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2 Day Inca Trail Tour | Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 18-08-2022

The Inca trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a bucket-list item for many visitors to Peru. In its shortest form, the 2-day trail allows us to enjoy the exceptional experience of arriving at the awe-inspiring archaeological site of Machu Picchu after a few hours of walking along a stone pathway constructed by the Incas. The environment and history will surprise us with each step along this section of the original Inca Trail.  


Machu Picchu


Our 2-day Inca Trail has been designed for those travelers who don’t have much time but want to experience hiking this fantastic trail. Along the way, the Inca trail leads through the protected, natural Andes and the Peruvian cloud forest, passing several Inca archaeological sites and spectacular views Inca archaeological sites and spectacular views. The Incas used this ancient road for pilgrimage to the sacred citadel Machu Picchu. Covering a distance of just 10km / 6.3 miles, the 2-day Inca Trail is not too challenging, which makes it perfect for families and those on a tight schedule. You will still see all the key sights along the authentic Inca Trail on the short Inca Trail; you will still see all the key sights along the original trail. The short trail misses out on the more extensive mountain passes present on the 4-day option and joins the Inca trail on day 3 of the classic 4-day Inca Trail. Highlights of this 2-day Inca trail hike include hiking in the Peruvian Andes, strolling through the cloud forest, and taking in stunning vistas of snow-capped mountains and flowing rivers. You will still arrive at Machu Picchu through the magnificent Sun Gate, the exact entrance the Incas used to enter the sacred site of Machu Picchu.  


2-Day Inca Trail


The shorter, 2-day trail is undoubtedly the best option for travelers who could not secure the 4-day Inca Trail permit, prefer a shorter trek or have a shorter time frame but still wish to experience the original Inca trail. In this experience, you will be amazed because it allows you to enjoy the sunset and sunrise in Machu Picchu, giving you two unique opportunities to enjoy the magnificent Machu Picchu. The 2-day Inca Trail does not involve camping, and you will spend the night in Aguas Calientes in a hotel.


Winay Wayna in the Distance


Day 1

We will pick you up from your Cusco hotel and take you to the train station in Ollantaytambo to take the train to km. 104, the trailhead for the 2-day Inca trail.  After passing through the checkpoint, we begin our trek to the Chachabamba archaeological complex with its stone altar in homage to the sun and the “Apus” or Sacred Mountains, found at an elevation of 2150 m.




We will ascend for 8 kilometers, and after 4 hours of hiking, we arrive at the stunning archaeological complex of Wiñayhuayna, found at 2700 m elevation. This impressive complex comprises an agricultural center with numerous religious and urban terraces. At the bottom, we will have magnificent views of the Valley of the Vilcanota River and the Choquesuysuy archaeological complex on the other side of the river.


Winay Wayna Ruins


We will pass a beautiful waterfall located minutes from Wiñay Wayna, then climb to the Inti punku, or "The Sun Gate," after an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edge of the mountains. From this point, we will enjoy our first sight of the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. From the Inti punku, we will descend towards Machu Picchu and take the bus to Aguas Calientes. Here you can enjoy dinner and a comfortable night’s sleep in a hotel.


Aguas Calientes


Day 2

Bright and early, we will pick you up from your hotel to take the bus to the Citadel of Machu Picchu and then immediately begin our 2-hour guided tour of the site., Witness how the Incas fused their temples with nature in this fascinating and unique place.  You will then have free time to walk around the Citadel or climb Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain for spectacular views over Machu Picchu. Marvel at the surrounding valleys and mountains or visit the Temple of the Moon and the impressive Inca bridge.


Magnificent Machu Picchu, with Wayna Picchu in the Background


(Bear in mind that Huayna Picchu + Machu Picchu Mountain requires an additional entrance permit and should be reserved at the time of booking. ONLY visitors who have a Huayna Picchu permit can visit the Temple of the Moon). In the afternoon, we will return to Aguas Calientes, where you will enjoy lunch and even see the hot springs in the town. We will then take our train back to Cusco https://www.valenciatravelcusco.com/cusco-city-tour, where we will drop you off at your hotel. 


Vilcanota River


Find out more or book your magnificent 2-day Inca Trail with Valencia Travel here.