Short Inca Trail 2 days to Machu Picchu 2023 - 2024

About this activity:

16 km / 10 miles
2 days 1 night
From Cusco or the Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu
Adventure – Cultural – Hiking

Tour details:

Discover the essence of the Inca Trail in an intense journey. Two breathtaking encounters with Machu Picchu. A passionate plunge into the heart of history.

Embark on a whirlwind adventure that captures the essence of the Inca Trail in a condensed time frame and ignites your journey with excitement. A unique highlight awaits you: not one, but two visits to Machu Picchu. Witness its splendor at dawn and dusk, savoring every nuance of this iconic site. Feel the pulse of history as you immerse yourself twice in the awe-inspiring wonder that is Machu Picchu – a profound experience that will remain etched in your soul.

During your 2-day journey on the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring Inca ruins, breathtaking mountain vistas, lush subtropical vegetation, and a variety of unique ecological wonders. This ancient Inca path winds its way through the National Park, leading you to the iconic Sun Gate, offering unforgettable views of Machu Picchu. Along the way, you’ll trek through misty cloud forests and eventually find yourself surrounded by vibrant subtropical greenery.

The highlight of this adventure is that those who choose the Short Inca Trail will have the privilege of witnessing the famous Machu Picchu Citadel in the late afternoon of the first day and then exploring it further the following morning. This itinerary has been carefully designed for travelers with limited time who wish to experience a portion of the historic Inca Trail and reach the New 7 Wonder of the World: Machu Picchu!

Full Itinerary: Short Inca Trail 2 days to Machu Picchu 2023 – 2024

Today is a very important day because you will receive the necessary information for your trekking trip, such as what to bring, how far our tour is, what places you will see, etc. Schedule is usually at 17:00hrs.

This day will begin with the pick-up from your Hotel in Ollantaytambo – at approximately 05:30 hrs. From here, you will go to catch the train approximately 06:10 hrs train headed to KM104. The train tracks follow the Urubamba River and will give you the chance to have spectacular views of the farmlands, snow-capped mountains and the mighty Urubamba River itself. The train ride will be approximately 1 hour and 15minutes, and will take us directly to the trek´s trail head, known as KM 104.

Once at the KM104 check point, we will have some time to get ready for the day´s hike. You should be sure to bring your original passport, since this is the very first checkpoint along the Inca Trail. Here you will visit the first Inca site on this trail, Chachabamba – the first ancient Incan checkpoint for entering to the Inca trail, and will have a brief guided tour to understand its importance and you absolutely have time enough to get many photos.

The hike will begin from KM 104 on uphill trail towards the Classic Inca Trail. If the weather is nice, we will have beautiful views of the Urubamba River and the surrounding Inca Sites. There will also be waterfalls on the way. The trail itself has some flat areas, as well as short climbs and short descents. It also has steps, arranged in sections that can be narrow in some areas, but not dangerous (not suitable for people who have vertigo). After approximately 3 hours of hiking, we will arrive at one of the most beautiful Inca sites of the Inca Trail, Wiñaywayna located at 2,600 meters above sea level. After exploring, visiting and learning about this place, its water sources, temples and agricultural terraces, we will enjoy our box lunch.

From Wiñaywayna, we will continue walking to the Sun Gate, from where we will have the first view of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. At this place, we will take enough time to rest and enjoy the surrounding views before continuing our descent to the postcard photo spot at Machu Picchu and then continue to the town of Aguas Calientes. A great advantage of this hike is that by the time we reach Machu Picchu, most of the day’s travelers will have returned home. This will leave the views of Machu Picchu almost empty.

Once we get the Machu Picchu exit, we will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and head to your hotel, we will have a wonderful shower to freshen up. For dinner, we will meet again, then relax and prepare for the next day we will have our tour in Machu Picchu.

  • Accommodation: Casa de Luz (3-star hotel)
  • Meals: Breakfast (at the hotel), lunch (packed), dinner (restaurant)
  • Entrance Tickets: Included

We will enter Machu Picchu from the lower part (circuit 3), your guide will give you all the information about Machu Picchu. We will show you the most requested place from where you can see the sunrise and take pictures. Then, your guide will lead you through the main sectors of the citadel for a total of 2.5 hours. At the end of the tour, you will have some time to yourself or, if you organized an extra hike, Huayna Picchu Mountain* or Machu Picchu Mountain, your guide will show you where to start this hike.

For your return to the town of Aguas Calientes we recommend you to be at least 2 hours before the departure of your train. Your guide will explain about your train schedule before your return. The return by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo will take approximately 2 hours. In Ollantaytambo, our representative will be waiting for you to the right of the exit door of the station with a sign with your name on it to locate you.
The car ride to Cusco will be approximately 2 hours and will have you dropped off at your hotel in Cusco.

OPTIONS: *Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain are both additional hikes available once inside Machu Picchu. Either extra hike may be hikes after your guided tour of Machu Picchu and must be arranged ahead of time. Both hikes are subject to availability and at an extra cost of USD $75 per person.

Meals: Breakfast (at the hotel)
Entrance Tickets: Included

End of the services

Additional Information

  • Perfect for: Everyone who wants to experience this world-famous inca trail to machupicchu, but does not have the time to hike the 4 days inca trail or prefers not to camp. Especially good for older couples, people who don’t want to hike a lot or families with little children.
  • Duration: 2 days/ 1 night
  • Level: Moderate, depending on fitness level
  • Distance: 13 kilometers or 8 miles
  • Limited spaces: Yes. To protect the historic trail to machupicchu, the number of people allowed to hike the 2 days inca trail each day is limited to 250. For this reason, you should reserve your spot as soon as possible. During the high tourist season from April to September, permits can sell out 5-7 months in advance.
  • Acclimatization: Please allow a minimum of 2 days in Cusco before your hike begins. It is not necessary if you are coming from places 2,000 m or 7,000 ft. high.

During the Inca Short Inca Trail, it is important to note that there will be no porters to carry your belongings, we advise you to try to pack as light as possible. The best recommendation is to bring a good quality daypack (there are good brands for adventure travelers) that is light and comfortable. Keep in mind that due to local regulations, your backpack should not exceed 25 liters. Large backpacks cannot enter Machu Picchu; there are lockers at the entrance to Machu Picchu where you can store them.

In case of an emergency, where you need a personal porter, this can be communicated to the sales consultant and booked for an additional charge. However, it is not recommended, since we can send some of your belongings directly to the hotel by train at no additional cost (must be requested in advance).

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

  • Original passport (a copy will not be accepted): Passports must be valid for 6 months beyond the travel dates to 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 year of travel.
  • Hiking boots for the Short Inca trail, you’ll need to ensure comfortable 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 bottle works very well, 2 of them to have the 2 liters. Plastic disposable bottles are prohibited 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

Additional Prices

  • Huayna Picchu: If you are interested in the hike to Huayna Picchu, the mountain overlooking Machu Picchu, there is an additional fee of $75 USD per person for us to buy your entrance ticket. Spaces are limited, for information about this hike in Peru, please contact us.
  • Porters: Depending on your level of physical fitness, the hike to huaynapicchu can be strenuous. If you would like to like to reduce the load you have to carry, you can hire an extra porter to carry your belongings. You can hire a porter to carry 15 kg (33 lb) for $135 USD. Included in this service is the porter’s salary, transportation, entrance to the inca trail and his food. If you decide to use this service, the porter will carry your pack until we reach Aguas Calientes. You must reserve your extra porter at the same time you reserve the 2 days inca trail, because the extra porter is counted as part of the 250-person limit on the trail to Machupicchu.
  • Hotel upgrade: Included in this inca trail tour is one night at a comfortable Hotel * in Machupicchu Pueblo. However, if you would like to upgrade to a 3, 4, or 5 star hotel, we offer the following prices and options: 3 Stars: $55 USD total for a double/matrimonial or single room (Hotel Ferre or La Cabaña) // 4 Stars: $235 USD total for a double/matrimonial or $215 USD for a single room (Casa del Sol – includes dinner at the hotel restaurant) // 5 Stars: $440 USD total for a double/matrimonial room or $330 USD for a single room (Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo or Sumaq Hotel – both include dinner at their restaurants) *Please note that all prices listed are for standard rooms and prices will vary for room upgrades. Also, all hotels and room types are subject to availability, and during high season prices will increase. In addition, we work with many hotels in machupicchu pueblo, so if there is a specific hotel not listed that you prefer, please let us know and we can provide you with a price.
  • Trekking poles: If you would like to rent trekking poles, the cost is $20 USD for a pair.
  • Vistadome train: Our price includes 2 train tickets in the Expedition train from Cusco to Kilometer 104 and from Machupicchu Pueblo to Ollantaytambo, However, if you would like to upgrade to the Vistadome train the price is an additional $60 USD per person one way (for round trip Vistadome tickets it is an additional $110 USD per person).

Price per person:

  • From 570.USD for adults
  • From 540.USD for children and students

To book the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you need to make an initial payment of 200.USD per person, the remaining balance can be paid online, in installments, or at our Cusco office.

You can also book this tour as a private service; contact us for a special quote!

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. [email protected]

FAQs Short Inca Trail 2 days to Machu Picchu 2023 – 2024

On the internet, you’ll find plenty of information about the Inca Trail, where it may seem like a strenuous hike suitable only for those with excellent physical fitness. However, there exists a lesser-known option, perfect for adventure seekers with limited time – the 2-Day Short Inca Trail. It’s also referred to as the Inca Trail Express or 2-Day Inca Trail. This 2-day alternative is an excellent choice for those who want to experience the Inca Trail without having to commit to a full 4-day journey.

To secure a permit for the Short Inca Trail, follow these simple steps:

  1. Click on any of the available BOOK NOW buttons.
  2. Select your preferred departure date.
  3. Complete the form by providing all the necessary passport information.
  4. Make the required initial payment to reserve your spot on the Short Inca Trail 2023 – 2024.
  5. Await manual confirmation from our booking team.

Due to the strict permit booking policy for the Inca Trail established by the Peruvian government, all reservations for the Inca Trail must be confirmed manually, which may take up to 24 hours on business days.

The Short Inca Trail is characterized as having an intermediate level of difficulty. With a length of 16 kilometers and an ascent of 600 meters, the trail includes various sections with slopes and some staircases, although it is generally in good condition and is not usually extremely challenging. Most hikers complete it without major complications.

However, as with any hike, there are always potential risks. It is essential to be properly prepared for the journey, which includes carrying enough water and food, as well as wearing suitable hiking footwear. Additionally, maintaining constant awareness of the surroundings and avoiding unnecessary risks are essential practices for safely enjoying this experience.

Panoramic view from the Winaywayna platforms on the 2-day Inca trail

There are a total of 250 slots available each day on the Short Inca Trail, including travelers and all the personnel on the team, such as guides, chefs, and porters.

No, you are required to make a reservation through an authorized operator, such as Natourandes, to access the Short Inca Trail.

It is possible to enter the Short Inca Trail without the services of chefs and porters, but it is essential to have the assistance of a licensed Tour Guide.


  • Briefing and welcome meeting.
  • Guided tours with professional guides - English speaking (ask for other languages speakers with the travel agent) - Passionate about sharing historical information, culture and customs of our locality.
  • Hotel: This tour 01 night in Aguas Calientes. We can easily add extra nights before or after the tour, if needed. Let your travel agent know if you are interested in extending the tour and we will quote you a price. Rates are based on double occupancy. Single rooms are charged extra. It is always possible to change hotels if you wish. We can also book the trip without hotels, if you prefer to book them on your own.
  • Transportation: All transportation is included in this trip. We will pick you up and make sure you are escorted until you are taken back to your hotel or to the airport.
  • Tickets: All the tickets are included Inca trail permit, entrance to Machu Picchu Circuit N°3, round trip bus tickets to/from Aguas Calientes & one bus ticket O’W.
  • Train Tickets: Train tickets are in tourist class Peru Rail or Inca Rail, from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes it is approximately at 6:10hrs and from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo is approximately at 14:55hrs, if you hoping to upgrade to Vistadome or 360° train then is $ 75 one way and $125 round trip.
  • Transfers: All transfers are included in our services till the end of the trip.
  • Meals: Only the meals specified in the itinerary are included.

Not included

  • Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu mountain ticket extra cost 75USD.
  • Flights: Flying to Cusco Peru can be tricky. Delays occur often and it is not uncommon for flights to be cancelled. Please be sure to arrive in the city at least two days before your trek start date. LATAM is the most reliable of the airlines, you must be sure that your domestic flights do not cause you to miss any of your tours.
  • Gratuities: Tipping is always appreciated and should be based completely on your satisfaction. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
  • Travel Insurance: This is not required, but always recommended. For those of you who live at sea-level, landing in Cusco Peru will take an adjustment period. Most people need one or two days to adjust. In case you have a hard time adjusting to the altitude.
  • Day packs: We recommend having snacks, water, hat, layers of clothing, insect repellent, documents and camera at all times, so you will probably have a small bag.
  • Last lunch in Machupicchu

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