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Short Inca Trail 2 days / 1 night to Machu Picchu

The short Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu is not very challenging, which makes it perfect for families with children and travelers on a tight time schedule. However, we still recommend that you be well prepared, moderately fit, and healthy prior to starting the trek.  To prepare, try walking 10km a day or start going to the gym a month before the trek.

 

Day by Day

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Day 1: Cusco – Km 104 – Aguas Calientes

We will pick you up early from your hotel at approximately 5:30 a.m. (depending on the train schedule) and take you by private van to the train station in Ollantaytambo. We will travel over picturesque mountain roads for an hour and a half to Kilometer 104 – the start of the two day hike. From Km 104, we will walk for approximately four hours up to the Inca site of Wiñay Wayna, which means “forever young” and is at an elevation of 2,680m/8,792ft. Here you will get to explore what many consider to be the most impressive site on the Inca Trail.

After exploring Wiñay Wayna, we will continue hiking to Inti Punku, the “Sun Gate”, where you will have your first dramatic, panoramic view of Machu Picchu, from 2,400m/7,873ft. After taking in the magnificent view, we will walk down the last part of the trail towards the ancient city. Once we arrive in Machu Picchu, we will be able to celebrate our accomplishment and take unforgettable pictures together.

We will then descend to the main entrance, where you will take the bus to the town of Aguas Calientes to have dinner and spend the night. We will have a walking tour of Machu Picchu the next morning.

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Day 2: Machu Picchu Tour

After an early breakfast, you will take the first bus at 6:00 a.m. to Machu Picchu. Your guide will give you a two hour walking tour of the mysterious city, after which you will have several hours of free time for your own exploration of the site. If you still have energy and a ticket booked ahead of time, you can also do the 45 minute climb up Huayna Picchu Mountain, at an elevation of 2,720m/8,923ft.
Once you are finished exploring the stunning site of Machu Picchu, you will meet your guide back in Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included in the price of the trek) and to receive your train tickets for your return trip to Cusco.
If desired, an extra night in Aguas Calientes can be arranged. This option is very popular as it allows you more time to explore Machu Picchu, visit the natural hot springs in Aguas Calientes, or enjoy a relaxing massage after your trek.

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Price

Price:

After we have received your booking form and confirmation your deposit was made, we will send you an electronic receipt confirming your trek has been officially booked and the exact departure date of your trek.

Returning train Included in the cost of this tour/trek is the Expedition train, which departs either at 6:20 pm or 7:00 pm  DEPENDING ON AVAILABILITY.

Can I get an early train ticket?
We can also book an afternoon train that departs 2:55 p.m. or 4:22 p.m. at an extra cost of US $35 per person the train we will book DEPENDS ON AVAILABILITY.
Please, notice that 35 dollars extra you will pay also will cover your private transportation to bring you back from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco

There is also an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train which is the extra US $75 per person. Please let us know your preference at the time of booking the tour. Unfortunately, none of the trains go straight to Cusco—they run either to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. In either case, we will transfer you back by bus to Cusco.

Can I change my return train ticket by myself?
At the time of your tour, it may be possible to make changes to your return train ticket if you don’t want to take the 18:20 p.m train. You will have to take your train ticket personally to the train station in Aguas Calientes and ask them to change the return ticket for an early one. You will probably be asked to pay an extra administration fee, which will depend on the train service and departure time. Please notice that once you will change your returning train you will responsible to cover your own transportation back to Cusco

How long is the journey back to Cusco?
You will be traveling for approximately 3 hours before you arrive back in Cusco. First, you will travel for 1.5 hours by train to the Ollantaytambo train station. Then you will be picked up by your driver outside of the train station. The driver will be holding a sign with your name on it so that there will be no confusion. If you do not see the driver initially, wait for them outside of the train station. Once the driver has picked you up, you will travel for another 1.5 hours in a private van/car to your hotel/hostel in Cusco. Arrival time in Cusco will depend on train availability. You will receive your return train tickets once your guide has finished your walking tour of Machu Picchu.

Discounts

  • Student Discount $10
  • Under 18 Discount $20
  • Under 7 Discount $50

Student Discount Requirements

We offer a student discount (USD $10.00). However, due to several incidents of users falsifying personal data, the ISIC card is no longer valid for purchasing a discounted tour. As of July 1, 2017, the rules for purchasing student tickets to Machu Picchu have changed: discounts are only available with presentation of a student visa granted by the Peruvian embassy or consulate in the student´s country of origin and/or by the National Superintendent of Migrations. These documents must be provided at the time of purchase; discounts cannot be applied retroactively and refunds or reimbursements, in this case, are not available. Please send us a scan or photocopy of your passport, student visa, and university ID card or transcript so that we are able to secure your discount.

Rental Items

  • Small day pack $10
  • Walking poles (sticks) $10

Included/Not Included

Included

  • Pick up from your hotel on your departure
  • Train tickets to the trail head (Km104)
  • Entrance fee to the Inca Trail
  • Packed lunch for the first day
  • Vegetarian food is available
  • Visit to 3 Archaeological Inca sites
  • Bus ticket down  to Aguas Calientes
  • Dinner and Basic Hotel in Aguas Calientes( includes breakfast)
  • Bus up to Machu Picchu
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
  • 2 hours guideed tour by your english speaking tour guide ( plenty of free time to enjoy  Machu Picchu
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes  back to Ollantaytambo
  • Touris bus from Ollantaytambo back  to Cusco

NOT INCLUDED

  • Breakfast on the first morning
  • Third bus tickets down to Aguas Calientes
  • Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day
  • Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (optional: 10 soles)
  • Tips for the guide
  • Entrance to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain

What you need to bring

  • Original passport
  • For students: ISIC card
  • Hiking boots
  • Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
  • Two t-shirts
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Comfortable trousers
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • We strongly recommend to bring your Camel Back and water canteen due to that government of Peru will not allow disposable plastic bottles anymore on the Inca trail and in Machu Picchu.
  • Toiletries
  • Camera, batteries, and extra memory cards
  • Shorts
  • Walking stick
  • Bandages
  • Sandals
  • Extra money
  • Bathing suit for hot springs in Aguas Calientes town

 

Travel Info

Pre-Trek Briefing

At Inka Trail Backpacker, providing a personal experience and ensuring you are thoroughly prepared for your trek is very important to us. Before you depart on the Inca Trail trek, you will receive a briefing in our office. At the briefing, you will get to meet our staff, receive maps and a detailed description of each day of your tour, be given duffel bags if you have hired a porter, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

Do the tour guides speak English?

Our team of guides are all local to the Cusco area and speak both Spanish and English fluently. Many of them also speak Quechua (the native language of Peru). With degrees in tourism and with two years minimum of experience under their belts, they are full of energy, information about the native flora and fauna, and the Inca sites, with a vast knowledge of ready sourced stories and legends told by the Andean people.

How many people are there per group?

The maximum size of our Inca Trail 4 day group service is 16 people. For groups of over 8 people we also employ an assistant guide to help out (the assistant guide is a fully qualified guide but may lack some of the experience of the main guide or still need to improve his/her English skills.)

Is the 2 Day Inca Trail hike difficult?

The 2 Day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu features only 6 hours of walking, which makes it perfect for new hikers  or active families. However, we still recommend that you  be well prepared and healthy prior to starting the trek. You must be moderately fit to complete this hike. To prepare, try walking 10km a day or start going to the gym a month before the trek. Also try to  spend a few days in Cusco adjusting to the high altitude before you will start the Inca Trail

Can you pick us up in the Sacred Valley?

Ollantaytambo is the best place to stay other than Cusco. By staying in Ollantaytambo, you actually get a little more sleep because we will be picking you up about 1.5 hours after the Cusco pick up time. However, please keep in mind that the pre-trip briefing can only be done in Cusco.

Storage during your trek: You can leave any of your belongings that you do not want to bring on the trek at your hotel or hostel you were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to securely store you belongings for you.

FAQs

Which part of the Inca Trail does the 2 day hike go through?

This trail starts at the 104km train stop and ascends to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna before continuing on to Machu Picchu. Since we arrive later to Machu Picchu, you will not have much time at Machu Picchu on the first day. We will spend the night in the town of Aguas Calientes and return to Machu Picchu again the following day.

How many kilometers will we walk on the trek?

We will walk a total of 10 km / 6.3 miles.

At what altitude will the trek start and finish?

We will start the trek at km 104, located at (2,200m/7,2600ft) above sea level. The highest point of the trek is the Sun Gate, located at (2,700m/8,858ft). Aguas Calientes, where we will stay overnight, is located at an elevation of (2,040m/6,690ft).

What type of hostal does Inka Trail Backpacker use for this tour?

We always book through the El Tambo Inn, which has three different properties and offers private, double rooms that offer comfortable beds, hot water for showering, WiFi, and breakfast.

 Can I book my own hotel/ hostal in Aguas Calientes?

You can choose any hotel to stay in Aguas Calientes – it´s a very small town – and absolutely can book on your own. This will reduce the price of your trek by $10 per person. If you choose to book your own hotel, make sure you tell us where you plan on staying so we can get you there safely

Can I spend an extra night in Aguas Calientes?

Of course. If you are ok with taking the same train out of Aguas Calientes that is part of your original itinerary, which is typically at 6:20 pm or 7:00.p.m that evening, than there is no additional charge to move the train back a day.

Will we have porters on this trek? How much should I carry on the trek?

For the 2 day Inca Trail hike we do not employ the services of porters. You should bring with you only the essentials: passport, rain pancho, camera, water, and a change of clothes. Your pack should not weigh more than 6 kg. Please also remember that you need to have enough room to pack your box lunch in your day pack  This box lunch is provided  by us on the morning of the first day.

When do I need to pay the balance for my tour??

We require everyone to be in Cusco for at least 2 nights prior to starting the trek, although 3 nights is even better.

You must pay your trek balance at least 2 days before trek departure. For example if your trek departs on a Monday you must come to our office before 7.30 pm on Saturday to pay the trek balance. This ensures that everyone in the group is well acclimatized to the high altitude before starting the trek.

How many days will I need to acclimatize to the altitude before the Inca Trail Trek?

It is very important to be well acclimatized before exerting yourself on a trek. This is why we require everyone to be in Cusco for a minimum of 2 days prior to regular treks like the Inca Trail. However, if you are doing one of our longer treks like the 6 day Combined Salkantay/Inca Trail Trek, you will need at least 4 days to acclimatize because these treks occur at much higher altitudes than Cusco. You can use this time spent acclimatizing to visit the city of Cusco, nearby Inca ruins, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Can I wear sneakers on my trek? Why do I need hiking boots?

No, sneakers are not recommended for the Inca Trail! The terrain is very steep, with loose gravel, puddles, mud, and other obstacles. You must have sturdy, waterproof footwear designed for this type of terrain, with good traction and ankle support. Be sure to break in your hiking boots before your trek! Wear them on several shorter walks or hikes before your trip, so that your feet can get used to them.

If you do not have hiking boots, or they are too bulky for your suitcase, you can rent them in Cusco for under one hundred soles.

Can I stay in the Sacred Valley?

Ollantaytambo is the best place to stay other than Cusco. By staying in Ollantaytambo, you actually get a little more sleep because we will be picking you up about 1.5 hours after the Cusco pick up time. However, please keep in mind that the pre-trip briefing can only be done in Cusco.

Is there an oxygen bottle available during the trek, just in case?

Yes, all our tour guides take an oxygen bottle with them along the trail and will provide oxygen as needed.

What is included in the boxed lunch? Do I have to carry my own lunch?

The first day of this trek includes a box lunch, which usually consists of a sandwich, fruit, and some cookies. As part of our commitment to sustainability, your lunch comes in a specially-designed, reusable cloth bag, which you may either keep at the end of your tour or return to your guide to be recycled. Please be aware you will be required to carry your own lunch during the trek. The bag is ideal for fitting inside or over a daypack, and weighs no more than two kilos when full.

Is there a direct train from Cusco to Machu Picchu? How long is the train journey back to Cusco?

The train travels between the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley and Aguas Calientes, a small town located fifteen minutes below the Machu Picchu complex. The journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is an hour and forty minutes. (The return journey will be about three and a half hours, because the drive from Ollantaytambo station to Cusco is about an hour and forty minutes.) From Aguas Calientes, it is either a fifteen minute bus ride or hour hike up to Machu Picchu.

There is no direct train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Although there is an additional station located at Poroy, about 25 minutes from Cusco, it is not always open. Train service from Ollantaytambo, meanwhile, is constant and reliable. Furthermore, taking the train from the Poroy station extends the total length of your journey between Cusco and Aguas Calientes to more than four hours, instead of three and a half.

Where do I have to be on the morning of the trek and where will I be dropped off at the end of the trek?

On the morning of the trek departure, we will pick you up from inside your hotel in Cusco (don’t wait outside in the street) and drop you off either in the Plaza de Regocijos ( next to the main square) or Plaza San Francisco (two blocks from the main square) upon your return to Cusco. You won’t be dropped off directly at your hotel/hostels.

It helps us if you try to stay in a hotel/hostal that is within a few blocks of the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). If your hotel/hostal is far away from the main square we will ask you to come to our offices with the exact location and name of your accommodation. If you are not staying in the city center, we may not be able to pick you up from your hotel. You must take a taxi to the center. 

The guide will come into your hotel and ask for you at reception. Because the centre of Cusco is full of small cobblestone streets, our larger bus/van is not permitted to enter certain zones in the city centre, so you will then have to walk a short distance to where the bus/van will be waiting for you. Traffic regulations prohibit large buses/van from entering the main square but usually after 10pm we don´t have a problem and will be able to drop you off in the main square upon your return. You can then take a taxi back to your hotel (between US$2 to US$4 for a taxi).

If we have to drop you off in Plaza San Francisco, you may be a bit disoriented (some people may need to be woken up!!) but we recommend that you ask for directions to the Plaza de Armas and our guide or driver will be happy to help. It’s only two blocks away, but usually it’ll be quite late at night so it is best to walk together as a group back to the Plaza before taking a taxi or walking back to your hotel.

What vaccines do I need for my trip? Will I need malaria pills?

Before traveling to Peru, you should consult your doctor. Routine vaccines, Hepatitis A, and typhoid vaccines are recommended for most travelers by the CDC. Some travelers may also need vaccines for Hepatitis B, rabies, and yellow fever. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should also be advised that the Zika virus is present in Peru.

Malaria pills are not necessary for these treks.

Do you recommend a rain poncho, or is a rain jacket okay?

The rainy season in Cusco is generally from November to April, when there are near-daily showers and the ground—especially in trekking areas—is wet and muddy. However, there are occasional showers throughout the rest of the year; you should always pack a rain jacket, regardless of when you plan to visit. For treks, a rain poncho is highly recommended—since you will be walking through rain for potentially several hours without shelter, a poncho will be much more effective at keeping all of your belongings and your base layers warm and dry. Waterproof shoes are also strongly recommended.

What if I get sick on the trail during my tour?

In the event of illness or injury, we will offer all of the support and care we are able; however, you should carry any medications you expect to need with you (ask your doctor for specific recommendations or prescriptions for altitude sickness, traveler´s diarrhea , colds and sore throats, and pain or inflammation). If you are not capable of completing the trek, we will transport you back to Cusco, where you can seek medical treatment. However, the cost of this transportation is not included in your tour and you will be expected to pay the additional expense—for this reason, we highly recommend travel insurance for your trek.

Will I have a private bathroom in the hostel?

Yes, in all of the hostels that we book for you, you will have a private room and bathroom.

Do I need walking poles?

Although not required, walking poles are recommended for any trekkers worried about joint stress or balance. They also are quite helpful in providing stability and leverage on especially steep climbs and descents. If you do not have poles or are unsure how to use them, we are able to rent them to you and provide instruction.

What documents do I need to bring to Machu Picchu?

As of July 1, 2017, you must have your original passport to enter Machu Picchu. You also need to have your entrance ticket, which your guide will give to you at the appropriate time. The passport that you bring to Machu Picchu must be the same one that you used to book your tour and entrance; if you change or renew your passport between booking and your trip, please be sure to bring the originals of both.

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