This shorter version of the Inca Trail still allows you to visit the most beautiful ruins along the way to Machu Picchu, Winawayna. Enjoy lunch before visiting and then continue through the Sun Gate for your first view of the Lost City of the Incas. You will continue down to Aguas Calientes village and have dinner at the best restaurant in town before heading to bed. For those who want a small taste of hiking the Andes, this 1 day hike with the next day spent at Machu Picchu can not be beat.
Note: The hotel must be booked in the main town due to the early pick up for our services we are unable to go to the Airbnb as most of them do not have a name or address easy to find and some of them are located far away from the main town.
Day 1: Hiking to Machu Picchu
You will be picked up from your hotel at 4 a.m. Following, we will go to the train station and leave on the 6:10 a.m. train, from Ollantaytambo. The train follows the Urubamba River, until we reach Km104, where we'll begin our trek. Along the way, you will see spectacular views of the farmlands, snow-capped mountains and the mighty Urubamba River, one of the sources of the Amazon River. At 104 km (2,000 m), we will begin our trek. Once you have everything you need, we will provide you with a packed lunch, energy drinks and take a group photo, before visiting our first Inca site. After an orientation and tour of the Inca site, we will begin hiking upwards, as we head for the Classic Inca Trail. If the weather is clear, we'll have tremendous views of Machu Picchu, the Urubamba River and other surrounding Inca Sites.
After hiking for thee hours, we will reach the most beautiful Incan site on the Inca Trail, Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) at 2,600 m/8,500 ft. Most people do not get the opportunity to see an elaborate water fountain, temples and some agricultural terraces, which provide a perfect opportunity to learn about the history of the Incas. The backdrop of this site drops off a cliff, with beautiful mountains surrounding the area. From Wiñay Wayna, we will walk to the Sun Gate, where we will see the picturesque landscape of Machu Picchu. After taking in the once-in-a-lifetime views, we will begin our descent to Machu Picchu.
A big advantage of this hike, is that by the time we reach Machu Picchu, most of the day travelers will have returned home, so you will have the area to yourself. After taking photos, we take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and head to your hotel. Following, we will head to Indio Feliz for dinner (included). This restaurant is considered to be the best food in Aguas Calientes. After dinner, we recommend going to bed early to make the most of the next day.
Accommodations: La Cabaña (or similar)
Meals Included: Lunch and dinner
Day 2: Visit the “Lost City of the Incas”
We will wake up early in the morning in order to catch the sunrise at Machu Picchu. You will have a two hour guided tour by your private English speaking guide. After that, you will have time to explore Machu Picchu by yourself. Those who have tickets to Huayna Picchu will have time to climb the mountain, which takes approximately an hour and a half, round-trip. When you are done exploring, you can either take a bus, or walk, down to Aguas Calientes for a free afternoon before your train which will depart later that afternoon back to Ollantaytambo and then we will drive you back to Cusco.
Meals Included: Breakfast Only
Professional Guides: All of our guides studied English and tourism at Cusco National University. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional, and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Permits: As soon as we receive your details and a deposit, we will purchase your permits (pending availability, check our Inca Trail Availability link). These permits are for a specific date and in your name. They can’t be changed, once confirmed. Only your passport number is allowed to be updated. The permit includes an entrance to Machu Picchu.
Hotel: This trek includes one night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu. We include a three star hotel. Your booked hotel will be listed on your confirmed invoice. Upgrades are always possible.
Transportation: All your transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4 a.m. (unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo) and brought to KM 104, to begin your trek. The train back from Aguas Calientes is included. This is Expedition class but can be upgraded to the Vistadome train for $75 per person. Once you arrive at the train station, you will be brought back to your hotel in Cusco. Your round-trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is also included.
Food: We will make sure that you enjoy some amazing food on the way to Machu Picchu. Lunch will be served around Wiñay Wayna ruins, and dinner will be in the best restaurant in the town of Aguas Calientes, called Indio Feliz. Breakfast will be enjoyed at your hotel the next morning. Lunch the last day is not included.
Water: We will give you a bottle of water for your morning hike and another bottle during lunch. We encourage you to bring extra on your own, as being well hydrated is the key to feeling great in the mountains.
First Aid: Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training sessions every February, which every single Alpaca tour guide must attend. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. We will get you off the trail as quickly and comfortably as possible, if needed, and ensure you get directly to a clinic for treatment.
Satellite Phones: Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While we are prepared and all our guides are trained for most of the issues clients have on the mountain, being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital or friend helps everyone feel assured that they are safe. Radios, which all our guides have, are limited in how far they can reach, so Alpaca Expeditions has added Satellite Phones to every trek. Every guide will have a fully charged phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to connect us anywhere in the world. And they can be used by our clients for non-emergencies as well. While they are not cheap to use, they are available just in case you need to check in on the puppy you left at home with grandma.
Rentals: Because there is no camping on this trek, the only possible needs would be an extra porter, or walking sticks. The items are listed below:
Porter up to 7kg: $65
Walking Sticks (Pair): $10
Porters: Because this is just a one day hike, without camping, porters are not used. Your day pack should include anything you need for the evening and next day at Machu Picchu. It is your responsibility to carry that yourself. If you prefer to include a porter, it can be arranged for a fee based on how much you need him to carry. This must be arranged at the time of your booking, since he will also need a permit.
Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep, if you are scared of heights. This is done after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $75. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Please understand that weather is out of our control.
We would love to take every one of you the Inca Trail and guide you to Machu Picchu. We can leave any day of the week as long as permits remain with the government. Please remember, permits are only needed for your START DATE.
Group Price (2017 & 2018):
$500 per person
Private Tours are based on Group Size (2017 & 2018):
2 Trekkers: $600 per person
3 Trekkers: $575 per person
4 Trekkers: $555 per person
5 Trekkers: $525 per person
6 Trekkers: $525 per person
7 Trekkers: $500 per person
8 or more Trekkers: $500 per person
We include a three (3) star hotel using La Cabana, Inti Punku or Waman (based on availability at booking). Rooms are based on double or triple occupancy and there is a single room surcharge if you are booking alone of $50 US per person. Rooms all include private bathrooms with hot showers and wifi. We can also upgrade your hotel if you prefer something a little fancier. Please remember that the service you receive in Aguas Calientes will not be quite as good as Cusco. Below is a list of possible upgrade options, but we can work with most hotels in Aguas Calientes.
My own room: +$50 US pp
El Mapi: +$70 US pp shared (+$140 for a single)
Sumaq : +$215 US pp shared (+$375 for a single)
Booked on your own: -$40 US per person
+ $50 US per person
For those wanting their own room or traveling solo (we do not bunk solo trekkers together), there is a $40 room charge to cover the entire room cost. This covers the included hotel, La Cabana, and it will be more expensive for the upgraded hotels. There is also an option to book your own hotel which will reduce the trek cost by $40 per person as well.
- $25 off per person
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid UNIVERSITY STUDENT CARD at the time of the trek or who is 17-years-old or younger. For those using an university student card to receive the discount, we need to see a copy of the card at booking. For those booking children 17-years-old or younger, we need a copy of their passport at booking time. Please send all to email@example.com.
More Information about STUDENT CARD
As you see in our Additional Items under Trip Overview, there are several optional upgrades you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices, but check our Overview section for more details.
Huayna Picchu: $75 per person
Vistadome Train (One Way): $75 per person
Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. While this hike is done on your own, your guide will direct you to where this hike begins. This is an additional entrance ticket that we can secure for you with an advance notice.
The ticket is $75 per person.
Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu mountain is the other mountain that stands above the Machu Picchu ruins. It offers even more stunning views than Huayna Picchu, but takes an hour and a half to reach the top. This is an additional entrance ticket that we can secure for you.
This ticket is $75 per person.
All our tours include the Expeditions (Tourist) Train. This train is normally booked at 4:22 p.m., leaving Aguas Calientes. The Vistadome train is an upgraded train, that offers slightly larger seats, windows and even some entertainment. Normally the Vistadome train is booked for 4:43 p.m. and travels to Poroy, a train station closer to Cusco. While this is an upgraded fee, we will still include your transportation back to your hotel.
This train is $75 per person.
Extra Day at Machu Picchu
You will have a full day at Machu Picchu, arriving to the citadel around 6AM and leaving no later than 2PM to catch your 4:22 train. But if you would like to visit Machu Picchu again the next day, this time on your own, we can arrange this for you as well.
The entrance ticket into Machu Picchu is $55 per person.
The roundtrip bus ticket between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu is $25 per person
Getting to Cusco
The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air and there are several options in airlines. LAN tends to be the most expensive, but has the most options and flights. Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.
Any extra luggage you have with you can be left safely in Cusco at either your hotel or with us at the Alpaca Expeditions deposit while you trek. We will grab from you the morning of your trek and return once you are back in Cusco. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.
As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the coca plant contain alkaloids which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Remember the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness when they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slowly, it will give your body time to adjust to the mountain.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water. And enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you unfortunately get sick, let your guide know right away – all Alpaca Expeditions guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Of course weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also prepare for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm, winter-weight jacket.
Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February – every single Alpaca guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better.
In case something unexpected happens and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way off the course and to a clinic. You will never be left alone; you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and re-connect with your group, traveling by train comfortably.
To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. In fact, we work with a great agency in the United States that has helped to make it easy and affordable. This is a great way to protect yourself while visiting Peru.
If interested in booking through our trusted partner, Ahart, Frinzi & Smith, CLICK HERE.
Alpaca Expeditions uses biodegradable soap and transports all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up any waste from other groups, as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.
Alpaca Expeditions is really proud of the work we do for our community. This is a main focus for our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with needs their families were missing. We have supported local schools by giving them computers and books. We currently sponsor a teacher at the village most of our porters come from to ensure their children are offered the best education.
We buy all our food from local farmers and markets and serve the freshest ingredients. We provide English classes for all our team: guides, porters, chefs and drivers. And we are building a house for our porters to give them a safe and comfortable place to stay before and after our treks so they no longer need to sleep on the floor of a friend.
And twice every year we bring our porters and their families to Machu Picchu. This is our favorite trip to do as the guys who work tirelessly have never visited the Lost Citadel of the Incas. Showing them this place is our biggest honor.
We are always looking to do more for our partners. Please let us know of your ideas and we will work to help.
This trek does NOT include porters. You will be carrying all your own things yourself while hiking. Because of this, it is imperative to pack as light as possible. A light backpack is key to feeling great.
- Valid, STUDENT CARD (if you booked as a student)
- Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)
- Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
- Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbaks or bottles are good for this trek.
- Water for the beginning of your hike. We will resupply you at lunch.
- Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
- 1 Wicking/Hiking Shirt & hiking pants
- Nice shirt and pants for Machu Picchu day - remember you will always treasure these photos, wear something you love
- 2 sets of undergarments including one pair of hiking socks
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Sun hat
- Bathing suits for the hot springs (Optional on your own in Aguas Calientes)
- Sun protection cream
- Insect Repellent
- Personal medication
- Personal first aid kit
- IPhone/IPod for music
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Extra money for souvenirs, drinks & tips
PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP
We try to make booking as easy as possible at Alpaca Expeditions. We need a completed booking form that includes all the details for the entire party (on one form, please) and then a $200 deposit per person. The deposits can be paid separately as long as we have one form that we can use to track payments. Once we have all deposits and details, we will then book your permits. When permits are in our hands, we will send you your invoice and confirmation that everything is 100% set. All start dates, once confirmed, are guaranteed.
Only licensed Inca Trail tour operators, like Alpaca Expeditions, can secure permits from the government. Once we have secured your permit, the name and start date can not be changed under any circumstance. The only information that the government allows us to change is passport numbers.
UPDATING PASSPORT NUMBERS
The government will only allow us to change passport numbers if we have a copy of the new passport and old passport. If you no longer have your old passport, any government issue ID will be accepted, as long as the name is the same.
HOW TO GET TO CUSCO
Most people will get to Cusco by air. Please remember that Cusco airport is for domestic travel only, so if you come directly from overseas through Lima, you must get your bags in Lima and re-check them for flight to Cusco. There are four airline carriers that fly roundtrip between Lima and Cusco: LATAM Airlines, AVIANCA Airlines, Star Peru and Peruvian Airlines. All of them offer similar schedules and in-flight service, but we usually recommend either LATAM airlines or AVIANCA as they tend to be the most helpful when unexpected flight cancellations or delays occur.
WHERE TO STAY IN CUSCO
While you can truly stay at any hotel in Cusco, the city is becoming more and more difficult to navigate by car. Many roads, especially by the main square, are open to pedestrian traffic only. We will notify you if it is not possible to pick you up by car and arrange another meeting point for pick up/drop off. For a list of recommended hotels, please ask your Alpaca Expeditions sales rep.
CAN I STAY IN THE SACRED VALLEY
Ollantaytambo is the best place to stay other than Cusco. By staying in Ollantaytambo, you actually get a little more sleep because we will be picking you up about 1.5 hours after the Cusco pick up time. This being said, the pre-trip briefing can only be done in Cusco, so please arrange with your Alpaca Expeditions sales rep a time that works for you and our office team.
CAN I SPEND AN EXTRA NIGHT IN AGUAS CALIENTES
Of course. If you are ok with taking the same train out of Aguas Calientes that is part of your original itinerary, which is typically at 4:22 that evening, than there is no additional charge to move the train back a day. If you need us to secure your hotel or another visit to Machu Picchu, this will be an additional cost. If you do choose to spend one more night in Aguas Calientes, make sure you tell the Alpaca Expeditions office at least one month in advance so your train ticket is purchased for the right day.
CAN I BOOK MY OWN HOTEL IN AGUAS CALIENTES
You can choose any hotel to stay in Aguas Calientes - its a very small town - and absolutely can book on your own. This will reduce the price of your trek $40 per person. If you choose to book your own hotel, make sure you tell us where you plan on staying so we can get you there safely.
DURING YOUR TRIP
HOW CHALLENGING IS THE TREK
Remember that even though this tour is 2 days, you are only hiking for one day 6 hours total which includes some stops. The morning is mostly gradually uphill the entire time, so it will be tiring, but well worth it when you get to Winawayna for lunch time. Just remember its one foot in front of the other, look up at the amazing views and enjoy it. After lunch its an hour to the Sun Gate, pretty easy. And then another easy hike to the bus that will take you down to Aguas Calientes.
DO YOU NEED HIKING BOOTS
We always recommend light hiking boots, but if you prefer sneakers, especially for the one day hike, this is ok as well. Just please make sure they have good soles.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK
Probably the most important question. While you will find a complete packing list on the site, remember on this particular hike you carry all your own things. Please pack as light as possible. Only essentials.
WHERE DO I STORE MY LUGGAGE
All luggage not needed for the trek should stay in Cusco. All hotels are very accommodating and quite used to storing luggage on site, or you can safely store with the Alpaca Expeditions team.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AS FAR AS WEATHER
Please understand that this is an impossible question for us to answer. Historically April through September is the dry season, November through February is the rainy season and March and October and bridge months - a mixture of both. But the clouds have not followed these rules in the last few years. Prepare for sun and rain no matter when you come. As far as temperature, that is consistent throughout the year. Mornings and evenings are cold, so bring a fleece at least to begin the hike. For those scared of the cold, bring a jacket. Once the sun is fully up you should be comfortable hiking and touring Machu Picchu in short sleeves. Long pants (yoga or hiking) are encouraged to help from the mosquitos which can be a nuisance in Aguas Calientes.
WHAT TYPE OF OUTLETS ARE USED IN PERU
Most hotels and even homes in Peru now have the standard US outlet and also the South American outlet.