The Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 1 Day
Our One Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the best way to get to Machu Picchu for those without the time to hike the full Inca trail. The Inca Trail appeal is the stunning cultural show 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 important construction in the traditional Inca trail. And enters through the Sun Gate with unforgettable views of the imponent Machu Picchu.
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If you love the idea of hiking directly into Machu Picchu via the Inti Punku or Sun Gate but want a shorter hike and you don't have enough time, then the 1-day Inca Trail is the one for you!
This Trek has a variety of flora and fauna and is rich in history. The 1-day hike is 9 km / 5.59 mi, goes up to 2,720 m / 8.924 ft, and is classified as a moderate trek with a slightly high altitude gain.
- This itinerary is designed for travelers who don't have much time but want to enjoy the best and famous Inca Trail.
- Walk for the best section of the Inca Trail.
- Enter through the Sun Gate for your first view of Machu Picchu.
- Travel and walkthrough of cloud forests, feel the power of majestic mountains, forests, and rivers of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and discover ancient archaeological sites.
- Hike the historic Inca Trail in only five hours.
Cusco | KM 104 - Chachabamba - Wiñaywayna - Sun Gate - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes
Highlight of the day: Step inside the Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu and explore its ancient streets and incredible architecture.
Trek Ancient Trails and Go Back in Time at Historic Sites
Walk along the original Inca Trail through gorgeous landscapes surrounded by gigantic mountains and lush vegetation. Visit Inca archaeological sites and get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu from Inti Punku, the famous Sun Gate. Then, you’ll make your way down to the lost city itself for a 2-hour guided tour of all the important areas.
Explore the magical Machu Picchu with your guide and learn its secrets. Take more time by yourself to see as much as possible and venture on an additional hike. After, we'll head down to Aguas Calientes to catch the train to Ollantaytambo. From there, our private transportation will take you back to your hotel in Cusco.
We will start the trip by picking you up from your hotel at 4:00 am and takes you on our private transport to the Ollantaytambo Train Station. We take the train for about 1 hour 30 minutes to the beginning of this Inca Trail, at KM 104. After passing the checkpoint, We´ll go to visit the first archaeological center, Chachabamba. This site was one of the last shelters used by the Inca pilgrims before they reached Machu Picchu. The site features several fascinating buildings, and our expert guide will be delighted to share the history with you.
Our trek begins with a steady ascent for around 3 hours, climbing the original Inca stone steps. The ecosystems in this area are unique, and your guide will help you identify the different types of flora and fauna along the trail. After passing a spectacular waterfall, we arrive at Wiñay Wayna Archaeological Site. Most hikers stop here to be amazed by its exquisite architecture. You'll see many water sources for rituals, Sacred places dedicated to the natural deities like the Rainbow Temple, and beautiful agricultural platforms. Wiñay Wayna is the perfect place to learn a little more about the impressive history of the Incas.
Again, take time to relax, be silent, and connect with Mother Earth through birdsong or the wind's refreshing touches. More ahead you'll see the camps where the people who do the classic Inca Trail spend the last night before arriving at Machu Picchu. We will have time to eat our delicious box lunch provided for our company, chill out and recharge our energies.
Hike from Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu
We'll continue our tour and walk to the Inti Punku, best known as the Sun Gate, and from where we will see for the first time the impressive architecture of this majestic Inca City. The Sun Gate provides our first views of the magnificent Machu Picchu. It is difficult to put into words the impact of seeing this ancient, sacred, and world-famous site.
After taking some time to enjoy the views and take those all-important photos, we’ll go for a final walk down to Machu Picchu. Here, we will have a 1-hour guided tour through this incredible ancient city and visit temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the Intihuatana, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. Once again, take some time to enjoy the views, take memorable pictures and fill your spirit with the energy of this sacred place. Then, we will walk down to Machu Picchu main entrance from where we take the bus down to Aguas Calientes to catch the train at 6:10 pm to Ollantaytambo (subject to availability). There, our private transport will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel in Cusco.
Need to Know
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.
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.
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, so you don’t miss anything. Some items may be different for specific programs, so please read carefully before booking with us.
What Is Included?
High Quality Service & Safety
You will meet your trekking guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. At this time, we will provide you with the duffle bags, which our horses will carry. The meeting will be at 5:00 pm the evening before the trip begins.
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 - 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.
Customer Service 24/7
We have telephone service available 24 hours a day for ease of communication and preparation with the agency leading up to your trek.
Box Lunch and Early Dinner
Local fruits, cookies, chocolate, caramels, water, etc.
One cloth snack bag per person
To avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment, we will give you a cloth bag for your snacks.
Products for hygiene
You’ll be provided with a small towel and soap before each meal to clean your hands.
- 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.
- From Ollantaytambo to KM 104 (Starting point of the trek).
- From Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
Consettur Bus Ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
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.
Entrance Ticket to Machu Picchu Archaeological Site
What Is Not Included?
Tips for our staff
Tipping is usual on any excursion to Machu Picchu. Although we pay good salaries to our entire team, something extra is always welcome, especially considering their hard work. Typically, group participants collect their tips to hand out to the horsemen and chefs together.
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$ 75.00 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$ 75.00 per person.
All our tours include the PeruRail Expedition train. This train leaves Aguas Calientes at 4:22 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 4:43 pm 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$ 75.00 per person.
We want to make your trip to Peru as memorable and as easy as possible. In this section, you'll find speedy answers to all those questions you had about hiking in Peru with Salkantay Trekking in one place. Please read the following information carefully – it will help you with any questions about our services. Please read carefully the following information – it will help you with any questions you may have about our services.
Have another question that we haven’t answered here? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap!
How many days do I need to acclimate in Cusco before the Trek?
It is very important to be well acclimated to the altitude before exerting yourself on a trek. We do recommend that you arrive in Cusco at least 2 or 3 days before the trek starts to help you become acclimatized and avoid possible problems with altitude sickness while on the trek.
Suppose you have already been in another area of Peru at a high altitude before arriving in Cusco. In that case, we still recommend you have a whole day in Cusco to rest, recover from your travel, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Cusco before departing for the trek.
Here some suggestions for activities to do in the Cusco vicinity before starting your adventure trek:
This meeting will take place the night before the trek’s departure at 5 pm at our office which is located at Triunfo Street 392, Office 212 (second floor). We are 1 block from the Main Square (Plaza de Armas) of Cusco.
Payment of Trek Balance (in Cusco)
The trek has to be paid for in full by at least 7.30 pm two days before your departure. For example, if your tour departs on a Wednesday, then you must come to our office before 7.30 pm on Monday.
It would be much appreciated if you pay the trek balance in cash US dollars or local currency. You can withdraw some money from several ATMs along Avenida Sol (either in US dollars or local Peruvian Soles). You can pay by credit card or PAYPAL online, but you will have to pay an 8% service charge, charged by VISA and PAYPAL. We do not accept bank checks or payment of the balance by traveler’s checks.
Can I store my luggage at your office?
Of course! During the hike, you can store your main luggage 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 will not 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 all the items). Best put items such as credit cards inside a sealed, signed envelope for extra peace of mind.
Salkantay Trekking can pick you up from your hotel, as long as it’s in the Historic 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; therefore, 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 will take you for 25 minutes to the small city of Aguas Calientes. The buses are boarded according to your arrival.
- In Aguas Calientes, you’ll board a train to Ollantaytambo or Cusco. 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 will 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 usually 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 excursion as planned, even if it means leaving the night before the scheduled date.
In case of changes or cancellations, all situations 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 buses, tents, or restaurants. You’re the only one responsible for your objects during the tour.
The "1-Day Inca Trail Trek" can leave any day of the week, from March through January. We do not run this trek in February because rainy season & maintenance.
2021 Land Cost
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 charges a fee of 8%, which we ask the client to cover since it's due to the use of its service. This tax is just for online deposits so that you will pay the remaining in cash (the briefing day in Cusco) without charges.
Please, after your deposit, send us the transfer number to email@example.com; only after that, we'll be able to confirm your deposit and reservation.
Extensions & Offers
There are several extensions you can include to your Salkantay Adventure:
- Rainbow Mountain: US$ 100.00 US$ 80.00
- Sacred Valley: US$ 60.00 US$ 50.00
- City Tour: US$ 30.00 US$ 20.00
There are additional items you can include in this trip.
- Walking poles (pair): US$ 10.00
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information
Student discounts apply to anyone 17-years-old or younger, and we need a copy of their passport at booking time. Please send all to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!