Huchuy Qosqo + Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the perfect Alternative if the Classic Inca Trail is sold out. This 4-day trek will allow you to hike in the mountains near Cusco, following an ancient Inca Trail and to combine it with the Short Inca Trail. Arrive in Machu Picchu twice and through the Sun Gate (Intipunku).

Huchuy Qosqo and Short Inca Trail 4 days trek

Huchuy Qosqo + Short Inca Trail (The Alternative Inca Trail) is a 4-day trek to Machu Picchu across the Mountains nearby Cusco city, exploring an ancient Inca Trail that connects with the Sacred Valley, follows the Urubamba River, and Joins the Short Inca Trail arriving at Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate (Intipunku) right before the sunset.

Along the way, you will have a fantastic view of Cusco from the Mountains, visit local communities, hike along with Llamas and alpacas, and visit beautiful archaeological sites such as Huchuy Qosqo, Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Wiñaywayna, and Machu Picchu. The Last Inca King, Manco II, used this trail, who move his rebel army in 1536 from Cusco to the Last Capital of the Incas (Vilcabamba) during the XVI century.

Tour Highlights:

  • Explore the mountains around Cusco.
  • Follow the ancient Inca Trail from Cusco to Sacred Valley.
  • Arrive hiking to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.
  • Return on the Vistadome panoramic train (Vistadome or 360°).
  • Book with Confidence and Flexibility

Alternative Inca Trail Tour at a Glance:

  • Day 1: Cusco – Tambomachay – Kenko Village (13 Km, 8 Hrs)

Depart your hotel at 7:00 am, drive to Tambomachay, and start the 8-hour hike to Kenko Village at 3800m (12467ft). You will see mountains, grasslands, birds, and beautiful lakes along the way. We spend the night camping with comfortable equipment.

  • Day 2: Kenko Village – Huchuy Qosco – Lamay – Ollantaytambo (8 km, 7 hrs)

Wake up in your tent with a hot cup of coffee or tea and prepare for the second hike day to the Huchuy Qosqo Inca Site, a spectacular ancient city on top of the Sacred Valley. Along the way, you pass lakes and beautiful canyons. Spend the night in a hotel in Ollantaytambo.

  • Day 3: Ollantaytambo – Km104 – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes (16km 7hrs)

After breakfast in the hotel, you will take the first train to Km 104 to start the Short Inca Trails passing Chachabamba, Wiñaywayna, and Sun Gate (Intipunku), arrive at Machu Picchu late in the afternoon and have the unique opportunity to see it almost empty. After Exploring the upper part and enjoying the sunset, you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and check in to your hotel to spend the night.

  • Day 4: Machu Picchu (Lost city of the Incas)

On the last day, you will have breakfast, take the first bus up to Machu Picchu, and explore the best of Machu Picchu, terraces, urban areas, temples, palaces, and a free time to explore by yourself before taking the Vistadome Panoramic train back to Cusco. Arrive at your hotel around 7.30 pm


Included:

  • Safety briefing the day before the tour
  • Pick up from your hotel for the tour
  • All transportation during the duration of the Trek
  • Duffle bag up to 7 kilos for your stuff
  • Professional tour guides
  • Experience chefs, porters
  • 1-night camping with comfortable equipment
  • Sleeping bags, foam mattress
  • 1-night 3-star hotel in Ollantaytambo
  • 1 night 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • All meals during the Trek except the ones not mentioned
  • Entrance ticket to Inca Trail
  • Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
  • Buses in Machu Picchu
  • Train to the Inca Trail (Expedition)
  • Panoramic train to return (Vistadome or 360°)
  • All booking fees and taxes

Not Included:

  • First Breakfast & Last Day Lunch
  • Huayna Picchu or Montaña entrances
  • Tips for porters, chefs, guides

Additional hikes after the Machu Picchu tour:

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain – Tickets must be booked at $75 per person in advance. It takes 2 hours round trip.
  • Machu Picchu Montaña – Tickets must be booked in advance at $75 per person. It takes 3.5 hours round trip.

The full itinerary of Huchuy Qosqo + Short Inca Trail

Day 1: Cusco – Tambomachay – Kenko Village

We will depart from your hotel in Cusco at 7:00 am after breakfast and drive to Tambomachay, just 20 minutes outside of the city. Once at the trailhead, we will start slowly hiking up to the highest mountain passes of Cusco, with vast grasslands, birds, and beautiful lakes along the way. The hike is about 4 hours to lunch in Koriccocha Lake at 3700m (12139ft). Our trekking chef will prepare delicious meals using fresh local products.

Once lunch is over, we will start the second part of the day with 2 hours hike to Kenko Village at 3800m (12467ft); along the way is possible to sport herds of Llamas and alpacas that belong to villagers; Kenko is a small village with few hundred inhabitants who survive from the agriculture. 

  • Distance: 10 km/8.1 miles
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Meals: lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 2: Kenko – Huchuy Qosqo – Lamay – Ollantaytambo

Enjoy the beautiful views from the Local Village early in the morning with a cup of coffee while you enjoy the first rays of the sun. After breakfast, we will start a gradual 1-hour uphill to the highest mountains with spectacular views of the Sacred Valley; then, we will go 2 hours downhill to Huchuy Qosqo, 3600m (11811ft), a stunning ancient city on top of the Sacred Valley.

On the way, you pass refreshing streams, beautiful canyons, and breathtaking views of the Andes mountains. After exploring the Inca Site, we will continue for 1.5 hours into the Sacred Valley for our last picnic lunch. The final part will be traveling by van along the Sacred Valley until we arrive in Ollantaytambo, where we will explore the town and check-in in at a hotel.

  • Distance: 8 km/5 miles
  • Duration of hike: 5 hours hike
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Tunupa Lodge or Similar
  • Difficulty: easy

Day 3: Ollantaytambo – Km 104 – Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes)

Wake up early in your hotel, have breakfast, and then take the first trains from Ollantaytambo to Km 104 to begin the Inca Trail. Once you pass the checkpoint, you will start the Short Inca Trail for 7 hours until you arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon. You will visit astonishing Inca Sites such as Chachabamba, Wiñaywayna, and Sun Gate and see a wide variety of flora and fauna.

The Short Inca Trail Trek allows you to visit the most important sites inside the Classic Inca Trail, and you will have the chance to arrive twice at Machu Picchu; if you plan the times correctly, you can arrive after 4:00 pm to Machu Picchu and find the place almost empty since everybody starts leaving the citadel early.

After enjoying a full day on the Inca trail and Machu Picchu, you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, check-in in at the hotel, have dinner in a local restaurant, and sleep early for the next day.

  • Highest altitude: 2700m / 8858ft
  • Distance: 15km, 7 hours
  • Meals: Lunch, snacks, and dinner
  • Accommodation: Susanna Inn or similar
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 4: Machu Picchu (The Lost City of  the Incas)

On the final day, you will wake up early in your hotel, have breakfast, and take the first buses up to Machu Picchu. If the weather is good, you will be able to witness the fantastic sunrise over Machu Picchu, which is truly an unforgettable experience.

The guided tour takes about 2 to 3 hours, and your tour guide will show you the best of Machu Picchu. Later you will have time to explore by yourself or either climb Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Montaña. These tickets need to be booked in advance. After you are done exploring Machu Picchu, you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included)  and then take the Panoramic train and bus back to Ollantaytambo and a Private van to Cusco. TreXperience Team will return you safely to your hotel around 7.30 pm.

  • Guided Tour: 2 – 3 hours
  • Meals: Breakfast (hotel)
  • Accommodation: not included
  • Difficulty: Easy

Price for the Huchuy Qosqo + Short Inca Trail 4 Days

Price per person:

  • US$ 780 - Adults
  • US$ 740 - Children and students

To book the Alternative Inca Trail, you need to make an initial payment of US$ 200 per person; the remaining balance can be paid online or at our office in Cusco.


Student Discount:

  • US$ 40 off per person

All travelers under 17 have a $40 discount. If you are 25 years old or under when traveling, you can get the discount with your Student ID. Please send us an email to receive a code for the discount.

Valid Student ID for the Short Inca Trail and Machu Picchu:

To get the student discount, travelers should have a Valid ID with the following:

  • 25 years or less at the time of entering Machu Picchu. Older than 25 can not enter as a student
  • The ID must have the Name of the university, name, and photo of the student
  • The ID must have a valid expiration date
Machu Picchu Valid Student ID TreXperience

Invalid Student IDs:

Student IDs are not eligible for a discount when:

  • Traveler is older than 25
  • Expired ID
  • Student ID without expiration date
  • ISIC cards are not valid. 
Invalid student ID for Machu Picchu TreXperience

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Huchuy Qosqo + Short Inca Trail Packing List

When embarking on the combined Huchuy Qosqo and Short Inca Trail trek, it's essential to pack the right gear and clothing to ensure a comfortable and safe experience. Here's a suggested packing list for your trek:

Clothing:

  • Hiking boots with good ankle support
  • Breathable, moisture-wicking clothing (e.g., quick-dry shirts and pants)
  • Thermal or wool base layers for colder temperatures
  • Fleece or down jacket for insulation
  • Waterproof rain jacket and pants
  • Underwear and sports bras (quick-drying)
  • Hiking socks (moisture-wicking or wool)
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Beanie or warm hat for cold nights
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Sandals or comfortable shoes for evenings at camp

Gear and equipment:

  • Backpack (30-40L) for day use (with rain cover)
  • Trekking poles (optional but helpful for steep sections)
  • Water bottle or hydration system (2-3 liters capacity)
  • Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries
  • Dry bags or plastic bags to keep belongings dry
  • Camera or smartphone with extra batteries or a portable charger
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Insect repellent
  • Basic first-aid kit (including personal medications, adhesive bandages, pain relievers, blister treatment, and any necessary prescription medications)
  • Altitude sickness medication (consult your doctor)
  • Travel towel (quick-drying)
  • Biodegradable wet wipes or toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Reusable or biodegradable plastic bags for trash

Personal items:

  • Passport (with a photocopy)
  • Trekking permits and Machu Picchu entrance tickets
  • Cash (in Peruvian soles) for tips, souvenirs, and any additional expenses
  • Travel insurance information
  • Snacks and energy bars
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc.)
  • Earplugs and eye mask for better sleep at camp

Note that if you book the trek through TreXperience, we will provide all camping equipment, such as tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads, as well as meals during the trek. 

Remember to pack light and prioritize essentials, as you will be carrying your daypack while hiking, and porters or pack animals will have limited capacity for carrying additional items.

Huchuy Qosqo Trek + Short Inca Trail - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Huchuy Qosqo + Short Inca Trail Trek?

The Huchuy Qosqo + Short Inca Trail Trek is a combination of two separate treks in the Peruvian Andes that can be merged to create a unique and immersive experience; the Huchuy Qosqo Trek +6 The Inconic Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

What is the Huchuy Qosoq Trek?

The Huchuy Qosqo Trek takes you to the archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo, which means "Little Cusco" in Quechua. The trek starts near Tambomachay, about 15 minutes drive from Cusco. The route passes through beautiful Andean landscapes, small villages, farmlands, and lagoons before reaching the Huchuy Qosqo site and ends in the Sacred Valley.

What is the Short Inca Trail?

The Short Inca Trail is a condensed version of the Classic Inca Trail that covers approximately 16 km (10 miles) before reaching Machu Picchu. The trek starts with a train ride from Ollantaytambo to the trailhead at km 104 (Chachabamba). On the first day, you'll visit the Wiñay Wayna archaeological site and ascend to the Sun Gate (Intipunku) for a stunning view of Machu Picchu at sunset. You'll spend the night in Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu, before exploring the famous site the next day.

When is the best time to go on this trek?

The best time to hike the Huchuy Qosqo and Short Inca Trail is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. The weather is generally sunny and dry during these months, making for more favorable trekking conditions. The rainy season is not recommended from November to March due to muddy trails and possible landslides.

Do I need a guide for the trek?

While a guide is not mandatory for the Huchuy Qosqo trek, it is highly recommended for a more enriching and informative experience. A professional guide will provide valuable historical context and ensure your safety throughout the trek. A licensed guide is required for the Short Inca Trail, and you must book the trek through an authorized tour operator.

What is the level of fitness required for this combined trek?

The combined Huchuy Qosqo and Short Inca Trail is moderately challenging, with steep ascents, descents, and high-altitude conditions. It is recommended that trekkers have a good level of physical fitness and some prior experience with high-altitude trekking. Make sure to spend a few days acclimatizing in Cusco before starting the trek.

Do I need to arrange my own camping equipment and food?

If you book the trek through TreXperience, we will provide all camping equipment, such as tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads, as well as meals during the trek. You may need to bring your own personal items like a headlamp, toiletries, and a small backpack for essentials during the day.

How far in advance should I book my trek?

Since permits for the Short Inca Trail are limited and sell out quickly, it is recommended that you book your trek at least 4-6 months in advance, especially if you plan to go during the peak season (May to September). Booking even earlier is advisable if you want to secure your preferred dates and accommodations.

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