The "Short" Inca Trail 2d/1n - Ascend Adventure Travel
Trekking > The "Short" Inca Trail 2d/1n
Trip Notes
Difficulty: Moderate

Duration: 2d/1n

  • Hike along the authentic Incan-made trail that was used to reach Machu Picchu
  • Amazing Incan Ruins (Chachabamba, Wiñay Wayna, Intipunku, and Machu Picchu)
  • Amazing scenery – panoramic views and waterfalls
  • 2 visits to Machu Picchu
  • Hotel pick-up and transportation to the Poroy Train Station
  • Train ticket from Cusco to the starting point of the trail
  • Bilingual Guide
  • Entrance Fees for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
  • 1 night lodging in Aguas Calientes
  • Meals: Dinner and box-lunch the 1st day, and Breakfast the 2nd day
  • First-aid kit
  • Bus service from the ruins on Day 1 and to and from the ruins of Machu Picchu on Day 2
  • Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (Explorer Train)
Not Included:
  • Lunch and dinner on the last day. You can purchase your lunch either at the snack bar at the ruins of Machu Picchu or descend into Aguas Calientes. Dinner will be in Aguas Calientes.
  • Visit to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes: entry fee is usually about $3
Packing List:
  • Backpack
  • One or two changes of clothes and warm clothing
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • Hiking or sports shoes
  • Camera
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper
  • Snacks: Candy or energy bars
  • Water bottle and sterilizing tablets/water filter
  • Swimsuit (if you want to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
  • Cash in Peruvian Soles or $US
  • Original passport (required for entry to the Inca Trail)
  • Walking stick or poles (Suggested)
Possible Extensions/Upgrades:
  • Luxury Package: Includes either 4 or 5 star hotel accommodations (please specify), train tickets on the famous Hiram Bingham luxury train (known as the most luxurious train in all of South America), and private guided tour.
  • Train upgrade: Upgrade to the classy Vistadome train with better views, live entertainment and a complementary meal for the return trip!
  • Hotel upgrade: Upgrade to 3, 4 or 5 star hotel! (Basic package includes accommodations in a 2-star hotel)
  • 1-Night extension: Want to spend an extra night in Aguas Calientes? Just let us know!
Available Discounts:
  • Students (Requires a valid International Student Identity Card)
  • Children under the age of 11

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The Inca Trail "Short" Version 2d/1n

The Inca Trail “Short” Version is a great alternative for those who have a limited time to visit or don't have the energy for the full 4-day Inca Trail.  The first day consists of climbing up from the Urubamba River Valley along a beautiful stone-trail - passing by Incan Ruins, waterfalls, and highland jungle.  We will get our first look at Machu Picchu when we arrive at the famous Intipunku (“Sun Gate”) and descend into the ruins along the same path used by the ancient Incas.  We will spend the night in Aguas Calientes in a hotel. The 2nd day, we will enjoy a guided tour of the ruins and then have free time to explore the ruins on our own and climb the amazing Huayna Picchu.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Cusco - Inca Trail - Aguas Calientes

Bright and early at 5:30 AM we will pick you up at your hotel to take you to the Poroy Train Station located ½ an hour from Cusco’s main square.  This train will take us to the 104 km mark on the railway (approximately 3 hour by train) and drop us off near a control station where we will being the “Short” Inca Trail. Before beginning the moderately difficult hike, we will visit the archaeological complex of Chachabamba, which is located near the train drop-off.  These ruins were discovered in 1940, and probably served as a guard-house to this alternative entrance to Machu Picchu located along the Old Inca road near the banks of the Urubamba River. After a quick tour of these ruins, we will start on the trail to Machu Picchu.  This trek is a moderately difficult climb with an elevation gain of approximately 600 meters (approximately 2000 feet).  Along the way, we will get great views of the Urubamba Valley and the archaeological site of Choquesuysuy, pass by a beautiful waterfall, hike along an Incan-made stone trail with steep drop-offs, and shift from highland jungle to open grasslands and then back again.  After about 4 hours of hiking, we will arrive at the famous Incan ruins of Wiñay Wayna made up of a religious sector, an urban sector, and many agricultural terraces (2700 meters above sea level or about 8,900 feet).  From here, we will ascend another 15 minutes to the Trekker restaurant/hostel where we can stop for drinks and use the bathroom.

After a short break, we will continue on the last section of the Inca Trail towards the famous Intipunku (“Sun Gate” in Quechua).  Winding along the mountainside and dipping into magnificent cloud forests, this final part of the trail takes about two hours and culminates in a set of almost vertical steps leading to the Sun Gate.  Suddenly, the unforgettable sight of Machu Picchu is laid out before your eyes. We will take the trail leading down to the ruins all the while taking in the beautiful sights and scenery.  We will arrive at the ruins by approximately 4:00 PM and will have a short time to take pictures – however, we will have to wait to the following day for a more extensive visit.

We will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes where we will be spending the night in a hotel and getting a good night of sleep.

Day 2
Machu Picchu! - Cusco

This is the day you've been waiting for. We will wake up before first light to be among the first to arrive at the famous ruins. Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas," is located at approximately 2500 meters (or 8,000 feet, which is significantly lower than the city of Cusco). At 5:45 AM, we will take the bus up to the ruins and arrive around 6:20 AM. Machu Picchu is situated between two peaks, Mt. Machu Picchu ("Old Peak" in Quechua) and Wayna Picchu ("Young Peak" in Quechua). We will enjoy a 2-hour guided tour of the ruins in which we will learn about Incan architecture and uses of different structures, as well as visit the Main Square, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sacred Sundial and the ancient burial grounds. After the guided tour, you will have free time to continue to visit the world-famous ruins. Some possible activities besides visiting the main ruins include:

  1. Climbing Wayna Picchu (approx. 1 and ½ hours and special entrance ticket required)
  2. Visiting the Temple of the Moon (approx. 3 hours and special entrance ticket required)
  3. Walking to the Inca Bridge (1 hour)
  4. Climbing the last part of the Inca Trail to Intipunku ("Sun Gate," 1 and ½ hours)
  5. Climb Mt. Machu Picchu (twice as tall as Wayna Picchu and less crowded, approx. 2 hours - if you haven't already tired yourself out)
Around 4 PM we will descend to Aguas Calientes where we will grab a quick dinner before heading to the train station and returning to Cusco where you will arrive after nightfall and be dropped off at your hotel. This concludes an unforgettable journey to one of the 7 Man-Made Wonders of the World!


See the Inca Trail 2-day Trek Map!






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