2 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu often referred to as Short Inca Trail Hike is a popular and the best alternative to the Classic Inca Trail Tour. Dotted with plenty of Inca ruins, this esteemed trail tops the bucket list of many travelers in Peru.
However, to protect the authenticity of the Classic Inca Trail, local authorities have imposed a limit of 500 trekkers a day. This includes guides and porters so barely 200 people get to hike this in a day. Because of this, the permits tend to get sold off months in advance.
Often last-minute travelers, who are unable to get Inca trail permits, look for alternative treks to Machu Picchu, like the renowned Salkantay Trek which offers staggering views of snow-capped Andean peaks.
However, if you are more into history and want to visit Inca sites, we highly recommend the Short Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu.
This 500+ years old ancient Inca path takes you through three prominent Inca ruins, Chachabamba, Wiñay Wayna, and the emblematic Sungate or Intipunku. Entrance to the lost Inca city through the Sungate is limited to those hiking the Inca Trail and Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
You will be getting pristine views of Machu Picchu citadel from the Sungate.
Machu Picchu Tours is a fully locally owned tour operator and a licensed Inca trail operator based in Cusco. Our guides are passionate about the history and culture of Peru. They have years of experience hiking to Machu Picchu.
We offer 2 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu both in private and as a small group tour.
Do take a moment to check our reviews on Tripadvisor.
Short Inca Trail hike is a high-altitude experience. We highly recommend you spend 1-2 days in Cusco before the trial to avoid altitude sickness.
Check out our article to know Why Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is so popular.
Get detailed insight into the Inca Civilization on our Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu 2 Day Tour with our English-speaking local tour guide.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
Your epic 2 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu experience begins at 0500 AM, with an early morning transfer from your hotel in Cusco. We will be embarking on a two hours drive through the villages in the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Ollantaytambo.
We will be having a brief stop in Ollantaytambo for breakfast. After breakfast, we will be boarding the tourist train for an hour and a half ride to the trailhead, Km 104. The trailhead gets its name after its distance from Cusco on the way to Machu Picchu.
The train ride offers relishing views of the Andean highland villages tucked amidst the snowcapped peaks as it snakes along the course of the Urubamba river.
Once in Km 104, the authorities will be verifying your original passport against the permit. Make sure to carry your original passport.
Our Short Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu begins with a visit to Chachabamba. It is an Inca ruin at 2150m/7053ft.
It is a notable site, the Incas used the stone altar here to worship their two prominent nature entities, Inti (Sun) and Apus (Mountain Peaks). Locals in the region often visit here to offer their gratitude as their ancestors did.
Our local expert will be giving you detailed information on your guided visit to the archeological complex of Chachabamba.
After soaking in history, we will begin with a gradual uphill hike to the most prominent site on the 2 Day Inca Trail hike, Wiñay Wayna. In Quechua, the name Wiñay Wayna signifies “forever young”. It is perched on a hilltop at 2650m/8694ft. Above sea level.
The archaeological complex features stunning Inca farming terraces. When Machu Picchu was inhabited, farmers here could not produce enough crops to feed everyone. They cultivated most crops in Wiñay Wayna to meet the growing demands then.
After an immersive tour of the complex, we will be stopping at the campsite here to unbox our lunch.
After lunch, we will continue with an hour’s hike to Sun gate. You will get a panoramic view of Machu Picchu citadel from here. You will have plenty of time here to soak in the views and get an insight into the Incan history and Andean traditions with our local expert.
Once you have had your fill, we will begin with a gradual 45-minute descent to the exit of Machu Picchu citadel. We will be taking the 25 minutes bus ride down the hill to Aguas Calientes town.
We will be accommodating you in an ensuite hotel room in Aguas Calientes for the night. Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu town, as it is locally known as gets its name after the hot springs here.
You can spend the evening taking a refreshing dip in the natural thermal waters here or simply saunter through the cobble-stoned streets rimmed with stalls selling souvenirs.
Early in the morning, we will be boarding the tourist bus for a thirty minutes ride up the hill to visit Machu Picchu.
The tour guide will be meeting you at the entrance of the citadel and will assist you in clearing the security control to enter the citadel. Please note that you will have to show your entrance ticket and original passport that you have used at the time of booking.
We will then give you a detailed two hours guided tour. During the tour, we will take you to the most important temples and enclosures. We will be visiting the remains of royal quarters, Inca ceremonial sites, sundial clocks, and more.
After the tour, you will have free time for exploring Machu Picchu on your own.
If you have booked to climb Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu, our guide will direct you to the respective trail head.
Please note that if you intend to hike to any of these peaks, we strongly recommend that you book well in advance. Just like the Inca Trail, you will need a permit to hike these peaks. Also, access is limited to 200 people a day.
Due to its overgrowing popularity, permits are sold out 5-6 months in advance. So do let us know at the time of booking.
After the full-day trip to Machu Picchu, you will be taking a bus back to Aguas Calientes. Here you will board the vistadome train to Ollantaytambo train station. Here, our representative will be meeting you and will drive you back to Cusco. We will arrive in Cusco City at around 7:00 p.m.
Short Inca Trail is the easiest hike to Machu Picchu. Infact, we consider this as an ideal trek for families with young children. It involves no long hikes or high altitude campings. You will be hiking for four hours. You will also get to see the two iconic Inca ruins, Wiñay Wayna and Sun Gate (Intipunku).
Short Inca Trail can easily be hiked in a day with an additional day dedicated to visit Machu Picchu. It is a 9.9 miles (16 kilometres) trail from the trail head in Km.104 to Machu Picchu, which is covered in 6 hours.
If you are looking to visit the highlights of Inca Trail and hike the 500 years old trail, then it is totally worth it. Short Inca Trail is the best alternative to the classic 4 day Inca Trail. It is an easier option as it involves no high altitude hikes.
Short Inca Trail begins from Cusco. So it is best if you are staying at a hotel within the historic centre of Cusco. Alternatively, if you are staying in Sacred Valley (Chinchero, Urubamba or Ollantaytambo), we can also organise a transfer from your hotel with prior notice.
Good service,quality meals,nice hotel, a patient guide.. 100% recommend this tour – it was an unforgettable experience
The Inca Trail is by far the most famous trek. It manages to combine beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud forest, sub tropical jungle and stunning mix of Inca paving stones, ruins and tunnels.
They made our trek on the trail to Machu Picchu a memorable and UNBELIEVABLE trip of a lifetime. the attention to the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of the experience brought dimensions to the trip that we had not even thought of before.
We recommendation to anyone thinking of seeing this AMAZING world wonder.
I highly recommend this amazing tour guide for your next trip! I went to Peru for my 30th birthday as a solo traveller and John made sure I had a fantastic time. He knew all the best places to eat and take photos. He had so much knowledge and passion about South America. He is an amazing person and really did everything possible to make my trip a once in a lifetime experience. My first view of Machu Picchu at sunset is one that I will truly never forget and I am so grateful to John for makign that possible! 🙂