Ultimate 2 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Join hundreds of satisfied hikers – book your Ultimate 2 Day Inca Trail Trek now!
Experience a taste of the Inca Trail with our 2 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, also known as the Sacred Inca Trail or the Camino Real de los Incas or like Short Inca Trail. Starting at Km 104 along the railway from Cusco, the trek involves a four-hour uphill walk to Wiñay Wayna and a couple more hours to Machu Picchu, making it perfect for those who want to experience the trail but are short on time or energy.
Since regulations were introduced in 2002, solo treks have been prohibited for both the two-day and four-day Inca Trail treks. This moderate-rated itinerary takes you to an altitude of 2700m at Wiñay Wayna before descending to 2400m at Machu Picchu. While the trek is at a lower altitude than the Short 2 day Inca Trail trek, it’s still essential to be fairly fit and take regular exercise.
After arriving at Wiñay Wayna, trekkers must now continue to Machu Picchu and spend the night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes. You’ll have the chance to explore the ancient site and indulge in a guided tour on the second day. Don’t forget to pack at least 1.5 liters of water as there are no refill points after the waterfalls just before Wiñay Wayna.
The route is open in February when the Classic 4 day Inca Trail is closed, and we provide our clients with private transportation to ensure the best experience possible. Book with us and get ready to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!
- Day 1: Short Inca Trail & Sun Gate
- Day 2: Machu Picchu
The 2-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a stunning adventure that offers hikers the chance to experience some of the most beautiful natural landscapes and ancient ruins in Peru. Here are some of the highlights of this incredible tour:
Hiking through stunning Andean landscapes, including cascading waterfalls, dense forests, and snow-capped peaks.
Exploring ancient Inca ruins along the way, including the impressive archaeological site of Wiñay Wayna.
Reaching the Sun Gate at the end of the first day, where hikers will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains.
Spending the night in the town of Aguas Calientes, where hikers can relax and enjoy comfortable accommodations before exploring Machu Picchu.
Exploring the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu on the second day, including the impressive Temple of the Sun and the Intihuatana Stone.
Learning about the fascinating history and culture of the Inca civilization from experienced guides.
Overall, the 2-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is an unforgettable experience that combines stunning natural beauty with ancient history and culture.
Hiking with Visit Machu Picchu is an incredible way to experience the magic of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. Here are some of the highlights of hiking with our local company:
Expert guides: Our experienced and knowledgeable guides are passionate about sharing the history and culture of the Inca civilization with our visitors. They are also trained in safety and first aid, ensuring that hikers feel safe and comfortable throughout the journey.
Customized itineraries: We offer a variety of hiking options, including the classic 4-day Inca Trail, shorter 2-day Inca Trail, and alternative hikes like the Salkantay Trek. We also offer customized itineraries, allowing hikers to tailor their experience to their specific interests and needs.
High-quality equipment: We provide high-quality hiking equipment, including tents, sleeping bags, and trekking poles, ensuring that hikers have everything they need for a comfortable and enjoyable journey.
Local connections: As a local company, we have strong connections to the local communities along the Inca Trail. This allows us to provide our hikers with authentic cultural experiences and support the local economy.
Sustainable tourism: We are committed to responsible and sustainable tourism practices, minimizing our impact on the environment and supporting local conservation efforts.
Overall, hiking with Visit Machu Picchu is an incredible way to experience the beauty and history of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, with the support of experienced guides and a local company that is committed to responsible and sustainable tourism.
Here is a day-by-day breakdown of the 2-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:
- Early morning pick-up from your hotel in Cusco and transfer to the train station.
- Scenic train ride to the starting point of the Inca Trail, km 104.
- Begin hiking through beautiful Andean landscapes, including cascading waterfalls and dense forests.
- Visit the ancient Inca ruins of Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna.
- Continue hiking to the Sun Gate, where you will enjoy stunning views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains.
- Descend to the town of Aguas Calientes for dinner and overnight stay in a comfortable hotel.
- Early morning departure to Machu Picchu to watch the sunrise over the ancient ruins.
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu, including the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana Stone, and other impressive archaeological sites.
- Optional hike to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain for breathtaking views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains (tickets must be purchased in advance).
- Afternoon return train ride to Cusco, with a transfer to your hotel upon arrival.
Overall, the 2-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu offers a challenging but rewarding hiking experience, with the chance to explore stunning natural landscapes and ancient ruins, and learn about the fascinating history and culture of the Inca civilization.
The weather in Cusco is mainly influenced by two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.
The dry season, which runs from April to October, is characterized by sunny and clear skies. This period is generally considered the best time for hiking in the Cusco region.
On the other hand, the rainy season falls between November and March, with heavy rains and short bursts of downpours. The rainy season brings lush greenery and flourishing flora and fauna to the area.
It is worth noting that the Inca Trail undergoes maintenance and is closed in February of each year, and no groups are allowed to operate during this time.
Embark on a 2-day Inca Trail adventure to Machu Picchu and explore the most impressive stretch of the trail. Visit beautiful Inca sites, witness a diverse range of flora and fauna, and take in stunning panoramas of the Andes mountains. Covering 16km of the trail, the journey begins in the Sacred Valley and works its way up along an original Inca Trail to the Inca site of Wiñay Wayna before continuing on to Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate (Inti Punku).
During the trek to Machu Picchu, you’ll pass through the lush and verdant cloud forest that covers the mountain, where you’ll see a variety of plants, flowers, and birds. Keep your eyes peeled for larger mammals like Viscachas (rabbit-like Chinchillas) and Spectacled Bears if you’re lucky. After a full day of trekking, you’ll arrive at the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) in the late afternoon to witness breathtaking views of Machu Picchu spread out on the mountain below. Capture the perfect shot during this ideal time for photos with few tourists around. After passing through the Sun Gate, you’ll continue along the trail before taking a side trail that leads to Aguas Calientes, where you’ll check in to your hotel in the valley below.
- Meals: Box Lunch and dinner.
- Accommodation: Hotel, “Camping on request”.
- Walking Distance: 16kms/10 mls (6 hours more or less of hiking)
- Difficulty: Easy/Moderate.
- Walking Time: Approximately 6 hours (including picnic lunch en route)
- Walk and Terrain: Walk, canter on open roads, some steep ascending
- Places covered: Km 104, Wiñayhuayna, Inti Punku (Sun Gate) and Aguas Calientes.
Rise and shine at 4:00am for an early start to your day. We’ll take one of the first buses back up to Machu Picchu so you can enter the site as soon as it opens at 6:00am. You’ll have a 2-hour guided tour of the site where you’ll learn about the history of the Incas and visit all the most important areas of the citadel. After the tour, you’ll have free time to explore the site on your own. If you have permits, you can also choose to climb either Huayna Picchu (2 hours round trip) or Machu Picchu Mountain (3 hours round trip).
During your free time, you can also indulge in some of the following optional activities (not included in the price):
- Climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain for a different perspective of the site’s beauty and magnificence.
- Visit the new local museum in Aguas Calientes.
- Take a relaxing soak in the hot springs.
When you’re ready to head back to Cusco, you’ll descend to Aguas Calientes by bus (included) and then board the Expedition train to the Ollantaytambo Train Station (train departure time can vary according to the schedule and availability). At the Ollantaytambo Train Station, our private van will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel in Cusco.
Please note that the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain hike depends on availability, so please let us know if you want to add one of these extra hikes at the time of booking. Also, we only transport Visit Machu Picchu clients in our vans/cars, and do not use public transport.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Distance: 8.9kms/5.5mls “By Bus in 25 minutes”
- Difficulty: Easy
Pre-departure briefing: Visit Machu Picchu will host a pre-departure briefing where you will meet your Short Inca Trail guide and group at our office. The orientation will take place around 6:00 PM, the evening before the trip begins. If you are unable to attend at this time, please let us know so we can coordinate another time that works for you.
Touristic Transport: You will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco in the morning and transported by private vehicle to Ollantaytambo Train Station.
Touristic Train Expedition Service: The train will depart from Ollantaytambo Train Station and stop at Chachabamba “Km 104,” the starting point of the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. You have the option to upgrade to the Vistadome Train at an additional cost.
Adventure Experienced Short Inca Trail Tour Guide: Your English-speaking guide is a professionally educated, certified tour guide with a passion for teaching others about their heritage. They grew up in the region and are knowledgeable about the culture and surroundings along the entire route. Your guide will lead your group in ancient ceremonies and ensure your safety and comfort throughout the trek.
Tour Guide in Machu Picchu Cultural Experienced: Your English-speaking guide is a professionally educated, certified tour guide with expertise in the cultural significance of the sacred city of Machu Picchu.
Overnight in Machu Picchu Village: We carefully choose each hotel to provide a unique, local experience. Please check our options for hotels. Our hotel in Aguas Calientes offers double or triple rooms, private bathrooms, hot showers, Wi-Fi, breakfast, and luggage storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
Entry tickets: Your package includes an entry ticket to The Short Inca Trail “Sun Gate to Machu Picchu” and an entry ticket to the Machu Picchu Site.
Meals: We provide 1 lunch and 1 dinner during the trek, with vegetarian, vegan, and special menu options available at no extra cost. Please note that the 1st breakfast and last lunch after Machu Picchu on the 2nd day of the trek are not included.
Water: We will supply all the water you need for the first day of the trek at our office in Cusco. After you arrive at Machu Picchu Village/Aguas Calientes, you will find plenty of shops and restaurants. You must bring your own water bottles or camel back, and we recommend carrying about 3L worth.
Medical kit and Oxygen bottle: Our crew will bring a first-aid kit, including an emergency oxygen bottle.
Train tickets back: We will provide train tickets for your return journey from Aguas Calientes “Machu Picchu Village” to Ollantaytambo Train Station. The departure time will be confirmed during the briefing and is subject to availability.
Transfer back to Cusco: We will provide private touristic transport from Ollantaytambo Train Station to your hotel in Cusco on the 2nd day of the trek.
24-hour guest service: We offer telephone service available 24 hours a day for easy communication and preparation with the agency.
- Briefing at our office the night before and duffle bags provided
- Hotel pickup and start the hike
- Extra luggage storage available
- Train to 104km
- Entrance ticket to Short Inca trail provided
- Snack provided for the hike
- Lunch with appetizers, and hot drinks
- Early breakfast provided
- Snack provided
- Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu provided
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Bus ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Expedition class train with great views
- Bus transfer back to your hotel in Cusco
- Trekking sticks: If you need them, you can rent a set from our company.
- Huayna picchu /Machu Picchu Tickets
- Panoramic Vistadome train
- Day 1 meals: Breakfast costs around 5 to 10 USD, depending on your choice.
- Meals in Machu Picchu village: Lunch and dinner in Aguas Calientes cost around 20 to 25 USD, depending on your selection.
- Personal clothing and gear
- Travel insurance
- Tips for our staff: Our agency staff is well paid, so tipping is optional. If you choose to tip, we recommend 6 to 8 USD per day per traveler for all the trek staff.
- Additional costs or delays beyond our control, such as changes to the itinerary due to safety concerns, bad weather, illness, political instability/strikes, change of government policy, etc.
- Price per person: $449
- Student discount: $35 off per person for anyone with a valid university student card or who is 17 years old or younger. To receive the student discount, we need to see a copy of the university student card or passport at the time of booking.
Huayna Picchu mountain: An additional entrance ticket costing $75 per person, offering a 45-minute hike to the top. Tickets can be purchased for the first session from 7-8 AM or the second session from 10-11 AM. We purchase the second session for our clients, allowing them to enjoy their tour of Machu Picchu before starting the trek.
Machu Picchu mountain: An additional entrance ticket costing $75 per person, offering even more stunning views than Huayna Picchu but takes an hour and a half to reach the top. The ticket is only valid for a specific timeframe between 9-10 AM, and you cannot hike the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu Mountain on the same day.
Vistadome Train: An upgraded train with larger seats, windows, and entertainment that costs $75 per person. The train leaves at 4:43 PM and travels to Poroy, a train station closer to Cusco. Transportation back to your hotel is included. Our tours typically include the Expedition Train, which leaves at 4:22 PM from Aguas Calientes.
- Valid student ID (if applicable)
- Immigration card (given on the plane upon entering Peru)
- Good daypack (smaller is better)
- Water storage (such as a Camelbak) with at least 2-3 liters capacity
- Comfortable hiking boots with good soles
- Face moisturizer
- Bug spray
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Toilet paper
- Personal medication
- First aid kit (band-aids, moleskin, etc.)
- Water (you are responsible for your first morning of water only)
- Rain gear
- Music player
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
- Extra money for souvenirs, drinks, and tips
You will have a briefing the night before your trek at 6:30 PM. It will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes long. If you are unable to make it, please coordinate another time with a member of the Expeditions office team. You will receive your duffel bags during the briefing.
For the 2-day Inca Trail Trek with hotel, a briefing is not included. Our office staff will review all the details during your check-in time.
Local Expers are one of the few companies that will pick you up directly from your hotel. If your hotel is located in the center of Cusco city, we will coordinate a pickup time based on a time that your guide will discuss during the briefing. Depending on traffic conditions and previous pickups, pickup times may vary between 30 – 45 minutes.
It is important to note that smaller hotels and Airbnbs are often located on streets that cars can´t pass through. They also are frequently on hillsides with long steep climbs, making it difficult to carry luggage. We highly recommend that you book accommodations with better access. You can check our hotel list for comfortable accommodations with easy access to pick up and drop off.
When leaving Machu Picchu, you will take a 25-minute bus ride from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes village. Buses are first come first serve and run all day. From there, you will take a train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy, depending on your itinerary. You will be given your train tickets during the briefing. Make sure you arrive at the platform 30 minutes ahead of time.
Once you arrive at the train station, look for a man wearing green with a Visit Machu Picchu sign. He will then drive you to San Francisco square, Cusco. The van ride from Ollantaytambo to nearby San Francisco square takes 2 hours, while the van ride from Poroy to nearby San Francisco square takes 30 minutes.
Once you arrive nearby San Francisco square, you will separate into separate pre-paid taxis and driven back to your hotel.
Machu Picchu now has two different time windows for visits: morning or afternoon. Your entrance ticket will be valid for only one session. The morning session is from 6 AM to 12 PM, and the afternoon session is from 12 PM to 5:30 PM. However, if you have tickets to hike Huayna picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will have some extra time until 2:30 PM.
Machu Picchu is a beautiful site, and many people enjoy hiking one of the mountains next to the ruins after their tour.
Huaynapicchu is the most popular mountain, and it often sells out quickly, so it is best to book in advance. The hike takes around 45 minutes to reach the top and another 45 minutes to come back down. Tickets are sold in time sessions, and you can choose between the first session from 7-8 AM or the second session from 10-11 AM. We usually book the second session so that you can enjoy your tour with your guide first. You will do this hike on your own, but your guide will show you where to start.
Machu Picchu Mountain is a bit longer and less popular than Huaynapicchu. It takes around 1.5 hours to reach the top and another 1.5 hours to come back down. Again, there are two time windows for this hike, from 7-8 AM and 9-10 AM, and we usually purchase the second time window.
If you are doing a 4 or 7-day Inca Trail trek, you will have to book Huaynapicchu Mountain for the second day of your visit to Machu Picchu. If you are doing the 2-day Inca Trail trek, you will have to book Machu Picchu Mountain for the second day of your visit to Machu Picchu.
Make sure to tell your guide about any health conditions or concerns that you have. Though our guides are not medical professionals, they have first aid training. You are responsible for assessing whether a tour is suitable for you. We recommend consulting with your physician to confirm your fitness for travel, participation in planned activities, and vaccinations or medical precautions you may need. If you develop extreme altitude sickness or any other illness that prevents you from hiking, we will help you coordinate a visit to Machu Picchu by train.
When you book a group tour, be aware that everyone has different hiking skills and ages. Your guide will work with the group to ensure everyone has a good time. If necessary, the guide will make modifications to the tour to fit the group’s needs.
Strikes are frequent in Peru and can disrupt tours. We will do everything we can to ensure your trek continues as planned, but tours might need to be canceled under certain circumstances. Your safety is our top priority.
You are responsible for your items throughout the tour. Remember to be diligent about where you leave your things, and do not leave anything unintended during your hike.
Tipping is part of the tradition of any trek to Machu Picchu. We recommend tipping porters and chefs between 50 and 200 soles depending on the trek. For the guide, it’s more personal and should be decided based on your relationship with them. You can tip with U.S. dollars, Peruvian soles, or even your credit card.
Travel insurance is strongly recommended, as adventure travel includes more risk than the average trip. We can help recommend an agent to walk you through this type of insurance if needed.
The weather in Cusco is unpredictable. Even during the dry season from April through October, it can still rain. Bring rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho, and waterproof gloves. Layers are key to adjusting to different temperature changes. Prepare for the evening’s cold temperatures with a warm packable down jacket.
Altitude sickness is a concern when traveling to high elevations. Spend at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek in the Andes to help your body adjust to the lower amount of oxygen in the air.
To avoid altitude sickness in Cusco, it is recommended to take things slowly and allow your body time to adjust to the altitude. It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol and coffee, which can dehydrate you. Coca tea can be helpful in preventing altitude sickness and is a traditional remedy used in the region.
Additionally, avoid smoking and sleeping pills, which can make it harder for your body to get the oxygen it needs. If you’re planning to take medication to prevent altitude sickness, it’s recommended to start taking it a couple of days before you reach high altitude and continue taking it while you’re there.
Remember, the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race, so go slow and enjoy the journey. If you do experience any symptoms of altitude sickness, let your guide know right away as they are trained to help you through it.
To get to Cusco, you can take a plane or a bus. The airport in Cusco is only for domestic flights, so international travelers must first fly to Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is on the same day with the same airline, you must pick up your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by plane, and there are many airlines to choose from. LATAM has the most options, but it’s usually the most expensive and flights may be delayed or canceled due to the high altitude of Cusco and the weather. If you’re coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno, taking a bus is a good option, although the trip can be long, especially from Lima. Buses in Peru are comfortable and well-maintained, but the trip from Lima will take about 20 hours or more.
Ultimate 4 Day Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
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