Short Inca Trail Tours 2D

(5 Reviews)
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Duration: 2 Days / 1 Night
Availability : Every Day.
Depart: Km 104
Destinaton: Machu Picchu
Min Age : 8
Max People : 12

About the Short Inca Trail

The Short Inca Trail is a great way to hike to Machu Picchu in a short amount of time. Get a taste of the Classic Inca Trail, visit Wiñay Wayna and walk through Inti Punku, the Sun Gate, into Machu Picchu. Day 2 of this itinerary gives you a chance to fully explore the impressive Machu Picchu citadel.

See Full Description

The Short Inca Trail is a 2 day Inca Trail trek. 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.

Did you know? More Info about hiking the Inca Trail

Only a special few actually get to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 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 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 Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is closed in February for maintenance.

We treat our staff right

The Inca Trail is notorious for the mistreatment of porters and other trail staff who are asked to carry more than government regulation allow. At Apus Peru, we do things differently, going above and beyond these minimums. Read more about how we take care of all our staff, including porters and horsemen.

Short Inca Trail Trek Highlights

  • A great way to hike the Inca Trail if you're short on time. Includes one day of hiking and one day visiting Machu Picchu.
  • Visit the ruins of Winay Wayna and hike through the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu
  • Unlike the 4 day Inca Trail, permits for the Short Inca Trail rarely sell out.
Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. Apus Peru exclusively operates private groups, except by special request. Hiking the Inca Trail as a private group allows us to offer you a highly personalized experience, with more one-on-one time with your guide and a more tailored, off-the-beaten-path experience on the trail. We do not have fixed-date group departures. If you do not want to book a private trek, please see our Trekkers Wanted page for a list of open departures within your dates.

2 people


4-6 people


7-8 people


9-12 people


High quality personalized experience

Unique, off-the-beaten track routes

Experienced staff

Verified sustainability practices

$20 of every trek donated to Threads of Peru

Important Details About the Short Inca Trail

What is Included?


  • 1 night accommodation in Aguas Calientes in a Standard Hotel. This will be a nice, clean and safe hotel with breakfast included and private bathroom. You can also upgrade to a higher quality hotel.


  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary.
  • Lunch on the last day.


  • 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 (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.

Trekking Team

  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8


  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle

Additional inclusions

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Inca Trail Permit (includes entry to Machu Picchu)

What is Not Included?


  • Breakfast on the first morning
  • Dinner on the last night


  • 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

Optional Extras & Upgrades

We offer you the opportunity to personalize your trek and make your experience more comfortable through our Optional Extras and Upgrades. All options are available during the reservation process; please ask your sales consultant for more information.

Equipment Available for Rent

  • Porter to carry your own things
  • Light-weight aluminum walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.

Service Upgrades

  • Aguas Calientes Hotel Upgrade
  • If you’d like more flexibility in your return travel to Cusco, consider upgrading to the Vistadome train (Executive Class) for an extra $35 per person.
    This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.

Optional Activities


  • When calculating the cost of renting equipment, calculate using the length of the entire trip, not just the number of trekking days.
  • Please be careful with rented equipment! You are responsible for the cost of replacement if something is damaged or broken.
  • Any upgrades or trip extensions must be requested at time of booking.

What to Pack

We recommend that you bring the following items with you:

  • A fleece or down jacket is an essential item at this elevation;
  • Hiking trousers with zip off shorts are a good idea, as day time temperatures can be quite warm, yet temperatures plummet as soon as the sun goes down. You can supplement these with leggings or thermals to wear underneath;
  • A rain poncho or waterproof jacket is also important. It can rain or even snow at certain times of the year!;
  • Water-resistant trekking boots are advisable. The trail on this hike can sometimes be muddy and wet, so we also recommend to bring extra socks!;
  • A warm sleeping bag, rated to -15°C (5°F). If you prefer, you can rent one from us;
  • A headlamp or torch;
  • A high factor (SPF) sunscreen, a sun cap and sunglasses. The sun can be really strong, especially in dry season. Sun protection is essential!;
  • A small daypack to carry your necessary items for each day’s hiking.

For our full packing list for treks in the Andes, see What to Pack for the Inca Trail.

Our blog How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru will also give you some great tips for how to get ready for your trek, before you even leave home.

Available Discounts

  • Students: USD $30 off, in certain circumstances. Please enquire for details about eligibility.
  • Youth 12-17: 5% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 5-11 years: 15% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 0-4 years: 75% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group, but will be charged 25% of the per person price based on final group size. For example, a group of 4 adults and one child under 4: adults will be charged the full price per person based on a group size of 4 and the child will be charged 25% of the per person price for a group of 4. Children under 3 will not be considered to occupy a seat on any train or bus, and instead must ride on a parent’s lap. Car seats, cribs and other baby needs may not be included and must be discussed in advance. For more information about travelling with infants and toddlers, please see this blog as well as the Age Requirements section of our Booking Conditions.
  • 5% off a day tour listed price when you also book a 3-day or longer trek operated by Apus Peru

Guides & Safety on the Trail

Our whole trekking team is native to the Lares region and know the Inca Trail like the back of their hand! They are some of the warmest, endearing and wonderful people you are ever likely to meet.

Our guides are all licensed and receive regular training. They share their experience, professionalism, knowledge and enthusiasm with our passengers on every trek.

Get to know our team!

Trekkers Wanted

Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone! Visit the link to read more about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!

Note: Trekkers Wanted for the Inca Trail ONLY available while permits last for your departure date.

Important Info

General Information about Hiking with Apus Peru

  • Each guide has their own preferred route and so the route you trek might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
  • The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group, and the guide may change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group.
  • This is a non-camping trip, but still requires a degree of fitness and an adventurous spirit.

Booking Your Short Inca Trail Tour 2 Days

  • 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.

Extras & Upgrades on the Short Inca Trail Tour

  • If you’d like to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain , let us know at the time of booking as it requires a separate permit.
  • This trek includes transportation by train from Km 104 to Aguas Calientes and from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on the Expedition service (Tourist Class), followed by private ground transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco. If you’d like more flexibility in your return travel to Cusco, consider upgrading to the Vistadome train service (Executive Class) for an extra $35 per person. This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.

Read to Book?

Does this trek sound like just what you were looking for? If you’re ready to book or just want to find out a bit more information, fill out the Inquiry Form in the top right-hand corner of this page to get the ball rolling. You’ll be connected with one of our amazing sales people who will be able to turn your dream of hiking in the Andes into a reality. For more information on the entire booking process, please see our How To Book page.


Travel insurance is a must! World Nomads offers travel insurance for adventure activities.

2 Day Inca Trail Itinerary

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

      • Total Walking Distance: 13 km
      • Total Walking Time: 7 h
      • Minimum Altitude: 2400m (7,874 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 2670m (8,759 ft)

We start early (5:00 am!) as we travel by car from Cusco to the Ollantaytambo train station. From here, we travel by 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.

Day 2Aguas 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. During your visit to Machu Picchu, your guide will give you a 2-3h walking tour of the historic citadel.

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. For more tips on what to see, check out our Visiting Machu Picchu page.

Want more time to explore? Consider our Extra Day Upgrades.

After our site visit, we take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes. From here, we’ll take a train to Ollantaytambo where you’ll be picked up in our private vehicle to return to Cusco.

5 Reviews
Sort By:RatingDate

Jeff and Jen K.

Family Traveller

The hike to Machu Picchu was amazing. [Our guide] Erick was fabulous and very attentive to our baby which made us feel extra taken care of.

5 December, 2022

Rita B. from US

Family Traveller

The short inca trail was very educational with beautiful scenery and vegetation, and the physical was moderate (very doable). We particularly loved learning about inca history, traditions, architecture and agricultural expertise from our guide; it was very edifying and inspiring.

30 September, 2018

Amory M. from US

Family Traveller

Our family of 10, ages 8-75, took the KM 104 Inka Trail two day hike and it was absolutely perfect. We boarded the train in Ollantaytambo and got off the train about 1 hr before reaching Machu Picchu. We then hiked the last leg of the Inka Trail through the high jungle and arrived at Machu Picchu by 3 pm. We had a wonderful hike and arrived through the Sun Gate seeing Machu Picchu as the Inka’s did. We spent that night in Aguas Calientes and then spent the next day exploring the ruins. We each packed a little overnight pack for that night then returned to Ollantaytambo where we’d left our bags the next Eve. We then continued our tour of the Sacred Valley. Apus Peru made sure everything went smoothly.

2 September, 2018

Juli K. from US

Couple Traveller

It was a beautiful, challenging hike, loved hiking to the Sun Gate. Our guide was knowledgeable, prompt, considerate and flexible.

1 September, 2018

Andrew C. from US

Family Traveller

We knew we wanted go to Machu Picchu but we weren’t sure how to get there — with my wife, me and our two teenaged children. Apus Peru was the perfect guide. They made all of the arrangements, provided a friendly, well-informed guide and gave us the experience of a lifetime.

I highly recommend Apus Peru. They were great about staying in communication before our trip. They helped us select a trek that was appropriate for our family. We wanted to do some hiking but we felt the 4D trek might be too much.

Our guide was extremely well-informed about the region. He grew up in Cusco and talked about first visiting Machu Picchu as a toddler. He gave us great insights about the site. During the trek, he allowed us to walk at our own pace and informed us about the local fauna and history.

Apus Peru provided us with excellent lodging in Aguas Caliente and delicious food at high-quality restaurants.

Overall, this was a wonderful, memorable trip with a top-notch guide.

8 August, 2016