Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2 days / 1 night
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2 days 1 night, still allows you to visit the most beautiful ruins along the way to Machu Picchu, Winawayna. Enjoy lunch before visiting and then continue through the Sun Gate for your first view of the Lost City of the Incas. You will continue down to Aguas Calientes village and have dinner at the best restaurant in town before heading to bed. For those who want a small taste of hiking the Andes, this 1 day hike with the next day spent at Machu Picchu can not be beat.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2 days 1 night, is a fantastic option for those who don’t have the time or desire to hike the full length of the Inca Trail. With beautiful scenery, a wide variety of flora and fauna on display and a visit to the Inca Trail’s most beautiful site (Wiñay Wayna), you get to enjoy the all the best bits of the Inca Trail condensed in to a one day walk. Covering a distance of just 10km / 6.3 miles the 2 day Inca Trail is not too challenging which makes it perfect for families with children and those on a tight schedule.
By booking your Inca Trail with Cusco Journeys & Adventure you are choosing the best. Don’t believe us? Check out our reviews on TripAdvisor!
Inca Trail Availability
We offer daily departures on the Inca Trail (excluding February when the trail is closed) –
It is strongly recommended to book your Inca Trail at least 4 months in advance as permits can quickly sell out.
- Starting Altitude – 2100m / 6900ft.
- Highest Altitude – 2730m / 8,792ft.
- Walking Distance – 10km / 6.3 miles
- Accomodation – Hostal
- Overall Difficulty – Easy to Moderate
You will have thorough briefing with your guide 1 or 2 days before your Short Inca Trail.
Your guide will meet you at your hotel and you can take this opportunity to ask questions and make any final preparations.
Day 1: Cusco – Chachabamba – Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes
We will pick you up from your Cusco hotel early in the morning (about 5:00am) and then drive to the train station in Ollantaytambo and take the train to Kilometer (Km) 104, which takes about three hours. Km 104 is an unscheduled train stop so you will probably feel a twinge of satisfaction that the train is stopping especially for you – and by knowing you are about to see things that no one else will get to! At Km 104 we will get off the train and pass the Inca Trail checkpoint where we will see our first archaeological center called Chachabamba (2,170 m / 7,170 ft).
These ruins were one of the last shelters that the Incas used before they reached Machu Picchu. This site was also used as a religious and administrative center, and features several buildings. Then, we will gradually ascend for about 2-3 hours climbing Inca stone steps while our guide points out different flora and fauna along the trail.
We will then pass a tall waterfall before arriving at the archaeological site called Wiñay Wayna at (2,650 m / 8,700 ft), which is named after an orchid and means Forever Young in Quechua. We will climb to the top of the ruins and enjoy lunch with an incredible view of Wiñay Wayna and the Sacred Valley. This large site sits on a mountainside and features experimental terraces that the Incas used to grow different crops. We will visit an important temple with 7 windows that was dedicated to the rainbow as well as observe the amazing engineering of water channels that still function today.
Once we finish our tour here, we will continue our hike for about 1 ½ hours on a part of the Inca Trail which is relatively flat, with small ascents and descents along the way. At about 2:00 pm we will reach the Sun Gate (2,720 m / 8,920 ft) which is called Intipunku in Quechua. This is where we will have our first view of Machu Picchu and from there we will head down to the ruins to take the bus down to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival to Aguas Calientes you will check in to your hotel. The natural hot springs in town are an unbeatable way to spend a late afternoon/early evening if time is available before dinner.
- Meals: Box Lunch / Dinner
- Accommodations: Hotel
- Maximum altitude: 2,720 m / 8,920 ft
- Minimum Altitude: 2,040 m / 6,691 ft
- Distance to walk: 9.3 miles/15 km
- Approximate walking time: 5-6 hours
Day 2: Machu Picchu – Cusco.
After an early breakfast, we will board the bus which will take us to the most mysterious city of the Incas, Machu Picchu. As part of our itinerary the same professional guide will teach you about all the history of this mysterious and inspirational place. We will visit the Sun Temple, Royal Palace, Main Temple, the Temple of the Three Windows and the Intihuatana sun dial. You’ll have an unforgettable experience. After the guided tour, we’ve left some free time for you to explore on your own.
If you have booked the Wayna Picchu hike, you’ll need to coordinate with our guide regarding your scheduled time to take this additional hike. For people not hiking Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, there are other optional activities you can do on your own:
- Hike to the Sun Gate: You will have an opportunity to walk (approx. 2 hours up and down) up to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) to see Machu Picchu from a different angle.
- Trek to the Inca Bridge: The Inca Bridge offers a dose of adrenaline and while not a strenuous trek it is death defying as the trail is very narrow with steep drops and not for people with vertigo.
Back to Cusco in the afternoon, you will return to the train station in Aguas Calientes for the trip back to Ollantaytambo. Upon your arrival to train station you will be transferred by car to your hotel in Cusco.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Lowest Elevation: 2,040 m/6,691 ft
- Highest Elevation: 2,440 m/8,052 ft
- Detailed explanations by your guide in a briefing 1 or 2 days prior to your tour that included maps related to the trek
- Pick-up from your hotel on your departure: touristic private transport from your hotel to the train station
- Entrance tickets to Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
- Professional English / Spanish guide for entire tour
- Assistant or second guide when there are groups over 8
- Meals according to program + snack at beginning of the trek
- Water bottle and Box lunch in Wiñayhuayna
- Vegetarian meals at no extra charge (also allergy-related menus can be accommodated)
- Visit the following Inca archaeological sites (Kanabamba, Wiñay Wayna, Sungate & Machu Picchu)
- Bus tickets down to Aguas Calientes town
- 1 night Hotel in Aguas Calientes town, Breakfast on the second day at Hotel
- Second bus tickets Aguas Calientes /Machu Picchu/ Aguas Calientes
- 2 hour private guided tour by your English speaking tour guide (plenty of free time to enjoy Machu Picchu on your own)
- Tourism class train ticket until km 104 (Chachabamba)
- Return ticket in Touristic class train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.
- First Aid kit, including emergency oxygen bottle
- Touristic class transport from Train / Hotel
- All local taxes
- Extra porter (Extra porters available to carry up to 22 Pounds)
- Entrance to Waynapicchu Mountain (book in advance if interested due to limited spaces)
- Walking stick ( we can rent if needed)
- Entrance tickets to Hot Springs
- **Tips for the crew (Porters and guide)
What you should bring:
- Original Passport (for check-in to the trail),
- A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek – prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco .
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended.
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
- Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – although no malaria risk has been reported
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
- Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
- We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
- Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
- Small towel or sarong
- Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs )
- Cash – sufficient for snacks, tips and souvenirs.
- Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you have one.
- Walking sticks or poles (we can hire these to you. Please note poles with metal tips cannot be carried into Machu Picchu and should be left at your hotel on the final day)
- Binoculars (if you have them)
Permits are needed for your chosen start date. Tour prices are based on the number of people in a group. Prices are valid from March 2019 through January 2020. All prices quoted are $USD
(Groups consisting of Max. 8; Min. 2 people)*
USD 465.00 Adults
USD 445.00 students **
- Student Discount: US$20.00 Check this link:( http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/items/estudiantes.html )
- Under 15 years will pay as student: US$20.00
- Under 7 years Discount: US$30.00
Optional Extras (Need to Book in Advance):
- Machu Picchu Mountain climbing: USD 75.00 (Need to book in advance)
- Huayna Picchu Mountain climbing: USD 75.00 (Need to book in advance)
- Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (5 star hotel) – US $580 per person per night (double occupancy)
- Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel (4 star hotel) – US $345 per person per night (double occupancy)
- Hotel Santuario (3+ star hotel) – US $65 per person per night (double occupancy)
- Vistadome train -US $65 for trip from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (Need to book in advance).
- Hiram Bingham train (deluxe) -US $485 for trip from Aguas Calientes to Poroy
- Hiking poles – US$15.00
Inca Trail Availability
Inca Trail Permit Availability
Check the Calendar
Quickly see if your preferred dates are available for Inca Trail Permits for the 4, 5, & 6-day Inca Trail tours.
Hiking the Inca Trail requires a GOVERNMENT-ISSUED PERMIT obtained by a licensed Inca Trail Tour Operator—like Cusco Journeys.
The government will only release 500 permits to start the Inca Trail each day and EVERYONE needs a permit (even professional crew!) so tickets sell fast. It is imperative to book these treks 5-6 months in advance.
What is the Inca Trail anyway?
The Inca Trail is the name given to a walking route that partially follows the course of an old Inca roadway leading to the city of Machu Picchu. For most people, the trail begins at the point of “Km82” on the railway between Cuzco and Machu Picchu and ends at Machu Picchu itself.
The Inca Trail is not the name of a particular travel company’s itinerary, although many travel companies offer Inca Trail tours.
Do I need a guide or porters? Do I have to join an organized tour?
In practical terms, there’s no need for a guide as the trail is fairly clear and well signposted where necessary. However, new regulations are now in force which make it mandatory to travel with either a licensed guide or an organized tour.
You’re not obliged to join an organized tour, but if you want to travel independently, you’ll need to get some other walkers together and hire a guide jointly. Solo walking no longer seems to be an option.
As far as porters are concerned, if you’re fit and accustomed to hiking with a heavy backpack, you can do without them. If you are unsure about your ability to carry everything you need over rough terrain or you are in a hurry, then porters may be a good idea.
Is the Inca Trail difficult?
Great question! The Inca Trail is considered a moderate hike; however, there are a lot of staircases to climb, and the altitude can also affect the body. We recommend renting a wooden walking stick as it helps with your balance and reduces stress on the knees. If you have mobility issues, if you requested, we can provide a CEO Or a Person
How many hours will I hike a day?
Make sure you pack your comfortable hiking boots, because it is estimated you’ll be walking six to nine hours for each of the first three days and about two hours on the last day.
What are the requirements to hike the Inca Trail?
To trek the Inca Trail with Cusco Journeys & Adventure, you must be over the age of 12, with a moderate level of fitness, and hold a passport that is valid for up to six months.
How high is the trail?
The trek begins at 2,800m (9,186 ft). The highest point you’ll reach on the trek is approximately 4,215m (13,780ft). You’ll also sleep at 3,700m (11,811 ft) for at least one night.
How cold does it get?
It can get chilly due to the altitude. During the Andean winter (May – September) the temperature can drop below zero at night. It can be cool during the summer months too, so we suggest bringing thermal underwear and a warm sleeping bag (Can you rent with Cusco Journeys & Adventure).
Is altitude sickness common?
It’s impossible to predict who will be affected by the altitude as your ability to adapt can vary from person to person. (We do recommend you undertake the trek in a good state of physical fitness.) Most of our travellers have no problem, as long as they take the time to acclimatize properly. This might include spending a full day in Cuzco (3,249m [10,659 ft] above sea level) and drinking plenty of water.
When is the high season on the Inca Trail?
Hiking the Inca Trail is popular all year round, however May to September is considered the high season. This means that permits can be sold out months in advance. However, if permits are not available, there is an option to walk the Lares Trek, which still takes you to Machu Picchu.
How far in advance should I book my tour?
To reserve a spot on the Inca Trail, we recommend you book your tour at least six months in advance during high season (May to October) and three months in advanced during low season (November to April).
Do I need a permit to hike the Inca Trail?
Yes. We require the following information for the purchase of an Inca Trail permit:
- Full name (as it appears on your passport)
- Date of birth
- Passport number
- Date of passport expiry (*Must be valid for the date of travel)
Please note that any attempts to modify your personal information will result in the loss of the permit. A refund will not be possible so make sure you double-check your information. As well, there’s a limited amount of permits in effort to preserve the trail.
Is it true that the Trail is going to be closed?
It’s periodically reported that the Trail will be closed temporarily or permanently. I think that a permanent closure is very unlikely, especially now that new regulations are in force to help preserve the Trail. On the other hand, temporary closures for maintenance are likely. It’s hard to get definite information, the Trail will be closed for all of February of each year, and this has also been reported by other sources.
When do we reach Machu Picchu and how much time will we spend at the ruins?
Reaching Machu Picchu depends on the campsite assigned to your group on the third night. However, many groups will reach the Sun Gate at around 6:00am. You’ll have plenty of time to soak in the ruins thanks to a two-hour guided tour and some free time to explore afterwards.
How do we get back to Cuzco?
After you’ve taken in all the beauty of Machu Picchu, your group will travel by bus to Aguas Calientes and then catch a train back to Ollantaytambo, where you meet you’ll take a bus back to Cuzco.
Is it possible to skip the Inca Trail even if the tour includes it?
Yes! Let us know that you don’t want to hike the Inca Trail when you book. We’ll arrange for you to spend two nights in Cuzco and then take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes. You will rejoin your group at Machu Picchu.
What type of accommodation can I expect on the Inca Trail?
We use three-man tents to accommodate two same-sex travellers. There are a few places on the trail where permanent (but very rustic) toilet facilities exist, and when they’re not available, your crew will set up portable toilet tents.
Do porters carry our luggage on the Inca Trail?
Yes! We’ll provide you with a large stuff sac where you can place 6kg of your personal items (including your tent and sleeping bag). Our skilled porters will carry these bags while you hike the Inca Trail. Your other personal items will be stored safely at our hotel in Cuzco. All you need to carry is a daypack containing the things you’ll need during the day like water, camera, sunscreen, or anything else that’s over the 6kg allowance.
Will I be given a sleeping bag and mat?
Great question! Sleeping bags are not provided, so we recommend bringing a compact three-season sleeping bag. You can also rent a sleeping bag in Cuzco; just let us know when you book. We provide our travellers with foam mats, but please feel free to bring your own-self inflating mat if you’d like.
What type of food will be served on the Inca Trail?
Our cooks prepare excellent high-quality meals that are perfect for a day of trekking. The menu usually includes: pasta, rice, chicken, fresh fruit and vegetables, oatmeal, and eggs. If you’re a vegetarian, no problem! We’re able to cater to your needs. If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, please let Us know.
Is purified water available on the trail?
Bottled water can be purchased on day one and on the evening of day three of the trek. Normally we offer boiled water from the third day to Machu Picchu, but there are tourists who prefer to buy water from the locals to help local people
Can I climb Huayna Picchu (optional)
Huayna Picchu is the large mountain just behind Machu Picchu. There is a narrow and steep trail right to the top of the mountain and there are also some interesting Inca ruins at the top. The view of Machu Picchu from the summit is breathtaking. As from 2012 the government authorities have decided to charge an additional fee for climbing Huayna Picchu. Unfortunately, at the moment, clients can’t buy an entrance ticket just to climb Huayna Picchu. The entrance ticket to Huayna Picchu is only available as part of a combined Machu Picchu – Huayna Picchu ticket that costs S/.152 for adults (approx US$60) and S/.76 for students with an ISIC card (approx US$30). This doesn’t offer good value to people doing the Inca Trail since the Inca Trail permit already includes entry to Machu Picchu.
The entrance tickets to Huayna Picchu must be bought BEFORE you start the Inca Trail and are sold on a first-come-first-served basis often several months in advance. Combined Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu entrance tickets can be bought online at www.machupicchu.gob.pe
There is a limit of only 400 permits for climbing Huayna Picchu and only 200 people are permitted to enter for each of the 2 sessions scheduled for 7am and 10 am. The guide will organise the tour of Machu Picchu around peoples climb of Huayna Picchu depending on how many in the group have permits. Please note your entrance to Machu Picchu and permit for Huayna Picchu are with your name and passport details so are non-transferable and non refundable.
What about Toilet facilities?
They’re scarce. Apparently there are now pit latrines at the campsites, but the rest of the time you’re on your own. What this means above all else is that you need to be a good citizen of the wilderness and obey the rules. Since it’s impractical to backpack your crap out of the region along with the rest of your rubbish, this means that when you have to go, you should go a long way away from the Trail, and bury your excrement properly after you’re done. This is not an especially pleasant task, but it must be done. And when you’re at the campsites, use the facilities available: stepping or even sleeping in someone else’s business is less than pleasant.
Also be sure to bring toilet paper. This is not provided in bathrooms on the trail.
Can I bring my own walking stick?
Yes, as long as it is not a metal-tipped walking stick, as they are not permitted on the trail. You can rent a wooden walking stick from us as well along with additional equipment like sleeping bags and air mattresses.
What is the suggested amount that I should tip the guides and porters?
Tipping is at your discretion, but is always appreciated. If you enjoyed the service you enjoyed from your guides, cook and porters.