots. Take your time to enjoy this magical experience before you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes to check into your hotel. Your will have a delicious dinner, then have time to walk around this picturesque little town, visit the hot springs or just go to your hotel to rest after such an exciting day.
- Meals included: Box Lunch, dinner in a restaurant in Aguas Calientes
- Distance: 12 kms/7.5 miles
- Time: 6hrs approximately
- 3* Accommodations: Ferre Hotel Machu Picchu or similar
- 4* Accommodation: El Mapi or Tierra Viva Machu Picchu upgrade (superior room)
- Difficulty: moderate
***You can leave an overnight bag at the Ollantaytambo train station to be sent by train directly to Aguas Calientes (Up to 5 kilos per person).
Short Inca Trail 2 day map
DAY 2: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
The Full Machu Picchu Experience!
This is the day you’ve been waiting for! After an early breakfast at your hotel, you’ll take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu so that you can be there to witness the sunrise. It is a truly extraordinary site and not something you’ll want to miss! Your guide will give you a guided tour of Machu Picchu, which takes about two hours. You will see many of the most important parts of Machu Picchu Citadel.
After your tour, those who have booked in advance for the extra hike up Huayna Picchu will have time to enjoy those views on their own. When you have had your fill of the exceptional views of Machu Picchu, you will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included). Depending on your train departure time, you may also have time for some shopping, sightseeing or a visit to the museum or hot springs.
The Expedition train will take you back to Ollantaytambo at 2:55pm or 3:20pm, following the spectacular Urubamba River. Close to Aguas Calientes, the canyon is narrow and the river has many beautiful sections of whitewater. You can also see Wiñay Wayna from the train, if you look up high on the steep canyon wall! Back at Ollantaytambo, your driver will meet you at the exit from the train station to take you back to your hotel in Cusco in our private vehicle. You can expect to arrive at your hotel by 7:00pm.
- Meals included: Breakfast at your hotel
- On the 2 day Inca Trail, we will be doing the circuit #3 and there is no way to do another circuit unless you buy an additional entrance to Machu Picchu.
- You can upgrade to the Vistadome Train for the same times, 2:55pm or 3:20pm, 4:22pm, or 4:43pm. The cost is $67 USD.
- Early trains can be organized by requested and it has to be done by booking time.
- The Huayna Picchu Mountain Hike depends on availability and let us know about it at booking time.
WHAT IS INCLUDED FOR 2 DAY INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU?
WHAT IS INCLUDED?
- Hotel pick up
- Private transportation from your hotel to the train station
- Permits for the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and entrance to Machu Picchu (Circuit #3).
- 3 Bus tickets: from Machu Pichu down to Aguas Calientes, the next morning from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu, and the afternoon return down to Aguas Calientes
- Licensed guide experienced in trekking and fluent in English
- Private guided tour in Machu Picchu
- Expedition Train from Ollantaytambo to KM104 – Ollantaytambo with private van connection to Cusco
- Admission tickets to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu Archaeological site.
- 3* One night accommodation in Aguas Calientes (hot shower, bathroom, private room and breakfast included)
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?
- Huayna Picchu Mountain: $75 USD per person
- First breakfast (Usually served at your hotel) and last lunch at Aguas Calientes
- OPTIONAL UPGRADES: Hotel
- VISTADOME Trains – $67
- Tips for your staff (Sam Travel Peru staff receive a fair payment immediately after they end their trip, tips are optional but greatly appreciated)
**Huayna Picchu is optional treks within Machu Picchu Citadel which does not include a guide. The climb is usually done on your own after your tour of Machu Picchu Citadel. If you would like the extra hike to be guided, please request in advance. There is an extra cost for this extra guided tour.
BEST PRICE FOR THE 2 DAY INCA TRAIL?
The Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is available on almost any day that suits your schedule! We only need a minimum of two people in order to book!
3* Hotel (Included)
|3* Hotel (Others)||4* Hotel|
|Price Per Person||$457 USD||$477 USD||By request||US$557|
- 3*** Hotel: Ferre Hotel Machu Picchu (Included)
- 4****: El Mapi (1st option)or Tierra Viva Hotel (As 2nd option) – They depend on availability!
***** Single supplement USD $40 for 3*** (other 3* upgrades $60 USD) Hotel, US$110 for 4**** hotel like el Mapi or $75 USD for 4**** hotel like Tierra Viva superior room
- Huayna Picchu Mountain Hike: $75 USD per person
- Vistadome Train: $67 USD per person – (RETURN ONLY)
- Hotel single supplement $40 USD per night fpr Ferre´ Hotel (for solo travelers with single room)
- Duffel bag (5 kilos or 11 lbs): sent to your hotel in Aguas Calientes for those staying extra days
**Huayna Picchu is optional treks within Machu Picchu Citadel which do not include a guide. The climb is usually done on your own after your tour of Machu Picchu Citadel. If you would like the extra hike to be guided, please request in advance. There is an extra cost for this extra guided tour.
- 18 to 25 years old: $30 USD Information required on student card: name of university, student name, photo of student, expiration date etc. A copy of the card is required at booking for government approval for discount.
- Under 18 years old: $30 USD Please send us a copy of your passport at the time of booking.
- Under 11 years old: $40USD Please send us a copy of your passport at the time of booking.
*** The 2 day short Inca trail to Machu Picchu is almost always available year round, except when it is closed in February for maintenance — This trek takes you into Machu Picchu by walking through the SUN GATE like in the ancient times, you will explore some amazing Inca ruins along the way like Wiñay Wayna.
CHECK YOUR 2 DAY SHORT INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU TREK AVAILABILITY BY CLICKING ON MONTH OF YOUR CHOICE!
FREE ADDED VALUES
- SMALL GROUPS: average 4 to 6 people, with a maximum of 8 hikers
- AFTERNOON TRAIN: We give you enough time to explore Machu Picchu and have a relaxing lunch at Aguas Calientes. Your train back to Ollantaytambo is at 14:55 or 15:20, and when you arrive in Ollantaytambo you catch your private van to Cusco, arriving in Cusco by 7:00 PM.
- HOTEL AT AGUAS CALIENTES: includes private bathroom, hot shower, buffet breakfast, and wifi etc.
WHY CHOOSE SAM TRAVEL?
SAM Travel Peru is a family owned travel agency and a local tour operator based in Cusco with personal experience over many years of trekking. SAM Travel Peru is a 100% Cusqueñian Company without any shareholders.
Our dream as a locally based company is to create small personalized tours & treks strictly and only operated by local professional staff catering in PERSONALIZED and HIGH QUALITY SERVICE.
We take pride in our reputation as a RESPONSIBLE & SUSTAINABLE tour operator. Our staff are our extended family. We ensure they are supported financially by offering them a fair salary. We are so proud of our team! Without them, we wouldn’t be able to offer the best service and lifetime experiences to our clients.
SAM Travel Peru knows how important it is to trust in a reliable honest operator to create your adventure of a lifetime while in Peru. Check out our reviews and certificates of excellence on, TRIPADVISOR for yourself! Also we are highly recommended on Conde Nast Travelers
To ensure a more personalized service for our guests, at SAM Travel Peru we have a policy that our groups will not exceed 8 people. This fact alone sets us apart from other companies that operate departures with bigger groups.
OUR TOUR GUIDES
We are so proud of our guides! They are highly professional and speak fluent English. They are very knowledgeable and passionate for Inca heritage and history. Our guides are dedicated to continuous personal and professional development. They do research to ensure that you receive accurate and recognized theories in Inca and Andean culture. Our crew is fun loving, great sports and well-educated. They all hold degrees in one of the following: Archeology, Tourism, Botany, History or Anthropology.
OUR SERVICE PROJECTS
At SAM Travel Peru, we have always believed that we should give back to the local isolated communities. Therefore, as part of our commitment to responsible tourism, we always do many service projects and hire locally.
SAM Travel Peru is so proud to be able to support our local people, not only by employing them but also by going back to our grassroots as they share with their families. It makes us happy to have this holistic approach with our highland employees and their families!
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE TREK!
Please read carefully the following information as it will help answer all of your questions about our services and the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu trek below:
Your briefing will take place the night before your trek. It will be held at our office at 6 or 6:30pm, depending on your confirmation email details. The office is located at Calle Garcialzo 210, office 213 second floor, La Abuela shopping center.
CAN I STORE MY LUGGAGE AT YOUR OFFICE?
Of course! During the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, your main luggage can be store at our office or at your hotel, whichever is more convenient for you. Please pack things you will only need during your Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
HOW TO BOOK THE SHORT INCA TRAIL 2 DAYS TO MACHU PICCHU TREK?
Please be ready with the following information (FROM EACH PARTICIPANT in your group). We cannot purchase Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu permits without the following information:
- Personal information (your full name, exactly as on your passport):
- Passport number
- D.OB. (dd / mm / yyyy)
***We need copies of everyone’s passport because they are required when purchasing permits.
SECOND, we require a deposit of $211.00 USD per person, in order, to purchase a permit for the Short Inca Trail. You can make your deposit by clicking on the VISA or PAYPAL symbols on the top of our home page or click on the VISA or PAYPAL symbols on our booking page.
WHAT ABOUT THE BALANCE?
If you would like to avoid the high credit card fees in Peru, you may pay in cash at our office (US dollars or Peruvian soles) here in Cusco. There are many ATMS within the historical center to withdraw money. You can also pay by VISA or PAYPAL online but you will have to pay a 5.5% service fee, charged by VISA and PAYPAL. To pay your balance through PAYPAL, you need to log into your PAYPAL account and use our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW DO I QUALIFY FOR THE STUDENT DISCOUNT?
According to Peruvian Law, you must be under 18 years of age at the time of your trek or tour to Machu Picchu (students 18 & above need student cards). For example: if you book a trek at the age of 17 but you turn 18 before you do your trek, you must have a valid university ID card to qualify for the student discount.
- University students must provide a copy of their ID card showing a photo, University name and card expiration date. Cards must be valid for the current academic year only.
- All students from 11 to 17 years, the discount is $30 USD.
- For children from the age of 2 to 11 the discount is $40 USD.
- Children from the age of 0 to 2 are free.
All students must provide a copy of their passport at the time of their booking to get the student discount. Send us a copy at email@example.com
MAY I CHANGE THE DATE AFTER THE PERMITS HAVE BEEN BOUGHT?
Unfortunately the answer is No. Once the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu permits have been bought the Peruvian government does not allow any changes so we can’t change any dates after the permits have been bought. The Short Inca Trail permits are not transferable nor refundable. If you cancel your Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the deposit is not refundable at all!
DO I NEED MY ORIGINAL PASSPORT ON THE 2 DAY SHORT INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU TREK?
Yes! You have to bring your original passport and it is very important that it is the same passport you sent us to book your Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu permit. Passports will be checked when you enter Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail and board the train. In case, you are renewing your passport, go ahead and send us a copy of your old passport to secure your permits and we can change it when you get your new passport. Please send a copy of your new passport as soon as possible.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?
The weather is very unpredictable and it’s difficult to foresee. We recommend that you plan to always dress in layers to facilitate adjusting to the quickly changing weather conditions.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE THERE PER GROUP?
The maximum group size is of 8 people. Our groups are often between 2-6 people. Sam Travel Peru is specialized in SMALL and PRIVATE groups and provide a personalized service.
ARE WE DROPPED OFF AT OUR HOTEL AFTER THE SHORT INCA TRAIL 2 DAYS TO MACHU PICCHU TREK?
Absolutely!! Hotel pick ups and drop offs are included with all of our packages! If you have booked your hotel in the Sacred Valley, we will drop you off there and vice versa.
HOW MUCH IS THE VISTADOME TRAIN UPGRADE?
The Vistadome train service has nicer seats, panoramic windows and ceiling. You will be offered snacks and a dance show will take place on board. You can upgrade to the Vistadome Train for $67 USD. These trains run from Aguas Calientes to Poroy. We will you up in Poroy and drive you back to Cusco, which takes about 25 minutes. Please request in advance.
If you’re happy with the services provided, a tip – though not compulsory – is appreciated. While it may not be customary in your country, it is of great significance for the staff who will take care of you during the trek. It inspires excellent service and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many SAM Travel Peru destinations. Of course, you are free to tip as much as you would like, depending on your perception of the quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
ARE YOU SUSTAINABLE?
Yes, we are a local, sustainable & responsible tourism operator that incorporates universal principles of tourism: protect the environment and benefit the local communities by respecting their culture and religion. With this in mind, we have trained all our local staff to know and understand, respect the places and the local people.
PACKING LIST FOR THE SHORT INCA TRAIL 2 DAYS TO MACHU PICCHU TREK
The Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu DOES NOT INCLUDE an extra porter. Your duffel bag will be sent by train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas calientes. Please try to pack as light as possible, which is key to enjoying this amazing trek.
In your daypack, or on the first day’s hike you will need:
- Original Passport ( the same you have used for booking your trek)
- Good daypack (25 to 30L)
- Water 1 to 2 liters of water
- Comfortable hiking boots with ankle support
- Polar or sweater for early mornings and evenings
- Rain jacket
- Sun hat
- Insect repellent
- Snacks like chocolate bars, cereal bars or any dry fruit
- Extra money for souvenirs, drinks & tips
- Toilet paper
- Hand sanitizer
In your duffel, you should pack
- A change of clothes for visiting Machu Picchu the next day
- Face moisturizer
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Personal medications
- Battery chargers