The INCA TRAIL is the most popular trek to Machu Picchu. The SHORT 2 DAY INCA TRAIL to Machu Picchu is a shorter and less strenuous way to experience the original Inca steps and still end the trail in Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate (Inti Punku).
The 2D/1N Inca Trail trek passes 2 archaeological sites along the way, has a variety of flora and fauna, and is rich in history. The 2 day trek is 14km/8.7m, goes up to 2,700 m/8,858 ft, and is classified as an easy-moderate trek with minimal altitude gain. If you love the idea of hiking directly into Machu Picchu via the Sungate, but want a shorter hike, then the 2D/1N Inca Trail Trek is the one for you!
This trail requires a permit and a limited number of people are allowed to trek per day. These spots fill quickly so booking well in advance (at least 3 months recommended) is essential. Minimum passengers necessary for trek departure: 2 people (1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).
The Nitty Gritty Trek Details
Easy-moderate, minimal gain
Touristy, popular, crowded
When to Go
6-10 trekkers: 650, 3-5 trekkers: 690, 2 trekkers: 775 (per person)
DAY 1: CUSCO –
CHACHABAMBA – AGUAS CALIENTES
Private transport picks you up from your hotel very early (
- Walking distance approximately 14 km/8.7 miles (7-hour hike)
- Meals: box breakfast, box lunch, dinner in a local restaurant in Aguas Calientes
- Overnight: local hotel in Aguas Calientes (double room)
DAY 2: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
- Meals: Breakfast in the hotel, snacks on the tour
- Overnight: Not Included
- There are no bathrooms in the ruin site. There are bathrooms right outside the entrance, cost is 1 sol per entrance, and they provide a little toilet paper. If you leave close to the time your ticket expires it is likely they will not permit re-entry.
- You are allowed to take in a small backpack (under 20L)
- They are no longer allowing box lunches to be brought into the ruin site. We recommend bringing extra snacks (we provide snacks too) or going down to Aguas Calientes for lunch and returning depending on how much time you’ve booked in Machu Picchu
- They no longer allow plastic water bottles so please come prepared with water bladders/reusable water bottle(s)
- Please do not climb on or deface the rocks or leave trash/debris of any kind.
- Our recommendation is to add one extra time slot to allow for more time in the Ruin Site (with or without an extra hike).
Machu Picchu Entrance Times: in 2019 they changed to 3 time slots with only 2800 people allowed to enter Machu Picchu each day (down from 4000 in 2018)
- First Entrance: 6am to 10am
- Second Entrance: 9am to 1pm
- Third Entrance: 12pm to closing
- Note: there will potentially be 4-5 entrance times in future years
- Due to COVID19 – current capacity in Machu Picchu is has been varying based on outbreak numbers. Expect reduced capacity in 2021, extra hike closures, and difficulty obtaining time slots – we recommend booking early
HIKES WITHIN MACHU PICCHU
There are hikes within Machu Picchu that you can do on your own if you wish. The hikes that historically have not required an entrance ticket are: The Inka bridge and the Sun Gate (where the Inka Trail ends with a view of Machu Picchu city), although these may become subject to permits and charges in 2021. Further, all permitted hikes are subject to closure due to weather, erosion, pandemic/epidemic, etc., and is outside our control as this is regulated by the Peruvian Government.
Wayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes both require a paid ticket and there are a limited number of spots (200 at 7am and 200 at 10am). If you want to hike one of these please let us know well in advance as these spots fill up very quickly. Please note we cannot guarantee you a spot for the mountains requiring tickets and that the Wayna Picchu trail is very steep and slippery and not for those afraid of heights or with vertigo).
We recommend the 10am time slot as Machu Picchu tends to be cloudy in the morning. You are only allowed to hike one of these mountains on a given day so if you would like to do both you would need to return the next day to hike the other one.
Extra hikes are affected by the time slots meaning you can:
- Stick with one entrance ticket to Machu Picchu (6am entrance time) that we include in the cost of our trips and go on the extra hike starting at 7am. This means you would miss the guided tour of Machu Picchu unless we customized your trip and added an extra time slot later.
- Book an extra entrance ticket (second time slot) along with the extra hike to enter Machu Picchu at 6am, have the guided tour first and some free time and then stay for the extra hike at 9 or 10am and depart after the hike.
General Info about the Extra Hikes and Machu Picchu:
- You can only hike one of the extra hikes per day – these are Peruvian Government rules. If you wish to hike both you would need to stay overnight and return to Machu Picchu the next day to hike the second one. We can help arrange this.
- The hikes are permitted and require a paid ticket that is linked to your passport info
- There are 200 slots at 7am for Machu Picchu Mountain and 200 slots at 7am for Wayna Picchu and 200 slots at 9am for Machu Picchu Mountain and 200 slots at 10am for Wayna Picchu Mountain.
- If you want to hike both you need to return the following day to complete the second one.
- A guide is required to enter Machu Picchu with you but would not go on the extra hike with you unless you specifically request that.
- In 2019 they are no longer allowing box lunches to be brought into Machu Picchu so please plan accordingly with plenty of snacks (beyond the ones we provide if you feel you’ll need them).
- In 2019 they are no longer allowing plastic water bottles so come prepared with reusable water bottle(s).
INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
- Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any question
- Collection from your Cusco hotel in the morning of the first day
- English speaking professional tour guide
- Private transport to Ollantaytambo
- Tourist Train tickets round trip: Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and back
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex (Day 1: final time slot, Day 2: first time slot 6-10am)
- Inca Trail Permit
- Round-trip bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Hotel (double room) in Aguas Calientes and dinner in a local restaurant
- Meals (Day 1: light box breakfast, box lunch, dinner, and snacks, Day 2: breakfast and snacks)
- Dietary needs: able to cater to any dietary preference/need
- First-aid kit including
- Private transport from Ollantaytambo to your hotel in Cusco
NOT INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
- Hotel before/after the trek
- Walking poles (must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Lunch and dinner on the second day
- Extra hikes within Machu Picchu: Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain – please note if you choose this option we cannot guarantee a spot will be available. We recommend booking well in advance for these hikes.
- Extra time slot in Machu Picchu (in 2019 the government split the entrance ticket into three time slots. We include the first one 6-10am)
- Entrance to hot springs in Aguas Calientes
- Items of a personal nature/souvenirs
- Travel interruption & travel medical/evacuation insurance (required)
- Tip for your guide(s) are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
PRICE AND NUMBER OF TREKKERS
A minimum of 2 trekkers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group.
- Price for 6-10 trekkers: 650 USD per person
- Price for 3-5 trekkers: 690 USD per person
- Price for 2 trekkers: 775 USD per person
Private treks, single trekker, custom treks and packages, large groups, and packages welcome! Please email us to customize.
COVID 19 PRACTICES
We take your health and that of our staff very seriously. We adhere to the recommended rules as outlined by the Peruvian Government, including border closures, trail closures, face-covering orders, quarantine orders, negative COVID19 test results, and the eventual need for proof of COVID19 vaccination. We have instituted a number of increased hygiene precautions for food preparation and treks/tours outlined below. Face coverings will be worn at all times by the guide/staff and are required of guests in towns and ruin sites and anywhere else it is mandated per Peruvian rules. Social distancing will be observed to the best of our ability, especially along the trail if you wish to remove face coverings while hiking. Increased hand hygiene will be practiced and temperatures checked daily. Anyone exhibiting COVID19 symptoms will need to self-quarantine.
Machu Picchu has been declared a Safe Travels destination. In line with the good news that Peru is opening to a wider range of international visitors, we have updated our safety protocols to help keep you safe while you are travelling with us.
Trips will take place in small groups (8 people per group, including guide), and according to the instructions we receive from the Ministry of Tourism. All of our transport will continue to be private services.
Our guides, drivers, and representatives:
- Will wear masks and use antibacterial gel at all times
- Will be monitored continuously with temperature and symptom checks. If anyone has symptoms, they will be obliged to rest and recover, and substituted with other staff members
We will ensure social distancing by:
- Keeping 1-meter distance between passengers when boarding vehicles.
- Restricting physical contact between our staff and customers.
To add to your packing list:
- Cloth or medical face masks
- Face shields
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol)
- Disinfectant wipes (at least 70% alcohol) for surfaces
- Digital thermometer
We recommend the following steps to protect yourself and others when you travel:
- Always maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) between you and others
- Avoid crowds
- Wear a face mask and a face shield
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Do not travel if you are feeling sick
- Disinfect your hands often. It’s especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 30 seconds
- If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry
With our updated protocol, we hope to offer you a safe stay without compromising on our excellent service. We will continue adapting our standards according to the recommendations of health experts.
The Inca Trail 2D is open again as of Nov 2020 with a capacity of 150 people per day (down from 500).
We do not have confirmation as yet for the Classic Inca Trail 4D but we will keep you posted. There are vulnerable communities along this trail and they are being closely monitored by the Peruvian Government.
The minister has informed that only 675 people will be allowed inside Machu Picchu per day, which is 30% of its capacity pre-pandemic.
Visitors will enter in groups of 8, with a tour guide, and will need to maintain a distance of 1.5-2 meters apart. Visitors will only be permitted entry when accompanied by a professional guide and have their tickets booked through a registered travel agent, such as Killa Expeditions.
All of the above information is subject to change. Right now Peru has opened its borders to most countries but we recommend checking specifics for your country as these are updated regularly.
Wishing you happy and safe travels!
Yes, we do cater to any dietary restriction. We have had many people join our trips who are vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, and have various other intolerances and/or allergies. Just inform us well in advance of your specific needs!
WHEN TO GO AND DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
Year Round. Best from March to November. The Inca Trail is closed in February for repair/clean-up This trek is rated as an easy to moderate trek. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco for at least 2 days before trekking.
WHAT TO CARRY - DAYPACKS
On the trail you should carry a day pack with your camera, water bottle or bladder, snacks, hand sanitizer, face mask, cold weather clothing and rain gear or poncho in case of rain (unlikely in dry season – May to October) and anything you will need before dinner. You will also need to bring toiletries. and a change of clothes for your overnight in Aguas Calientes the first evening. A recommended packing list is sent after you book the trip and can be found below under the “what to pack for your trek” tab. Your bag will be waiting for you at every campsite. Yes we do offer luggage storage and most hotels/hostels in Cusco also offer this service.
WEATHER & WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR TREK
Weather on the trek and in Cusco
The weather varies a lot across Peru, having 28 climates and 84 of the worlds 104 ecosystems. Cusco is set high up (3,380 mts, 11,089 ft) in the Andean Mountain Range and the dry season (winter) is from Mar/April to October/November with the wettest part of the year (summer) being December through March. The weather for trekking is pretty much the same year round, with the main difference being the amount of rainfall. During the dry season, most days are dry and clear, but high-altitude mountains always have the potential for rain and/or snow so it is essential to come prepared for all types of weather regardless of the time of year.
The Short Inca Trail trek is not as high altitude as others in the region, therefore the weather is warmer overall. The night in Aguas Calientes is around 55F/13C, and you stay in a hotel. During the day it can get quite warm if the sun is out; anywhere from 60-80F/15-26C. Keep in mind if the weather is rainy or cloudy it will be colder. As with any high-altitude trek you’ll want to bring plenty of layers to adjust to the fluctuating temperatures and appropriate sun/rain protection. And yes, snow is possible (though unlikely) on the Inca Trail.
Cusco weather: Cusco is always very cold at night due to the high altitude. It is regularly around 40F/4.4C at night so bring a nice warm jacket for nighttime walking in town. It is warmer in Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley and Aguas Calientes as these areas are lower altitudes than Cusco and the trek.
What to bring: for your trek
Everything you need for the day should be kept in your daypack that you carry because all the items you leave with us won’t be available as you hike. It is recommended not to hike in cotton or jeans in the event of rain as cotton takes a very long time to dry. It is also recommended to bring true hiking boots or trail running shoes as regular running shoes do not get very good traction, especially when it has rained.
- Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
- Sun hat
- Lip balm
- Hiking shoes/boots with good, grippy tread
- Hiking pants (or shorts) and shirts (layers)
- Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional Peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
- Daypack and rain cover
- Rain gear – rain jacket and rain pants (optional for the pants), can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek
- Cash for tipping porters (USD or Peruvian Soles are fine), cooks, horsemen, guides, buying items along the trail, for in town, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash should be in perfect condition (ripped, damaged bills of any kind are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
- Swim suit, flip flops, towel for any hot springs you may visit (not every trek/trip has this) if you wish to go
- Torch/flashlight/headlamp (and batteries)
- Insect repellent – essential for this trek
- Hand sanitizer and face covering (for COVID-19 Pandemic)
- Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
- E.g. if you have a favorite protein bar as Cusco doesn’t sell items like this
- First aid kit, including blister protection (though your guide will have one, you may wish to carry one of your own)
- Personal medication and toiletries you might want/need
- Camera, extra memory cards, batteries and solar panel/power bank
- Water bottle or water bladder to refill
- Passport (must be valid 6 months past your final travel dates for most countries)
- Copies of passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
- Power plug adapter
- Travel lock(s) approved by TSA (or they cut them off – US only)
- Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information
- Any medications you currently are taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)
- Small quick-dry pak towels and/or compostable wipes for a quick wipe down at the end of the day
What to bring: medications – medications are optional and depend on your specific needs
- Antibiotic for travelers diarrhea or UTI
- Antibiotic for a severe bacterial infection
- Medication for upset stomach/indigestion
- Medication for prevention of altitude sickness (requires a prescription from your physician and has contraindications for certain people and potential side effects)
- Anti-inflammatory medication (some people find this is useful for prevention of altitude sickness as well. Speak with your physician for more information)
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Anti-nausea medication for motion sickness/altitude sickness if needed
- Cold/flu medication
- General pain killer/fever reducer
- Vaccinations – recommend bringing all boosters up to date (MMR, tetanus, etc)
- COVID19 negative test result (currently within 72 hours of departure) and eventually will likely need a COVID19 vaccination card
We have blogged about what we bring and you can use it as a general guideline if you wish: What To Pack For Peru Trekking
View latest travel advisories and recommended vaccinations and medications for the regions you plan to visit. For Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu there are generally no vaccinations required. If you are going to the jungle or any other higher risk area you may need: yellow fever vaccine, medicine for malaria, typhoid vaccine, etc. Click here for updated info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/peru.aspx NOTE: Please consider visiting your doctor several weeks before your trip to discuss any health restrictions you may have, medications he/she might recommend for you personally, and to seek more information about any vaccinations or medications recommended for Peru (or any of your other destinations). Additionally: speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter and/or prescription medications alone or combined.
PAYMENT, PASSPORT & PERMIT INFO
Deposit: A 400 USD deposit will be charged to your card when you book the trek. This allows us to purchase time-sensitive items such as permits, train tickets and entrance fees. This is non-refundable.
Payment of Balance: The balance of the trek is due 60 days prior to departure and will be auto-debited via the booking software system on that date. If you wish to pay early, or use a different card to the one you have on file, you may do so by clicking on the reservation number in your confirmation email and entering the pin that was provided to you in the original confirmation email. If you wish to make other arrangements (e.g. pay cash in Cusco), please contact us. Please note if you book your trip within 60 days of departure, the balance of the trek will be auto-debited the next day. If you do not wish this to happen please contact us.
Passport: We need a photo of your passport bio page ASAP in order to book the above items (your permit being very time sensitive) in your name (Peruvian Government Requirement). Please note that each traveler is responsible for knowing the re-entry rules for their country of residence/citizenship. Some countries require 6 months of passport validity beyond the final date of travel. Please ensure that your passport is up to date and meets your country and residency requirements. We can use an old/expiring passport to book your permit/tickets but we will need a copy of the updated passport as soon as you receive it in order to update your tickets.
Inca Trail Permits: There are only 500 spaces per day (including guides, porters and trekkers). Permits are NOT transferrable or refundable for any reason (not even medical). Once you have booked your date we are unable to alter the date of departure. These are Peruvian Government rules. We must have a snapshot of your passport bio page (old/expiring one is ok) in order to book the permit. Without this we are unable to reserve your spot. Permits for the short Inca Trail do not sell out as fast as the classic 4 day trail. We do still recommend booking 2-3 months in advance for high season (April to August)
Visa’s: Most countries are allowed to obtain a visa upon entry at immigration. Very few countries require a visa to be granted in advance. Please note that each traveler is responsible for finding out and obtaining a visa prior to entry if required. Please also note that tourist visas are for 90 days or less (typically) and you must show proof of return travel.
Please review our booking terms carefully.
- The minimum number of trekkers required for departure is 6 for the price quoted online. If the minimum is not met within 2 weeks of departure, Killa Expeditions reserves the right to offer the 1-2 paid trekkers the option of 1) paying the difference to take a private trek, 2) transferring their payment to another trek with more trekkers booked, or 3) cancel the trek and provide a full refund. Please contact us with questions.
- At the time of booking only a deposit is charged. The trek deposit is required to secure your spot on a trek and is non-refundable. It is used to purchase non-refundable items such as train tickets, Machu Picchu entrance tickets, etc. The balance of the trek is due within 3=60 days of departure.
- Cancellations: Initial deposit is non-refundable. You may cancel your booking by notifying Killa Expeditions or Agent used and the applicable cancellation fees shall be determined based on when the request is received by Killa Expeditions or Agent. (a) Cancellation received 60 days or more before departure of the first Product to depart in relevant booking: 60% of the Product total shall be refunded to you (Inca Trail excepted where 25% of the Inca Trail product total shall be refunded to you). (b) Cancellation received 59-30 days before departure of first Product to depart in relevant booking: an amount equal to 25% of the total Product shall be refunded to you. (Inca Trail excepted where no refund is payable). (c) Cancellation less than 30 days before departure of first Product to depart in relevant booking: no refund shall be payable to you.
- Travel Medical Insurance: is required to depart on any trek (including emergency evacuation coverage and high altitude hiking). We also suggest travel interruption insurance in the event of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances that may arise. Killa Expeditions is not responsible for losses incurred due to any travel interruption (ex: weather/natural phenomena, missed/delayed/canceled flight, acts of war/terrorism, pandemics/epidemics, strikes, etc.), passport, visa, family emergency, or illness/medical issues.
- Please be advised that due to COVID19 pandemic and any subsequent variants – there may be border closures, quarantine measures, changes in entry requirements, etc. We will do our best to change your trek to a different date if issues arise that are outside of our control on our end. Please note you may also be required to show proof of a negative COVID19 test within 72 hours of departure and potentially a vaccination card once vaccines are widely available. As these terms change we will alert travelers to the new regulations.
- For Full Terms and Conditions please see the policy linked at the bottom of our website in the footer. It is also available to read during the checkout process. https://killaexpeditions.com/terms-conditions-peru/
WHY CHOOSE KILLA EXPEDITIONS?
ETHICAL, SUSTAINABLE, ECO-FRIENDLY Our mission is to provide exceptional treks, tours, and adventure trips with a strong commitment to environmentally responsible, sustainable, ethical, and socially conscious travel. During our trips, we make every effort to minimize negative impacts and maximize the benefits to the local people and natural environments we visit. We pay fair, livable wages, ensuring we hire and maintain the absolute best guides and support staff. We are committed to international sustainable tourism guidelines and have developed ongoing community projects and charity events supporting 4+ local Andean communities.
EXCELLENCE We pride ourselves on providing 5 star service before, during, and after your trip. Killa Expeditions is dedicated to excellent customer service and adventure experiences. We have been awarded the 2017, 2018 & 2019 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence!
QUALITY When trekking through rugged mountain terrain, at high altitudes, with unpredictable weather, it is essential to have the best equipment available. We provide Mountain Hardwear 4 season tents (3 season for Inca Trail due to warmer weather), extra thick mattress pads, dry bags for your overnight gear, and more, to ensure a safe and pleasant journey.
NO HIDDEN COSTS Our treks and tours are truly 5 star and all inclusive. We do not charge extra to “upgrade” as we offer the best option included in the price already. There are no hidden meal costs, we are transparent about all inclusions, and best of all no booking fees!
SMALL GROUPS Our groups average about 8 guests per departure, and are typically a mix of solo travellers, friends travelling together, and couples, all of varying ages, backgrounds and nationalities. Come prepared to make lots of new best friends. If you book a custom/private large group we provide 1 guide per 8 travelers, ensuring a small group feel and specialized attention.
GOURMET Only the best, quality ingredients are selected from local farmers. Our chefs prepare a specially designed menu to maximize energy and facilitate acclimatization. And the dishes, a mix of traditional Peruvian cuisine and contemporary cuisines, are delicious too! And yes, we cater to any dietary need.
PERSONALIZED We can customize any trek or tour to suit your travel, fitness, budget, and time preferences. Got a corporate or work shindig, charity group, or other major event you’d like to book a trek or tour for? Get in touch, we can arrange everything for you!
LEAVE NO TRACE Our trips leave behind nothing but smiles and footprints, as it should be.
REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE We love our planet, which is why we reduce, reuse and recycle. Our gear is reusable (no paper or plastic plates/cups/utensils), we buy local goods that do not come in paper/plastic wrapping, and we recycle everything we can. This is not the norm in Peru but we hope to help it become the norm one day soon!
PASSIONATE All of our employees are passionate about what they do. Who wouldn’t be with majestic mountains and never-ending vistas as your office! We are proud to offer our guides and staff the highest wages.
WE GIVE BACK We buy locally produced food, hire native tour guides, and book locally owned hotels and restaurants whenever possible. We hold numerous charity events throughout the year in various traditional Andean communities. Events often involve distributing food, drinks, daily essentials (such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and more), toys for the children, shoes and clothes donated by many of our wonderful guests, and we are currently raising funds to finish building a school in the Willoc Community. Ask us about how you can help!
For further information about us please see the following links:
Equipment: learn about why we provide the best! https://www.killaexpeditions.com/our-equipment/
Our Team: meet some of our amazing guides! https://www.killaexpeditions.com/our-team/
Reviews – find us on Trip Advisor! Killa Expeditions Trip Advisor Page (Awarded 2017, 2018 & 2019 Certificate of Excellence)