Machu Picchu Hike 2025 ! Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Salkantay Trek Machu
Sustainable Tourism Operator
+51 912 891560

Short Machu Picchu Hike 2025

Short Machu Picchu Hike 2025

The Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is designed for those with limited time but with the aim to explore enigmatic and awe-inspiring Inca sites, and a wide range of biodiversity and not miss out to hike on an original Inca Trail. During the Machu Picchu hike, you will explore the sites of Chachabamba and Wiñaywayna through a guided tour. Chachabamba is located on the left bank of the Urubamba river used as one of the main entrance way to Machu Picchu and Wiñaywayna perched up on the hillside with a name meaning ‘Forever Young’ due to the inca structures still standing over five centuries, located near Machu Picchu and with stunning views down on the Urubamba river,was country estate of the 9th Inca ruler Pachacutec.


Along the way, you will enjoy some scenic views of the Urubamba River and see playful torrent ducks, various wild orchids and bromeliads. In addition, you might spot the colourful Cock-of-the-Rock, the national bird of Peru. Later on, you will hike to Inti Punku (Sun Gate) to admire the sunset above Machu Picchu. Then, you will descend to the town of Aguas Calientes to check into the hotel and rest in your comfortable room or soak in the thermal baths pools (hot springs).


The following day, after an early morning breakfast, your Guide will take you back to Machu Picchu to explore this New Wonder of the World!! After the guided tour, you might enjoy the site on your own or hike up either of the main mountains (Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain) and take panoramic photos of the Inca jewel!

Before you go

Machu Picchu is the least mentioned Inca site in the Spanish chronicles, so contemporary archaeologists can do nothing but speculate about its functions. Local Quechua farmers knew about the Inca site, and in fact, an 11-year-old boy showed the complex to the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was looking for Vilcabamba, the last Inca town) on 24 July 1911. Since then, the rest of the world has learned about its existence. The site was covered in dense vegetation, so Hiram Bingham and his team returned and cleared the site in 1912 and 1915. In the '70s, an extensive reconstruction was carried out. Over the years, a lot of work has been done excavating and studying the site. But many questions still remain unanswered.


Machu Picchu Hike Tour Overview

Tour Location: 

 Inca Trail

Type of Tour:

 Hiking, Cultural, Natural 

Service Level:

 Comfortable, a hotel, meals and private transport included.

Cultural Rating:


Wildlife Expectation:


Departure Point:

 Your hotel in Cusco.

Briefing Point: 

 Your hotel, 2 or 1 day before the trek. 

Return Point: 

 Our driver will drop off in your hotel

Group Size:

 Minimum: 2, Maximum: 8

Age Requirement:

 12+, all travellers aged under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.


 2 days/1 night



Physical Rating:


Maximum Altitude:

 2,730 m/8,792 ft.


 From March to January, except for February (the site maintenance)


 Hotel - 1 night.


 Private van, 2x train ride (Expedition Class).


 1x breakfast, 1x lunch, 1x dinner, 1x snack bag.


Short Inca Trail Itinerary:

Day 01: Cusco - Km 104 (trailhead the 2 day Inca Trail) - Aguas Calientes

Day 02: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco


Highlights of the Short Inca Trail:

  • Trekking the Inca Trail only for 2 days enjoying explanations of a professional English speaking tour guide,
  • Guided tour of the Inca site of Chachabamba,
  • Discover the scenic trail of Machu Picchu Hike
  • Enjoy seeing orchirds and bromeliads
  • Visit of the Inca site of Wiñay Wayna,
  • Arriving at Inti Punku - Sun Gate.
  • Sunset above Machu Picchu, 
  • Explore the mystical Machu Picchu through a guided visit!

Machu Picchu Hike Tour

Machu Picchu Hike

Is the 2 Day Inca Trail Worth It?

The Short Inca Trail is known for the best alternative Machu Picchu hike to the 4 day Inca Trail  as  it is not as hard but as scenic and interesting for the Inca sites and sceneries. The first hours, you will enjoy an outstanding  scenery. You will hike up to Wiñaywayna approx 4 hrs. Upon arrival at the site, you will explore and enjoy the views of the Urubamba river vally. Then you will head to Inti punku (sungate) for 2 hrs approx. Afterwards, you will descend to Machupicchu site itself for closer views and finally bus down to Aguas Calientes. You will hike a total  of 8 hrs on the first day. On the Second day, you can walk  up or you can cach the tourist bus to the lost city of the Incas. if you decide to walk up to Machu Picchu, dont worry!! you can go at your own pace but you will definitely  hit your goal 

We recommend doing and exploring this short Inca trail as it is one of the best ways to get to Machupicchu

  • Minimum Altitude: 2,100 m / 6,900 ft.
  • Highest Altitude: 2,730 m / 8,792 ft.
  • Walking Distance: 12 km / 7.46 miles

How long is the Machu Picchu hike?


40 km/ 25 miles

This walking distance goes from Km 104 (headtrail) to Machu Picchu.


Short Inca Trail: Departures 100% Guaranteed!

Do you need to book it in advance? This 2 day Machu Picchu hike has departures guaranteed, but Inca Trail permits, train tickets and entrance fees to Huayna PicchuMachu Picchu Mountain are subject to availability! For that reason, we HIGHLY advise booking it WELL in ADVANCE to ensure you receive exactly what you want!!


Please Note: May, June and July are the peak months of the High Tourist Season which means that Inca Trail permits SELL OUT MANY MONTHS IN ADVANCE!!


Short Inca Trail: Booking Online

Please fill in your personal details in our booking form of the following link: Booking Short Inca Trail Online to request a reservation.

Please note:It is very important that you will complete all information correctly to obtain your Inca Trail permits and Machu Picchu tickets! Except for this, please do not forget to read and accept our service policies before clicking on the Registration & Payment option. Please call us at (+51) 912891560 in case of any queries or to confirm availability over the phone.


One of our Trip Coordinators will contact you, often within two business hours, to confirm availability of the trip and/or provide you with other options. Once availability is confirmed, we will ask you for a deposit of 50% of the total amount in order to purchase your spot on the trek! The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon your arrival at Cusco.


To pay your deposit, you can choose one of the following methods: 

  • Credit and Debit cards (Once booked, our sales department will send you a link payment)
  • Western Union (do not forget to send us an MTCN number you will be given),
  • A bank transfer, we will send our account bank

Machu Picchu Alternative Hike

If you want to sleep in a tent, we recommned the 2 Day Inca Trail Camping experience.



Day 01: Cusco - Km 104 - Aguas Calientes

We pick you up from your hotel in Cusco to take you to Ollantaytambo railway station within a 2-hour drive. There, you get on the train and continue to Km 104, where the checkpoint of the Inca Trail is located. You pass through the point and start the Inca Trail trekking! After about 2-3 hours, you get to the archaeological site of Chachabamba, where you have lunch and rest. This is followed by a guided tour of the site. Afterwards, you continue through a mixture of cacti vegetation and cloud forest towards another significant Inca place - Wiñay Wayna. But before we get to it, we enjoy a refresh at the local waterfall! Later on, you might admire the sunset over Machu Picchu as we reach the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) before entering the famous Inca citadel. Today, however, it is too late to tour this great Inca city, so we slowly descend to the town of Aguas Calientes and enjoy the beautiful surrounding scenery along the way! We stay in a comfortable hostel in Aguas Calientes, where we have dinner. If there is enough time, we can visit the local thermal baths.


Short Inca Trail

Day 02: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

After an early breakfast, we walk to the bus stop of the shuttle bus and take a 20-minute journey up to the mysterious city of Machu Picchu, which we enter in the early morning hours that gives us the advantage of the best photos. Then, our guide takes us through the citadel of the Incas and explains to us its history and purposes. After a guided tour, we have the opportunity to climb either Huayna Picchu (45 minutes up) or Machu Picchu Mountain (1 hour and 15 minutes), peaks above Machu Picchu for taking panoramic pictures of the Inca city. (Any of them must be specified while booking!) After returning, we can still explore and enjoy Machu Picchu on our own.


Later, we use our ticket to take a shuttle bus down to Aguas Calientes. The 2 day Inca Trail ends with a return journey by train to Ollantaytambo (alternatively to Poroy), from where a private van takes us back to Cusco.


Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


  • Pre-trek briefing in Cusco with your Tour Guide;
  • Experienced bilingual Tour Guide;
  • Transfer by private vehicle to the railway station at Ollantaytambo;
  • Accommodation: 1 night in a comfortable and clean hostel (Aguas Calientes, just below Machu Picchu);
  • Inca Trail permit and entrance fee to Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 1x breakfast, 1x lunch, 1x SNACK BAG, 1x dinner (please advice us in advance in case you are a vegetarian; this option is for NO extra additional cost;
  • A shuttle bus round trip between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu;
  • A train round trip (Expedition Class) from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu;
  • Private bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.

Not Included

  • Breakfast on the 1st day and lunch in Aguas Calientes town on the 2nd day,
  • A shuttle bus between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes on the 1st day (USD 12/one way),
  • Travel insurance,
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu Mountain (USD 80),
  • Tips to local staff (It is not obligatory to tip; however, it is a custom in Peru),
  • Local flights: No local flight is included,
  • Other extras not mentioned.
Single room: If you prefer a single room, please choose the "Single room" option during your booking. It might be difficult to change it later if the hostel is fully booked. 

Inca Trail vs Alternative Hikes

Many people include Peru into their “things-to-do” list, the 4 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu being the main reason usually.


Although it is a pity that most people do not know that there are many treks in the Cusco region using the original Inca trails to Machu Picchu, they are just not as well known as the Inca Trail. If you like to try one of these so-called Alternative Treks, you can choose depending on your preference, for instance, the difficulty of hiking on such an Inca trail, what activity (e.g. mountain biking, zip-line, river rafting) you want to try, what climate suits you, etc.


If you want to say that you have experienced the famous hike to Machu Picchu, then there is the Classic Inca Trail for you! Usually, however, you must book it well in advance. In case it is fully booked, we suggest you hiking other Alternative Treks such as:

Inca Trail Packing List & Extra Information


Generally speaking, you should pack as lightly as possible. If you have an extra Porter booked, the Porter carries your luggage from Km 82 (1st day) to the campsite at Wiñay Wayna (3rd day). If you do not have an extra porter, we advise you to keep the weight under 5 kg/10lb. Do not forget that you need to carry clothes and sleeping bag.


It is very important to take a good backpack cover because the weather on the Inca Trail changes every moment, so it is not possible to predict if it rains or not. In case you do not have a cover, we suggest putting your clothes, sleeping bag, and other personal belongings into a plastic bag.



Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. Moreover, it is convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (a rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily. At night, warm clothing is a must. For instance, a down jacket and/or fleece and a jacket. Convertible trekking pants can be useful during the 3rd day when in Machu Picchu, as they can be switched into shorts easily. The Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is situated in a warm climate, a little bit cold can get only at night. For a more complete list see below.



  • Original passport,
  • Original International Student Identity Card (if you have applied for a student discount),
  • Cash in Peruvian Soles (please allow 30-60 Soles for meals not included plus some extra for souvenirs from Machu Picchu).
  • Rain gear (a jacket and pants if possible) or a rain poncho (you can get it Cusco),
  • A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the 2 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu,
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots are advised,
  • Warm clothes, including a jacket, fleeces (thermal clothing is highly recommended, especially for sleeping),
  • Handkerchiefs,
  • Toilet paper,
  • Small towel,
  • Toiletries,
  • Sandals or jogging shoes when in the campsite,
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
  • Smartphone/camera and batteries (batteries consume quickly under cold conditions),
  • Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold,
  • Sunblock,
  • After-sun cream,
  • Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET (when in Machu Picchu, a subtropical area),
  • Snacks: biscuits, chocolate, energy bars, raw fruits, and sweets in general. (Please note that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. This suggestion applies only to customers who prefer their favourite snack),
  • Water and a water container the 1st morning. Important notice: plastic water bottles are no longer allowed in Machu Picchu and Inca Trail! So, plastic water containers metal ones are recommended.),
  • Optional: water-purifying tablets if you prefer to pick up water from streams or rivers along the trail. (However, we supply our customers with filtered boiled water which is safe to drink and has no reported any health problem!),
  • Optional: hiking poles (rubber covers required for the Inca Trail!!!).

From $ 450.00
per person
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