The 1-Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Our One Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most exciting way to get to Machu Picchu for those who don’t have the time to hike the full Inca Trail. The appeal of this world-famous trek is the stunning cultural display of Inca archaeological sites, exotic mountain views, primitive lush vegetation, and extraordinary ecological varieties.
The trail goes through Wiñay Wayna, a beautiful Inca citadel and the most significant construction along the entire traditional Inca Trail. You’ll also enter the New World Wonder, Machu Picchu, through the Sun Gate and be astounded by unforgettable views of the imposing, mystical site. You’ll tour the most important parts of Machu Picchu before heading back to Cusco — all in one day!
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Short on time but want to enjoy the incredible Inca Trail and Machu Picchu? Don’t worry! You can enjoy the wonderful Inca Trail and enter Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) all in one day! That’s right! This trek is for those who want the best of both worlds but only have a day to do it all.
This Trek has a variety of flora and fauna and is rich in history. This 1-day hike is 9 km / 5.59 mi long and goes up to 2,720 m / 8.924 ft. It’s classified as a moderate trek with a slightly high altitude gain. We recommend a couple of days to acclimate in Cusco or the Sacred Valley of the Incas before you set off.
On the Inca Trail section of your day trip, you’ll pass through some truly stunning landscapes and be in awe of the natural beauty of the Andes in this region. You’ll stop at Wiñay Wayna archaeological site and see other amazing feats of the ancient culture that was the Incas.
You’ll end your epic day by entering Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate and get the most amazing views. You don’t need to worry about a thing as we take care of every aspect of your day out from your meals to all the transport. Sounds exciting? It is!
- Experience the incredible Inca Trail and magical Machu Picchu all in one day.
- Retrace ancient steps along this historical route and visit some fascinating archaeological sites.
- Hike through the stunning Andes and enjoy the unique flora and fauna.
- Trek along one of the most famous routes in the world.
- Gaze out of the window at the beautiful surroundings on an enjoyable train ride through the mountains.
- Explore the mystical Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cusco | KM 104 - Chachabamba - Wiñay Wayna - Sun Gate - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes
Highlight of the day: Retracing ancient steps on the Inca Trail and entering the incredible Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.
Hike Ancient Trails and Travel Back in Time at Historic Sites
In the morning, we’ll collect you from your accommodation and take you to Ollantaytambo to board the train to KM 104, from where we’ll begin our Inca Trail hike. First, we’ll visit the Chachabamba archaeological site and continue hiking up some original Inca stone steps. Soon we’ll reach Wiñay Wayna archaeological site, the most significant place along the Inca Trail. Here, you’ll have time to relax, learn about history, and enjoy your box lunch.
This afternoon, we’ll keep hiking until we reach the Sun Gate, the entrance to Machu Picchu from the Classic Inca Trail. At this point, you’ll get your first amazing views over the Inca citadel before walking the final stretch to the site itself. You will have a little more time to contemplate the views and the surrounding landscape in which the fortress is built while listening to a brief explanation from your guide. Take many memorable photos and let your spirit be filled with the energy of this magnificent sacred place. After, it’ll be time to catch the bus down to Aguas Calientes and then the train back to Ollantaytambo. There, our private transport will be waiting to take you back to your accommodation in Cusco.
We’ll start our action-packed trip by picking you up from your hotel at 4:00 am and taking you in our private transport to the Ollantaytambo Train Station. We’ll board the train and travel for about one-and-a-half hours to the starting point of this one-day Inca Trail at KM 104.
After passing the checkpoint, we´ll be on our way to the first archaeological center, Chachabamba. This site was one of the last shelters used by Inca pilgrims before they reached the magical Machu Picchu. The site features several fascinating buildings, and our expert guide will share their passion with you and explain all about the history of the place.
Then, the real trekking begins with a steady ascent for around 3 hours as we climb original Inca stone steps that are very well-preserved. The ecosystems in this area are truly unique, and your guide will help you identify the different types of flora and fauna along the trail, of which there’s a lot.
After passing a really pretty waterfall, we’ll arrive at the Wiñay Wayna archaeological site. Most hikers take a break here to be amazed by its exquisite architecture. This was the most significant site along the whole Inca Trail, and you'll see many water sources for rituals, sacred places dedicated to the natural deities like the Rainbow Temple, and impressive agricultural platforms. Wiñay Wayna is a wonderful place to learn a little more about the fascinating history of the Incas.
Here, you’ll enjoy some time to relax and rest your legs, be silent, and connect with Mother Nature through birdsong or the wind's refreshing touch on your cheeks. A little further along, you’ll see the campsites where those who hike the classic Inca Trail spend their last night before arriving at the Machu Picchu citadel. We’ll have time to eat our delicious box lunch we provide for you, chill out, and recharge our energies for the next leg of the hike.
After, we’ll keep walking until we reach Inti Punku, best known as the Sun Gate, where everyone who hikes the Inca Trail enters Machu Picchu from. From this point, we’ll get the most wonderful views of the impressive architecture of this majestic Inca City for the first time. The Sun Gate is where the Incas would also enter from and get their first sight of the magnificent Machu Picchu. It’s tough to put into words the impact of seeing this ancient, sacred, and world-famous site for the first time and you’ll feel goosebumps wash over you.
After resting and enjoying the site's breathtaking views, we will take impressive photos and walk the last stretch to Machu Picchu. You will have a little more time to contemplate the views and the surrounding landscape in which the fortress is built while listening to a brief explanation from your guide, which will transport you back in time. Take many memorable photos and let your spirit be filled with the energy of this magnificent sacred place.
Then, it’ll be time to walk down to the Machu Picchu main entrance from where we’ll take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, the small town at the base of Machu Picchu. There, we’ll catch the train at 6:10 pm (subject to availability) back to Ollantaytambo. Our private transport will be waiting to pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation in Cusco to rest after your adventurous day.
Permits for the One Day Inca Trail Hike
The Ministry of Culture of Peru is the entity responsible for regulating the Inca Trail’s use and issuing entry permits.
- To access the Inca Trail, you must have a permit from the Ministry of Culture that matches your passport information exactly: name, passport number, nationality, and age.
- Only officially licensed tourism agencies can secure these permits, which are not transferable under any circumstances.
- If you want to change your excursion date, you have to make sure that there are spaces available on the new date and buy a new permit.
These are rules of the Government of Peru that we all must follow. If there are no permits available for the date you want, there are other incredible options to walk to Machu Picchu. We’ll be happy to find the perfect excursion for you.
Physical Preparation for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in One Day
For the 1-Day Inca Trail, you need to understand that you are doing the same trail as the 2-Day Inca Trail. The only difference is that if you are booking the 1-day version, you tour Machu Picchu that same day and return to Cusco that night. If booking the 2-day Short Inca Trail, you do the Machu Picchu tour and return on a train and by bus journey on the second day.
Trekkers need to be in moderate to excellent physical condition to do this trek, so we can arrive at Machu Picchu in time. If you think the hike may be too strenuous, you may book the 2-day Inca Trail that arrives at Machu Picchu in one day but at a slower pace later.
Why Travel with us
At Salkantay Trekking, we specify the included and non-included services under all the tour itineraries listed on our website. We take care of all the logistics, but please pay attention to the details to avoid missing anything. Some items may be different for specific programs, so please read carefully before booking with us.
What Is Included?
Permits & Entrance Tickets
Permits and ticket for Inca Trail
As soon as we receive your complete information and the deposit that secures your reservation, we’ll buy all the necessary permits (subject to availability). These permits are issued for a specific date and will be in your name. They cannot be changed under any circumstances. Change of passport number is only allowed for renewal reasons. In that case, you must bring both your old and new passport.
Entry to Machu Picchu Archaeological Site
High Quality Service & Safety
You’ll meet your trekking guide and group in our office for an orientation before your hike. The meeting will be at 5:00 pm the evening before the trip begins.
Experienced Tour Leader
English and spanish speaking official tour guide. All our guides are graduates of the professional career of Tourism of the National University San Antonio Abad of Cusco. We choose them for their professionalism, experience, responsibility, seriousness, unbridled passion for exploring, and sincere desire to proudly share in our culture and history. He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time worry-free!
Medical Kit or First AID Kit
All Salkantay Trekking guides have received specialized training in first aid. We hold mandatory training sessions with our guides every February. Your guide will always carry a first aid kit to face basic emergencies (altitude sickness, travelers' diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) as well as oxygen. If necessary, we’ll evacuate you from the path as quickly as possible and ensure that you arrive at a clinic for treatment.
24/7 Customer Service
We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for ease of communication with Salkantay Trekking leading up to your hike.
Box Lunch and Early Dinner
Before starting your hike, your guide will provide you a cloth bag with local fruits, biscuits, chocolate, caramels, etc., for you to enjoy during your walk.
One cloth snack bag per person
To avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment, we'll give you a cloth bag for your snacks.
- You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and will travel by our private transportation to Ollantaytambo train station.
- Private transport from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco.
- Train from Ollantaytambo to KM 104 (Starting point of the hike).
- Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
Consettur Bus Ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
What Is Not Included?
Tips for our staff
Tipping is the norm on any excursion to Machu Picchu. Although we pay good salaries to our entire team, something extra is always welcome.
Additional costs or delays beyond our control
Landslides, bad weather conditions, itinerary modifications due to a safety concern, illness, pandemia, government policy changes, political instability, strikes, act of God, etc.
Here we leave you with a brief list of extras that you can enjoy during this package.
Huayna Picchu Mountain
Huayna Picchu is the mountain behind Machu Picchu and which can be climbed in 45 minutes. Although this excursion is up to you, our guide will take you to the place of entry. This walk requires an entrance ticket which we can assure for you if we have enough time in advance.
Your entry ticket will be purchased to coincide with the dates of your excursion on the Inca Trail. The entry can be done in two shifts: from 7:00 am to 8:00 am or from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. We buy the tickets in the second shift so that our clients can fully enjoy their guided tour of Machu Picchu. Remember, the shifts only indicate the time of entry. You can go up and down Huayna Picchu without haste.
The ticket for Huayna Picchu costs US$ 60.00 per person.
Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu Mountain is another of the mountains that surround the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. It offers even more incredible views than Huayna Picchu, but it takes 1.5 hours to reach the top. This walk requires an entrance ticket which we can assure for you if we have time in advance.
The excursion entrance to Machu Picchu Mountain is open in two shifts as well, the first from 7:00 am to 8:00 am, and the second from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.
The ticket for Machu Picchu Mountain costs US$ 60.00 per person.
All our tours include the PeruRail Expedition train. This train leaves Aguas Calientes at 2:55 pm. The Vistadome train is a higher category service that offers more comfortable seats, a panoramic design that will allow you to see through the roof, as well as an entertainment show on board. The Vistadome train leaves Aguas Calientes at 2:55 pm as well (subject to availability), and goes to Ollantaytambo train station. From there, we’ll take you on our transport to your hotel in Cusco.
You can access this service for an additional payment of US$ 60.00 per person.
We want to make your trip to Peru as memorable and as carefree as possible. In this section, you’ll find the answers to all the questions you have about traveling with Salkantay Trekking in one place. Please read the following information carefully – it will help you with any questions about our services.
Have another question that we haven’t answered here? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap!
The Inca Trail Without Plastics
Join us on this journey towards a plastic-free Inca Trail, where the beauty of the landscape is matched only by our commitment to environmental stewardship. Together, let's pave the way for a more sustainable and responsible adventure through the heart of history.
Briefing or Informative Meeting
All information meetings and briefings are held in our main office in Cusco (or your hotel) at 5:00 pm, one night before the tour begins. These meetings last approximately 30 to 45 minutes. If you’re unable to attend, you must coordinate another time by email, by phone or at the Salkantay Trekking office.
Trek Balance Payment (in Cusco)
If you still have a pending balance, you must pay it 2 days before your hike/tour. Otherwise, your trip reservation will not be confirmed.
If possible, it would be greatly appreciated if you could settle the remaining balance for the trek/tour in cash, either in US dollars or the local currency, at our office in Cusco. You can withdraw funds from various ATMs located along Avenida Sol, offering both US dollars and Peruvian Soles. Alternatively, you have the option to pay using a credit/debit card or PAYPAL, either online or in person, but please note that a 5% service charge will be applied by our payment gateway (Niubiz) and PAYPAL. We regret to inform you that we are unable to accept bank checks or traveler's checks as forms of payment for the balance.
Can I store my luggage at your office?
Of course! During the trip, your main luggage can be stored at our office (you can organize it with us on the briefing day or by email) or at your hotel, both free of charge.
Any equipment that you won’t need on the trek can be stored safely in your hotel. Nearly every hotel will provide this service. Don’t leave items of value with your bags; put them in the hotel safe and obtain an itemized receipt (in the unlikely case of theft, many insurance companies require that you have a copy of the receipt itemizing everything). It’s best to put items such as credit cards inside a sealed, signed envelope for extra peace of mind.
Pick up of guests
Salkantay Trekking can pick you up from your hotel, as long as it’s in the Historical Center of Cusco. Your guide will coordinate the pickup time in the briefing session, but please keep in mind that the time may vary between 30 and 45 minutes due to traffic.
Cusco is an old city, meaning it has many narrow cobbled streets. Some hotels and Airbnbs may be located on streets without access to cars or on long, steep slopes, making it difficult to transport luggage. We strongly recommend that you book accommodation with good access.
Return to Cusco
Returning from Machu Picchu requires quite a bit of logistics, but don’t worry. Everything is included in your tour!
- In Machu Picchu, you’ll board a bus that’ll take you for 25 minutes to the small city of Aguas Calientes. The buses are boarded according to arrival.
- In Aguas Calientes, you’ll board a train to Ollantaytambo. Your guide will give you the train tickets where the boarding time will be shown. Make sure you’re on the platform 30 minutes early. The train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes 1:45 hours.
- Once you arrive at the station, our representative, identified with the Salkantay Trekking clothing, will be waiting to transfer you to Cusco or directly to your hotel. The trip from Ollantaytambo to Cusco takes 1:30 hours.
- In Cusco, depending on your hotel’s location, we’ll take you to a smaller car from our company (Hyundai H1) to transfer you faster to your hotel.
Group tours are made up of different types of people, then physical conditions and ages can vary. By agreeing to be part of a group tour, you also accept that some people may be faster or slower than you. Therefore, each person can go at their own pace on the route.
It may be the case that a group wishes to modify the tour; however, the guide will be the one who decides, after consulting with all the participants, if such modifications are possible.
Strikes and demonstrations
Strikes and demonstrations are common in Peru, and this may interrupt some of our tours. Roads can be blocked, and train tracks can be taken over. However, we will try to keep your trip as originally planned, even if it means leaving the night before the scheduled date.
Under these circumstances, tours may also be canceled. In case of changes or cancellations, everything will be coordinated with you by our operations department. Your safety is our highest priority, and our decisions will be made to protect it.
Please pay attention to where you leave your things and remember to take everything once you leave our transport, tents or restaurants. You’re the only one responsible for your objects during the tour.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING?
"ONE DAY INCA TRAIL HIKE" can leave any day of the week, from March through January. We don’t operate this itinerary in February because of the rainy season & maintenance of the route.
Group Price: US$ 400.00 per person
Required Pre-payment: US$ 200.00 per person
Balance (Cusco): US$ 200.00 (Commonly paid in Cusco after the briefing).
This small-group journey is guaranteed to operate with just two guests.
Notice that PayPal and Niubiz charge a 5% fee for the use of their secure payment gateway. This tax is just for online and card payments. You can also pay the remaining balance in cash (the briefing day) without charges.
Additional items you can rent for this trip:
- Trekking poles (pair): US$ 10.00
Add-ons & Upgrades
Complementary services and upgrades you can include in this trip:
- Vistadome Train (Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo): US$ 60.00
Extensions & Deals
There are several extensions you can include to your Peru Adventure.
- Cusco City Tour: US$ 30.00 US$ 20.00
- Sacred Valley: US$ 60.00 US$ 50.00
- Moray & Maras Salt Mines: US$ 60.00 US$ 50.00
- Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain: US$ 100.00 US$ 80.00
- Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain: US$ 100.00 US$ 80.00
- Pallay Punchu Rainbow Mountain: US$ 100.00 US$ 80.00
- Waqrapukara Tour: US$ 100.00 US$ 80.00
- Ausangate Seven Lakes: US$ 100.00 US$ 80.00
- Queswachaka Inca Bridge: US$ 100.00 US$ 80.00
Once your booking has been confirmed, we guarantee the price won’t increase, whatever the circumstances. So please, before booking, ensure you’ve read all our important tour information.
Thank you for your interest in having an adventure travel experience in Peru curated by Salkantay Trekking. Please take a moment to complete our short form, so one our friendly Adventure Consultants could provide you all the information for your trip of a lifetime in Peru.
Our Pledge | Your privacy is respected and protected. The Salkantay Trekking Company will never share, sell, or make public any of your personal contact information to third parties.
Remember | One of our Travel Experts will contact you soon to confirm the availability of the trip you chose, give you more information, and/or provide you alternative options. Once availability is established, we will ask for a deposit and a completed online registration to confirm your spot on the trek. Please call us at (+51) 958 191 179 with any questions or to confirm availability over the phone.
Note | Due to the rainy season and trail maintenance, we don't offer this trek during the whole month of february. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, we are working to provide you a better service!