The Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2 days tour difficulty

Hiking to Machu Picchu is an amazing experience that everyone should have. The hike itself is challenging but rewards hikers with stunning views of the Andes mountains and the ancient Inca city. The journey takes several days, and hikers must be prepared for altitude sickness and difficult terrain. But the experience is truly unforgettable and something that will stay with you for a lifetime.

What is the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

The Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a great option for those who want to hike to Machu Picchu but don't have the time for the longer 4-day Classic Inca Trail trek. The trail is only 2 days long and includes stops at the incredible archaeological sites of Chachabamba, Wiñaywayna, and the Sungate (Intipunku). You'll also spend a night in a comfortable hotel  in Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes), so you can explore the ancient citadel at your leisure the next day.

The Inca Trail is one of the most popular trekking routes in the world. Every year, thousands of people from all over the globe come to Peru to hike the trail and see the magnificent Machu Picchu. The Short Inca Trail is a 2-day trekking route that starts at KM 104, Chachabamba. The route is shorter and easier than the Classic Inca Trail, making it a great option for those who don’t have time for the 4-day trek or are looking for a less challenging hike. T

2 day Inca Trail difficulty

The Short Inca Trail  is still a moderate to challenging hike despite its shorter length. The trail covers around 10 miles (16 km) and includes some steep climbs, stairs, and ancient Inca Sites. It’s important to be in moderate physical shape before undertaking this hike. The scenery on the Short Inca Trail is stunning. You’ll pass through the lush cloud forest, home to an abundance of wildlife, before arriving at Machu Picchu, one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.

The first part of the day is mostly uphill until your reach the famous Inca sites of Wiñaywayna where you enjoy lunch. The second part of the is easier and only 3 hours to Machu Picchu. 

To describe the 2 day Inca Trail difficulty, we need to consider few things:

The altitude of the Short Inca Trail

Although the Short Inca Trail is shorter, it still takes you through some of the most stunning scenery the Andes have to offer. The trail starts at Km 104 on the Cusco-Machu Picchu railway and ends at Machu Picchu passing through the Inti Punku (the Sun Gate), where you will get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu.

The highest point on the Short Inca Trail is the Sungate, located at 2708 m  or 8884 ft., this altitude is lower than Cusco. Ftom this, hikers in the Inca Trail 2 days will  not have issues with altitude. 

  • Cusco is located at 3,399 m or 11151 ft.
  •  KM 104 - Chachabamba is located at 2170 m or 7120 ft.
  • Wiñaywayna islocated at 2600m – 8530ft
  • The highest point is Sungate (Intipunku) at 2708 m  or 8884 ft.
  • Machu Picchu, where the Inca Trail ends, is 2,430 m 7972 ft.
  • Aguas Calientes town is located at 2,040 m or 6692 ft.

The distance of the Short Inca Trail

The Short Inca Trail is only 16 kilometers (10 miles) and can be completed is about to 7 hours until Machu Picchu. However, even though it is the shortest option, it could be a challenging hike if you are not prepared. 

The physical preparation for the trek

To hike the Short Inca Trail , here are a few things you can do to prepare for the Short Inca Trail trek:

  • Get in shape: This is probably the most important thing you can do to prepare for the trek. The Inca Trail is no joke, and even the short version is a challenging hike. Make sure you are physically prepared by working on your cardio and leg strength in the months leading up to your trip.
  • Prevent altitude sickness: Although the Short Inca Trail is located at a lower altitude than Cusco, it is important to aclimatize to the altitude in Cusco city. 
  • Pack smart: Be sure to pack light, but also be sure to pack all of the essentials like rin gear, sunscreen, is¿nsect repelent.
  • Train with your backpack: Once you have everything packed, make sure you practice hiking with your fully loaded backpack. This will help ensure that you are comfortable carrying it for long periods of time, and will also help you identify any potential problems with your packing list.
  • Get travel insurance: Because the Inca Trail can be a challenging hike, it is always a good idea to get travel insurance before embarking on your

The weather conditions of the trek

The weather in Short Inca Trail trek is an unpredictable thing. It can be sunny and hot one day, and the next day it can be cold and rainy. This is why it's important to pack for all weather conditions when you're planning a trek in this region.

In general, the best time to trek in the Short Inca Trail region is from April to October. This is when the weather is usually the most stable, with warm days and cool nights. However, even during this time of year there can be sudden changes in the weather, so it's always best to be prepared for anything.

During the rainy season (November to March), the trails can be very muddy and slippery, so it's important to take extra care when trekking during this time. The rains can also cause flash floods, which can make certain sections of the trail impassable. If you're planning on trekking during the rainy season, it's essential to check the forecast before you go, and to have a backup plan in case you need to change your route.

Geography of the Short Inca Trail  trek

The geography of the Short Inca Trail trek is truly varied and spectacular. You’ll start off in the highland town of Cusco, which sits at an altitude of 3,400 metres. From here, you’ll begin your ascent into the Andes Mountains. The trail will take you through some incredible mountain scenery, before descending into the lush cloud forest.

Th cloud forest section of the Inca Trail is home to an abundance of wildlife, including colourful birds and butterflies. As you get closer to Machu Picchu, the landscape becomes even more beautiful and misty. 

 The Short Inca Trail is a network of ancient stone paths that lead to the lost city of Machu Picchu. There re several parts with steep stairs up and down, narrow trails and this could make the trail a bit more challenging. 

The size of the group

The size of the group in the Short Inca Trail trek is dictated by the number of people who book the tour. The average group size is 10 people, but can be as large as 16 people with 2 tour guides.

The smaller the group, the more intimate the experience and the more easily you can get to know your fellow trekkers. However, larger groups are also fun and we will have 1 tour guide for each 8 traveler. Large groups will have 2 tour guides. 

Age of hikers in the Short Inca Trail 

There's no strict age limit for the Short Inca Trail, but most tour operators recommend that hikers be at least 12 years old. That said, the trail can be challenging for younger hikers, so it's important to consider your child's physical abilities and fitness level before signing them up for the trek. If you have an older child who's interested in hiking the Short Inca Trail, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • First, the altitude can be tough on even the fittest of hikers, so it's important to make sure your child is well-acclimatized before starting the trail.
  • Second, young children must always hike together with the parents. 
  • And finally, We recommend private tours if ossible.

Tips for hiking the Short Inca Trail

You will need to be well prepared though as the trail is tough in places, especially the first day. Here are our top tips for hiking the Short Inca Trail:

  • Get acclimatised to the altitude before you start the trail. We recommend spending at least a few days in Cusco (3400m) or the Sacred Valley (2800m) before starting the hike. This will give your body time to adjust to the thinner air and reduce the risk of altitude sickness.
  • Pack light! You will be carrying your own backpack so only pack the essentials – remember you can always buy anything you need when you get to Aguas Calientes. A good rule of thumb is to pack clothes for one day, plus a rain jacket and an extra layer for cold nights.
  • Train before you go! This hike is not for beginners – make sure you have done some long walks/treks in hilly terrain before you attempt it. This will help build up your strength and stamina so you can enjoy the hike without getting too tired.
  • Take your time. Even though it's short, the Short Inca Trail can be challenging. Make sure to take breaks often and enjoy the views.
  • Be prepared for all types of weather. The trail can be chilly, sunny, rainy.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks. There are no resupply points on the trail, so you'll need to carry everything you need with you. Make sure to drink plenty of water and pack enough food to keep you going.
  • Watch your step! The trail can be slippery, so be careful where you step. Pay attention to your footing and take your time on the more difficult sections.By following these tips, you're sure to have a great time on the Short Inca Trail!

Short Inca Trail Tours to Machu Picchu

Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with hotel

The Short Inca Trail with hotel to Machu Picchu is the perfect way to see one of the most iconic sites in all of South America. This incredible trek takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in the world, and culminates in a visit to the lost city of Machu Picchu. The whole experience can be done in just 2 days, making it the perfect option for those with limited time.The first day of the trek takes you from Cusco to KM 104, the starting point of the Inca Trail. You'll hike for around 7 hours through beautiful mountain scenery, before arriving to Machu Picchu late in the afternoon.

From Mahcu Picchu you will take a bus down to Machu Picchu Pueblo (Also known as Aguas Calientes) where you will spent the night in a hotel. Next day, you will have breakfast, board the first buese, and explore the machu Picchu Citadel.

The return to Cusco isin the afternoon onboard of the Panoramic Vistadome trains. 

Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with camping

The Short Inca Trail with camping follows the same itinerary as the hotel version, the main difference is that you will be styoing in tents. 

TreXperience organizes premium Short IncaTrail tours with glamping experience.

Juan Coronel

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