2 Day Inca Trail: Your Path to the Lost City of Machu Picchu

The 2-day Inca Trail is a shorter and more convenient alternative for those who want to experience the grandeur of Machu Picchu but have time constraints or prefer a less rigorous trek. During this itinerary, hikers cover a shorter distance compared to the 4-day Inca Trail, starting at kilometer 104 of the railway tracks and walking for approximately 6-7 hours before reaching the Sun Gate, which is the ancient entrance to Machu Picchu.

Along the way, visitors have the opportunity to explore archaeological sites, enjoy stunning landscapes, and learn about the history of the Incas. Despite its reduced duration, the 2-day Inca Trail remains an enriching experience that culminates with a visit to the natural sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Transportation services and professional guides make this option accessible and appealing to a diverse range of travelers.

Inca Trail Short 2 Days Machu Picchu

Why choose the 2-day Inca Trail?

The 2-Day Short Inca Trail (also known as the “one-day route”,two-day hike,” “Sacred Path,” or “Royal Inca Trail”) is the ideal choice for adventurers with time constraints or those who want to enjoy a more relaxed hike without worrying about extreme fatigue or foot blisters.

Below, we provide information about the altitude profile of the 2-Day Inca Trail, so you can have a better understanding of the elevations you will encounter during this exciting journey. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

2-Day Inca Trail

Day 1: From KM104 to Aguas Calientes, passing through Winay Wayna and Machu Picchu

Day 1: Starting early with a pickup at 4 a.m., the day begins with a train journey to Ollantaytambo, located at an altitude of 2792 meters. From there, you will board a picturesque train that will take you to the starting point at KM 104, named after its distance of 104 km by train from Cusco.

During the 1.5-hour train ride, you will enjoy breathtaking views of the snow-capped peaks of the Urubamba Mountain Range. Upon reaching KM 104, you will disembark and cross a bridge over the Vilcanota River to begin the hike to the first stop, Chachabamba, an ancient Inca ruin discovered in 1940. This ruin is believed to have served as a religious administrative center and a checkpoint overseeing the eastern side of Machu Picchu.

Día 1 De KM104 a Aguas Calientes, pasando por Winay Wayna y Machu PicchuCamino Inca de 2 Días

KM 104

Chachabamba Camino Inca Camino Inca de 2 Días

Chachabamba

From Chachabamba, you will follow a forested trail that leads you to Wiñay Huayna, where the Short Inca Trail joins the Classic Inca Trail. The stretch to Wiñay Huayna covers a 2 to 3-hour hike, during which you will ascend approximately 300 meters, mostly through stone steps. It’s important to be prepared as some individuals may start to feel the effects of altitude at this point.

Along the way, you can enjoy the view of a beautiful waterfall, one of the lushest and most verdant sections of the trail, perfect for taking a break and having lunch.

In Wiñay Huayna, your guide will lead you to explore the ruins, which were likely used for food storage and as a final point on the pilgrimage trail. The amphitheater-style terraced fields here are some of the most impressive ruins on the Inca Trail. Additionally, near these ruins is the last campsite with the same name, used by hikers on the Classic Inca Trail.

Camino Inca Corto Our exclusive short Inca Trail in Machu Picchu Cusco Peru Camino Inca de 2 Días

Wiñayhuana

After quickly exploring the ruins of Wiñay Huayna, you will continue along the scenic trail that leads you towards Machu Picchu.

After approximately two more hours of hiking, you will encounter a steep, paved Inca stone staircase. These stairs will lead you to Inti Punku, known as the Sun Gate, where you will be amazed by a spectacular view of Machu Picchu from above.

Camino Inca Corto inti-punku-camino-inca Machu Picchu Cusco peru Camino Inca de 2 Días

Inti Punku

The first day is just a preview of your visit to Machu Picchu. From here, you will be transported to Aguas Calientes, the village located in the valley just below Machu Picchu, at an altitude of 2040 meters above sea level. Depending on the package you have booked, you will spend the night in a hotel or hostel in Aguas Calientes.

Camino Inca de 2 Días Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes

Day 2: From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and return to Cusco

On the following day, start early with the excitement of boarding a bus back to Machu Picchu, where your guide will provide you with a comprehensive 2 to 3-hour tour of this Inca citadel. If you still have energy, there is the option to hike to Machu Picchu, a trek of approximately 5.5 miles (8.9 km) that is recommended to begin around 6 in the morning.

2 Day Inca Trail - Your Path to the Lost City of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

For those with an adventurous spirit, many hikers choose to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain on this day. However, please note that these additional activities require energy and are not suitable for those with a fear of heights (you can obtain tickets for Huayna Picchu by contacting us).

Montana Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu

Permits for both mountains are limited, so it’s important to book in advance if you wish to undertake either of these ascents.

After exploring Machu Picchu in the morning, you will return to Aguas Calientes, where you can choose to take a 30-minute bus ride or embark on a approximately 2-hour hike.

Later, you will board the train back to Ollantaytambo. From there, transportation service will be provided to return to Cusco, and you are expected to arrive at your hotel around 19:00 hours.

We also offer Train Station Transportation Service. Feel free to contact us to arrange your transfer to and from the train station.

Get in touch with us for information about the itinerary or for more details about this luxurious Cusco Transport and Tours Inca Trail!

Flora

As you may know, the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu is home to more than 400 species of orchids, ranging from 0.5 cm to 2 meters in size. This is due to the presence of humidity and rain in the 30,000 hectares (300 km2) that make up Machu Picchu.

The most popular flora samples include:

  • Orchids (orchidaceae): There are more than 3,000 species of orchids worldwide, but along this Inca Trail, you will see species such as “wiñayhuayna” and “waqanki,” among many others.
  • Ferns (pteridophytes): This plant is recognized as a “living fossil,” and you can appreciate it around Inti Punku. There are 15 species recorded on the Inca Trail.
  • Tillandsia aeranthos (Tillandsia aeranthos): This ornamental plant is found throughout South America, including Peru. Its main characteristic is that the flowers have three pink and blue sepals.

Of course, there are more flowers, shrubs, and trees for you to explore on your own.

Fauna

The abundance of wildlife in the mountains of Machu Picchu is incredible.

More than 700 species of butterflies, 423 species of birds, 125 species of arthropods, 53 species of mammals, 22 species of reptiles, 13 species of fish, and 12 species of amphibians within this historic sanctuary provide us with another reason to visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the duration of the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

The 2-day Inca Trail route has a length of 10 km, equivalent to 6.21 miles. The majority of the trekking is done on the first day, and most hikers complete this hike in approximately 6 hours.

What is the starting point of the 2-day Inca Trail?

The starting point of the 2-day Inca Trail is typically at kilometer 82 of the railway leading to Machu Picchu. From there, you will begin the ascent towards the Cusichaca Valley and pass through the ruins of Llactapata before reaching the village of Huayllabamba.

How long does it take to complete the 2-day Inca Trail?

The 2-day Inca Trail typically lasts for approximately 12 hours. On day 1, the hike takes around 8 hours, from kilometer 104 to Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes). On day 2, the hike takes around 4 hours, from Machu Picchu Pueblo to Machu Picchu.

Can I hike the Short Inca Trail without a guide?

No, you cannot hike the 2-day Inca Trail without a guide. You must register with an authorized tour operator to undertake this experience.

Is it necessary to book a tour to do the 2-day Inca Trail?

Yes, it is necessary to book a tour to do the 2-day Inca Trail. The Inca Trail is a route protected by the Peruvian government, and it is only allowed to be undertaken with an all-inclusive tour.

Is it necessary to book the 2-day Inca Trail in advance?

Yes, it is necessary to book the 2-day Inca Trail in advance, especially if traveling during the high season (from May to August). Tickets can be reserved through the Ministry of Culture of Peru.

What is the best time to do the 2-day Inca Trail?

The dry months, such as May, June, July, and August, are considered the best for doing the Inca Trail.

What is the difficulty level of the 2-day Inca Trail?

The 2-day Inca Trail is a moderate hike but requires good physical condition. The trail is relatively steep in some sections, and there is an altitude difference of approximately 3000 meters.

What should I bring for the 2-day Inca Trail?

In addition to the usual clothing and personal items, it’s important to bring the following for the 2-day Inca Trail:

Appropriate weather-appropriate clothing, including comfortable walking shoes, long pants, a waterproof jacket, and a sun hat. Water, snacks, and a trekking pole. A camera to capture the stunning landscapes of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. If you wish to visit Huayna Picchu Mountain, you’ll need to bring a small backpack to carry the entrance ticket and other essential items.

Do you need a permit for the 2-day Inca Trail?

Yes, you need to carry a permit for the 2-day Inca Trail. Permits can be obtained through the Ministry of Culture of Peru.

Is the 2-day Inca Trail safe?

The 2-day Inca Trail is a safe trek, but it’s important to follow the guide’s instructions and take precautions to avoid injuries.

Are there any additional tips for the 2-day Inca Trail?

Here are some additional tips for the 2-day Inca Trail:

  • Take your time and enjoy the hike.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Eat carbohydrate-rich foods for energy.
  • Rest if you feel tired.
  • Don’t rush to get to Machu Picchu.

I hope this information is helpful. Have a great trip!

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