Short Inca Trail Hike with Camping

Duration: 2 days
Trails: T2 trails
Distance: 10 - 15 km / 6 - 9 mi per day
Ascent per day: 250 - 500 m / 820 - 1640 ft ascent per day

> 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.

Itinerary

Day
1

Inca Trail – Sun Gate – Machu Picchu

Duration: 05:40 h
Distance: 9.7 km / 6 mi
Ascent: 780 m / 2559 ft
Descent: 530 m / 1739 ft
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

Puente Ruinas campsite

Info
Puente Ruinas campsite
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.

Included

  • Guides

    A well-trained English-speaking guide is included in the price. The guides all grew up in the Cusco region and are committed to sharing their history and culture with visitors. The guides are friendly and professional and will make sure you don't miss anything.

  • Camping during the trek

    During the trek, you will be staying on campsites. Your camp will be set up for you.

  • Satellite phones

    Guides are equipped with satellite phones and can organise anything on the fly.

  • Taxes and fees

    All tourist taxes and permit fees applicable are included in the listed price.

  • First aid

    Your guide has received training in first aid from a physician. Mandatory training sessions are conducted every year. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. You will be escorted off the trail as quickly and comfortably as possible, if needed, and taken to a clinic for treatment.

  • Food and water

    Food and water are included and will be provided as per the itinerary. Water is boiled, filtered, and then cooled before distributing. You must bring your water bottles and or camelback. We recommend carrying about 3L worth per day. You will be able to restock your water supplies at each meal.

  • Getting to and from

    Getting to and from the start/end point of this trekking is included, as per the itinerary.

  • Gear

    All (camping) equipment will be provided, built up, and taken down again. This is included in your trekking package. Please note that a sleeping bag and air mattress are not included but are available for rent.

  • Duffel

    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.

  • Porters

    A personal porter will carry most of your belongings using a duffel bag. There is no additional fee for this. You will have access to your duffel bag in the mornings and evenings.

  • Trekking Briefing

    The night before your trek, you will come to the local office for a briefing. The entire itinerary will be explained and the final logistics for the Short Royal Inca Trail Trek will be taken care of.

  • Permits

    Permits for both your Short Royal Inca Trail Trek trek and for the entry to Machu Picchu are included and will be taken care of.

Excluded

  • Accommodation in Cusco including breakfast

    Before and after the trek you have to take care of your own accommodation.

  • Rentals

    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 20, Inflatable Air Mattress: USD 15, Trekking Poles (Pair): USD 15.

  • 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 USD 75. 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.

  • Tipping

    Tips for guides, cook and porters are not included. You decide what you want to tip, but be generous.

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Sierd van der Bij
Sierd van der Bij
This trek is operated by
Alpaca Expeditions

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