Short Inca Trail Trek

SHORT INCA TRAIL TREK

Condensed hike on the world famous Inca Trail
Activity Level: 3  | Duration: 2 days, 1 night | Group Size: 2-16 | Price: $495

Overview

Trek on the exact same path built by the Incas over 600 years ago! Spend 1 full day hiking through a beautiful mountain landscape, valleys filled with wild orchids, cloud forests and more. 

This condensed journey along the Inca Trail includes one day of hiking, one night in a hotel and one day touring Machu Picchu. It is an excellent option for people who would like to get a taste of hiking in the Andes, but are short on time or do not wish to camp. 

The hike will lead you from KM 104 to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), and on the other side of this magnificent viewpoint lie the glories of Machu Picchu. 

NOTE: Limited trekking permits—reserve your trip early
. Due to the popularity of this spectacular route, permits sell out 3+ months in advance.

Trip Highlights

  • Professionally guided tour of several Inca Sites 
  • Hike on the exact same path built and used by the Incas 
  • Wildlife present throughout the trek
  • Multiple micro-climates
  • See Machu Picchu twice 

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Scenery
  • Wildlife
  • Great company

Accommodations

  • 1 night in a 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes

Elevation map

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

TRANSPORTATION
All transportation for the trek.
This includes:
   - Pickup from your hotel in Cusco in a private van
   - Bus ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
   - Train ticket back to Cusco
   - Private van pickup from train station and drop-off at your hotel in Cusco
FOOD
We provide the following meals: 
   - Day 1: breakfast, boxed lunch, snack, dinner at a local restaurant in Aguas Calientes
   - Day 2: breakfast at hotel 

NOTE: Please notify our staff of any food allergies or restrictions, and we will ensure that the food is prepared properly.
WATER
NOTE: Please ensure that your water containers are filled when you leave the hotel on Day 1 to begin the trek. Our staff will provide clean water for the rest of the trek.
PROFESSIONAL GUIDES
Kusa Treks strives for greatness and this begins and ends with our people. All of our Lead and Assistant Guides are locals to this region and studied Tourism and/or Archaeology in University. They are all fluent in English and are passionate about their work. Trust us when we say, there is no better person to be on a trip with than a Kusa Treks guide. You will be in incredible hands!
PERMITS & TICKETS
Once you pay the trip deposit, we will purchase your hiking permits as well as your entrance tickets for Machu Picchu. The government issues this permit in your name, under your passport number, and for a specific time-frame; they cannot be changed once confirmed, which is why the initial deposit is non-refundable after 24 hours. We will also secure your train ticket back to Cusco at this time.
MEDICAL EMERGENCY
Alright, emergency sounds a bit dramatic. However, you can be confident in your Lead Guide and his staff. All of Kusa Trek's guides receive extensive First Aid training from a qualified and licensed physician, and we conduct mandatory review/training sessions twice a year.

Your Lead Guide will carry a Hiking First Aid kit (including oxygen), and should the need arise we will get you off of the trail and to a medical facility as quickly and comfortably as possible.

NOTE: We have never had to evacuate a hiker.
SUPPORT STAFF
In addition to your incredible guides, this trek requires a support staff including: chef, assistant chef, horse master and porters. We started Kusa Treks for several reasons, one of which was to provide living-wage jobs for local Peruvians.

We employ individuals passionate about Peru's culture and nature and who want to share their incredible country with our clients. You will be absolutely amazed at how hard these people work to provide you with an incredible trip.

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:

EQUIPMENT
We have high quality equipment available for rental during this trek. 
   - Trekking Poles (2): $10
HUYANA PICCHU PERMIT
Huayna Picchu is the pointy, tall mountain in the background of all the pictures of Machu Picchu. Tickets to climb it are available for travelers who wish to hike up an ancient staircase to the top of Machu Picchu's sister mountain.

Hiking to the top provides adventurers with incredible, unique views of Machu Picchu. This secondary hike will have a 1-hour ascent, 15 minutes to take selfies and high-five at the top of the mountain, and then a 45-minute descent.

The ascent and descent are pretty steep, but totally worth it!

Price: $75USD per person

NOTE: Tickets to ascend Huayna Picchu are limited, and are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis. We cannot guarantee permit availability less than 6 months before a trip start date.
VISTA DOME TRAIN
For your trip back from Machu Picchu to Cusco, we will book tickets on a "regular" train called the Expedition Train. However, there are several train upgrade options available, the most popular of which is known as the "Vista Dome Train".

The Vista Dome train has glass walls and a glass ceiling, which provide panoramic views of the surrounding beautiful Andes mountain-side. Tickets include in-trip meals and entertainment.

Price: $70 USD per ticket
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS
The Classic Inca Trail Trek begins and ends in Cusco, Peru. You are responsible for getting to Cusco.

We do offer a flight booking service. The price for international flights will depend on origin city, time of travel and preferred class of cabin. If you are interested in having us book your flights, please inform our team at the time of booking.
HOTEL(S) IN CUSCO
We include the accommodations you will need for the 5 days and 4 nights of this trek. We highly recommend that you arrive to Cusco at least 2 full days before starting a trek to ensure proper acclimation to the high elevation.

You are responsible for booking your own hotels in Cusco before and after the trek. Here is a list of our recommendations.

As with flights, we do offer a hotel booking service. The price for hotels in Cusco will depend on your preferred class of hotel. If you are interested in having us book your hotels, please inform our team at the time of booking.

Pricing:

GROUP TOUR PRICE: $495 
A "group tour" means you will be paired with other people that are doing the same hike on the same date as you.

PRIVATE TOUR PRICES: A "private tour" is just your group and our guides.
2 - 3 People: $605 
4 - 6 People: $585
7 - 9 People: $530
9+ People: $495

PRICES ARE PER PERSON AND IN U.S. DOLLARS ($)

Itinerary:

SHORT INCA TRAIL ITINERARY:

High Level Itinerary:

DAY 1: Driving, Hiking and Smiling!

Pick up from your hotel in Cusco. 1-4 hour train ride to Trail Head (depending on which town you are staying). 6-7 hours of hiking through beautiful scenery. Tours of multiple Inca Ruins. Delicious lunch. Hike to the Sun Gate. View Machu Picchu at sun set. Dinner & hotel in Aguas Calientes.

DAY 2: Machu Picchu

25-minute bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. Guided tour of Machu Picchu. Option to climb Huayna Picchu. Train ride back to Cusco, arrival between 7-8pm.


Details For Each Day

DAY 1: Driving, Hiking and Smiling
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 8,792 ft (2,680m)
  • Min Altitude: 6,888 ft (2,100m)
  • Distance Hiked: ~8miles (15 km)
  • Walking Time: 6-7 hours

Note: Our trekking times are approximate and will vary depending on: weather conditions, group ability and other factors.

MORNING

Your adventure starts very early! You will be picked up from your hotel at 6:00AM to take a 2-hour van ride to the train station in Ollantaytambo, where you will board an Expedition Train. You’ll have another 2-hours by train to reach KM 104 (the starting KM marker of our trek). The reason you woke up before the sun will become apparent when you start your trek. You will be one of the first groups on the Inca Trail, which will allow you to hike at your own pace and enjoy the beautiful views of the Andes.

Once on the trail, you will start with an easy walk near the Vicanota River. The trail will gradually begin to incline as it heads for the Chachabamba Ruins, which is a set of Inca Ruins that include a stone alter used to worship the sun and mountains. This site is still used by the locals to pay tribute to the beautiful nature that surrounds them. After visiting these historic ruins, the path will lead south with a steady incline up the mountain, where you will enter a beautiful cloud forest! The trail then opens into into a breathtaking open meadow on top of the mountain.

The scenery will continue to impress as you begin to descend the mountain into an incredible rain forest, highlighted with a majestic waterfall! Seriously, this stretch of the trail is magnificent and will likely take up a lot of memory on your phone or camera.

AFTERNOON

Once you reach the bottom of the valley, you will have a guided tour of the Inca Ruins called Wiñay Wayna (affectionately known as “Baby Machu Picchu”). We encourage you to take your time and appreciate the beauty of this incredible place. Your guide will explain the importance and meaning of these ruins after which you will enjoy a lovely boxed lunch prepared by our chef earlier that morning.

After completing lunch, you will hike through another cloud forest full of bromeliads, orchids and tree ferns, which combine to make a dazzling display of Andean beauty. After a few hours of hiking, the trail will begin to pass several age-old monuments built by the Incas, including stone stairs and drums. You will have the opportunity to climb 60 of these stairs in order to reach the famous Intil Punku (“Sun Gate”). The Sun Gate is an architectural wonder built by the Incas hundreds of years ago. At dawn on the summer equinox, the sun will pass through the Sun Gate and strike a pool of sacred water in the Sun Temple located in the center of Machu Picchu.

EVENING

From the Sun Gate, you will have an incredible vantage point to view the ruins of Machu Picchu below. By now it will be late afternoon and you will begin to descend stone steps built by the Incas. At each turn a different and wonderful view of Machu Picchu will present itself as you make your way to one of the more famous vantage points to view Machu Picchu. Upon reaching the lookout point, you will have 15-30 minutes to take pictures and observe the sun set behind the city of Machu Picchu!

After enjoying the sunset, your guide will lead you past the entryway of the Machu Picchu ruins to a bus stop, where you will board a bus and take a 25-minute ride down to the charming town of Aguas Calientes. Once you get to Aguas Calientes, you will enjoy a lovely meal at a local restaurant and turn in for the night at your hotel. Accommodations and dinner in Aguas Calientes are included in the price of the trek.

After dinner your guide will go over the plans for the next day, and you will be able to catch up on sleep after a long day!

NOTE: The incredible part about this trek, and why so many of our clients enjoy it so much, is that you will have the opportunity to see Machu Picchu twice and from different vantage points: once from the Sun Gate at the end of Day 1, where you will get a “birds eye view” that will allow you can see the entire city and again on Day 2 when you will actually enter the park to tour the ruins.


DAY 2: Machu Picchu!
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Max/Min Altitude: 7,972ft. (2,430m)
  • Distance Hiked: ~2 miles (walking around Machu Picchu)
  • Walking Time: 4-6 hours
MORNING

Today you will discover Machu Picchu, the world famous Sacred City of the Incas! It is entirely up to you when you would like to start this exciting day. The majority of travelers choose to wake up around 5:00AM. This allows you to eat a quick breakfast and head over the bus station where you take a bus ride from Aguas Calientes to the entrance gate Machu Picchu. The drive to reach Machu Picchu Park is 25 minutes back the way you came the night before, uphill on a road full of switchbacks.

The gates to Machu Picchu open at 6AM as the sun rises over the lost city. It is truly magical to experience a sunrise over these ruins, as the mists part and the city rises from the clouds stone by stone. If you have permits to climb Huayna Picchu, your official guided tour of Machu Picchu will begin at 8AM and end at 10:30AM. If you choose not to climb Huayna Picchu, your tour will begin between 6 and 7AM and end between 9 and 10AM

All of our guides have been to Machu Picchu hundreds of times and know this site incredibly well! Your walking, guided tour will start with the impressive Temple of the Sun. You will see several iconic areas of Machu Picchu including: The Citadel, The Royal Tomb, the Main Plaza, the Condor Temple and much more.

NOTE: Due to new regulations (effective Jan 1. 2019), the paths that lead through Machu Picchu are all “one-way”, meaning you are not able to backtrack during your visit to Machu Picchu. Each visitor without a permit to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain will have ~4 hours to spend inside the park and those with permits to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain will have 6 total hours to spend inside the park (including the 2 hour climb).

AFTERNOON/EVENING

After touring Machu Picchu, your guide will take you to the bus stop just outside the gates of Machu Picchu Park. You will take this bus to get back to Aguas Calientes. Depending on your train departure time (see below), you will either head straight to the train station, or you can go to one of the many fantastic restaurants in Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included).

There are several train class options for the ride back to Cusco. The main two trains are the “Expedition Train” (included in the price) and the “Vista Dome Train” (additional $70 USD per ticket). We usually try to get tickets for a train leaving in the 15:00 (3PM) hour, which will have you back to your hotel in Cusco around 19:00 (7PM).

If you have a preference for departure/arrival time, and provide us with 4+ months notice, we are able to book tickets for the following departures:

Expedition train departure times (train ticket included in price):

  • 15:20, 15:55, 16:20, 18:10

Vista Dome train departure times (additional $70 USD per ticket):

  • 13:37, only available for those who do not do the Huyana Picchu hike
  • 15:20, 16:20, 17:10, 18:20

All trains that depart from Aguas Calientes will arrive at one of two stations:

  1. Ollantaytambo station, 2 hour drive back to Cusco
  2. Poray station, 30 minute drive back to Cusco

Your arrival station will depend on the time of year of your trip, departure time and class of train. Once you arrive to either station, a Kusa Treks van and driver will be waiting for you at the station to take you back to your hotel.

NOTE: Train times depend on: the number of people in your group, the time of year of your trip and the class of train you prefer.