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Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
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Short Inca trail 2 days to Machu Picchu

The short version of the Inca Trail lasts only 2 days and, like the classic 4-day version, ends in the Inca city of Machu Picchu. It is a highly recommended route for visitors who do not have enough time for a long walk. To travel this route it is necessary to buy a tour through a Cusco tourism agency, online or in person. It is recommended to do it weeks in advance.

Short Inca Trail
Short Inca Trail route to Machu Picchu

The Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

  • The Classic Inca Trail lasts 4 days, runs 39 kilometers and ends in the Intipunku (the Sun Gate) of Machu Picchu.
  • The Short Inca Trail lasts only 2 days, covers 12 kilometers and also ends at Intipunku, in the heart of the Inca city of Machu Picchu.
  • This short version also covers part of the Qhapac ñan, the network of roads that the Incas built and covered more than 30 thousand kilometers through parts of the current countries of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina.
  • Like the Classic Inca Trail, the short route requires special permits to be traveled. These permits are granted by the Sernanp (National Service of Natural Protected Areas by the State) to the tourism agencies of Cusco. That is why to travel this route you need to buy a tour through a tourist agency.
  • During the route, up to three archaeological sites are visited: Chachabamba, Wiñayhuayna and Machu Picchu. In addition, impressive landscapes of the Urubamba river valley and the Vilcabamba mountain range are appreciated.

Map of the route

Short Inca Trail Map
Short Inca Trail Map

Inca Trail 2 days: day by day

This is the 2-day Inca Trail itinerary that the vast majority of tourism agencies follow:

The first day:

  • The route begins with the trip by minivan and train from the city of Cusco to kilometer 104 of the railroad heading to Aguas Calientes.
  • As soon as you start the route, you visit the archaeological site of Chachabamba, located a few steps from the Urubamba River.
  • At kilometer 104 of the railroad, the uphill walk begins that crosses steep trails for 6 kilometers until arriving at the archaeological site of Wiñayhuayna. It is at this point where many tourists eat the box lunch included in the tour.
  • From Wiñayhuayna there are only 5 kilometers to reach the Intipunku, the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu.
  • From there you descend for almost 1 kilometer until you arrive at the exit door of Machu Picchu where the buses to the town of Aguas Calientes are boarded.
  • In this magical town you have dinner and spend the night in a tourist accommodation.

The second day:

  • The second day begins very early with breakfast at the tourist accommodation and the subsequent bus trip to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu.
  • Once in Machu Picchu, the tour of the archaeological site is carried out together with the tour guide who accompanied him throughout the walk.
  • After the visit, we proceed to return by bus to the town of Aguas Calientes. Some tours include lunch at this location while others do not.
  • Finally the tourist will return by train and minivan to the city of Cusco.

The tour: everything that includes

In general, tourism agencies include the following:

  • Pick up from the hotel door.
  • Transportation by minivan to Ollantaytambo station.
  • Transportation by Expedition train to kilometer 104 of the railway.
  • Permission to travel the network of Inca trails.
  • Official tourist guide.
  • First aid kit.
  • Box lunch.
  • Dinner in a tourist restaurant in Aguas Calientes.
  • Tourist accommodation in Aguas Calientes.
  • Breakfast at a tourist lodge in Aguas Calientes.
  • Bus to Machu Picchu (round trip).
  • Ticket Machu Picchu Only.
  • Return transportation by Expedition train to Ollantaytambo station.
  • Return transportation by minivan to the city of Cusco.

How much?

  • The 2-day Inca Trail tour has an approximate cost of 500 US dollars per visitor. This price may vary depending on the tourism agency you choose.

More information

  • The 2-day Inca Trail is a moderately difficult hike. Only the first 6 kilometers uphill are the most difficult. Then the walk is mostly on flat roads and descents until arriving at Machu Picchu.
  • Along the route it is possible to see a diversity of flowers where more than three hundred varieties of orchids stand out. On the route it is also possible to spot a variety of birds and butterflies. Mammals are difficult to appreciate, although species such as the spectacled bear or the Andean deer inhabit this geography.
  • The purchase of the 2-day Inca Trail tour can be done online (or in the city of Cusco itself) a few weeks in advance. On the contrary, the 4-day Inca Trail tour must be purchased online 6 or 7 months before.
  • Due to heavy rains, the Inca Trail route remains closed to the public throughout February. In that month the park rangers carry out maintenance work on the roads. The rest of the year the route is open to the public.


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, November 12, 2021