Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Code CSIT2) - Full Itinerary
DAY ONE: Cusco - Km 104 - Wiñay Wayna - Machu Picchu:
You will be picked up at your hotel around 5.30am (depending on train time) and transferred to the Ollantaytambo train station. We travel by train, on a very picturesque route for 2 and a half hours until we reach kilometer 104 - the start of the trail for us. Shortly after crossing the bridge over the Rio Urubamba we visit the site of Chachabamba which is a lovely ruin with its water channels and fountains. (altitude 2050m)
From here, we will hike upwards for about 8km (approximately 4 hours). The trail is well established, but there are still many stairs and the hike is mostly upwards! While this is one of hte 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') (2680m/8792ft) 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. We will have our boxed lunch at Wiñay Wayna.
We will then continue for about one hour further onto 'Inti Punku' (The 'Sun gate') (2730m/8792ft) from where you will have your first dramatic and impressive view of Machu Picchu (2400m/7873ft). As you are arriving late in the day you may be lucky enough to enjoy the view by yourself! 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. We will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes where you will check into your accommodation, and a celebratory dinner before getting to bed early in preparation for the next day’s early start.
Total distance: 13 km (8,08 miles), Estimated walking time 6-7 hours, altitude gain 600m
DAY TWO: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco
We have breakfast and then take the first bus up to Machu Picchu. A walking tour (approximately 2.5 hours) is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city by yourselves. If you have energy you can also climb Huayna Picchu (2720m/8890ft)!!! (you need to buy a separate entry to do this) From the top of Huayna Piccchu is one of the most spectacular views of Machu Picchu and there is also an opportunity to visit the Temple of the Moon or the Inca Bridge.
We include in your tour a box lunch in Machu Picchu and your bus ticket back down to Aguas Calientes.
The train usually leaves between 2.30pm and 6pm depending on Peru Rail availability. If desired, an extra night in Aguas Calientes can be arranged. This option is very popular as it allows more time to explore Machu Picchu. (but please note if you visit Machu Picchu a second day you need to purchase the ticket again)
N.b. It is no longer possible to stay a night on the Inca Trail for the 2 day, 1 night trek. All people on this tour spend the night in Aguas Calientes, the town nearest Machu Picchu.
IMPORTANT – government regulations will not allow reservations to be made unless accompanied by full passport details of the client and full payment of the entrance fee to the Sanctuary. This is to assist in the 500 people a day rule. Therefore to guarantee your place on the inca trail you must provide a scanned copy of your passport and a non refundable deposit. Your reservation will only be confirmed when we have your entrance ticket in our hands. In case of passport number change this information must be relayed to us or you will lose your booking. Original passport must be carried on trail.
All times noted are approximate.
Itinerary notes - Short Inca Trail - 2 day Inca Trail
- The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group and the guide can change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group. Each guide has their own preferred route and it might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
- This is now an non camping trip, but still requires a degree of fitness and adventurous spirit.
- Considering an extra night in Aguas Calientes? (Please check out linked page) We can change the date of your train ticket to the following day. Hotels costs and costs associated with returning to Machu Picchu the following day are additional to trek costs. Please also note that your entry ticket to Machu Picchu is valid for one day only, if you wish to visit the ruins on a second consecutive day you will need to purchase the ticket again.
Aguas Calientes Upgrade package (optional)
Included in the price of your tour is a very comfortable, 3 star hotel with hot water etc. However, we notice that many people are accustomed to a different standard of accomodation or are looking for a splurge. Our Upgrade Package makes this type of change easy to do. This is an upgrade package for treks that already include a nights stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, but you would like to upgrade the standard of hotel, meals and train service.
We offer three types of Upgrade... the different types refer to the standard of the Hotel. ** For Prices and hotel options, please refer to the Aguas Calientes Upgrades page **
- Comfort Plus
All packages include the same meals and trains.
- Dinner at one of Aguas Calientes “best” restaurants, like Indio Feliz or Tree House restaurant.
- Buffet lunch at Tinkuy Restaurant, located in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. With limited eating choices at Machu Picchu hunger tends to send clients to Aguas Calientes; by including the buffet lunch we find that clients can visit Machu Picchu early, then go to the buffet to try lots of different Peruvian (and Western) dishes, and then rest and go back for a second look at Machu Picchu.
- Return in Vistadome train rather than Expedition train, which gives you the opportunity for a more varied timetable and to return in a nicer train, with big windows in the roof.
For complete facts about many aspects of Apus Peru tours, check out our FAQs page!
- Pre trek briefing
- Collection from your hotel in the morning of trek departure.
- Transport from Cusco to the train station
- Train ticket to Km 104
- Inca Trail Permit
- English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 6 people).
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. (Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes). Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water.
- First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Bus up, down and up again from Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu
- Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
- Celebratory dinner in Aguas Calientes
- Lunch on the last day is included in this itinerary.
- 1 night accommodation in Aguas Calientes in a basic hotel. This will be a nice, clean and safe hostel with breakfast included and private bathroom. If you wish to upgrade from this hotel, please check out the options listed on our Aguas Calientes accommodation page.
What is not included?
- Breakfast on the first morning.
- Dinner on the last night.
- Entrance to the thermal springs
- Entry to Huayna Picchu ($60)
- Tips for the guide, cook and porters
- Extra activities (ie Cola de Mono zipline)
You should bring:
- A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek - prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco .
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended.
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
- Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Insect repellent - minimum recommended 20% DEET - although no malaria risk has been reported
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
- Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
- We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
- Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
- Small towel or sarong
- Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs )
- Cash - sufficient for snacks, tips and souvenirs.
- Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you have one.
- Walking sticks or poles (we can hire these to you. Please note poles with metal tips cannot be carried into Machu Picchu and should be left at your hotel on the final day)
- Binoculars (if you have them)
We can hire the following to you.
- Porter to carry your things ($30 per day)
- Walking stick lightweight aluminum ($2.00 per day, per stick) Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
- Aguas Calientes Upgrade –comfortable 3star hotel, nicer restaurants and Vistadome train upgrade $115 per person
- When calculating costs for hire of walking stick, sleeping bag, calculate using the length of the tour. Even though you won’t use the equipment on the final day it will still be ‘on the road’ and ‘occupied.’
- If you hire equipment and break it – you are responsible for price of replacement /or repair. (please do the right thing!)
AVAILABLE DISCOUNTS (these discounts are not cumulative)
- 5% discount on treks only for members of South American Explorers Club (SAE)
- Students: US$ 30.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card. Please beware that Youth Travel Cards are not valid)
- Teenagers: US$ 20.00 (up to 15 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
- Children: US$ 45.00 (up to 10 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
TO MAKE A BOOKING
Please visit our Make a Booking page.
You will need to email us to check availability, receive booking forms and then make your deposit. For our payment conditions and booking please refer to our Make a Booking page
* For organisational reasons, we require one week to organise your booking, prior to departure.