1 day inca trail
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The 1 day Inca Trail hike

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Why choose the one day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu?

If you are strapped for time, the one day Inca Trail trek is a must! On this journey you’ll be able to hike the last 1/3 of the famous classic Inca Trail that is on bucket lists worldwide. Explore Winay Wayna, an amazing and unique Inca archeological site. Trek the actual trail that the Ancient Incas hiked more than 600 years ago. Experience the spectacular views of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate and visit Machu Picchu Citadel in the late afternoon when it is less crowded.

1 DAY Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


Times are approximate and depend on your fitness levels.

Your adventure begins. Hotel pick-ups start at 4am in Cusco and between 5:20am – 5:30am for those already in Ollantaytambo.

Next , at around 6:10am you get to take a scenic train ride along the Urubamba River (one of the sources of the Amazon River), through part of the Sacred Valley towards KM104. During the train journey you will also see spectacular views of farmlands and beautiful snow-capped mountains.

Your arrival is projected at 7:40am at KM104. At an ultitude of 2000m , your hike begins . From here, you’ll set off to visit the first Inca site. Your guide will provide a walking tour and a short orientation about the historical Inca site. Then you’ll begin a moderate 3 hour hike.

Next on your adventure is the magnificent archaeological site of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) at 2,600 m/8,500 ft. Few people get the opportunity to see these elaborate water fountains, temples and agricultural terraces. These provide the perfect opportunity to learn about the history of the Incas. The backdrop of this site is a dramatic cliff drop with beautiful mountains surrounding the area.

A Lunch Box will be provided for you at the Wiñay Wayna campground between 12:00pm and 1:00pm and facilities are also available for you to freshen up.

Your first view of Machu Picchu is upon you as you walk through the Sun Gate. Take this opportunity to stop for photos and capture this once in a lifetime moment. From there you start your descent down to Machu Picchu. On the way you will encounter a few important Inca sites between the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu. Remember to ask your guide any questions you may have along the way.

If your group is on schudule, you will reach Machu Picchu at around 2:00pm. You’ll receive about a 2 hour guided tour through the enigmatic ruins and its most important sites. You will get to see many beautiful, historical Inca sites. Your guide will give a full tour of circuit #3. Please remember to review circuit #3.

At around 4:30pm you will take a bus back to Aguas Calientes where you will have time to sit for a scrumptious dinner prepared with love and smiles. Dinner is not included in the price.

At 6:20pm you will then return on the Expedition Train to Ollantaytambo and catch our private transportation back to Cusco. Estimated arrival time in Cusco is 10pm.

***Please note: It is not possible to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain due to time restraints.  

***If you choose, you can stay the night in Aguas Calientes, and we will book your return train for the next day. 

*** You can start the trek from Ollantaytambo, if you do we recommend  that you stay in our own lodge; Veronica View Hotel.

One day Inca Trail map

Times are approximate and depend on your fitness levels.

Packing Checklist for the 1 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

  • Original passport (this has to match the passport used for the booking)
  • Good daypack (20-30 liters is recommended). You’ll need to make sure you can carry this yourself as no porters are available for the day hike.
  • Reusable water bottle (in an effort to reduce plastic waste, disposable bottles are not allowed)
  • Comfortable hiking boots with ankle support
  • Toilet paper
  • Windbreaker or warm jacket
  • Layers – so you are able to remove a layer or two if you become too hot during the hike.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wet wipes
  • Personal medication
  • Sun hat or woolen hat (depending on the season) and sunscreen
  • Rain gear (if it´s rainy season)
  • Snacks like chocolate bars, cereal bars or any dry fruits
  • Insect Repellent
  • Rain plastic poncho
  • Camera
  • Extra money for souvenirs and tips

Preparing for the weather on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Dry Season

May through November is dry season. That does not mean that it never rains in the dry season but it is mostly dry with an occasional light shower.

Rainy Season

The rainy season begins usually in December and last until April. In the rainy season, there can be frequent heavy tropical showers.

In the Cusco region, high altitude means rapidly changing weather – it can go from sunshine to rain showers within minutes. During dry season, if it does rain, the rain rarely lasts long. During the rainy season however it can rain all day. Just because it´s raining in one part of Cusco, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s raining in other parts of Cusco.

On the Inca Trail, weather conditions vary depending on whether its dry season or wet season . The route for the 1 day Inca Trail, the altitude is 1000 meters or 3000 feet lower than Cusco. Therefore, it tends to be a bit warmer during the day and at night.

It is more tropical and more humid than Cusco. There is always a chance of rain showers, especially in the cloud forest areas. In the rainy season, these showers will last longer and may become intense tropical rain showers. The Inca Trail is made of stones laid on the ground, so it can be more slippery to walk on in the rainy season.

  • Most of the trek is uphill and with a fair number of precipices, steep cliffs and a lot of steps (uphill and downhill)
  • It can get very humid so its important to stay hydrated and maintain energy
  • You cannot do the trek by yourself – you must use a licensed tour operator, see above for some suggestions
  • The 1 Day Inca Trail is the same route as the 2 Day Inca Trail, just in less time. You need to be in moderate to excellent physical condition to be able to do this trek and arrive at Machu Picchu Citadel in time.
  • The Hike cover 12km/ 8 miles which can be done around 5 hours


It is very important for potential trekkers of the 1 Day Inca Trail to understand that you are doing the same trail as the 2 Day Inca Trail, just quicker. Trekkers need to be in moderate to excellent physical condition to be able to do this trek and arrive at Machu Picchu Citadel on time. If you think the trek may be too strenuous, you may book the 2 day Inca Trail.


The actual hike starts at KM 104, from this point to Machu Picchu is 12km.


Yes – government issued permits are required and can only be bought by licensed tour operators.
There are only 250 permits per day for the Short Inca Trail. All visitors and professional crew need a permit so we recommend booking as soon as there’s availability for your preferred dates.


It takes around 5 to 6 hours, depending on your fitness, it covers 12km in total.


Machu Picchu is 2,430 meters (7,972 feet) above sea level, which is much lower than the city of Cusco — 3,400 meters or 11,152 feet — so it’s likely you won’t suffer from altitude sickness if you’ve already spent time acclimatizing in Cusco first. If you’re concerned about the altitude, take it slow and drink plenty of water. Sipping coca tea, chewing coca leaves or taking a soroche pill are other effective ways to deal with the altitude.


Consider visiting Machu Picchu from April through May or from September through October. The high-tourist season months are June, July and August when it doesn’t tend to rain.

Inca Trail Photos

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Hotel In Hollantaytambo

A scenic 10 m drive from Ollantaytambo, follow the river and the train tracks to the Veronica View Hotel. Along the way, watch across the river for the original terraces from Incan times! Arriving at the hotel, you will be greeted amid gardens of native flowers and orchids. Take in the stunning sight of the Veronica Mountain, covered with glaciers year-round. After you settle into your room, walk through the gardens to the pool and restaurant area. There is a steam sauna, dry sauna, spa, heated swimming pool and restaurant at your feet.

Triple Accommodation Room

Three comfortable single beds, ideal for groups of friends or family, enjoy the same spectacular view of the Veronica Mountain as the other rooms in the main building. Each room has a private bathroom with beautiful marbled counter tops.

King Size Room

Enjoy the luxury of a King size bed, along with all of the other indulgent services offered by the Veronica View Hotel. Each room is carefully situated to give you the best view of the Veronica Mountain. King rooms are in the main building on either the first or second floor. All King Rooms include jacuzzi

Double Accommodation Room

Double rooms are located in the main building, a beautiful room with an expansive view of the snow covered Veronica Mountain and the Urubamba Valley. Double rooms have one double bed, one twin bed and a private bathroom. These rooms are located on the first and second floor