This trail is fantastic for those who want to do an Inca Trail trek that finishes with a breathtaking view of Macchu Picchu. This is ideal for those who only have a short time in Cusco or for those who want to do an achievable hike where you can see other Inca sites (including the famous Sun Gate). You can get spectacular views, including the sunset over Macchu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is tangible evidence of the urban Inca Empire at the peak of its power and achievement—a citadel of cut stone fit together without mortar so tightly that its cracks still can’t be penetrated by a knife blade.
The complex of palaces and plazas, temples and homes may have been built as a ceremonial site, a military stronghold, or a retreat for ruling elites—its dramatic location is certainly well suited for any of those purposes. The ruins lie on a high ridge, surrounded on three sides by the windy, turbulent Urubamba River some 2,000 feet (610 meters) below.
The Inca’s achievements and skills are all the more impressive in light of the knowledge they lacked. When Machu Picchu was built some 500 years ago, the Inca had no iron, no steel, and no wheels. Their tremendous effort benefited apparently relatively few people—some experts maintain that fewer than a thousand individuals lived here.
You will have a wonderful 2 hour guided tour by your local English speaking guide. After that you will have plenty of time on your own to explore and enjoy Machu Picchu, and discover the wonders of the city yourself!
But before we arrive at the ancient city, you will be able to see spectacular views of farmlands, snow-capped mountains and the mighty Urubamba River; one of the sources of the Amazon River. We will also be making the 3 hour hike to the most beautiful Incan site on the Inca Trail – Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) at 2600m. This is a wonderful Incan place that many people never get to see. Here, there is an elaborate water fountain, temples, and some agricultural terraces which provide a perfect opportunity to learn more about the way of the Incans.
DAY 1 – Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Sun Gate – Machu Picchu.
- Pickup from the hotel and transfer to Ollantaytambo
- Train to KM 104, the starting point of the trek
- Hiking to Machu Picchu / Bus to Aguas Calientes
- Night in a standard hostel ( possible to upgrade to La Cabana , Tay Picala , Inti Inn , and more )
- Walking distance: 15 km
- Trail head elevation: 2000 meters
- Highest point elevation (Sun Gate ) 2720 meters
- Machu Picchu elevation : 2400 meters
DAY 2 – Aguas Calientes – The lost city of the Incas – Cusco
- Early breakfast at Hotel
- Bus or hiking up to Machu Picchu ( by bus 25 minutes, by foot 1.5 hours )
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Climb to Huayna Picchu ( book in advance )
- Afternoon train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Transfer Ollantaytambo – Cusco – hotel.
- Train times: at 2.55 pm, 4.45 pm , or 6.45 pm depending on availability at Peru Rail
Day 1: HIKING TO MACHU PICCHU
You will be picked up from your accommodation on the first day at 4.00 am. We will then go to the train station and leave on the train at 6.10 am from Ollantaytambo. Along the way, the train follows the Urubamba River until we reach Km104 where we´ll begin our trek. You will be able to see spectacular views of farmlands, snow-capped mountains and the mighty Urubamba River; one of the sources of the Amazon River. At 104km (2000m) we begin our trek, once we´ve made sure you have everything you need. We will provide you a packed lunch and drinks for energy. We will also take the chance now to have a group photo before visiting our first Inca site together. After an informative tour of the Inca site, we begin gradually ascending as we head for the classic Inca Trail far above. If we have clear weather, we´ll have tremendous views of Macchu Picchu, the Urubamba River and other surrounding Inca sites.
After hiking for 3 hours, we will reach the most beautiful Incan site on the Inca Trail – Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) at 2600m. This is a wonderful Incan site that many people never get to see. There is an elaborate water fountain, temples, and some agricultural terraces which provide a perfect opportunity to learn more about the way of the Incans. The scenery truly must be seen to be believed! A steep drop off, vertical cliff face, and dramatic mountains surround you. It really demonstrates of the importance of location to the Incas. From Wiñay Wayna we walk to the Sun Gate where we see the picturesque landscape of Machu Picchu below. After taking in the once in a lifetime views and getting your photos, we begin our descent to Machu Picchu for sunset.
One of the advantages of this hike is that by the time we reach Machu Picchu, most of the day travelers will have already returned home and you will have it almost to yourself. After taking photos, we’ll take the bus to Aguas Calientes and check-in to your hotel. Then we’ll find a great place for dinner and get to bed early to make the most of the next day.
Day 2: VISIT THE “LOST CITY OF THE INCAS
We will wake up early in the morning in order to take one of the first buses to Machu Picchu in order to see the sunrise. You will have a 2 hour guided tour by your English speaking guide. After that you will have plenty of time on your own to explore and enjoy Machu Picchu. Those who have tickets to Huayna Picchu will have time to climb the mountain, which takes approximately 1.5 hours round-trip. When done exploring, you will take a bus or walk down to Aguas Calientes to eat lunch and take a train back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy and then a bus to Cusco where you will be brought back to your hotel.
INCLUDED IN THE TREK
- Pick up from your hotel by your tour guide
- Transfer to the start of your trek, KM 82
- Professional English speaking tour guide
- Entrance fee to the Inca Trail National Park
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Sanctuary
- Happy hour including hot drinks such as mate de coca and locally grown coffee which is prepared by our cook
- Snacks every morning
- Oxygen tank and first aid kit
- Vegetarian food and specialized diets (upon request)
- 2 or 3 hour guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Bus from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes village
- Round Trip Bus Tickets
- Expedition train return to Ollantaytambo then by bus to Cusco
- Last lunch in Aguas Calientes
- Original passport
- Student ISIC card (www.isic.org) if applicable (needs to be sent at the time of your booking)
- Day Pack
- Hiking boots and sandals (very important)
- Warm clothes: layers for variable temperatures, especially at night. Thermals/gloves/scarves: wool socks /wool hat for cold nights: About 4 T-shirts for the entire trek
- Head lamp (very important)
- Camera and extra batteries
- Sunscreen/hat and sunglasses
- Personal medical kit
- Insect repellent
- Rain Gear: a good rain jacket and rain pants and plastic rain poncho
- Toilet paper
- Small towel
- Camel bag – if not you can take plastic bottles for water
- Extra money for drinks & tips, souvenirs, etc (soles or dollars.)
- At least 200 extra soles
- Bathing clothes for the hot springs (optional, but highly recommended for those who stay an extra night)
Private Service Prices
- 2 people US$565 per person
- 3 people US$485 per person
- 4 people US$430 per person
- 5 people US$395 per person
- 6+ people US$375 per person
- Student Discount: US$20 (Requires ISIC Card to qualify)
- Walking Pole US$ 10
Please remember that the 2 Day Inca Trail does not include a porter to carry your things, you are responsible for carrying your own belongings so please pack lightly. Hiking in the Andes is something different and the altitude will make things more difficult. You want your daypack as light as possible.
*****IMPORTANT NOTES *****
NEED A PERMIT: In order to book your Inca Trail treks, the Peruvian authorities cap the number of Inca Trail trekking permits to 500 per day. Everyone entering the trail needs a permit including the trekker, guide, porters and other support staff. Permits often sell out several months in advance and you must book well ahead to secure your place.
When you fill in our booking form you must fill in alternative start dates that are possible for you to begin the trek and these have to be validated. If your preferred date is sold out we will use one of these alternative dates for your permit. Once we purchase your permit from the National Park office, you are 100% confirmed to start this day; this date cannot be changed. Permits are completely non-refundable or transferable, so please make sure the date you booked is a good date to start this adventure.
Your permit is linked to your name and passport number. If you change your passport after booking your Inca Trail trek permit or you plan to travel with a different passport, you MUST also bring the passport you used to book your permit, or you will not be able to trek the Inca Trail trek.
STUDENTS: If you booked your trek with your International Student Identity Card (ISIC) you must have this card and it must be valid for you to enter the trail. If you purchased a permit with the student discount and you do not bring your ISIC card or it is not valid at the time of your trek start they will not allow you to enter the trail. These are National Park rules.
HUAYNA PICCHU: Only 400 people can climb this mountain per day, so this ticket also needs to be booked in advanced. The price is $65 per person (read our Huaynapicchu sidebar about this cost). It is recommended to climb Huayna Picchu in the 10-11am time slot as otherwise you miss your guided tour. It is recommended to have this booked about 2 months in advance to secure your permit.
EXTRA NIGHT: If you want to stay longer at Machu Picchu then you can book an extra night at Aguas Calientes village. Just let us know that you plan to stay an extra night so we can organize your return train for the next day. You can either organize your accommodation by yourself or we can assist with making bookings. If you were thinking of going back to Machu Picchu the next day then you will have to buy a new entrance fee to Machu Picchu and the bus tickets for about $70.
RETURN TRAIN TO CUSCO: The return train is the Expedition train which departs either at 2:55, 4:20, 4:42 or 6:40 pm. The train that is booked depends on availability and is confirmed at your briefing. There is an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train, which is an extra $65 per person. Please let us know your preference at the time of booking. None of the trains go straight to Cusco, they run either to Ollantaytambo or Poroy but in either case we will transfer you back by bus to your hotel.
FOOD ON THE TREK: Definitely one of the highlights of the tour is the food. It is always fresh and most of it is organic. There is always a lot to eat and lots of options including vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and other types of protein and carbohydrates. Everyone sits down to eat together and we go out of our way to accommodate all dietary requirements including vegetarian options and any food allergies. We do not provide any alcoholic drinks on the trek but if you would like you can bring your own.
OUR EQUIPMENT: We provide 4 person tents for every 2 people, sleeping bags and foam mattresses for everyone. Our dining equipment includes a spacious dining tent, tables and chairs, plates and utensils. We do NOT supply walking sticks, but they can be rented from PumaPath. We bring an extra blanket for all our hikers for those especially cold nights. Just ask and your guide will provide you with this.
OUR GUIDES, COOK AND PORTERS: All of them are amazing, helpful, caring and great people to be around. Our guides speak excellent English and are patient and very informative. Our cooks provide amazing family-style food for you and our porters and you will be impressed with what they can whip up in the middle of the mountains! Your porters will carry everything for you which makes your trek as easy and comfortable as possible. Thanks to them you will finish your trek and have a great time. Our porters are called ´WE ARE PUMAS…´ on the Inca Trail.
We make sure that all our team are well looked after and we provide all the equipment that they need so that they can do the trek in as much comfort as possible.
FITNESS: The Inca Trail is certainly not easy but you do not need to be an athlete or a trekking expert to complete it. Fitness is naturally important but the Inca Trail is the kind of trek that anyone with a positive attitude and determination can do. Obviously the more fit you are the more you will enjoy the trail and the more chance you will have to take in the scenery and appreciate the Inca ruins dotted along the way. If you do not exercise regularly, it is advisable to do some extra walking or some kind of aerobic activity in the months leading up to your trip.
Many people worry whether or not they will be able to cope physically, but complete failure is rare and would usually only result from severe altitude sickness or a person lacking even a basic level of fitness. People of all ages (from teenagers to pensioners) complete the trek, and age itself is no barrier if you are positive minded and live an active lifestyle. Before departing for your tour, we recommend visiting your doctor who will be able to provide you with more information.
STORAGE DURING YOUR TREK: During the Inca Trail trek your main luggage will be stored in Cuzco and you will receive a small duffle bag at your Inca Trail briefing (briefings are normally set for the evening before you start the trek) to pack your clothes in for 3-4 days. Your team of porters will carry these bags together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day as the porters will always be ahead of the group. You should therefore bring a day pack in which you can carry personal belongings such as your camera, water and sun screen etc. By Peruvian law the duffle bag carried by the porters must not weigh more than 7kg (14pounds). You can either store the rest of your luggage at your hotel or you can leave it with us.