Two day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Hiking the Inca Trail is for many visitors to peru one of the highlights of their trip. Walking over ancient trails surrounded by snow capped mountains and green valleys in the lush cloud forest, knowing that these used to connect a huge and mythical empire. A lot of people are interested in doing this hike which is famed to be one of the most beautiful on the planet but likewise, when they learn one has to camp on high altitudes for 3 nights often get put off. For these visitors, also interested in experiencing the Inca Trail but not willing to give in on comfort there is the two day Inca trail. This Trail, also called the short Inca Trail, allows you to hike the final kilometers of the trail before reaching Machu Picchu. The trail meets up with the last day of the 4 day Inca Trail and therefore you will have the pleasure of not only seeing the beautiful Inca ruin of Wiñay Wayna but also to first lay your eyes on this “Lost City” as it was intended by the Inca; when reaching the Sun Gate or Inti Punku.   The short Inca Trail therefore is ideal for those who have at least two days for their visit to Machu Picchu and apart from the site itself would like to see the Inca sites of Wiñay Wayna and the Inti Punku. You will spend one night in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town) but the night before and after back in your hotel in Cusco. This makes this one of the best one day treks to Machu Picchu and one of the best alternatives for a two day trip to Machu Picchu. As you will not be camping this two day version of the classic 4 day Inca Trail is also ideal for during the rainy season. Please keep in mind that both the 4 as well as the 2 day Inca Trail are closed in the month of February due to maintenance.   Quick Facts;

  • Hiking distance; approximately 16 km / 10 miles
  • Duration of the hike on day 1; 5 to 6 hours
  • Number of spaces available daily; 250
  • The Inca Trail permits do not allow for hikes to Huayna or Machu Picchu Mountain
  • Bring plenty of water as there is none en route
  • Lunch is mostly provided by your hiking operator
  • Only allowed with official guide and licenced company
  • Closed in February due to maintenance
  • Prices should include train ticket to km104 and return from Machu Picchu

  Day 1; Train to Km.104, visit Winay Wayna & reach Machu Picchu On day 1 you will take the train from one of the train stations; Poroy or Ollantaytambo Station (It is recommended to use one of the earlier morning trains departing around 6.00-7.00am) and get off after about 1 hour on the train at a place called km104 (this is km 104 of the train tracks). There is no station and the train only stops briefly so make sure to be ready. Here you will find a small bridge crossing the river and on the other side you will find the control post where your documents and tickets will be checked. This is the actual starting point of the hike. From here you will walk beside the river for a while passing some small Inca ruins. Slowly the path will start rising and suddenly you will be halfway the mountain overlooking the river. For the next 3 hours or so you will be hiking slightly uphill with some flat parts till you reach a natural depression where you can find a beautiful waterfall. This is the start of Winay Wayna, the final resting point before Machu Picchu. Winay Wayna is a beautifully located and quite large site which you will cross from bottom to the top using the original staircases. Once on the top you have a great view of the site as well as the valley below. It is here that you will meet up with some hikers doing the 4 day Inca Trail, most of them having set up camp around the site. You can enjoy your lunch here after the visit to Winay Wayna and from here continue for another 30 minutes till you get to the final staircase to the Sun Gate. These stairs are quite intense as the steps are very high and there are well over 200 to do. Once you make it to the top (hands and feet may be required) you will be rewarded with one of the most magnificent views in your life. From the Sun Gate (or Inti Punku in Quechua) you have a great birds-eye view of Machu Picchu and the impressive surroundings. From the Sun Gate it takes another 45 minutes to get to the actual site which you will reach next to the “Guardhouse”. From here some of the best pictures of Machu Picchu have been taken. From here you will be guided to the exit as the ticket for the two day Inca trail does not allow access on day 1. From the exit you can head to the buses and take your bus down to Aguas Calientes and your hotel for the night. You will reach the hotel around 5.00-6.00pm.   Day 2; Machu Picchu visit and return to Cusco or the Sacred Valley On day 2 you will, in coordination with your guide most likely head to the site with one of the earlier buses to Machu Picchu - buses start operating from 5.30am onward.  You will be allowed to enter the site from 6.00am and can visit the site for 4 hours. You will enjoy a guided tour of the main parts of the site for about 2 hours and can enjoy another two hours of free time. During this time you can unwind and enjoy the views or perhaps take a light hike to see the impressive Inca Bridge. After your visit you can head back to the entrance / exit and take your bus back to Aguas Calientes from where you can return by train to the Sacred Valley or Cusco. If you would like to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain this day you will need to purchase a new entrance ticket.   For more information or questions, please feel free to contact us.