2-Day Inca Trail: Trek to Machu Picchu


  • It is completely different than any other hiking trail in the world.
  • You are hiking the last 1/3 of the famous Classic Inca Trail that everyone worldwide desires to hike.
  • Travel back in time as you hike the actual trail that the Ancient Incas hiked more than 600 year ago.
  • It is a trek through history with archeological sites all along the way to view and explore.
  • It is a very beautiful scenic hike though exotic side by side mountains, primitive lush tropical vegetation and fauna.
  • You get to hike through the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) all the way to famous Machu Picchu Citadel.
  • The views from the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu Citadel are spectacular.
  • It offers an opportunity to hike a part of the Classic Inca trail for those that do not have the time or ability to hike 4 day trail.
  • You get to visit Machu Picchu Citadel twice, the 1st and 2nd day of the trek.
  • You have the opportunity to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain.

2-Day Inca Trail Hike – Trip Details

2-Day Inca Trail: Trek to Machu Picchu
Places to Visit: Wiñaywayna Ruins, The Sun Gate and Machu Picchu
Physical Level: Moderate


You will wake up early for your adventure of a lifetime! Your guide will come to your Cusco hotel to pick you up at 4am. Rest or even sleep a bit more in our comfortable, private transportation on the way to Ollantaytambo. When you arrive at the train station, your guide will give you your lunch to add to your daypack. Your train departs Ollantaytambo at 6:10 and you will have just over an hour on the train to enjoy the scenery and have breakfast (not included), Your hotel can provide you a picnic breakfast to take with you or you can pack your own breakfast.

Your guide will get off the train with you at the famous Km104, where your hike begins! (2,000m/6,560 ft. 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 a half of hiking are up a gentle incline, with several shelters along the way to pause for a bit out of the sun or rain, depending on the season. Along the way, you will stop at several outlooks where you have an expansive view of the Urubamba River. You will also pass 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 incline with a beautiful waterfall as your reward at the end of the hike!

Cross the bridge below the waterfall, take some time for photos and gaze up at the spectacular Wiñay Wayna! (2,600m/8,500ft above sea level) These amazing Inca ruins have a fascinating history and some parts are still hidden by the dense surrounding jungle. Hiking this close to Machu Picchu means you are hiking through lush sub-tropical jungle. Your guide will tell you all about the ruins, plus the incredible flora and fauna of this microclimate and answer any questions you have before the short 5 minute walk to your lunch spot.

Your lunch spot is a covered shelter at the Wiñay Wayna campground, which is the last campground for those hiking the four day Inca Trail. Nearby 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 notify us of any food allergies or dietary restrictions when you book!

After lunch, you will have a mostly flat walk to the Sun Gate, from which you have your first view of Machu Picchu! Though the hour long walk is a gentle rolling up and down, it does end with a set of steep stairs carved directly into the bedrock by the Inca. Once you reach the stairs, known as “the gringo killers” or “monkey 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 savor 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 Machu Picchu, you will have time to take more photos from the viewing platforms above the site. You will arrive in the afternoon, as the archeological area starts to empty of tourists, which 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. Your 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.

  • Meals included: Picnic lunch, dinner in a restaurant in Aguas Calientes
  • Distance: 12 kms/7.5 miles
  • Time: 6hrs approximately
  • 3* Accommodations: Ferre Hotel
  • 4* Accommodation: El Mapi or Tierra Viva Machu Picchu (superior room)
  • Difficulty: moderate

You will leave an overnight bag at the Ollantaytambo train station to be sent by train directly to Aguas Calientes.

The Full Machu Picchu Experience in an exclusive and private tour!

This is the day you’ve been waiting for! After an early breakfast at your hotel, you’ll take one of the first busses up to Machu Picchu so that you can be there to witness the sunrise. 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 (not 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 either depart at 2:55 or 3:20.

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 at Ollantaytambo, your driver will meet you at the exit from the train station to take you back to your hotel in Cusco in our private vehicle. You can expect to arrive at your hotel by 7:00pm.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Difficulty: Easy


  • Hotel pick up
  • Private transportation from your hotel to the train station
  • 3 Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • English speaking guide experienced in trekking
  • Private guided tour in Machu Picchu
  • Round-trip Expedition Tourist Train from Ollantaytambo to KM 104 – Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo 14:55 or 15:20pm (train time depends on availability)
  • Admission Tickets to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu Archaeological site
  • One night accommodation in Aguas Calientes (hot shower, bathroom, private room and breakfast included)
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank
  • Taxes


  • Huayna Picchu Mountain: $75 USD per person
  • Machu Picchu Mountain: $75 USD per person
  • First breakfast (served in hotel), last lunch at Machu Picchu
  • One Way bus ticket (Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes), it can be hiked in 1 hour
  • OPTIONAL UPGRADES: Hotel or Train
  • VISTADOME Train: $67 USD per person (RETURN ONLY)
  • Tips for your staff (Sam Travel Peru staff receives a fair and decent payment immediately after they end their trip, tips are optional but greatly appreciation)


**Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain are optional treks within Machu Picchu Citadel which do not include a guide. The climb is usually done on your own after your tour of Machu Picchu Citadel. If you would like the extra hike to be guided, please request in advance. There is an extra cost for this extra guided tour.


The 2 Days Inca Trail to Machu Pichu is available on any day that suits your schedule! We only need a minimum of two people in order to book!

Without Hotel2* Hotel3* Intipunku Machu Picchu4* Hotel
Price Per Person$447 USD$467 USD$487$577
  • 1 hiker only: $677 USD per individual with 3* Hotel

3* Hotel options are Intipunku Machupicchu, Waman Machupicchu or Retama Inn

  • 18 to 25 years old: $30 USD. Information required on student card: name of university, student name, photo of student, expiration date etc. A copy of the card is required at booking for government approval for discount.
  • Under 18 years old: $30 USD. Please send us a copy of your passport at the time of booking.
  • Under 11 years old: $40 USD.  Please send us a copy of your passport at the time of booking.
  • Groups of 5 or more: $30 per person
  • Huayna Picchu Mountain Hike: $75 USD per person
  • Machu Picchu Mountain Hike: $75 USD per person
  • Vistadome Train: $67 USD per person – (RETURN ONLY)
  • Single supplement: $40 USD per night (for solo travelers with 3* hotel single room)

The 2 Days Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is almost always available year round except when it is closed in February for maintenance. This trek takes you into Machu Picchu by walking through the SUN GATE like in the ancient times. You will explore amazing Inca ruins along the way including the magical Wiñay Wayna.


  • TRANSFER FROM AIRPORT: to your hotel in Cusco included (Airport to Hotel in Cusco only).
  • SMALL GROUPS: average 4 to 6 with a maximum of 8 hikers
  • AFTERNOON TRAIN: We give you enough time to explore Machu Picchu and have a relaxing lunch at Aguas Calientes.  Your train back to Ollantaytambo is at 2:55 or 3:20, and when you arrive in Ollantaytambo you catch your private van to Cusco, arriving in Cusco by 7:00 PM.
  • HOTEL AT AGUAS CALIENTES: includes private bathroom, hot shower, buffet breakfast, and wifi etc.


The Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu DOES NOT include an extra porter. Your duffel bag will be sent by train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas calientes. Please try to pack as light as possible, which is key to enjoying this amazing trek.

In your daypack, or on the first day’s hike you will need:

  • Original Passport (the same you have used for booking your trek)
  • Good daypack (25 to 30L)
  • Water 1 to 2 liters of water
  • Comfortable hiking boots with ankle support
  • Polar or sweater for early mornings and evenings
  • Rain jacket
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Snacks like chocolate bars, cereal bars or any dry fruit
  • Rain plastic poncho (provided by SAM)
  • Camera
  • Valuables
  • Extra money for souvenirs, drinks & tips
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer

In your duffel, you should pack

  • a change of clothes for visiting Machu Picchu the next day
  • Face moisturizer
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Personal medications
  • Battery chargers

Frequently Asked Questions Short Inca Trail 2 Days to Machu Picchu

Things to Consider Before Hiking the 2 Day Inca Trail

  • The best time to embark on this journey is during the dry season, from April to September, when the weather is favourable.
  • To secure your spot, it’s advisable to book in advance. Permits are super limited!
  • Don’t forget your travel insurance for peace of mind during your journey
  • Ensure you are in good physical condition to tackle the whole length the trail.

Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Difficulty

The Short Inca trail to Machu Picchu 2 days difficulty is moderate and is recommended for travellers who are in good physical shape. If you consider yourself fairly fit, you exercise regularly, and do not have any issues with your weight, knees, or ankles, then this version of the ancient Inca trail is perfect for you!

Some of our hikers have initially had concerns about the hike, but soon realized that it wasn’t as tough as they had feared. In fact, for most visitors, the experience exceeded all expectations, becoming a highlight of their journey. So, if you are up for an adventure, don’t hesitate to lace up your hiking boots and embark on this unforgettable expedition with us!

What is the difference between the Classic Inca Trail and the Short Inca Trail?

The main difference between the 2 day Inca Trail tour and the Classic Inca Trail lies in the duration and distance of the trek. The Short Inca Trail is a shorter version, typically completed in two days, where you get to explore the best bits of the Inca Trail in less time, whereas the Classic Inca Trail spans four days. The Short Inca Trail covers a distance of approximately 10 km of the trail, while the Classic Inca Trail extends for about 42 kilometers.

Additionally, the Short Inca Trail is less physically demanding, making it a popular choice for those with not much time or those seeking a less strenuous trekking experience. With fewer tourists compared to the Classic Trail, you’ll also have a more intimate experience. Besides, you don’t need to worry about camping, personal porters, or a sleeping bag for the 2 day Inca Trail. You’ll stay at a hotel along the way, making it a comfortable and hassle free trek. Enjoy the stunning landscapes, incredible views of Machu Picchu, and explore the captivating Inca ruins, all without the extra gear or logistical concerns.

Why take the Short Inca Trail?

The Short Inca Trail is a great option for those who are short on time, money or don’t have the fitness/stamina levels to hike the full Inca Trail. You still get to enjoy all the best bits of the classic Inca Trail; catching your first glimpse of Machu Picchu from the sun gate, spectacular Andean scenery, Inca ruins and a feeling of accomplishment when you arrive at Machu Picchu for the first time. But you don’t have to hike for four days or spend the night camping.

What does the Short Inca Trail involve?

The Inca Trail involves an early bus drive and train ride from Cusco, followed by a 3 hour uphill hike to the spectacular Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna. From there, you have a packed lunch before continuing for around two hours to reach the Intipunku (Sun Gate) where you get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. The trail then descends for about an hour and a half to reach the ruins. Rather than visiting Machu Picchu straight away, you take a bus to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes where you spend the night in a hotel, then return to the ruins the following morning for a guided tour. In the afternoon of the second day, take the train and coach back to Cusco, arriving in the evening.

When is the best time to go?

From April to October, it is usually warm and humid during the day (around 20-25ºC) and night time temperatures are around 15ºC. The dry season lasts from March to November, when the weather is more changeable. During the wet season, from December to February, it can rain heavily, although it can also rain year round.


If you are planning to walk the short or two-day Inca Trail, it is important that you prepare adequately to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips on how to prepare:

Although the short Inca Trail is less physically demanding than the full route, it is important that you prepare yourself physically. Do cardiovascular exercises, such as walking, jogging or cycling, to improve your cardiovascular endurance.

Before the hike, do some practice hikes on similar terrain, if possible. This will help you acclimatise to hiking for several hours and give you an idea of what the Inca Trail experience will be like.

Make sure you have the right equipment for the trek. This includes sturdy and comfortable hiking shoes, clothing suitable for variable climates (layers, waterproof jacket, light trousers), a comfortable and sturdy backpack to carry your belongings, sunscreen, hat, insect repellent and a torch or headlamp for the night.

Be aware that the Inca Trail reaches considerable altitudes. To help your body adapt, arrive in Cusco a few days before the trek to acclimatise to the altitude. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption.

Maintain a balanced and healthy diet before and during the trek. Eat nutritious meals rich in carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Also, make sure you get enough rest before the hike to allow your body to be prepared for the physical exertion.

Prepare your mind for the challenge. The hike can be strenuous in some sections, but keep a positive attitude and enjoy the beauty of the scenery and the cultural experience around you.

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