Machu Picchu Architecture and the buildings of the Incas

ONE DAY INCA TRAIL HIKE

Full Day Tour
Starting from US$400 per person
Meals Icon
Box Lunch and Early Dinner Meals
Group Size Icon
Up to 12 People Group Size
Max. Altitude Icon
2,720 m / 8,924 ft Max. Altitude
Difficulty Icon
Moderate Difficulty

The 1-Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

KM 104 - Chachabamba - Wiñay Wayna - Sun Gate - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes
Meals Icon
Box Lunch and Early Dinner Meals
Group Size Icon
Up to 12 People Group Size
Max. Altitude Icon
2,720 m / 8,924 ft Max. Altitude
Difficulty Icon
Moderate Difficulty

Our One Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most exciting way to see one of the Wonders of the World for those who don’t have the time to hike the entire 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 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!

Map of the Full Day Tour Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 1-Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Map
  • Itinerary
  • Inclusions
  • Before You Go
  • Packing List
  • Pricing
  • Enquire Now
  Itinerary

Are you 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 the 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 getting the most amazing views. You don’t need to worry about a thing as we take care of every detail of your day, from your meals to the transport. Sounds exciting? It is!

Highlights

  • Explore the impressive Inca Trail and magical Machu Picchu 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.
  • Admire the extraordinary surrounding views on a train ride amid the mountains.
  • Visit the mythical Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, one of the World's Seven Wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01

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

Meals Icon
Box Lunch and snacks Meals
Difficulty Icon
Moderate Difficulty
Walking Distance Icon
9 km / 5.6 mi Walking Distance
Walking Time Icon
5 hours Walking Time
Starting Elevation Icon
2,100 m / 6,890 ft Starting Elevation
Min. Elevation Icon
2,040 m / 6,693 ft Min. Elevation
Highest Elevation Icon
2,720 m / 8,924 ft Highest Elevation
Machu Picchu Site Elevation Icon
2,430 m / 7,972 ft Machu Picchu Site Elevation

Begin with a 4:00 a.m. pickup from your hotel. We’ll take you to Ollantaytambo to board the train to KM 104, the starting point of the Inca Trail hike. We’ll start by visiting the Chachabamba archaeological site and continue hiking up the original Inca stone steps to the Wiñay Wayna archaeological site. You’ll have an epic exploration and have time to relax, learn about history, and enjoy your box lunch.

In the afternoon, we’ll keep hiking until the Sun Gate, the Inca Trail access to Machu Picchu. You’ll get your first incredible views over the Inca citadel before walking the final stretch to the site. You’ll later enjoy a one-and-a-half-hour tour of the most essential parts of Machu Picchu and take some memorable photos. Later, catch the bus to Aguas Calientes and then the train back to Ollantaytambo. Our private transport will be waiting to take you back to your accommodation in Cusco.

Kickstart this epic day trip with a pickup from your hotel at around 4:00 a.m. We’ll drive to the Ollantaytambo Train Station and take the train for an hour-and-a-half trip to the starting point of this one-day Inca Trail, the KM 104.

After passing the checkpoint, we´ll go to the first archaeological site, Chachabamba. This was one of the last shelters used by the Inca pilgrims before reaching Machu Picchu. It features several buildings, so this will be the perfect place to hear the guide’s first intro to the fascinating Inca history.

Then, the real hike begins with a 3-hour ascent across the stone steps of the original Inca Trail. The ecosystem in this area is truly unique; you’ll identify different types of flora and fauna: orchids, flowers, trees, and other local species, and even a waterfall in the middle of the trail. We’ll arrive at the Wiñay Wayna archaeological site, the most significant along the Inca Trail. Here’s where everyone is amazed by its exquisite architecture!

You’ll see its many water sources for rituals, impressive agricultural platforms, and sacred places dedicated to the natural deities like the Rainbow Temple. Take this time to chill out, rest your legs, be silent, and connect with Mother Nature through birdsong or the refreshing breeze. Then is a little further walk to enjoy lunch at one of the Classic Inca Trail campsites. You’ll have enough time here to recharge energies while looking down at the edgy valleys below before the next leg.

We’ll keep hiking until the famous Inti Punku or Sun Gate, where every Inca Trail hiker accesses Machu Picchu. From here, you’ll stare at the breathtaking views and architecture of this majestic Inca City for the first time. This is also where the Incas would get their first sight of their magnificent Citadel. It’s hard to describe the impact of watching this ancient, sacred, and world-famous site. You’ll feel goosebumps wash over you.

After the views and photo opportunities, we’ll go on the last stretch to Machu Picchu. You will have a little more time to contemplate the site and the surrounding landscape in which the city is built while listening to a brief historical explanation from your guide. Take many memorable photos and let your spirit be filled with the energy of this magnificent, sacred place.

Later, it’ll be time to walk down to the Machu Picchu main entrance. You’ll take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, the small town at the base of Machu Picchu. We’ll catch the train there at 18:20 (subject to availability) back to Ollantaytambo. Our transport will be waiting to take you to Cusco and drop you off at your accommodation for a well-deserved rest after this unforgettable journey.

Important information about the One Day Inca Trail

The Ministry of Culture of Peru regulates the Inca Trail’s use and issuing entry permits. Please note:

  • 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.
  • If you want to change your excursion date, you must ensure that spaces are available on the new date and buy a new permit.

These are the rules of the Government of Peru. If no permits are available for your desired date, 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

Please be aware that the 1-Day Inca Trail follows the same trail as the 2-Day Inca Trail. The only difference is that if you book the 1-day version, you tour Machu Picchu that same day and return to Cusco that night. If you book the 2-day Short Inca Trail, you will see Machu Picchu and return by train and bus on the second day.

To complete this walk and arrive in Machu Picchu on time, travelers must be in moderate to good physical condition. If you fear the trip would be too difficult, you can take the 2-day Inca Trail, which gets you to Machu Picchu in one day but at a slower pace.

Why Travel with us

  Inclusions

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.

High Quality Service & Safety

  • Pre-departure Briefing

    You'll have an orientation meeting with your guide the evening before the tour. The meeting is at 5:00 p.m. in our office and, depending on the itinerary, in your hotel.

  • Experienced Tour Guide

    Our official tour guides speak English and Spanish and are professionally trained and certified. We choose them for their experience, responsibility, unbridled passion for exploring, and pride in sharing our culture and history. In every experience, they will keep you safe and comfortable so 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 tour.

Meals

  • Box Lunch, Snacks and Water
  • 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.

Transportation

  • Transfers
    • Pick up from your hotel in the morning and transfer to Ollantaytambo train station.
    • Bus Ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
    • Transport from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco.
  • Train Tickets
    • Train from Ollantaytambo to KM 104 (Trek starting point).
    • Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.

What Is Not Included?

  • Breakfast
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips for our staff

    Tipping is usual on any excursion to Peru. Although we pay good salaries to our 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.

  Additional Items

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.

Vistadome Train

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$ 70.00 per person.

  Before You Go

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.

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

Please note:

  • All pickups are within Cusco City, but we recommend booking a hotel in the historic center for its convenient location.
  • Our guide or staff will confirm the pickup time the day before the tour.
  • Due to traffic conditions, the pickup time may vary between 30 and 45 minutes.
  • Cusco is an old city and has many narrow cobbled streets. Some hotels and Airbnbs are located on streets without car access or on long, steep slopes, making it difficult to transport luggage. For such reasons, we strongly advise you to 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

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.

Lost objects

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.

  Packing List

WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING?

ESSENTIAL

Valid Passport
Valid Passport
Extra money (recommended soles)
Extra money (recommended soles)
Personal medication
Personal medication
Water bottle or CamelBak
Water bottle or CamelBak
Sunblock: factor 70 or more
Sunblock: factor 70 or more
Insect repellent
Insect repellent

CLOTHING

Hiking boots or shoes (preferably waterproof)
Hiking boots or shoes (preferably waterproof)
Trekking pants (*)
Trekking pants (*)
Trekking socks
Trekking socks
Shorts
Shorts
Long sleeve t-shirts
Long sleeve t-shirts
Warm jacket
Warm jacket
Waterproof jacket
Waterproof jacket
Raincoat or rain poncho
Raincoat or rain poncho
Sun hat to protect neck and face
Sun hat to protect neck and face
Neck gaiter or buff
Neck gaiter or buff
Sunglasses with UV protection
Sunglasses with UV protection

EQUIPMENT

Trekking poles
Trekking poles
Medium trekking backpack (15 - 25 liter)
Medium trekking backpack (15 - 25 liter)

RECOMMENDED

Camera and charger
Camera and charger
Power bank
Power bank
  Pricing

"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.

Price 2023

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.

Extra Equipment

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$ 70.00

Extensions & Deals

There are several extensions you can include to your Peru Adventure.

Price Guarantee

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.

  Enquire Now

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.

Personal Details

Trip Details

Inca Trail One Day Tour
14 years and above
Below 14 years
7 + 3 =

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!

Feel free to reach us via email at info@salkantaytrekking.com or by calling us directly at (+51) 958 191 179

Every Day: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

Triunfo Street 346 - Main Square of Cusco, Peru

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