Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Explore the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in a 2-day hike and visit Chachabamba, Wiñayhuayna, Sun Gate (Intipunku), and Machu Picchu. Enjoy the sunset in Machu Picchu on the first day with a few people, and arrive early on the second day to witness the amazing sunrise. Available every day with Panoramic trains included.

Overview of the Premium Short Inca Trail Tour 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 in the dense cloud forest. Enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) late in the afternoon and therefore have the unique opportunity to see the empty city. 

The Short Inca Trail hike 2 days to Machu Picchu, is perfect for solo travelers, couples, groups of friends, 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 (Intipunku).

Places we visit: We start with pick upin Cusco, travel to Ollantaytambo by bus, then board the train to Km 104, guided tour of Chachabamba Inca site, Wiñaywayna, Sun Gate (Intipunku), and Machu Picchu. Arriving at Machu Picchu in the afternoon and through the Sun Gate (Intipunku) is one of the most amazing experiences from where you will have the first and best view of Machu Picchu with the sunset.

Tour Guides: TreXperience tour guides are professionals fluent in English and experts in Peruvian history, flora, and fauna. You will get information from each Inca Site and Machu Picchu.

Hotels: We work with top-rated 3-star hotels in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo), such as Susanna INN, Intipunku, and Waman Hotel; you can upgrade hotels or book your hotel.

Meals: For the first lunch, we provide a box lunch prepared with fresh local products; dinner is served in a local restaurant in Aguas Calientes. Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, and other diets are available.

Trains: TreXperience is the only company that includes the Panoramic trains (Vistadome or 360°) during the Short Inca Trail. You will travel to Km 104 on the Expedition or Voyager train, and to return on the second day, you will board the panoramic trains with comfortable seats and wide windows to enjoy the fantastic landscapes.

Tour details:

  • Distance: 16 km / 9.9 miles
  • Duration: 2 days 1 night
  • Depart: From Cusco or the Sacred Valley
  • Destination: Machu Picchu
  • Considered: Moderate
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel
  • Type: Adventure – Cultural

Highlights of the Short Inca Trail Trek:

  • Book with Confidence and Flexibility
  • Arrive at Machu Picchu twice at exclusive hours
  • Retrun on the Panoramic trains (Vistadome or 360°).
  • Small-Group tours for a personalized service

Price per person: 520.USD  

To book the Short Inca Trail, you need to make an initial payment of 200.USD per person, the remaining balance can be paid online, in installments, or Cusco with any credit card at no booking fees at all.

You can also book this tour as a private service!

Student Discount:
All travelers under 17 will have a $40. If you are 25 years old or under at the time of traveling, you can get the 40$ discount with your Student ID. Please advise by email to give you a code for the discount.

Day By Day Summary:

 Day 1: Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Km 104 – Machu Picchu (16km, 8 hrs)
Start in Cusco around 4:00 am to drive to Ollantaytambo, take the first trains to Km 104, hike for about 7 hours to Machu Picchu, arrive in the afternoon through the Sungate, and enjoy Machu Picchu almost empty. Later, take the bus down to Aguas Calientes. Dinner in a local restaurant, and spend the night in a hotel (Susanna INN, Intipunku, or similar).

Day 2: Machu Picchu (The Lost City of The Incas) (3 hrs)
On the last day, wake up early in the hotel. After breakfast, take the first buses to Machu Picchu to explore the citadel on a 3-hour guided tour. After exploring Machu Picchu, you will board the Panoramic trains back to Cusco. Arrive in Cusco around 7.30 pm, back in your hotel.


  • Safety briefing the day before the tour at 6:00 pm
  • Pick up from your hotel on the morning of the tour.
  • All transportation during the duration of the trek
  • Professional tour guides
  • 1 night 3-star hotel in Agua Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo)
  • 1 Box Lunch, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast 
  • Entrance ticket to Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
  • Bus down from Machu Picchu on day 1
  • Round trip buses to Machu Picchu on day 2
  • Train to Km 104 (Expedition or Voyager)
  • Panoramic trains to return (Vistadome or 360°)
  • Drop off back at your hotel
  • Oxygen tank, first aid kit
  • Complimentary luggage storage
  • All taxes and booking fees included

Not Included:

  • 1st breakfast and last day lunch
  • Huayna Picchu or Montaña entrances
  • Tips for your staff

Optional hikes after Machu Picchu Tour:

Huayna Picchu Mountain – This ticket costs $75 per person. You can climb after the Machu Picchu tour, which takes 2 hours roundtrip; you need to book far in advance.

Machu Picchu Mountain – Also called Machu Picchu Mountain, it is the highest mountain, and climbing takes almost 3 hours, cost is $75 per person. 

Covid-19 measures to keep you safe during traveling

  • Vaccination cards & Covid 19 tests are not required
  • Using a face mask is optional on trains and buses
  • 100% online payments with no booking fees at all
  • Flexible bookings during COVID – 19 outbreak

Similar Tours to Machu Picchu: 

Classic Inca Trail 4 days

Rainbow Mountain 1 day

Humantay Lake 1 day

Full Itinerary of the Short Inca Trail Tour

Day 1: Cusco – Km104 – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes.

We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at approximately 4 am (depending on the location) and drive to Ollantaytambo. If your hotel is located in the Sacred Valley or Ollantaytambo, the pick-up could be around 5.30 am. For all travelers hiking the Short Inca Trail, we recommend staying the day before somewhere close to the train station in Ollantaytambo; you can save 1.5 hours of travel from Cusco. If you participate in a tour like Sacred Valley the day before, you can request the drop-off in Ollantaytambo and spend the night in a hotel. TreXperience will pick you up from any location in Sacred Valley or Cusco.

From Cusco, it’s a 1-hour 30-minute bus drive to the train station in Ollantaytambo, where we will board the first trains and travel along the Urubamba River until we arrive at km 104 – Chachabamba (located in the cloud forest). We will head straight to the checkpoint at Chachabamba to start your Short Inca Trail Trek. Please note that you will need the original passport to pass through the checkpoint. You will have time to prepare for the hike, restrooms, and warm-up.

Our first stop is a beautiful Inca site called Chachabamba, where your tour guide will introduce you to Inca history and the Inca Trails. After exploring the beautiful Inca site, we will hike along an ancient Inca Trail abandoned in the 16th century with Machu Picchu.

The first section of the Short Inca Trail is a gradual uphill hike for 4 hours until we arrive at Wiñaywayna (the place that never gets old); this is one of the most beautiful Inca sites on the Classic Inca Trail. We will take some time to explore this stunning archaeological site while enjoying spectacular views of the Andes. A organic packed lunch and refreshments will be provided; once fed and energized, we will continue our hike to the Sun Gate (Intipunku) to catch your first glimpse of the Lost City of the Incas – a truly unforgettable sight. We will arrive to Sun Gate around 3 to 4 pm when the crowds from Machu Picchu have left; this will allow you to enjoy this place with few people.

From the Sun Gate, it’s another one-hour downhill walk to Machu Picchu, with breathtaking views. We will arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon and have the unique opportunity to experience the city almost empty. This day is the perfect photo opportunity! Then take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, have dinner in a local restaurant and spend the night in a 3-star hotel.

Dinner is served in top-rated restaurants in the town, and your hotel is also located on exclusive sites with a private bathroom, hot showers, WiFi, and beautiful views.

  • Highest altitude: 2700m / 8858ft
  • Distance: 15km / 8 miles
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Meals: Lunch, snacks, and dinner
  • Accommodation: Susanna INN (or Similar)
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 2: Explore Machu Picchu (Lost City of the Incas)

On our final day of the short Inca Trail tour, we have to get up very early to prepare for the highlight, visiting Machu Picchu – the Lost City of the Incas. Breakfast will be served in the hotel; then, we will go straight to wait for the first buses going up to Machu Picchu at 5:30 am. Arriving as the sky brightens, we will walk up with the city’s incredible views. You can watch the spectacular sunrise over Machu Picchu on a clear day. This is truly an unforgettable sight.

Your guide will take you on a 2 to 3-hour comprehensive tour of the city before leaving you in Machu Picchu to explore or climb either Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain (tickets must be booked as far in advance as possible). TreXperience tour guides are Machu Picchu experts; they will take you on additional hikes like the Inca Bridge and spend as much time as necessary.

Explore the most remarkable places of Machu Picchu with a private exclusive TreXperience tour guide, visit the temples, palaces, and farming terraces, and learn the history of Machu Picchu.

Optional: After the Machu Picchu tour, you hike down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes using the Hiram Bingham original trail; on the way, you can visit the Machu Picchu museum butterfly station and enjoy the fantastic views.

Your tour guide will explain how to take the bus from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included). You will have time to explore the town, choose the restaurant of your preference, buy souvenirs in the local market, and later in the afternoon; you will board the Panoramic trains (Vistadome Or 360°)  and bus back to Cusco. TreXperience Team will meet you off the train and return you safely to your hotel. The arrival time to Cusco is around 7.30 pm.

  • Highest altitude: 2700m / 8858ft
  • Duration: 3-4 hours tour in Machu Picchu
  • Meals: Breakfast (hotel)
  • Difficulty: Easy

Inca Trail 2 days FAQs

What is the Inca Trail 2 days tour?

The Classic Inca Trail (26 miles/42Km) takes 4 days and 3 nights; however, if you don’t have enough time or prefer a shorter trek to Machu Picchu and still experience the Inca Trail, the Short Inca Trail is the perfect option.

The Inca Trail Short Inca Trail starts at the Km 104 or Chachabamba Inca site; you will follow an ancient Inca Trail through the cloud forest, visit Wiñaywuayna, and arrive at Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate in the afternoon. You will be joining the last part of the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Book now Inca Trail permits 2023

Where do the Inca Trail 2 days start?

The world-famous Classic Inca Trail is located in the Urubamba Province, Cusco – Peru, and starts on the Km 82 of the railroad to Machu Picchu. The Shorter version starts at km 104 of the railroad to Machu Picchu. This route is considered the royal Inca Trail and is believed to be used by the Real Panacas (Royal Family) during the Inca Period.

How Long is the Inca Trail 2 days?

The Short Inca Trail 2 days, 1-night tour to Machu Picchu covers a total distance of 16km or 9.9 miles; you will be hiking for about 7 to  8 hours until you arrive at the great citadel of Machu Picchu. On the first day is walking along the last part of the Classic Inca Trail, and on the second day, we visit Machu Picchu.

What is the average altitude of the Short Inca Trail?

  • Cusco city is located at 3,399 m or 11151 ft.
  • The start point of the Short Inca Trail is KM 104 at 2170 m or 7120 ft.
  • The average altitude of the Inca Trail is 2600 m or 8530 ft.
  • 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, where we take the train back to Cusco, is 2,040 m or 6692 ft.

When is the best time to hike the Short Inca Trail?

This question is often tough to answer, Inca Trail is the Inca Trail, and you will be amazed by the sun, rain, wind, cold, or any weather you might encounter on your trip. You need to have the proper equipment and always be prepared for all types of weather. Inca Trail is located in the cloud forest, and this is famous for having the most unstable weather in Peru and perhaps the world.

  • The Best time to visit Machu Picchu is April to October during the dry season.
  • The driest months on the Inca Trail are May, June, July, and August. However, these are the busiest days in Machu Picchu.
  • The rainy season starts in November until March; however, it is possible to have whole weeks without rain.
  • Due to heavy rains and maintenance, the Inca Trail is permanently closed in February.

When was the Inca Trail Built?

The Inca civilization built the Royal Inca Trail somewhere during the XV century by the 9th Inca King Pachacuteq. This Inca Trail was used as a pilgrimage route to Machu Picchu during this civilization’s height.

Why is the Inca Trail Important?

After the Inca Trail’s rediscovery in 1915, archaeologists explored the ancient route. They found many Incan temples, religious sites, and administrative areas such as Llaqtapata, Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamrca, Initipata, Wiñaywayna, and Intipunku.

The vast number of Inca Sites, the very well preserved ancient Inca Trail, the secluded location of the area, the varied landscapes, the fantastic view, endemic flora, and fauna are a few of the reasons why the Inca has become one of the most important hikes in South America.

How many days in advance do I have to arrive in Cusco?

We recommend arriving at least 2 days before your trip departure. This way, you will adapt to Cusco city’s altitude and prepare for the Inca Trail.

When is the Inca Trail Closed?

The Inca Trail is closed during the entire month of February due to the heavy rains and maintenance.

Which Inca Trail Tour is the best?

There are 3 ways to hike the Inca Trail and arrive at Machu Picchu through the Sungate.

  • The Classic Inca Trail 4 days and 3 nights are the most popular, and 90% of travelers will choose this option. Only camping.
  • The Inca Trail Slow Version 5 days and 4 nights, 3 nights camping, 1-night hotel in Aguas Calientes.
  • The Short inca trail, 1 day hiking the last part of the Inca Trail and teh next day visiting Machu Picchu.

This trek has other variations and extensions, like the Salkantay Inca Trail; however, it is always based on those mentioned above.

Where do I have to book Short Inca Trail?

Authorized registered tour operators like TreXperience can only book the Inca Trail permits in Cusco City. You can not secure the permits by yourself, and you are required to travel with a tour guide.

Food during the Short Inca Trail?

The first breakfast is not included in this tour, we will depart early from Cusco or the Sacred Valley, and you need to request a box breakfast from your hotel.

Lunch on the first day is included; we will provide you with a box lunch. Dinner will be at a local restaurant in Aguas Calientes.

Breakfast on the second day is included in the hotel. After the Machu Pichu tour, lunch is not included on the second day. You will have time to explore the town and have lunch before taking teh train back to Cusco.

What do I need to carry for the Short Inca Trail for 2 days?

We can provide you with a duffle bag to pack clothes for the second day of the tour and all you need for this 2 days tour, this bag we can transfer by train in case you don’t want to carry. You will need a daypack for this trek that you need to take with you.

The duffle bag will travel straight to the hotel in Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu pueblo; this must be a maximum of 5 kilos per person.

Your daypack must travel with you during the Inca Trail hike. Remember that we do not have porters on this tour, and your duffle bags will be waiting at the hotel for you. In your daypack, you must carry water, sunscreen, snack, the box lunch provided by TreXperience, rain gear, passport, insect repellent, toilet paper, camera, and room for the clothes you will need to remove once you start hiking and warm up.

Are porters included in the Short Inca Trail tour?

Porters are not included in the Short Inca Trail 2 days with the hotel; we used porters during the long and Short Version 2 days with camping.

We provide duffle bags for this tour; however, they will be sent by TreXperience directly to your hotel in Aguas Calientes; anything you need during the hike like water, sunscreen, and rain gear must be in your daypack. Porters can be included in this tour on request and at extra charge.

What do I need to know before choosing a tour?

There are so many different tour operators with reasonable prices when searching online, and it is always hard to decide which tour company you will be traveling with.

You must consider the choice that fits best your interests:

  •  The Average price on the 2-day tour is 500 to 550.USD

You can find lower prices or options but always remember to verify what is included. Some tour operators do not include buses from Machu Picchu, and it’s offered as optional. However, hiking from Machu Picchu is an option we do not recommend after hiking all day on the Inca Trail.

TreXperience provides transportation from start to end (Buses, trains); we are the only company that includes the panoramic trains on the way back at no extra cost.

How To Book the Short Inca Trek?

Booking the Inca Trail is easy with TreXperience; click the BOOK NOW button, select your departure date, fill-up the form with all details requested, including passport information, and finally submit the initial payment required to book the Inca Trail. Due to the permits’ strict booking policy for the Inca Trail administered by the Peruvian Goverment, all Inca Trail bookings must be confirmed manually.

Is Inca Trek Dangerous?

Any adventure trip you go on, there are always risks involved. Dangerous situations during the Inca Trail could be due to negligence or the force of nature. The best way to stay safe on the Inca Trail is to follow your tour guide’s instructions.

Can I hike The Inca Trek without a Guide?

You can not enter the Inca Trail without hiring a registered tour company. You must hike the Inca Trail with a tour guide, chef, and porters.

Packing List for the Short Inca Trail 2 days tour

What you need to take for the Short Inca Trail 2 days:

During the Short Inca Trail, remember that there will be no porters to help you carry your belongings, so you should try and pack as lightly as possible. We recommend you bring a good quality daypack that is light and comfortable. It is important to note that due to local regulations, your backpack should not exceed 25L. All larger packs can not be taken into Machu Picchu; you need to store them outside the gates.

  • Original passport (a copy will not be accepted), passports must be valid for 6 months beyond the date the traveler will enter Peru.
  • Valid Student Card (if you booked as a student), the original student card must be issued by the university up to the age of 25, containing the following: university information, personal information of the student, photo of the student, and a valid date no greater than December 31 of the current year.
  • Hiking boots for the Short Inca trail, you'll need to ensure comfortable walking shoes.
  • A good quality daypack, lightweight and comfortable, with enough room to carry water, snacks, and a few other essentials
  • Water storage for at least 2 liters; either a camel bag or water bottle(s); 1-liter water bottles work very well, 2 of them to have the 2 liters recommended. Plastic disposable bottles are not allowed in Machu Picchu; make sure you have reusable containers.
  • 2 t-shirts (wicking t-shirts work best) and one pair of hiking pants/trousers
  • A change of clothes for walking around Machu Picchu
  • Toiletries, sunscreen, lip balm, and bug spray
  • Rain gear and warm layers

Others for the Short Inca Trail

  • Hat, banana, and sunglasses
  • Hand sanitizer, Toilet paper
  • Plenty of socks
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Personal medication
  • Band-aids, moleskin
  • Camera, extra batteries for Machu Picchu
  • Additional snacks, power bars, chocolate
  • Extra money for souvenirs, drinks, and tips during the Short Inca Trail
  • Swimsuit for hot springs in Machu Picchu Pueblo (optional)

What do you have to take on your Inca Trail trek?

Inca Trail Packing List 2023

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Upcoming departures

Friday Nov 25, 2022
Wednesday Nov 30, 2022
Saturday Nov 26, 2022
Thursday Dec 01, 2022
Sunday Nov 27, 2022
Friday Dec 02, 2022
Monday Nov 28, 2022
Saturday Dec 03, 2022
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Monday Dec 05, 2022
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Tuesday Dec 06, 2022
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Sunday Dec 04, 2022
Friday Dec 09, 2022

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  • Visitors stopping for picture - Short Inca trail to Machu Picchu
  • Day 1 of the trek- Short Inca trail to Machu Picchu
  • Just arrived to the Sungate on day 1 - - Short Inca trail to Machu Picchu
  • Intipunku hotel - Short Inca trail to Machu Picchu
  • Vistadome Panoramic Train - Short Inca trail to Machu Picchu