Short Inca Trail Hike with Camping
Alpaca Expeditions - 2 days
- Short Inca Trail Hike with Camping
- 2 days / 1 night
- Max. group: 16 Persons
- Difficulty: Easy
Overview> Camp at Puente Ruinas, at the foot of Machu Picchu
> Enjoy both the sunset and sunrise in Machu Picchu
> Enjoy the company and wisdom of your guide, porters and cook
Stretched across two days with six hours hiking along the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, is the short Inca Trail hike. Start your first day with a four-hour hike gradually uphill to Winawayna ruins, a beautiful spot for your lunch. From there, its one more hour to the Sun Gate where you will see Machu Picchu for the first time. You won't head into the ruins on your first day, instead, you will go to your campsite, which is closer to the town of Aguas Calientes. Enjoy another meal by your amazing trekking chef and then sleep under the stars. The next morning you will go inside Machu Picchu for your tour of the marvelous ruins.
The total distance of this trek is 15 km/9.3 miles. The lowest elevation is 1,900 m/6,234 ft, which is at the trail head at Km 104. The highest point is the Sun Gate, at 2,700m/8,858 ft. This trek travels to places at elevations lower than Cusco. Altitude sickness should not be a worry because the trek is located nearer the Amazon Jungle, where there is plenty of oxygen and humidity. In just two days, you will be able to explore the Andes and arrive at Machu Picchu twice – once for the sunset, and again for the sunrise on the second day.
Important: this trek is in a group, which means that you will be joined with other trekkers from around the world. If you prefer a private trek, you can do so at an extra cost. Get in touch with our trekking experts, they will help you out!
RouteWhat's the plan?
Day 1: Inca Trail – Sun Gate – Machu Picchu
You will be picked up for your short Inca trail hike 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. Being one of the most magnificent trains to ride in the world, with its phenomenal views of the rough-and-tumble Urubamba River, the soaring snow-capped mountain peaks, and cornfield farms. As we descend, you will see the micro-climate changes, from the mountains and cornfields to green jungle valleys with ferns, bromeliads, and orchids, as the temperature starts to get warmer. This train ride is one hour and 45 minutes to Km 104, where we’ll disembark to meet your trekking chef and porters. You will also enjoy breakfast before starting your trek. Be sure you bring your original passport since this is the very first checkpoint along the Inca Trail.
After breakfast, you will have some time to prepare before beginning the hike. Soon after, we will get to explore the first Inca site, Chachabamaba. Chachabamaba was the first ancient Incan checkpoint for entering to the Inca trail. Your tour guide will give you some background history on this ruin, followed by the three-hour climb up to the most famous Inca site along the trail, Wiñay Wayna. You will see amazing views of Machu Picchu Valley and the Urubamba River along the trail, as well as the flora/fauna native to the area. There are also waterfalls and spectacular views of Machu Picchu Mountain. The trail itself has some flat areas, as well as some short uphill and downhill hikes. It also has steps arranged in sections that can be narrow in some areas, but not dangerous. Once you arrive at the Wiñay Wayna Inca site, you will have time for a tour by your tour guide. He will also provide time for exploring the Inca site, temples, waterfalls, gardens, storehouses, watchtowers, and farming terraces. Only a short walk to the lunch spot where your trekking chef and porters will be ready, with cold drinks and delicious fresh food prepared by our cook and served buffet-style.
After lunch, there will be time for a short nap. Then, it will be a one hour gradual up and downhill hike to get to the Sun Gate. There you will have spectacular views of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu, and the surrounding valleys. The Sun Gate was used by Incas to observe the sunrise from Machu Picchu during the summer solstice. From here, it is another hour hike to the Machu Picchu ruins. Once in Machu Picchu, you can explore the watchtower area where you can get charming pictures of Machu Picchu (without crowds). We’ll then take the 20-minute bus ride to the campsite of Puente Ruinas. When you arrive at the campsite, your tents will be all set up. You will meet your porters, and enjoy a social happy hour with hot drinks and dinner. Later in the evening, we’ll have a small ceremony with your chef and porters for your last night with them. They will still be there the next morning to cook breakfast and for a proper goodbye.
Highlight: Trekking the Inca Trail, enjoying the views from the Sun Gate, sunset views from Machu Picchu, camping at the foot of Machu Picchu
Walking Distance: 15 km / 8 miles
Elevations: Trek starting point 2,000 m, the highest point is Sun Gate 2,720 m, the camp is at 1,900 m
Weather: Hot and humid
Day 2: Machu Picchu (The Lost City of the Incas) & Return to Cusco
There will be an early wake-up call with hot drinks. You will have time to prepare your duffel bags and day packs and enjoy breakfast. We’ll walk 30 minutes to the bus station to be one of the first in line to go up to Machu Picchu (sometimes there is a 20-30 min wait in the line to board the bus). The first buses will depart at 5:30 a.m. and arrive at 6:00 a.m., into Machu Picchu. You must have your original passport at the checkpoint. Your tour guide will take you to the perfect spot to enjoy the sunrise over the mountains (weather permitting). We’ll then have a two hour, private, guided tour of the Machu Picchu ruins, with all of its fascinating history. You’ll also have free time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. If you have booked a permit to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will start at 10:00 a.m. However, there are a lot of other things to see around Machu Picchu. There is the Inca Bridge, the Sun Gate, or you can walk around the temple and residential areas of Machu Picchu and mingle with the llamas. You will need to catch your bus back down to the town of Aguas Calientes for lunch and train to Ollantaytambo. From there, you will go by private van back to Cusco, where we will drop you off at your hotel.
Highlight: Arrive early to Machu Picchu to enjoy the sunrise
Temperature: Warm and humid
Meals: Breakfast Only
Train: Expedition tourist class
√ Professional Guides
All of our guides studied English and tourism at Cusco National University. They all grew up in the Cusco region, and are committed to teaching others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional and will ensure you are safe and happy.
As soon as we receive your details and deposit, we will purchase your permits (pending availability, check our Inca Trail Availability). 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.
The night before your trek, you will come to our office for your briefing. You will receive your duffel bag that will stay with your porters while you hike. This bag should not exceed 7kg/14 lbs and does need to include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
We include a personal porter who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag. There is no additional fee for this. You will not have access to your duffel bag until your evening campsite.
You will have transportation 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 82 to begin your trek. Also included will be the Expedition Train from Aguas Calientes. You may also upgrade to the Vistadome Train for $75 per person. Once you arrive at the train station, we will take you back to your hotel in Cusco. Additionally, your round trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu will be included.
Alpaca Expeditions has the best equipment. We use Eureka Timberline 4 person tents that are shared by only two people. You will also have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
The Alpaca Expeditions chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have loved. We honor all food restrictions, so be sure to add any that you have on your booking form and let your guide know at your briefing. Food is typically all served family-style.
You will enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day for the trek along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. A snack will be provided each morning for you to enjoy along the hike. Your last meal with your chef will be after breakfast on day four. Lunch the last day is not included.
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, pancakes, omelettes, porridge, cereal, fruit salad, toast, orange juice, milk, tea, coffee, hot chocolate
- Snack: Fruit, cookies, cereal, chocolate, candies
- Lunch: Corn or mushroom soup, chicken and rice, sausage, fried fish, ceviche, steak, beans, fried rice, french fries, boiled potatoes, vegetables, salad
- Happy Hour: Popcorn, fried wontons, tea, coffee
- Dinner: Stuffed chicken, vegetable tortillas, pizza, spaghetti, pork cutlet, sauteed vegetables, salad
Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, Alpaca Expeditions will supply all the water needed. This water is boiled, filtered, and then cooled before distributing. You must bring personal water bottles and or a camelback. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. You will be able to refill your water at each meal.
√ 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 situations (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.
We believe it´s the attention to small details that separates us from other tour companies. Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mattress for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking, and a rain poncho. We will work hard to create your best vacation.
√ Satellite Phones
Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While all our guides are prepared and trained to deal with most 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.
Excluded:× Accommodation in Cusco including breakfast
Before and after the trek you have to take care of your own accommodation.
Every trekker needs a sleeping bag when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:
Sleeping Bag: USD 15 / EUR 14
Inflatable Air Mattress: USD 10 / EUR 9
Walking Sticks (Pair): USD 10 / EUR 9
× 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. You would do this after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is USD75 / EUR 70. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance due to popularity. Please understand that the weather is out of our control.
× Travel Insurance Including Repatriation
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. It is important that your travel insurance also covers adventures at a high altitude. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before you travel to Peru.
Tips for guides, cook and porters are exclusive. You decide what you want to tip, but be generous.
On this trek, you will be camping at Puente Ruinas, at the foot of Machu Picchu, with views of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. You will have porters, as well as a professional chef, and a guide. Alpaca Expeditions has the best equipment. We use Eureka Timberline 4 person tents that are shared by only two people. You will also have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
Packing ListPacking List
Packing the right equipment is always key for a trekking expedition. Alpaca Expeditions prepared a packing list to make sure that you have everything you need during your trek to Machu Picchu:
- 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 are encouraged - but enough for at least 2-3 liters.
- Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
FOR YOUR DUFFEL:
Porters will carry up to 7 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you bring/rent one). From us these two items weigh 3.5 kg.
- wicking t-shirts
- hiking pants
- hiking socks
- 1 Fleece
- 1 Warm, down jacket: gets very cold at night
- 1 Rain jacket and pants
- 1 sun hat
- 1 wool hat
- Headlamp: essential
- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
- Comfortable shoes for camp
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Quickdry towel. We provide small ones, you might enjoy something a little larger.
- Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to clean - might make you feel fresh if you had a little soap.
- Battery Charger: There is no place to plug in while trekking!
- Large plastic bags: to help organize and keep clean from dirty.
- Sleeping bag: Recommend down bags for -10C at least
- Face moisturizer
- Bug spray
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Personal medication
- First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc.
INSIDE YOUR DAYPACKS:
Daypacks can be any size for hiking, but we always say the smaller, the better. Inside Machu Picchu, bags larger than 25L will not be allowed in. If it is larger, you will need to store it outside citadel gates. But don´t worry, they have a secure storage facility.
- Water: we supply clean water at each meal. You are responsible for your first morning of water only as we won't have time to filter water until your first lunch.
- Rain gear
- Music (IPhone)
- Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips
Tipping is part of the tradition of any trek to Machu Picchu. While we pay good wages to our entire team, anything extra is always appreciated. Please know that this is not obligatory and that you should never feel pressured into this.
Typically the participants in a group pool their tipping money together for the porters and chef. The amount recommended is different per trek and listed below. For the guide, this is more personal and needs to be decided based on your relationship with them and done separately from the group. Porters and Chefs prefer soles if possible. Guides are happy with U.S. dollars, Peruvian Soles, or even your credit card.
* These numbers refer to what each member of the Green Machine should receive after the group pools their money. This is just a reference guide.
Travel insurance is inexpensive and strongly recommended. With trips being planned months ahead of time, you never can predict what could happen. Adventure travel includes more risk than the average trip. Insurance is a way to protect the investment you have made on this journey. We can help recommend an agent to walk you through this type of insurance if needed.
Of course, the 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 so just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, 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. Several of the treks through the Andes involve various microclimates and you will need to be prepared. Layers are always key since they are easy to adjust to different temperature changes. Be prepared with a warm packable down jacket since the evening will be cold.
It’s also important to note that the weather can change a listed itinerary. There are times that routes become impassable, and our guides will be forced for your safety to rework your tour.
Dry season (April – October)
Day: 20’C – 25’C / 68’F – 77’F
Night: -1 – 7’C / 30’F – 45’F
Rainy season (November – March)
Day: 17’C – 22’C / 62’F – 71.6’F
Night: 4’C – 7’C / 39’F – 45’F
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. For this reason, we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek in the Andes. Cusco is a marvelous city with lots to do, so if you have more time to acclimate 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 that help 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 if they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slow, and it will give your body time to adjust to the elevation.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications, 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 and drink lots of water, and enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you, unfortunately, get sick, let your guide know right away. Alpaca Expedition guides are trained to help you get through it.
THE CHALLENGES OF HIKING
Hiking the Andes is something that everyone can do no matter what age, but it is never easy. You will need some level of fitness to be able to complete it comfortably. Each trail involves inclines that can take your breath away if you are not in shape and downhill hiking that can be tough on one’s knees. Walking sticks are encouraged for everyone.
Please remember the group treks are open to everyone, all abilities, so be patient and help those struggling with some kind words.
Do you make it to your destinations as planned? Often this depends on the unpredictable weather in the mountains. However, it can also depend on your own physical condition.
One sure way to get fit for trekking and hiking in Peru is to, you could have guessed it: hike more. Do you like walking, have you done trekking at an altitude before and do you sport twice a week on average? With a little extra training, you’ll soon be ready for this beautiful trekking in the Peruvian Andes.
Is this the first time that you are trekking at altitude? Make sure you are well prepared. This is important for your safety, but also for that of your team. Make sure you start six months in advance with an hour’s hike twice a week. Read this blog post and get fit for trekking in Peru.
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.
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.
Machu Picchu Tickets
To conserve the Machu Picchu site, the Peruvian government has limited the access and gives out a limited amount of tickets. There are different sorts of tickets and availability.
Machu Picchu Only
This type of ticket allows you to visit the citadel of Machu Picchu which has as main attractions: Intiwatana Temple of the Three Windows, Sun Temple, Temple of the Condor, Main Plaza, Agricultural Zone. The maximum capacity to enter to Machu Picchu is 2500 people per day.
Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu Mountain
Huayna Picchu is part of a set of related with the Salkantay, mountains known as the Central Cordillera of the Andes. Huayna Picchu, “Young Mountain“, is located opposite the mountain of Machu Picchu “Old Mountain” and has a height of 2,693 meters. It can be accessed by following a steep and narrow path with steps carved into rock; It covers an elevation of approximately 360 meters. The tour on this mountain has an approximate duration of 3 hours, in what it concerns to rise and to go down, it is an extraordinary adventure. The maximum capacity to go up to Huayna Picchu group is 200 people per day.
Machu Picchu + Old Mountain
Machu Picchu Mountain is located 3,082 meters. In it, is seated the Inca city of Machu Picchu, and every day more people decide to venture to it, possibly by the energy emanating earth, considered sacred to the Inca civilization. Its summit was used by Inca priests to perform rituals on special dates and it was the place of worship of the Apu Salkantay.
The ascent depends on the physical condition of the individual and can take anything between 2 and 3 hours.The maximum capacity to enter Machu Picchu Mountain is 800 people per day,
Your trekking company provides the bus tickets and the Machu Pichu only entrance tickets. If you wish to do climb the Huayna Picchu or the Old Mountain it will cost you $35 dollars extra. This needs to be reserved in time.
Your Safety Is Our Number 1 Concern
Trekking the Andes is not your typical vacation. And most people who come to visit us have little to no experience of life this high up in the mountains. We understand the large responsibility we have in ensuring that you are well taken care of every step of the way.
Every year our guides are re-trained and certified in First Aid. They work with a professional medical doctor to learn how to help a client with different ailments and injuries including altitude sickness, stomach issues, sprained ankles, etc. Every guide travels with a full tank of oxygen and a first aid kit.
It is important to be very honest with your guide as soon as you are experiencing any discomfort. If you suffer from any medical conditions, please let your guide know during the briefing so he is prepared to give you extra attention, if needed.
In case you can not complete the trek for any reason, you will be escorted by a member of the team until you reach a clinic or are safely returned back to your hotel. Your guides travel with radios and will be in touch with the office to make sure a car is waiting on the closest road. You will likely need to hike a portion and ride a horse to get you there as quickly as we can.
Alpaca Expeditions provides the superior and unique tours of the Andes. One of our primary goals is to support the local community. We are able to accomplish this goal by providing jobs and building sustainable schools for Andean kids. Our large variety of tours allows us to cater to any need. We are sure that there is an expedition that suits your desires.
Alpaca Expeditions is based in Cusco, Peru. The owner, Raul Ccolque, has lived in the Andes all of his life. Since he was 18-years-old he has worked the Inca Trail on every trek to Macchu Picchu, as both a porter and a tour guide. Born and raised in a small village called Seque Raccay, Ccolque attended a Quechuan speaking elementary and high school. He then went on to Cusco University to further his studies in tourism. Growing up in a small Quechuan village ignited his passion for hiking the surrounding mountains and exploring his heritage.
On any trip, the quality of your journey is greatly impacted by your tour guide. Here at Alpaca Expeditions, we have top notch tour guides who consistently go above and beyond expectations to provide you with an outstanding experience. All of our tour guides are locals, from Cusco and the Sacred Valley. They have all completed degrees in tourism from Cusco National University. Their expertise includes local flora and fauna, geography, history, archeology, anthropology, and astronomy. Trekking through Peru with one of our tour guides will be an incredible learning experience.
All of our tour guides have learned English at one of the most established English schools in Peru, then specialized ICPNA-CUSCO (Centro Cultura Peruano Notre Americano) as a part of Michigan University. In addition, every tour guide has been trained in safety and first aid.
We call our porters the Green Army because they are the heroes of our expeditions. They carry the camping equipment, duffel bags, tents and food. We pride ourselves in treating our porters well and providing for all their needs. Porters are given the best outdoor equipment and they're offered competitive wages in exchange for the extremely valuable service they provide.
How to book
How does it work?
On Bookatrekking.com you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking adventure your match? In that case you can proceed to booking. At Bookatrekking.com you make a deposit of 15% of the total amount. You pay the remaining amount on location prior to the trek directly to the trekking company.
Bookatrekking.com uses only the safest payment methods. Once your booking has been received, your place is reserved, your place is safe and you can look forward to your chosen trekking.
After you have made your booking, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with all necessary information and the contact details of the trekking company. If you have any questions or if you want to clarify something, you can obtain information directly from the right person. Of course, you can also always ask us your question. Send us an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
The trekking company will also receive your details and can therefore always contact you and provide you with extra information.
You wish you didn’t have to, but there is no other way: You find yourself having to cancel your plans. In this case, you lose your deposit, but since you haven’t paid the large sum yet, you at least save that. Please do let us know if you cannot make it. A no-show can be a small disaster for your trekking provider, who did its best to block your dates. View our complete cancellation policy here.
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