Short Inca Trail 2 Days is regarded as the best alternative to the Classic Inca Trail Peru. It is easier and offers an authentic experience.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the famous trek in Peru if not South America. An experience of hiking the Inca Trail Peru tops the bucket list of many travellers.
To maintain the authenticity of the trail, local authorities restrict the access to 500 people a day. This includes porters, chefs and guides. So barely 200 trekkers get to hike the esteemed trail in a day.
Often last minute travellers don’t manage to get Inca Trail Permit and look for an alternative option to make their trek to Machu Picchu a memorable one. Some book the adventurous high altitude Salkantay Trek and a vast majority of travellers choose the Short Inca Trail 2 Days.
Unlike the Classic Inca Trail Peru, Short Inca Trail 2 Days is not challenging. It does not involve hikes through high mountain passes or camping in wilderness.
The highest point of the Classic Inca Trail is the dead woman’s pass, at 4215 metres – 13829 feet. Where in the highest point of the Short Inca Trail 2 Days is Wiñay Wayna which is at 2600 metres – 8500 feet above sea level. This is much lower in altitude than Cusco City.
The Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu takes you through some prominent Inca Ruins like Wiñay Wayna and Sun Gate (Inti Punku) before visiting Machu Picchu. We will be accommodating you in a comfortable hotel room in Aguas Calientes for the first night before touring the Machu Picchu citadel on the second day.
Machu Picchu Kingdom is a local tour operator, based in Cusco. We are among the few local tour companies who are licensed to operate the Inca Trail. Our tour guides are locals who are fluent in English and are passionate about the history and culture of Incas.
Do take a moment to check our reviews on Tripadvisor.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
We will be picking you up from your hotel in Cusco early in the morning at 0400. Then we will embark on a three hours drive in our private transport along the Sacred Valley of Incas to Ollantaytambo. Here our local guide will be handing you over a lunch box.
You will then board an Aguas Calientes bound tourist train at 0610 AM to the trial head. It will be a short one hour journey through the scenic route of the Peruvian highland farms and villages. Breakfast will be served on board.
The trail begins at Km 104, this is the Short Inca Trail’s trailhead. It is at 2000 metres (6560 feet) above sea level. After crossing the Urubamba river on a picturesque foot bridge, you will show your passport at the checkpoint and visit your first Inca site nearby.
The first hour and half of the trail offers the best introduction to the Inca Trail. You will begin with a gradual uphill hike to the archaeological remains of Wiñay Wayna which nestles at 2600 metres (8500 feet).
Along the way, we will have several stops at different viewpoints so that you can rest and enjoy the expansive view of the valley below.
You will be passing through several microclimates, including cloud forest. So be ready for damp or even rain at any season of the year. The next hour and a half are a slightly steeper uphill with a beautiful waterfall as your reward at the end of the hike!
We will then cross the bridge below the waterfall. Here we will stop to take some time for photos. You will find yourself gazing up at the spectacular Wiñay Wayna!
These Inca ruins have a fascinating history and some parts are still hidden by the dense jungle. This close to Machu Picchu, you are hiking through lush sub-tropical jungle. Your guide will tell you all about the ruins, plus the incredible flora and fauna that are distinct to the region.
After touring the complex, we will be stopping for lunch at Wiñay Wayna campsite. The lunch camp is a covered shelter. It is the last campground for those hiking the four day Inca Trail. There are outdoor sinks to wash your hands and also restrooms.
Take your time enjoying your hearty, gourmet lunch and admiring the tropical flowers around the campground. Be sure to let us know of any food allergies or dietary restrictions you may have while booking the trail.
After lunch, you will have a mostly flat walk to the Sun Gate, from which you have your first view of Machu Picchu! The trail ends with a set of steep stairs carved directly into the bedrock by Incas. Once you reach the stairs you will know that you’re almost at the Sun Gate!
It is a breathtaking view of Machu Picchu, so take some time to savour the moment and take photos. The last 45 minutes down from the Sun Gate provide many opportunities to take more photos of Machu Picchu from this unique vantage point.
There are also a couple more important Inca sites between the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu, so make sure to go slowly, enjoy your time walking in the footsteps of the Inca on the Inca Trail and ask your guide questions about these historical places on the last bit of your hike to Machu Picchu.
Once you reach The Machu Picchu, you will have plenty of time to take photos from the viewing platforms above the site. You will arrive in the afternoon, as the archeological area gets empty of tourists. This gives you the opportunity to take beautiful photos in the afternoon light with fewer people in your shots.
Take your time enjoying this magical experience before you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes to check into your hotel. You will have a delicious dinner, then have time to walk around this picturesque little town, visit the hot springs or just go to your hotel to rest after such an exciting day.
The Full Machu Picchu Experience in an exclusive and private tour!
After relishing a nutritious Andean breakfast, you will be taking the tourist bus up to Machu Picchu citadel. The guide will assist you in crossing the security control where your passport and Machu Picchu entrance ticket will be verified by authorities.
As you enter the citadel, you will get a beautiful view of the sun rising above the Inca citadel as the clouds clear by. It is a truly extraordinary site and not something you’ll want to miss!
Your guide will give you the full tour, which takes about two hours. You will see all of the most important parts of Machu Picchu, including the Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows, Sun Dial, Quarry and the House of the Inca. You will also learn about how Machu Picchu is divided into three sectors: agricultural, residential and religious.
After your tour, those who have booked in advance for the extra hikes up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain will have time to enjoy those views on their own. When you have had your fill of the exceptional views of Machu Picchu, you will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes for lunch (included).
Depending on your train departure time, you may also have time for some shopping, sightseeing or a visit to the museum or hot springs. Your train will depart at 16:30 or 18:30.
The train will take you back to Ollantaytambo, following the spectacular Urubamba River. Close to Aguas Calientes, the canyon is narrow and the river has many beautiful sections of whitewater. You can also see Wiñay Wayna from the train, if you look up high on the steep canyon wall!
Back in Ollantaytambo, our representative will meet you just outside the train station. We will then drive you back to your hotel in Cusco in our private vehicle. You can expect to arrive at your hotel between 21:00 to 22.00