The Express Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
The Inca Trail is the ultimate hike to walk in ancient footsteps to the magical, mystical Machu Picchu. Short on time? No problem! We can work with you and your schedule to ensure an amazing experience in a shorter time frame.
Witness ancient constructions, luscious landscapes, and incredible wildlife on this 2-day adventure through the Andean rainforest. Spend the night in charming Aguas Calientes before waking up early to beat the crowds at the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. This is an adventure you don’t want to miss out on, and you don’t have to with our compact, express Inca Trail.
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Created with those with a strict time frame in mind, our 2-day Inca Trail will allow you to experience everything wonderful about the last stretch of the classic 4-day trek in a couple of days. Along the way, you’ll get to visit fascinating archaeological sites, including the astounding Wiñaywayna. You’ll learn all about the ancient culture of the Incas and connect with nature and Mother Earth in the most stunning landscapes.
You can enjoy relaxing in the middle of the rolling hills and enjoy your packed lunch. Take a walk up to the Sun Gate, from where those on the 4-day Inca Trail will enter Machu Picchu. From here, you get your first spectacular views over the breathtaking Machu Picchu. It’s a dreamy landscape, without a doubt, so make sure you soak it up before you leave and return tomorrow.
Your comfort is a top priority to us, which is why you spend the night in a lovely hotel in Aguas Calientes before waking up for the big day. Enjoy a rewarding dinner after your day of trekking and get a good night’s sleep.
On day 2, it’ll be time to visit no other than the New Seven Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu. Feel your heart race as your first step inside this incredible place and look across the terraces and stone buildings, all constructed on a mountainside. You’ll enjoy a one-and-a-half-hour guided tour to learn all about the importance of the fortress before heading down for lunch and the journey back to Cusco. This trip of a lifetime is a must and doable when you don’t have long in Cusco.
Itinerary at a Glance
Cusco | Ollantaytambo - KM 104 - Chachabamba - Wiñay Wayna- Sun Gate / Inti Punku - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes
Walk along the original Inca Trail through gorgeous landscapes surrounded by gigantic mountains and lush vegetation. Explore Inca archaeological sites and get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu before spending the night in Aguas Calientes.
Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Cusco
Explore the magical Machu Picchu with your guide and learn its secrets before coming back to Aguas Calientes. Then, you will board the train to Ollantaytambo, and our private transportation will take you back to Cusco.
What's it like
- Hike through some of the most spectacular Andean landscapes you’ll see.
- Trace ancient footsteps along the original Inca Trail and be transported back in time.
- Visit Inca archaeological sites and learn all about their culture and history from your knowledgeable guide.
- Spend the night in comfort in a comfy hotel in Aguas Calientes.
- Explore the magical Machu Picchu with your guide and understand its secrets.
Why Travel with us
Cusco | Ollantaytambo - KM 104 - Chachabamba - Wiñay Wayna- Sun Gate / Inti Punku - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes
Highlight of the day: See stunning scenery as you visit archaeological sites and get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu.
Walk in Ancient Footsteps and Transport Back in Time
Today, you’ll set off early to drive to Ollantaytambo, then catch a train to KM 104 to start the hike. You’ll trek through some stunning landscapes with lush vegetation and gigantic mountains and stop off at fascinating Inca archaeological sites to learn all about the ancient culture (Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna, among others). End your day’s hike by arriving at the Sun Gate and looking out over the mystical Machu Picchu for the first time, and take some amazing photos. You’ll then catch a bus down to Aguas Calientes, where you’ll enjoy dinner in a nice restaurant and spend the night in a comfortable hotel.
Your adventure begins today nice and early as you’ll be picked up from your accommodation at 4:00 am. You’ll then travel for around one and a half hours to the small, quaint town of Ollantaytambo, where you’ll have a few minutes to make any last-minute purchases. You’ll board the train at the station at 6:10 am to KM 104, from where our trek begins. You can see the golden sun covering the expansive Andean mountains, farming fields, and the Urubamba River along the railway. Before you start walking, you’ll meet your guide and listen to a brief orientation about the details, and we’ll provide you with your box lunch and a snack for you to enjoy later on.
The hike starts on a trail similar to the beginning of the Classic Inca Trail. You’ll be immersed in the stunning landscape as you’re surrounded by lush vegetation and towering mountains watching over you. After a short while, we’ll reach our first Inca archaeological site on the trek, Chachabamba, and learn a little about it from our guide.
After another 3 hours, we get to one of the most fascinating Inca sites, the Wiñay Wayna complex (meaning 'forever young' in Quechua), which sits at 2,650 m / 8,694 ft. Most trekkers who stop here are amazed by the incredible architecture. You’ll explore the site and discover a ritual water source, temples dedicated to nature's forces, and beautiful agricultural platforms. Wiñay Wayna is the perfect place to learn a little more about the impressive history of the Incas.
While you’re at these sites, take some time to relax, unwind in peace, and connect to Mother Nature through birdsong and the soft whisper of the wind. A little further on, you’ll spot the campsites where those doing the Classic Inca Trail spend the night. Here, you’ll have time to enjoy the tasty lunchbox we’ve prepared for you, chill out, and recharge your batteries.
Once you’re ready to go again, we’ll continue the hike to the Sun Gate, from where you get your first outstanding views of Machu Picchu and all its incredible architecture. You’ll be astounded at how the Incas were able to build such a site on a mountain. The landscape is very dreamy, and you’ll feel the magic and mystery of Machu Picchu, which has withstood the test of time amazingly. Use this opportunity to capture some unique photos and honor the Incas as you ponder how they were able to lift such big stones and try to understand their deep connection with nature.
We won’t be entering the citadel just yet, though. At this time of day, the tourists inside will be leaving, and you’ll be able to watch the magical golden light of the sun setting on the immense stone walls for some tranquility. You can look forward to tomorrow knowing that you’ll be exploring every inch of this masterpiece. For now, you’ll take an alternative path down to the exit, where you’ll board a bus that takes us to the small town of Aguas Calientes to spend the night in a hotel. Before you rest your body for the night, we’ll grab some dinner in one of the town’s best restaurants. Make sure you get to sleep early, as you’ll be rising before the sun does tomorrow.
Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Cusco
Highlight of the day: Step inside the Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu and explore its ancient streets and incredible architecture.
Explore the Astounding Inca City of Machu Picchu
This is the day you’ve been waiting for. This morning, you’ll need to be up before dawn to arrive at Machu Picchu before all the big groups. Feel goosebumps appear as you walk inside this astounding Wonder of the World. Your guide will take you on a one-and-a-half-hour tour of the site to some of its most important parts. If you have tickets to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain pre-booked, this is the time to hike them. Then, it will be time to return to Aguas Calientes for lunch, then a train to Ollantaytambo. From there, a bus will be waiting to take you to your hotel in Cusco at 6:00 pm.
After a well-deserved night’s rest, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Today, you’ll be wandering the mysterious streets of the majestic historical sanctuary of Machu Picchu! You’ll need to be up before sunrise to ensure you beat the crowds. You’ll take a short walk from your hotel to catch a bus that’ll take you on a 25-minute drive to the entrance of the Inca citadel. You’ll enter just before the sun comes up and paints the fortress with a gorgeous golden hue.
After soaking it all in and taking your first few photographs, your guide will take you on a one-and-a-half-hour guided tour of the site. You’ll be visiting some of the most important parts of Machu Picchu and learning a lot from your local expert. Once the tour is up, you will be able to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (pre-booked tickets required), each of which takes 1:30 and 3 hours to hike up and down, respectively. From any of these places, you’ll experience more stunning views of the whole Inca city.
When you’re ready to leave, it’ll be time to head back down to Aguas Calientes. You’ll have a bit of time to select a restaurant of your choice for a bite to eat before catching a train, which is usually reserved for 14:55 (subject to availability). You’ll arrive in Ollantaytambo by train, and then a private bus will be there to pick you up and take you back to your accommodation in Cusco at around 6:00 pm.
Now it’s time to enjoy a thoroughly deserved rest and put your feet up. Your trip might be over, but we assure you your heart will be thumping for many years to come as you look back fondly on your incredible adventure.
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 (Circuit 3)
High Quality Service & Safety
You will meet your tour guide and group in our office for an orientation before your tour. The meeting will be at 5:00 pm the evening before the trip begins.
Experienced Tour Guide
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 trek.
Hotel in Aguas Calientes
The first night of this tour is spent in a hotel in Aguas Calientes with a matrimonial room, private bathroom, hot shower, wifi, breakfast, and luggage storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
Day 1: Box Lunch and Dinner
Day 2: Breakfast
Snacks on the first day
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'll give you a cloth bag for your snacks.
You’ll be provided with a small towel and soap before each meal to clean your hands.
- Day 1: Transport from Cusco to Ollantaytambo train station.
- Day 2: Transport from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco.
- Day 1: From Ollantaytambo to KM 104 (Starting point of the trek).
- Day 2: From Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
Day 1: One-Way Consettur Bus Ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
Day 2: One-Way Consettur Bus Ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
What Is Not Included?
Day 1 Breakfast
Lunch in Aguas Calientes and Dinner in Cusco (Day 2)
Day 2: One-Way Consettur Bus Ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
Tips for our staff
Tipping is the usual on any excursion to Machu Picchu. Although we pay good salaries to our entire team, something extra is always welcome, especially considering the hard work they do. 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$ 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 from Machu Picchu 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.
Note: Your tour includes a One-Way Consettur Bus Ticket Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu, so you can choose to use it from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu or from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes. If you want a round-trip bus ticket, you’ll need to pay an extra of US$ 12.00.
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?
"2-Day Short Inca Trail" 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$ 500.00 per person
Required Pre-payment: US$ 300.00 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:
- Huayna Picchu Mountain: US$ 60.00
- Machu Picchu Mountain: US$ 60.00
- Huchuy Picchu Mountain: US$ 45.00
- Vistadome Train (Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo): US$ 60.00
Hotel in Aguas Calientes
This tour includes 1 night at a standard 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes, with double or triple occupancy. If you need a hotel upgrade or prefer a single room, we can include them at extra cost.
- Single Supplement: US$ 30.00
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!