The 2 day short Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful treks. It is a unique style hiking, with spectacular views of the Andes chain, a great mix of jungle and you will enjoy from beginning to end. The authentic sites of South America’s most-popular country, Peru, come to life before your eyes on our short Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu.
The short Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu has long been a dream destination for explorers and adventurers. The short inca trail hike can be challenging at times, but priceless rewards await you along the way. For bird enthusiasts, the famous short inca trail hike to Machu Picchu takes this already amazing experience to a whole new level. The exceptionally unique environment of the Amazon rainforest offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for bird watching, making the trail worthwhile. In the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, around 400 species of birds were discovered, of which 50% can be seen while doing the short inca trail hike to Machu Picchu.
The Short Inca Trail hike 2 days to Machu Picchu is a unique opportunity for those who may not have as much time to hike the entire Inca Trail. This trek combines highlights from the Classic 4 days Inca Trail, with some of the most beautiful Inca ruins nestled in the cloud forest’s dense vegetation. Enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) late in the afternoon and therefore have the unique opportunity to see the city almost empty.
The Short Inca Trail, 2 days to Machu Picchu, is perfect for families with children as it is only one-day hiking, and the next day you explore the citadel of Machu Picchu. This tour allows you to arrive at Machu Picchu twice through the Sun Gate.
The birds of the short inca trail hike to Machu Picchu are very picturesque and showy birds. Since, we can find many species of low jungle and high jungle of Peru. For this reason, they are mostly birds of beautiful colors and shapes. Those who live in the “Cloud Forest” of the short Inca trail hike to machu picchu. However, let us remember that this area has a considerable concentration of clouds and fogs. As a consequence, we will find ecosystems with a lot of epiphytism. In the internal forests of the short Inca trail hike we will find humid montane forests with trees less than 20 meters high. Also, the branches and trunks of many trees are covered by mosses, bromeliads, orchids, ferns, and other epiphytes. They also have areas where Chusquea-type shrubs and bamboo predominate.
The two-day hike involves one day of hiking to meet the last part of the Inca Trail followed by a late afternoon arrival at Machu Picchu. It’s a lot of walking but achievable with an average fitness level.
The Short Inca trail to Machu Picchu has a moderate difficulty level and we classify as difficulty in # 3 from #1 to #5. It demands a good physical condition since it starts early from Cusco and also you can start from Ollantaytambo, then a train trip to Kilometer 104 on the way Cusco – “Aguas Calientes” route.
The travelers will start the hike for approximately 5 to 6 hours on ascending Inca roads and then on Inca steps surrounded by abundant flora and fauna until reach the 400 steps that cross the archeologic site of Wiñayhuayna which demands good physical condition.
Then from there continue with the last part of the Classic Inca trail of 4 days for about 1 hour then will reach the sun gate (Intipunku) and finally the next day we visit Machu Picchu and finish with the guided tour in the citadel of Machu Picchu and enjoy the sunset in your Machu Picchu tour.
For explorers can’t, for whatever reason, do the 4-day Inca Trail, this short Inca trail to Machu Picchu 2 days is a suitable option. Not only do hikers have the opportunity to enjoy marvellous landscapes, you also get to see some great Inca constructions!
Retrace the footsteps of the ancients as you hike along original Inca paths, explore arguably the most fascinating archaeological complex on the whole Inca Trail, and experience that unique moment of walking through the Sun Gate for your first view of Machu Picchu.
This point is going to be an important factor that will help you decide if you are really ready to take the hike. Or if you need to do some previous training. To face normally the types of terrain that you will find on the way to Machupicchu.
Being able to take a few sessions of activities that work your legs, arms, heart, and back will be good. The wisest thing to do is to get into physical preparation an average of 2 or 3 months before your travel date. Performing exercises that improve our breathing is also essential. It will allow altitude sickness to not affect us so much on the trip.
Yes, there are bathrooms during the short Inca trail hike. But you should keep in mind that you will only find in the following points:
However, in the first two mentioned places of the Inca trail Cusco. They have no entry cost, they are free. But, at the entrance gate of the citadel of Machu Picchu you will pay.
Remember that even though this tour is two days, you are only hiking for one day for six hours total, including some stops. The morning is mostly gradually uphill the entire time, so it will be tiring but well worth it when you get to Wiñay Wayna for lunch-time. Just remember its one foot in front of the other, look up at the spectacular views and enjoy it. After lunch, its an easy going hour to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). Then another easy hike to the bus that will tak you down to Aguas Calientes.
It will depend a lot on the conditions that the Ministry of Culture sends us each month in the rainy seasons where the operations of the Inca trail of 2 days will be carried out, we refer to the months of (December and January). Since there are years in which greater rainfall occurs. In these events the access to the Inca trail of 2 days can be closed.
Another very important fact is if you would feel very comfortable doing the walks under a rainy storm, or you should also evaluate that in the guided circuit in the citadel of Machu Picchu, there will be days when you cannot see much, due to to the mists. For all this we recommend avoiding doing the short Inca Trail in the rainy months (December, January and March), because you will not have a fabulous experience of the best attraction in Peru.
The short Inca Trail hike involves an early bus and train ride from Cusco, followed by a three-four hour uphill hike to the spectacular Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna. From there, you have a packed lunch before continuing for around two hours to reach the Intipunku (Sun Gate) where you get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. The trail then descends for about an hour and a half to reach the ruins. Rather than visiting Machu Picchu straight away, you take a bus to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes where you spend the night in a hotel, then return to the ruins the following morning for a guided tour. In the afternoon of the second day, take the train and coach back to Cusco, arriving in the evening.
The short Inca Trail hike to machu picchu stretches from Chachabamba at km 104 on the Urubamba River to Machu Picchu, over a distance of nine miles. The total walking time on the first day is around seven hours, split up into three main sections with lots of rest breaks. On the second day, you have most of the day to explore the ruins, before catching a train and coach back to Cusco in the afternoon.
Entrance fees to the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary and the Short Inca Trail are included, as are the transfers. The transfer to the start point of the trail is by bus and train. The bus trip down from Machu Picchu to the train station and the journey back to Cusco in the Expeditioner train is included. In Cusco you will be transferred to your hotel. A packed lunch is provided for the hike. If you want other snacks during the trail, these can be bought in Cusco. Lunch on the second day is not included and you can buy this in a restaurant in Aguas Calientes.
From April to October, it is usually warm and humid during the day (around 20-25ºC) and night time temperatures are around 15ºC. The dry season lasts from March to November, when the weather is more changeable. During the wet season, from December to February, it can rain heavily, although it can also rain year round.
If you like the idea of arriving at Machu Picchu on foot but do not want to walk for four days to get there, our Short Inca Trail is a great option for you. Alternatively, if you want the full experience of camping and hiking through jaw dropping scenery for four days, opt for the bucket list Classic Inca Trail.
Of course, there are other ways of getting to Machu Picchu too. Take the train through the Andes, with stunning views of the snowy peaks as you descend the beautiful Urubamba Valley, or upgrade to the luxurious Sacred Valley train, a charming period train with an observation car, outdoor deck area and elegant dining carriage where three-course meals are served. Less well-trodden than the Inca Trail, the five-day Salkantay Trail is a fantastic option for those seeking a more ‘off the beaten track’ experience, with mountain passes and high altitude jungles taking you to the backdoor of Machu Picchu.
The climate in Cusco is well known for its two seasons of climates during the 365 days of the year. Obviously within these two, you can appreciate the microclimates that exist in each place depending on the altitude where you are.
Also, in this understanding, the climate in Machu Pichu that will be witnessed during the journey, will be varied. Since we will go from 2200m.s.n.m. up to 2680m.s.n.m.
It includes from the month of November to April. It reaches temperatures on average, a maximum of 23 ° C and at least around 6 ° C. With average annual rainfall of 160mm. In these months, the skies are cloudy due to humidity, which reaches 91%. Also, the presence of the sun is unpredictable.
It includes from the month of May to October. Its minimum temperature is -1 ° C, reaching a maximum temperature of 22 ° C. There is an average annual rainfall of 60mm. In addition, the skies are clear and the percentage of humidity that reaches is 70%.
Day 01: Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Km 104 – Aguas Calientes
Day 02: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
Highlights of the 2-Day Inca Trail:
The Short 2-day Inca Trail consists on a hike for the entirity of day 1, and day 2 is the guided tour to the Machu Picchu citadel.
Pick up is very early in the morning at your hotel for a private transportation ride until the Ollantaytambo train station, traveling along beautiful sights on a very comfortable ride. In Ollantaytambo you will board a train until km 104 of the old Cusco city-Machu Picchu railroad. The hike begins right there on km 104.
From km 104 the hike goes until the archaeological Inca site of Chachabamba, passing through the wonderful Andean mountainside and along the Urubamba river, a priceless, majestic landscape. The Inca site of Chachabamba displays the amazing Inca building style, and is a quite interesting place to visit, with a complete explanation by our professional guide.
From Chachabamba the inca trail turns uphill, and after 2 hours approximately, you will reach the impressive Inca site of Winaywayna, a very skilled construction adapted on a slope, with many of the typical Inca terraces on the mountainside which were used for cultivation and also administrative buildings where Inca workers could control the production of crops. This site is located at an adventurous 2.650 meters above sea level.
After leaving Winaywayna, we’re back on the trail again, along unforgettable landscapes and the beautiful Urubamba river flowing at the bottom of the valley. This section of the trail actually begins to enter the Peruvian western jungle, and you will arrive at the famous Inti Punku (Sun Gate), which is the entrance to the city of Machu Picchu; from there you can have a striking panoramic view of the citadel from a distance, and afterward a downhill hike begins until the surroundings of the Machu Picchu site, for a closer look. And then, after you have thoroughly enjoyed the view from this nearby spot, you will take the bus from the citadel to the nearby village of Aguas Calientes.
The 2 day inca trail hike is a very enjoyable and light one, indeed it can be done by people aged from 8 to 65 years. There’s no need to set camping nights the final destination is in Aguas Calientes with the possibility of staying at a very comfortable hotel.
This option is also the best for people who want to have a good taste of the Classic 4-day Inca Trail, but don’t have much time available for travelling or are not well-prepared for longer hikes.
You will have plenty of time to take pictures of the Machu Picchu citadel first from the Sun Gate and then closer outside the site; besides, since the arrival is in the afternoon, you will find fewer people and thus it will be a calmer and less crowded place.
This 2 day inca trail hike also offers the great advantage of its everyday availability, since it is not as demanding as the Classic 4-day Inca Trail. We offer it on a very accessible daily basis.
So, if you don’t have much time available for your vacation and are a little bit intimidated by long hikes and altitude mountain camping, but still want to experience a touristic adventure, the 2 day inca trail hike to machu picchu surely is your best choice!
Sustainable Tourism: At Andean Great Treks, we are happy to promote and practice sustainable tourism by being eco-friendly and supporting local communities
2 Day Inca Trail Operator: Andean Great Treks
Service Level: Comfortable, tourist-class accommodation, tourist-class train, and private transport.
Trek’s Difficulty: 2 – moderate; a low-altitude hike, accessible to healthy travelers.
Age Requirement: 4+. Please note: all participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Inca Trail Permits: It is included in your hike. Please note: the trail is fully booked months in advance during the high season.
Crew: A professional Tour Guide.
Meals: 1x breakfast, 1x lunch, 1x dinner, 1x bag of snacks.
Transportation: Private van, 2x train (Inka Rail train service).
Accommodation: Hotel, 1 night. During the 2-day Inca Trail tour, you will spend a night in a comfortable hotel with a private bathroom.
Departure Point: We pick you up from your hotel (please check the Starting Point & Pick-Up section under the Essential Info bookmark).
Return Point: Cusco – our driver will drop-off at your hotel/hostel/Airbnb apartment.
2 Day Inca Trail Permits 2022
You might check the 2 day Inca Trail Permits Real-Time Availability for 2022 by yourself. It is very important that you complete all details correctly to obtain your Inca Trail permits and Machu Picchu tickets! Once arrived at the trailhead, you need to present your original passport and Inca Trail permits. In case, any details are incorrect, you must book and buy a new ticket to the trail!
Short Inca Trail Camping
If you would like to experience more adventure, you can book the 2 Day Inca Trail Hike with Camping, and spend the night observing stars at the campsite “Puente Ruinas”.
The short inca trail hike to machu picchu includes beautiful places. Among them, archaeological remains and natural areas that are located at different heights throughout the entire journey.
CHACHABAMBA 2200 M / 7218FT:
This archaeological site was probably a point of control and access to Machu Picchu. It is mentioned that he fulfilled religious and surveillance functions. It has stone buildings, there are some enclosures with preserved infrastructure. Possibly, its name derives from 2 words in Quechua. “Chacha” which means welts and / or bites, and “Bamba” which means valley or place. Which would mean Valley where mosquitoes bite you.
WIÑAY HUAYNA 2680M / 8792FT:
Magnificent archaeological site that covers the entire slope of the mountain, its name comes from Quechua and means “Eternally Young.” This site was a small town which can be appreciated by the constructions in a central courtyard and is surrounded by platforms that were used for agriculture and possibly also as containment. Simply a magical and historical place.
INTI PUNKU 2730M / 8956FT:
Site that was the gateway to the Citadel of Machu Picchu in Inca times. Its name comes from Quechua and means “Sun Gate”. It is made up of enclosures with windows and a door by which its name is attributed. At this point, you have an incredible view to the citadel of Machu Picchu.
MACHU PICCHU 2400M / 7873FT:
The name of the impressive Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, comes from the Quechua “Old Mountain” and is the end point of the walk for tourists. Surprise anyone with its greatness, architecture and engineering. The architecture and engineering of this place is unique, here you can appreciate the urban area that shows: the religious precincts, enclosures for the Inca and the residential part. The other area is the agricultural area, where an incredible network of platforms can be seen on the slope of the hill and which also serve as retaining walls. There is also an irrigation system and aqueducts throughout the citadel.
AGUAS CALIENTES 2050M / 6561 FT:
Town located on the banks of the Urubamba River, it serves as the main route of entry to the Citadel of Machu Picchu. The train tracks pass through here and you can also find the hot springs of Aguas Calientes. There is also an artisan market. Its climate is hot and humid, because it is located in the jungle.
OLLANTAYTAMBO 2750M / 8950 FT:
Ancient Inca town, very important before and now, for being the main point of passage to get to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. Here is the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo, which features exquisite Inca architecture. Like the temple of the sun, the bath of the ñusta, the enclosures on the Pinkuylluna hill and an impressive terraces. In addition, there is a typical handicraft market and the train station to Aguas Calientes.
For anyone who wants to reserve their space in advance, the most prudent thing is to do it with a minimum of 4 – 5 months in advance. The permits for the short inca trail hike are usually sold quickly in a matter of seconds and minutes, of course, which depends on which month you choose.
The best sellers are May, June, July, then comes April, March, August, then September and October. February is the exception, it is NOT operational for reasons of maintenance of the Inca trail network.
To explore the fantastic short inca trail hike , it is required to carry the main identification documents. That can be corroborated with those reflected in the permits purchased in your name. That is why you should always provide accurate information to the organizers of your trip. Because at the time of data corroboration there should be no errors:
Any of these that you have used for your registration in the purchase of your tickets, you must bring them yes or yes. Otherwise, you will not be able to access the walk, so you must keep it very well before and during the walk.
Note: In case of having renewed the passport days prior to the trip, it must be updated in advance of the first day of the trek. For this you must send a copy of your old and new passport to the corresponding agency that will make the arrangements.
We try to make booking as easy as possible at Andean Great Treks We need a booking form that is completed and includes all details for the entire party on one form, and then a $200 deposit per person. The deposits can be paid separately, as long as we have one booking form that we can use to track payments. Once we have all deposits and details, we will then book your permits. When permits are in our hands, we will send you your invoice and confirmation that everything is 100% set. All start dates, once confirmed, are guaranteed.
HOW ARE THE PERMITS FOR THE SHORT INCA TRAIL HIKE
Only licensed Inca Trail tour operators, like Andean Great Treks, can secure permits from the government. Once we have secured your permit, the name and start date can not be changed under any circumstance. The only information that the government allows us to change is passport numbers.
PASSPORT DETAILS TO BOOK A SHORT INCA TRAIL HIKE PERMIT
If you like to go ahead and book the 2 day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu, you will need to send us your passport details such as full name, passport number, nationality, and date of birth in order to be able to process it. Once you arrive at the trailhead, the archaeological park rangers check your Inca Trail permit along with your original passport and compare your personal details.
Important notice: if you fail to send correct details, you will be denied entrance to the 2 day Inca Trail hike!!!
If you still like to get on the 2 day Inca Trail hike and Machu Picchu, you would need to pay a new permit (US$ 100.00). So, we would like to kindly ask you to be very careful when sending us your personal information.
Can you use your old passport to book the permit and then exchange it with your new passport?
Yes, it is possible, BUT it is very important to bring a copy of your old passport with you too! When on the Inca Trail, you can present your current passport along with a copy of your old passport.
The government will only allow us to change passport numbers if we have a copy of the new passport and old passport. If you no longer have your old passport, any government issue ID will be accepted, as long as the name is the same.
At the time of your information session, the guide will provide you with all the information about what to bring in your travel backpack. Therefore, we recommend that you pack only the essentials.
This trek does NOT include porters. You will be carrying all your own things yourself while hiking. Because of this, it is imperative to pack as light as possible. A light backpack is key to feeling great.
It is not necessary to carry all the luggage that you brought with you for your trip to Peru on the short inca trail hike. Only, you should pack only what is necessary for the 2 days of walking. The changes of clothes for each day must be well organized. Also, complementary clothing. For example, extra slipper, jacket, cap, hat, among others. The luggage will be able to fit in the backpack or duffel bag that has an exact measurement.
The airport in Cusco is currently only for domestic flights. All international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier. You still must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by flying and there are several airlines to choose from. LAN tends to be the most expensive but has the most options and flights. Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco it tends to be difficult to land. Bus travel is always available, while the trip can be long the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.
As in all trips, it is not mandatory to obtain travel insurance, but it is highly recommended to purchase any of these. Since, you never know what might happen during your trip. Maybe a delayed flight does not allow you to arrive on time for your walk, maybe strikes, some natural disaster or it gets bad during the walk.
You should know that medical expenses in Peru are more expensive than in other countries. That is why it is convenient to obtain some insurance that covers these types of situations. Insurers generally have an approximate cost of $ 100 to $ 150 depending on the type of insurance you choose. Here are some insurance companies:
We offer a box lunch service for the first day of the tour. In case you have any dietary restrictions, it is important that you inform your sales agent or the guide during the information session. In order for them to communicate this in advance to the cook, he must consider other types of food for you.
The dinner that you have included in your travel package will be in a tourist restaurant in the town of Aguas Calientes, with a choice of à la carte dishes, it is also included a buffet breakfast at your hotel for day 2 for the morning.
For any additional expenes that you may have over the short inca trail hike to machu picchu. Whether in the purchase of water, cookies, candy, toilet paper, etc. You must have cash in Peruvian soles, remember that the residents do not accept any other type of currency.
The average amount per person is S / 150 – S / 200, but the question may arise: Why do I have to pay for extras if I pay for the full service? For that you must be careful when reading the inclusions and non-inclusions of the contracted tour.
Ollantaytambo is the best place to stay other than Cusco. By staying in Ollantaytambo, you get a little more sleep, because we will pick you up about 1.5 hours after the Cusco pick up time (at 6:10 am). You can only have your briefing in Cusco. So please arrange a time that works for you and our office team with your Andean Great Treks sales rep.
The permit or entrance for the short Inca trail hike includes the entrance to the citadel of Machu Picchu. But, not to the additional hikes that can be found outside the main esplanade.
For example, the entrance to Huayna Picchu has an extra cost of USD $ 80.00 per person. As we mentioned earlier, the permit includes the entrance to Machupicchu. Therefore, to obtain one of these additional tickets it is necessary to buy new entrance tickets.
The visiting time in the citadel of Machu Picchu is an average of 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. This time is the maximum that is used to be able to make the main circuit that contains the most outstanding sites of the Historic Sanctuary.
You should know that there is no free time to visit on your own after the guide. Unless you buy one of the extra hiking tickets (Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu Montaña) so you can re-enter the attraction.
Huayna Picchu: The average time is 1 hour up and 45 minutes down. The path is steep and has small steps, so traveling with minors is not a good idea.
Machu Picchu Mountain: The average time is 1 hour and 30 minutes up, and about 1 hour down. It is more recommended for people traveling with minors. This option is not so recommended, since on the first day of hiking you will walk along part of the path that leads to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain.
Above all, one of the things that every traveler should know and pay attention to on the Inca Trail route is the ‘regulations’. That the entities in charge such as SERNANP and DDC-Cusco provide us with. In this understanding, we will mention some of the main ones: