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Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Camping – 2D/1N

Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with camping

Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with camping! What’s better than hiking the marvelous and breathtaking Inca Trail? Well, it’s hiking the Inca Trail with camping! Embark on an unforgettable journey where you won’t only be able to trace the footsteps of the ancient Inca civilization, but also experience a first-hand immersion in the middle of the trail’s mystical ruins. 

Our Short Inka Trail with Camping comes with the opportunity to spend more time with the incredible natural wonders of the Andes, the rich cultural heritage of the Quechua communities, and your fellow adventurers who share this remarkable journey with you. With one-night camping at Puente Ruinas and two meals prepared by our gourmet chef, you can experience living like a native and allow yourself to embrace this incredible adventure that is truly once in a lifetime—even for just 2 days and 1 night!

Get ready to discover the Inca Ruin, explore Chachabamba (which is not seen on any other trek), and appreciate the beauty of nature, including amazing waterfalls whose beauty is truly indescribable. Our Short Inka Trail with Camping is designed so you can experience hiking the Inca Trail in a condensed timeframe while enjoying the marvelous beauty that the trek has to offer.


ITINERARY – Short Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu with Camping

Pre-trek briefing (required):

Before you start your Short Inka Trail with Camping journey, our team at Action Peru Treks will conduct a pre-trek briefing the day before the trek. This will be held in our office or at your hotel in Cusco.

During the briefing, we will share with you important safety regulations, trekking guidelines, itinerary details, tips, and best practices. This is also a great opportunity for you to ask questions and clarify any doubts you may have about the trek. We will also give you a duffle bag which you can use to pack and store your gear for the trek.

Briefings are generally scheduled in the afternoon of the day before your trek schedule. Thus, make sure to consider this when booking your flight to Cusco. We expect you to arrive in time for the briefing.

DAY 1: Cusco – Chachabamba – Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes

Hotel pickup

We will pick you up from your Cusco hotel early in the morning, about 4:00 am. Make sure you have your gear packed and have eaten your breakfast for the long travel ahead. You may also bring some snacks to eat along the way.

Ollantaytambo train station and Km 104

We will drive you to the train station in Ollantaytambo and take the train to Kilometer (Km) 104. The ride will take about three hours. KM 104 is an unscheduled train stop, but be ready for some amazing things you will see!

Chachabamba

As we get off the train at Km 104, we will pass by the Inca Trail checkpoint and see our first archaeological ruin on the trip—the Chachabamba (located at 2,170 m / 7,170 ft). Featuring a couple of structures, these ruins were one of the last places that the Incas used as shelter before they reached Machu Picchu. The Chachabamba used to serve as a religious and administrative center, as well.

Wiñay Wayna

Next, we’ll embark on a gradual ascent lasting about 2 to 3 hours, navigating the Inca stone steps. Throughout the climb, our guide will highlight various flora and fauna that we will pass by the trail. En route, we’ll encounter a majestic waterfall before reaching another archaeological marvel called Wiñay Wayna (located at 2,650 m / 8,700 ft).

Named after a native orchid, Wiñay Wayna carries the profound Quechua meaning “Forever Young.” Dating back to the mid-15th century, the Wiñay Wayna ruins features upper and lower collections of ancient Inca architecture that are connected by stone terraces in attractive curves. The majestic ruins is built on a steep hill overlooking the Urubamba River.

Scenic lunch

As we continue to climb up the trail, we will stop for a scenic lunch overlooking the mesmerizing Urubamba River and the Sacred Valley. Our exploration includes a visit to a significant temple adorned with 7 windows—dedicated to the rainbow—, along with the observation of impressive water channels showcasing amazing engineering that still operates until the present day.

Sun Gate and Machu Picchu

With another 1.5 hours of trekking—and small ascents and descents along the way—we expect to reach the Sun Gate at around 5:00 PM (located at 2,720 m / 8,920 ft). The Sun Gate is called Intipunku in Quechua. Get ready to be mesmerized as you get your first view of the Machu Picchu. From there, we will head down to the ruins for an up-close and personal experience.

Bus to Aguas Calientes

After you take in and appreciate the beauty of Machu Picchu, it’s time to head over to Aguas Calientes by bus. Followed by a short walk, we will reach our camp at Puente Ruinas. Don’t worry about setting up camp because our skilled and experienced porters will do all the installation of the tent for you.

As we arrive at the camp, we will enjoy a happy hour with tea. Then, our chef will prepare us an incredible, hearty dinner. Afterward, you can rest, relax, and be ready for another amazing journey in the morning. We expect you to be up by sunrise.

  • Meals: Box Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Puente Ruinas
  • Maximum altitude: 2,720 m/8,920 ft
  • Minimum Altitude: 2,040 m/6,691 ft
  • Distance to walk: 13 km/8 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 5-6 hours

DAY 2: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Hearty breakfast

We will start our day’s itinerary early by having a sumptuous breakfast prepared by our awesome chef. This should give you the energy to begin the journey with strength and confidence.

Bus to Machu Picchu

After breakfast, we will take from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. We should be at Machu Picchu by 6:00 AM so you can see, appreciate, and take pictures of the sunrise. Once we reach the marvelous Machu Picchu ruins, you will be given 2 hours to explore the site.

Huayna Picchu Mountain (optional)

If you decide to climb the Huayna Picchu mountain, you will begin the hike at 10:00 a.m. Note that the price for hiking Huayna Picchu Mountain is not included in the trek price.

On the other hand, if you are not climbing the mountain, you will spend more time at Machu Picchu on your own before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus. 

Departure

As we return to Aguas Calientes, you will board the expedition train to either Poroy or Ollantaytambo. Then, you will be transferred to our minivan so you can get back to your hotel in Cusco. Your arrival time in Cusco will depend on the train schedule.

That’s it! This Short Inca Trail with Camping is surely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a journey you will never forget. Book now and let’s embark on an Inca Trail adventure together.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Minimum altitude: 2,040 m/6,691 ft
  • Maximum altitude: 2,440 m/8,052 ft

INCLUDED

  • Professional English speaking guide
  • Pre trek briefing
  • Transportation from your hotel to Ollantaytambo
  • Expedition train from Ollantaytambo to KM 104
  • Bus ticket from Machu Picchu to camp on day 1. Round trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu on day 2.
  • Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Poroy (Cusco bus station)
  • Transport by private van from Poroy to Cusco
  • Admission Ticket to the Inca trail and Machu Picchu Archeological site.
  • One night camping at the bottom of Machu Picchu
  • 1 Box lunch, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast
  • Private guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank

NOT included

  • Hiking poles (can be rented from us)
  • Breakfast on day 1 and lunch on day 2
  • Huayna Picchu mountain ticket – USD $75
  • Tip for your staff
  • Travel Insurance (highly recommended)

Items to bring with you:

  • Backpack (if not waterproof bring waterproof backpack cover)
  • Original passport
  • Sturdy Hiking boots
  • Layers for variable temperatures especially at night
  • Sun protection; sunscreen (SPF 35+ recommended), sun hat, sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Rain poncho or a good rain jacket
  • Toiletries / small towel
  • Bathing clothes for the hot springs (optional)
  • Water bottle: water purifying tablets (optional)

PRICES & ADD-ONS

Group: USD $570 per person
Private: USD $630 per person

Group versus Private Treks: What’s the difference?

  • Depending on the number of people in your booking, additional people may join the trek to make a full group.
  • If you choose “private”, no additional people will be joining your group, no matter the size.
  • Minimum booking size is two people; one person may book a group trek if Action Peru Treks is able to join that person with additional groups.

Discounts

  • Under 18 years Discount: USD $20
  • Under 7 years Discount: USD $35

Rentals

  • Hiking poles – USD $10 (pair)
  • Sleeping bag – USD $20 per person

Upgrades

  • Return Vistadome Train – USD $60 per person
  • Return Hiram Bingham Train– USD $420 per person
  • Private Tent – USD $30 per person

SHOR INCA TRAIL WITH CAMPING 2024 FAQs.

What is the 2 day Short Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu?

The Short two Inca Trail days with camping is ideal for travelers who have limited time or want something less strenuous.

This hike starts at KM 104 of the Machu Picchu train line on a trail that leads to two archaeological sites Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna. This hike also gives you the opportunity to enter the lost city via the famous Sun Gate, the dramatic entrance that provides Inca Trail trekkers with their first glimpse of the site.

Spend the night in a camp at the base of Machu Picchu near Aguas Calientes town and then wake up on Day 2 for a Machu Picchu tour.

Why the Inca Trail is so popular?

The Trail is a microcosm; lush green cloud forest alive with birds, Andean peaks and steep mountain passes, a landscape dotted with centuries old Inca ruins, accessible only to those that follow this most famous pathway. 

However, as truly beautiful as the hike may be, the real reason for its popularity lies at the very end of this four-day adventure; passing through the famous Sun Gate for that first magical sighting of Machu Picchu in the distance.

Only Inca Trail hikers can access the gate during the day, and it is this crescendo, at one of the new seven wonders of the world which makes this hike a feature on so many ‘South America bucket lists’.

The Inca Trail is the best way to arrive at one of the world’s most iconic attractions.

What does the Short Inca Trail hike involve?

The Inca Trail involves an early bus and train ride from Cusco, followed by a three-four-hour uphill hike to the spectacular Inca site of Wiñay Wayna.

From there, you have a packed lunch before continuing for around two hours to reach the iconic Sun Gate where you get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu.

The trail then descends for about 45 minutes to reach the ruins. Rather than visiting Machu Picchu straight away, you take a bus to the camp located at the base of Machu Picchu  near the town of Aguas Calientes where you spend the night in a tent, then return to the ruins the following morning for a guided tour.

In the afternoon of the second day, take the train and vehicle back to Cusco, arriving in the evening around 8 PM. 

How far in advance should I reserve my permit for the Inca Trail?

Everyone should book their Inca Trail permit as far in advance as possible. The Inca trail permits are in super high demand as they do offer access to one of the top hiking trails on the planet!

It’s very common that permits for certain months of the year to sell out completely for the upcoming season in just a matter of days or hours.

On top of that, permits are non-refundable or transferable, so if any hikers who have purchased permits subsequently cancel them, they won’t become available again at a later date in the government system.

The Peruvian government releases all the permits in bulk throughout the month of October for the upcoming year.

For example, for a hike in 2024, you can expect permits to be released in October 2023. The best way to ensure you’re in the running for your chosen trek date is to have your Inca Trail pre-booked for the upcoming year before the permits are released in October 2023.

A general rule to follow is to book permits for the Inca Trail at least six to eight months in advance to ensure trail availability for treks on the Inca Trail route.

How many Inca Trail permits are issued per day?

There are now 250 Inca Trail permits are available each day, around 50 of those are allocated to porters and guides, so in reality there are really only 200 permits a day for hikers.

These 250 permits were recently added by the Peruvian government for sole use on the Short Inca Trail hike.

The 2-day short Inca Trail is essentially the final day of the Classic Inca Trail route with some variations in the beginning of the hike.

Note: Once the permit has been issued, you can not alter or change any details, so be sure you get them correct from the start.

Does the Inca Trail trip include your Machu Picchu entrance ticket?

Yep, the cost of Machu Picchu entry is included in the trip price and it’s the responsibility of us to take care of all that and provide you with the ticket on the day you’re entering the site.

Is there a waiting list for sold out trekking dates?

No, there is no waiting list for permits. Permits are only available for purchase through the Peruvian government.

Once a permit is purchased for one person, the permit cannot be refundable or transferred to another individual.

Is it possible to do without a tour company or guide?

Since June 2002 trekking independently on the Inca Trail has been prohibited. Access to the Inca Trail is strictly controlled by the Peruvian government and your trek must be organized through a tour operator.

Only specific licensed companies like Action Peru Treks are permitted to lead groups on the 5-day Inca Trail, 4-day Inca Trail and 2-day Inca Trail routes.

Companies must meet certain basic requirements proving that they have professional guides and good camping equipment, radio communications and emergency first aid including oxygen. Their license is renewed each year. 

Is it possible to enter with different name?

No, you need to carry your valid ID (passport) to enter the trek park.

How difficult is the Short Inca Trail hike?

It’s a lot of hiking to cover in a day, and at high altitude, but it is achievable if you have a good level of fitness.

There will always be slower and faster hikers in your group but your guide will adjust his or her walking pace to make sure that everyone in your group is happy.

The toughest part of the day is the three-hour walk uphill at the start, climbing rapidly from the Urubamba River to the Wiñay Wayna ruins.

The Short Inca Trail may not be suitable for those who suffer from vertigo. Before you start your trip, we recommend you arrive to Cusco at least two days in advance to help your body acclimate to the high altitude.

What do I need to carry on the trek?

Travelers should carry only a small daypack with the items that they will need while hiking such as water, snacks, camera and film.

Our team will ship 6 kg of each of your personal extra gear to the camp during the trip for free.

We generally ask clients to bring only the necessary items that you will need for the 2-day trip and leave any unneeded luggage at the hotel in Cusco or at our office in Cusco.

How big are the groups?

Our groups are usually small. Average is 3 to 5 people and maximum 16 people plus the trekking team.

Is there an age limit to hiking the Inca Trail?

Nope! we trust that you will gauge your own fitness levels when it comes to taking a trek of this nature.

We have clients who are in their 80s that are fitter than many 30-year-olds.  Age is just a number if you are fit enough to do the trip, go for it! Children under 6 years old should not attempt to hike as they would likely find the trek too difficult.

What is the best time of year to hike the Inca Trail?

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 May to September, when the weather is more changeable. During the wet season, from October to April, it can rain heavily, although it can also rain year-round.

Is the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu always open?

The Inca Trail is open 11 months of the year (March through January). It is closed every February for maintenance.

Are there toilets along the Short Inca Trail hike?

Yes, there is one toilet at the start of the hike, halfway and at the end of the hike (Machu Picchu). The first two toilets are free and the one by Machu Picchu has a cost of 2 soles. There is also a toilet at the camp.

What altitude does it reach?

The Short Inca Trail starts at 2,170 m / 7,170 ft and ascends to 2,720 m / 8,920 ft the Sun Gate, before descending to Machu Picchu which sits at an altitude of 2,040 m/6,691 ft.

The guides carry basic medical supplies, but as you will be in remote mountain areas, more advanced medical facilities are not available.

What is the food like on the Short Inca Trail Hike?

A packed lunch is provided by us for the hike and this must be carried by yourself during the hike. If you want other snacks during the trail, these can be bought in Cusco. Dinner on day one  and breakfast on the second day are included at the campsite and it is prepared by our expert chef. 

Breakfast on day one and lunch on day two are not included in this trip.

For breakfast on day one, you will need to request a box breakfast from your Cusco hotel.

Lunch on the second day can be bought in a restaurant in Aguas Calientes before taking the return train to Cusco.

Vegetarian and vegan meals are also available upon request. Other special dietary requests can usually be accommodated as well with sufficient notice.

Is drinking water supplied along the Short Inca Trail?

Nope, you must bring your own dirking water for the hike and we recommend you bring at least 2 liters per person which will cover the hike on day one.

We will provide you drinking water at the campsite for your Machu Picchu visit on day two of the trip.

Note: there aren’t places to buy water along the hike so you must purchase your drinking water in Ollantaytambo or in Cusco before taking the train to the start of the hike.

What are the guides like?

Our team are among the very best and most experienced guides anywhere. They are from the surrounding Cusco and the Sacred Valley areas and speak fluent English, in addition to Spanish and the Inca indigenous language of Quechua.

Most have 8-10 years of experience leading Inca trail hikes and other alternative treks and all have training in the history, spirituality, culture, and ecology of the area.

How can I prepare for the Inca Trail trek?

The more training you do beforehand, the more you will enjoy your trek. We recommend 30 minutes of cardio activities 3-4 times a week in the 2-3 months leading up to your departure. Take every opportunity to walk up and down stairs or hills for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness.

Are there any ATMs?

There are no ATMs along the Inca Trail. You should bring enough money with you from Cusco for any last-minute purchases before starting the hike or tips.

There are some ATMs in Aguas Calientes if you need to withdraw additional cash.

What if I have a medical emergency while hiking the Inca Trail?

Guides carry a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts/scrapes, etc.). They receive Red Cross First Aid and other emergency training every year.

Our guides lead over 1000 travelers along the Inca trail each year and we have rarely had a traveler unable to complete the hike. In these rare instances when someone has not felt well enough to finish the hike, he/ she has been escorted back to the start of the hike and generally felt well enough to re-join the group in Aguas Calientes via train later in the day.

Aguas Calientes has the nearest modern medical facilities so travelers with a serious medical emergency would need to be evacuated there. Guides and porters have pre-established evacuation strategies in place should this need occur.

Is there internet access on the Inca Trail?

Nope, your last chance to use the internet or have a reliable phone signal will be in Ollantaytambo train station and your first opportunity will be at Machu Picchu or at the campsite.

How much money should you bring on the Inca Trail?

The vast majority of costs will be covered in the up-front price of your trip, but there are a few costs along the trip for which you’ll need to bring cash:

  • Snacks and drinks from stallholders in the train station of Ollantaytambo
  • Toilet entry fees (usually 2 soles at Machu Picchu)
  • Tips for your guides
  • Breakfast on day 1 and Lunch on day 2 at Aguas Calientes.

It’s sensible to take this money in the form of smaller notes and coins.

We’d say at least 250 soles per person for the Trail-specific section.

Will I get altitude sickness on the Inca Trail?

Many of the most popular places in Peru, such as Cusco and Huaraz, are at high altitude; this means that for anyone planning a trip to Peru understanding altitude sickness (and how to avoid it) is incredibly important.

In fact, not approaching altitude correctly is one of the biggest mistakes of travelers in South America.

The best way to minimize the likelihood and impact of altitude sickness is factoring in enough time into your Peru itinerary to acclimatize to the conditions.

This means that it is incredibly foolish to arrive in Cusco, which is at 3,339m (11,151 feet) above sea-level, and leave the next day to do a strenuous hike or even start the Inca Trail. Your body needs the time to adjust to the altitude!

A good rule of thumb is to give yourself and your body two easy days at altitude to acclimatize to the change, and to keep yourself well hydrated throughout.

What about medication?

Obviously, medical attention and facilities along the Inca Trail are pretty much non-existent so you need to bring any of your own required medication with you and keep it on your own person or in the daypack.

What climates can I expect on the Short Inca Trail?

Variance in latitude, elevation and local winds all factor into the wide range of climates experienced in the central Sierra/Andean Mountain region. Average temperatures in the Sierra vary little between seasons, but there is dramatic daily variance. 

While the average daily temperature may only vary a few degrees Celsius between January and July, the diurnal (daily) temperature range is often huge.

You can expect daytime temperatures in the highlands to be in the range of 15-25°C (60 – 77 °F), falling as low as 10 °C (50°F) at night.

How much time can I spend at the Machu Picchu sanctuary?

There are three time slots in which patrons can enter Machu Picchu for a maximum of four hours and must follow one of three predetermined routes. Admission is not allowed after 4pm. Additionally, all visitors must always be accompanied by a guide.

The early morning is one of the best times to savour the views and atmosphere of Machu Picchu. The mystical morning light over the enigmatic sites is spectacular. Try and catch the sunrise at the sanctuary, you won’t regret the early wakeup call!

Enjoy the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with camping!

PRICE PER PERSON IN USD:
Group: $570
Private: $630
DURATION:
2 Days / 1 Night

AVAILABLE ADD-ONS

  • Hiking Poles – USD $10 (pair)
  • Sleeping Bag – USD $20 per person
  • Huayna Picchu Permit – USD $75 per person
  • Return Vistadome Train – USD $60 per person
  • Return Hiram Bingham train– USD $420 per person
  • Private Tent – USD $30 per person

 

OVERVIEW

  • Duration: 2 Days, 1 Night
  • Day 1: Cusco – Chachabamba – Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes
  • Day 2: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
  • Beginning altitude: 2,170 m / 7,170 ft
  • Maximum altitude: 2,720 m / 8,920 ft
  • Hike Total Distance:  13 km / 8 miles
  • Overall trek difficulty: Average

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