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.
You can either return to Cusco the same day or spend a night in Machu Picchu town before exploring Machu Picchu again the next day, then heading back to Cusco.
You can also combine our One Day Inca Trail with Lares in a great 5-day trek. Therefore mixing living local culture with Inca sites.
The 1 day Inca Trail is the best way to visit Machu Picchu, in an active way, if you do not have time for a longer trek. You see and experience more than if you take the train. And you see fewer people.
Yes, you can hike on Inca Trail Machu Picchu in one day. While you may know the Inca Trail takes 4 or 5 days, the path that starts at KM104 allows you to hike to Machu Picchu in one day because it is much shorter than the full trail- 12km instead of 43km. You are literally joining onto the last day of the full Inca Trail.
The Short Inca Trail starts at KM104 or Chachamba as it is more correctly called. KM104 refers to the distance along the train line from Cusco. Machu Picchu town is at KM111. The route climbs to Wiñay Wayna before contouring the hillside, through the Sun Gate and onto Machu Picchu.
The 1 Day and 2 Day Inca Trail are the same things. They are also known as the Short Inca Trail, the Royal Inca Trail or the KM104 Inca Trail.
The only difference is if booking the 1-day version you tour Machu Picchu that same day and return to Cusco or the Sacred Valley that night. If booking the 2-day hike you do the Machu Picchu tour and return train journey on the second day.
The actual hiking is exactly the same. You will arrive at Machu Picchu on the afternoon of Day 1. It is not possible to spread the trekking out over 2 days.
No. This is not possible. If you are taking your Machu Picchu tour on the second day, then you will stay at a hotel in Machu Picchu town for the night. Or if you are feeling rich, you could stay at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, next to Machu Picchu ruins. But in no circumstances will you be camping. This is only possible on the full Inca Trail.
The Short Inca Trail is perfectly achievable by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. It is suitable for kids aged about 8 years upwards. The hike is 12km in distance and takes about between 5 and 6 hours for most people.
There are steep Inca steps in parts. You will ascend 550m/1800ft and descend 250m/820ft.
Altitude sickness should not be an issue as the maximum heigh is 2650m/8700ft. This is lower than the Sacred Valley and much lower than Cusco. However, you may still notice that breathing is harder on the steep sections.
Yes, you do. There are 400 permits per day allocated for the Short Inca Trail. These are separate to the 500 permits for the full Inca Trail. These permits are non-refundable and non-transferable. So you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit at the time of booking.
Permits for the One day Inca Trail do not sell out as much as for the full Inca Trail. And so you can usually book them close to the date- although it is preferable to book early to secure them. The permits are available every day of the year except for the month of February when the trail is closed for maintenance.
You start the day with an early transfer to the train towards Machu Picchu. Jumping off at km104 you pass through the control point and begin your Inca Trail hike.
First, you visit the Inca site of Chachabamba. Then you ascend gradually through the tropical cloud forest to Wiñay Wayna. Here you climb old Inca stairways through these beautiful terraces, stopping to explore the various buildings and water features.
Wiñay Wayna is where your One Day Inca Trail Hike joins the 5 day Inca Trail Trek. Enjoy a delicious box lunch. Then continue on the loveliest part of the whole Inca Trail.
Lush vegetation flanks you on either side. The scent of wild orchids fills the air. And all around you, brightly coloured songbirds fill your ears with song.
Soon you will reach a final set of stairs to arrive at Inti Punku, better known as the Sun Gate. As you step through the old stone gate-way, Machu Picchu appears laid out before your eyes. After plenty of photos, you carry onto catch the bus twenty minutes down to Machu Picchu Pueblo.
For those returning the same day, you take the train back towards Cusco.
For those staying the night, you can head to your hotel for a well-deserved hotel and shower.
When hiking the one day Inca Trail all you need is your daypack.
If staying overnight, we will transfer an overnight bag to your hotel.
Included: lunch, English-speaking guide, porter support, transport, train ticket, one day Inca Trail permits, entrance fees, bus ticket, (hotel if doing the 2-day version)
After a comfortable night, you take the bus back up to explore Machu Picchu with your guide. You have time to hike to the Inca Bridge or Watchman’s hut or to wander through the ruins and soak up the atmosphere.
In the afternoon you enjoy one of the world’s great train journeys along the Sacred Valley to your hotel.
We recommend this book by our friend John Hemming, to learn more about the Incas, and what you will see on your Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Included: breakfast, English-speaking guide, entrance fees, bus ticket, train ticket, transport
In order to fully enjoy your trip, it is very important that you choose the right trip for you and fully understand what it involves.
There are risks inherent in travelling in Peru. Indeed there are in most of the activities that we provide. Many of the activities we offer also involve a significant level of effort on your part. After all, it is called Adventure Travel for a reason.
It is really important that you read both the trip notes above and the Risk and Safety Section on our website. Because this enables you to choose the best trip for you. Once you have read them both, please make sure you ask if there is anything you do not understand. We classify this trip as:
This trek is about what you’ll see along the way. The ‘nature’ of trekking does, of course, include the risk of trips and slips, etc. Our experienced guides will keep a close eye on you and endeavour to keep you on the right track. Do take extra care on steep descents and on the occasions where there may be an ‘edge!’ –don’t be shy to ask for support from your guide – it’s what they are there for! There is no real need to have any experience of trekking for this trip.
We create safe, responsibly run adventures in Cusco and the Sacred Valley for lovers of the great outdoors. We are a Certified B Corps and hold all Adventure Licenses for the activities we offer.
Avenida Collasuyo 910, Miravalle, Cusco
9am – 4pm local time (GMT-5)