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Short Inca Trail 2D/1N to Machu Picchu

If you are short on time (or energy) you can still enjoy the highlights of the Inca Trail on this amazing two day trek! You will visit the most beautiful site on the Inca Trail, the Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna, and visit Machu Picchu twice: once in the evening to witness the sunset and again early the next morning for the sunrise.

Reservations for the Inca Trail should be made at least 4 months in advance. The Peruvian government has a strict limit on the number of people allowed on the Inca Trail. Permits are issued to about 200 trekkers and 300 porters per day.

If you have a group of four or more people, we can guarantee your departure on any date.

Please be aware this trek may not be suitable for travelers with vertigo. 

 

Day by Day

Day 1: Cusco – Km 104 – Aguas Calientes

We will pick you up early from your hotel at approximately 5:30 a.m. (depending on the train schedule) and take you by private van to the train station in Ollantaytambo. We will travel over picturesque mountain roads for an hour and a half to Kilometer 104 – the start of the two day hike. From Km 104, we will walk for approximately four hours up to the Inca site of Wiñay Wayna, which means “forever young” and is at an elevation of 2,680m/8,792ft. Here you will get to explore what many consider to be the most impressive site on the Inca Trail.

After exploring Wiñay Wayna, we will continue hiking to Inti Punku, the “Sun Gate”, where you will have your first dramatic, panoramic view of Machu Picchu, from 2,400m/7,873ft. After taking in the magnificent view, we will walk down the last part of the trail towards the ancient city. Once we arrive in Machu Picchu, we will be able to celebrate our accomplishment and take unforgettable pictures together.

We will then descend to the main entrance, where you will take the bus to the town of Aguas Calientes to have dinner and spend the night. We will have a walking tour of Machu Picchu the next morning.

Day 2: Machu Picchu Tour

After an early breakfast, you will take the first bus at 6:00 a.m. to Machu Picchu. Your guide will give you a two hour walking tour of the mysterious city, after which you will have several hours of free time for your own exploration of the site. If you still have energy and a ticket booked ahead of time, you can also do the 45 minute climb up Huayna Picchu Mountain, at an elevation of 2,720m/8,923ft.
Once you are finished exploring the stunning site of Machu Picchu, you will meet your guide back in Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included in the price of the trek) and to receive your train tickets for your return trip to Cusco.
If desired, an extra night in Aguas Calientes can be arranged. This option is very popular as it allows you more time to explore Machu Picchu, visit the natural hot springs in Aguas Calientes, or enjoy a relaxing massage after your trek.

Price

Price $385 per person (Based on 4 person group rate)

After we have received your booking form and confirmation your deposit was made, we will send you an electronic receipt confirming your trek has been officially booked and the exact departure date of your trek.

Discounts

  • Student Discount $20
  • Under 18 Discount $20
  • Under 7 Discount $50

Student Discount Requirements

We offer a student discount (USD $20.00). However, due to several incidents of users falsifying personal data, the ISIC card is no longer valid for purchasing a discounted tour. As of July 1, 2017, the rules for purchasing student tickets to Machu Picchu have changed: discounts are only available with presentation of a student visa granted by the Peruvian embassy or consulate in the student´s country of origen and/or by the National Superintendent of Migrations. These documents must be provided at the time of purchase; discounts cannot be applied retroactively and refunds or reimbursements in this case are not available. Please send us a scan or photocopy of your passport, student visa, and university ID card or transcript so that we are able to secure your discount.

Optional activities in Machu Picchu

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain $65
  • Machu Picchu Mountain $65
  • Extra in Aguas Calientes $30

Rental Items

  • Small day pack $10
  • Walking poles (sticks) $10

Included/Not Included

Included

  • Professional guide who is fluent in English
  • Transport by train to head of trail (Km 104)
  • Lunch and dinner on the first day
  • Machu Picchu entrance fee
  • Round trip bus tickets Machu Picchu / Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu
  • One night accommodation in Aguas Calientes (including breakfast)
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo or Cusco
  • Bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco

Not Included

  • Breakfast on the first morning
  • The third way bus tickets from Machu picchu to Aguas Calientes
  • Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day
  • Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (opcional: 10 soles)
  • Tips for the guide
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu

What you need to bring

  • Original passport
  • For students: ISIC card
  • Hiking boots
  • Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
  • Two t-shirts
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Comfortable trousers
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Water
  • Toiletries
  • Camera, batteries, and extra memory cards
  • Shorts
  • Walking stick
  • Bandages
  • Sandals
  • Extra money
  • Bathing suit for hot springs in Aguas Calientes town

Why Us?

Why does Inka Trail Backpacker charge less than other Inca Trail operators?

At Inka Trail Backpacker, we offer you the basic and essential version of the popular treks in the region. We are a 100% local company that wants to provide everything you will need at the real cost of operations—never unfair upcharging! That is why our slogan is “Fun, Not Fancy Trip.”

Are you a certified company?

Inka Trail Backpacker has been a Licensed Inca Trail Tour Operator since 2014. All companies managing the Inca Trail must be certified and have an Inca Trail operators license. This license is issued annually each December and Inka Trail Backpacker is licensed through the year of 2018.

Our license as an Official Travel Agency is under the name Inka Trail Backpacker E.I.R.L. Our license as an Inca Trail Operator is under the name of INKA TRAIL BACKPACKER E.I.R.L We also work with partner company licenses such as INTI SUN TREK E.I.R.L and GRUPO CAMINOS DEL PERU E.I.R.L. Getting the permit for the Inca Trail from the government is a complicated and stringent process for the protection of tourists so in order to guarantee an Inca Trail Permit for all the tourists that have decided to book their adventure with us, we are registered to book using any of the above mentioned company licenses. We are all registered on the official government web site: www.machupicchu.gob.pe.

Does Inka Trail Backpacker care for their porters?

Yes, we absolutely take care of our porters. We do not charge you less than other companies at the expense of our porters’ pay and wellbeing. Since the end of 2014, Inka Trail Backpacker has been paying our porters a wage of 200 Soles for the 4 day trek plus their transport cost. That is nearly 20% above the legally required minimum wage agreed with the Porters Union which makes Inka Trail Backpacker a competitive company that offers good benefits for them. Following talks with our porters, they have told us that they know of only few trekking companies that pay the same as us. Only two companies are paying slightly more (and charging their clients almost US$100 more than us). Of the remaining 170 other licensed trekking operators only about 60% are paying the legal wage and 40% pay less than the legal wage with some companies paying only 70% of legal wage. This is difficult to prove as their porters receive a low wage but are asked to sign receipts showing they received more!

However, improving porter welfare is not just about paying fair wages. It is important that the porters have adequate food, a warm and dry place to sleep, and access to medical attention just the same as any other member of the group.
The wages that the porters get paid are by no means high by Western standards but you have to look at wages relative to other professions in Peru. For example, a school teacher gets paid the equivalent of about US$350 per month and has trained for 5 years to become a professional. A porter, if he departs 4 times a month, receives about the same if you include his tips. Most porters are seasonal workers and have no formal qualifications. For just 16 days work per month they receive wages similar to a teacher who has to work 22 days. Inka Trail Backpacker also tries to help the porters in a different way such as financial and educational support for their families.

Trek with like-minded travellers

As a traveller, you know that one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of going new places is the people you meet along the way. When you book a trek with us, you can be confident that your group will be filled with similar travellers looking for adventure in the Peruvian Andes. Our groups provide a great opportunity to meet new people and bond with them in an exciting environment. You never know who you will meet!

Community

We are really proud of the work we do for our community. This is a main focus for our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with needs, buy all our food from local farmers and markets, and serve the freshest ingredients.

100% Guaranteed Departures

At Inka Trail Backpacker, we like to think we do trekking a little differently than our competitors. We stand by our customers and guarantee that we meet 100% of our departure dates on our treks even if you are a solo traveler.

Office Location

Our office is located at 392 Calle Triunfo (the street is also called Sunturwasi), inside the Centro Artesenal Arte Inka Building, which is on the corner across the street from the Museo Arzobispal and the Twelve-Angled Stone, by a small fountain. We are on the second floor, in Suite 209.

Travel Info

Pre-Trek Briefing

At Inka Trail Backpacker, providing a personal experience and ensuring you are thoroughly prepared for your trek is very important to us. Before you depart on the Inca Trail trek, you will receive a briefing in our office. At the briefing, you will get to meet our staff, receive maps and a detailed description of each day of your tour, be given duffel bags if you have hired a porter, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

Do the tour guides speak English?

Our team of guides are all local to the Cusco area and speak both Spanish and English fluently. Many of them also speak Quechua (the native language of Peru). With degrees in tourism and with two years minimum of experience under their belts, they are full of energy, information about the native flora and fauna, and the Inca sites, with a vast knowledge of ready sourced stories and legends told by the Andean people.

How many people are there per group?

The maximum size of our Inca Trail 4 day group service is 16 people. For groups of over 8 people we also employ an assistant guide to help out (the assistant guide is a fully qualified guide but may lack some of the experience of the main guide or still need to improve his/her English skills.)

Is the 2 Day Inca Trail hike difficult?

The 2 Day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu features only 6 hours of walking, which makes it perfect for new hikers  or active families. However, we still recommend that you  be well prepared and healthy prior to starting the trek. You must be moderately fit to complete this hike. To prepare, try walking 10km a day or start going to the gym a month before the trek. Also try to  spend a few days in Cusco adjusting to the high altitude before you will start the Inca Trail.

Return train at the end of the Inca Trail: Your return train to Cusco is the Expedition train, which departs either at 6:20 or 8:20pm and  9:45 p.m. We can also book an afternoon train departure time of 2:55 or 4:35 p.m. for you if you prefer, at an extra cost of US $25. The train we will book depends on availability and will be confirmed at your briefing. There is also an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train which is an extra US $65 per person. Please let us know your preference at the time of booking the tour. Unfortunately, none of the trains go straight to Cusco—they run either to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. In either case, we will transfer you back by bus to your hotel in Cusco.

Can I change my return train ticket?

It may still be possible to make changes to your return train ticket if you don’t want to take the 18:20p.m train You will have to take your train ticket personally to the train station in Aguas Calientes and ask them to change the return ticket for an early one. You will probably be asked to pay an extra administration fee, which will depend on the train service and departure time. Changing the ticket will be subject to availability of spaces on the train

Can you pick us up in the Sacred Valley?

Ollantaytambo is the best place to stay other than Cusco. By staying in Ollantaytambo, you actually get a little more sleep because we will be picking you up about 1.5 hours after the Cusco pick up time. However, please keep in mind that the pre-trip briefing can only be done in Cusco.

Storage during your trek: You can leave any of your belongings that you do not want to bring on the trek at your hotel or hostel you were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to securely store you belongings for you.

FAQs

Which part of the Inca Trail does the 2 day hike go through?

This trail starts at the 104km train stop and ascends to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna before continuing on to Machu Picchu. Since we arrive later to Machu Picchu, you will not have much time at Machu Picchu on the first day. We will spend the night in the town of Aguas Calientes and return to Machu Picchu again the following day.

How many kilometers will we walk on the trek?

We will walk a total of 10 km / 6.3 miles.

At what altitude will the trek start and finish?

We will start the trek at km 104, located at (2,200m/7,2600ft) above sea level. The highest point of the trek is the Sun Gate, located at (2,700m/8,858ft). Aguas Calientes, where we will stay overnight, is located at an elevation of (2,040m/6,690ft).

What type of hostal does Inka Trail Backpacker use for this tour?

We always book through the El Tambo Inn, which has three different properties and offers private, double rooms that offer comfortable beds, hot water for showering, WiFi, and breakfast.

 Can I book my own hotel/ hostal in Aguas Calientes?

You can choose any hotel to stay in Aguas Calientes – it´s a very small town – and absolutely can book on your own. This will reduce the price of your trek by $10 per person. If you choose to book your own hotel, make sure you tell us where you plan on staying so we can get you there safely

Can I spend an extra night in Aguas Calientes?

Of course. If you are ok with taking the same train out of Aguas Calientes that is part of your original itinerary, which is typically at 6:20 pm or 7:00.p.m that evening, than there is no additional charge to move the train back a day.

Will we have porters on this trek? How much should I carry on the trek?

For the 2 day Inca Trail hike we do not employ the services of porters. You should bring with you only the essentials: passport, rain pancho, camera, water, and a change of clothes. Your pack should not weigh more than 6 kg. Please also remember that you need to have enough room to pack your box lunch in your day pack  This box lunch is provided  by us on the morning of the first day.

When do I need to pay the balance for my tour??

We require everyone to be in Cusco for at least 2 nights prior to starting the trek, although 3 nights is even better.

You must pay your trek balance at least 2 days before trek departure. For example if your trek departs on a Monday you must come to our office before 7.30 pm on Saturday to pay the trek balance. This ensures that everyone in the group is well acclimatized to the high altitude before starting the trek.

How many days will I need to acclimatize to the altitude before the Inca Trail Trek?

It is very important to be well acclimatized before exerting yourself on a trek. This is why we require everyone to be in Cusco for a minimum of 2 days prior to regular treks like the Inca Trail. However, if you are doing one of our longer treks like the 6 day Combined Salkantay/Inca Trail Trek, you will need at least 4 days to acclimatize because these treks occur at much higher altitudes than Cusco. You can use this time spent acclimatizing to visit the city of Cusco, nearby Inca ruins, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Can I wear sneakers on my trek? Why do I need hiking boots?

No, sneakers are not recommended for the Inca Trail! The terrain is very steep, with loose gravel, puddles, mud, and other obstacles. You must have sturdy, waterproof footwear designed for this type of terrain, with good traction and ankle support. Be sure to break in your hiking boots before your trek! Wear them on several shorter walks or hikes before your trip, so that your feet can get used to them.

If you do not have hiking boots, or they are too bulky for your suitcase, you can rent them in Cusco for under one hundred soles.

Can I stay in the Sacred Valley?

Ollantaytambo is the best place to stay other than Cusco. By staying in Ollantaytambo, you actually get a little more sleep because we will be picking you up about 1.5 hours after the Cusco pick up time. However, please keep in mind that the pre-trip briefing can only be done in Cusco.

Is there an oxygen bottle available during the trek, just in case?

Yes, all our tour guides take an oxygen bottle with them along the trail and will provide oxygen as needed.

What is included in the boxed lunch? Do I have to carry my own lunch?

The first day of this trek includes a box lunch, which usually consists of a sandwich, fruit, and some cookies. As part of our commitment to sustainability, your lunch comes in a specially-designed, reusable cloth bag, which you may either keep at the end of your tour or return to your guide to be recycled. Please be aware you will be required to carry your own lunch during the trek. The bag is ideal for fitting inside or over a daypack, and weighs no more than two kilos when full.

Is there a direct train from Cusco to Machu Picchu? How long is the train journey back to Cusco?

The train travels between the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley and Aguas Calientes, a small town located fifteen minutes below the Machu Picchu complex. The journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is an hour and forty minutes. (The return journey will be about three and a half hours, because the drive from Ollantaytambo station to Cusco is about an hour and forty minutes.) From Aguas Calientes, it is either a fifteen minute bus ride or hour hike up to Machu Picchu.

There is no direct train from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Although there is an additional station located at Poroy, about 25 minutes from Cusco, it is not always open. Train service from Ollantaytambo, meanwhile, is constant and reliable. Furthermore, taking the train from the Poroy station extends the total length of your journey between Cusco and Aguas Calientes to more than four hours, instead of three and a half.

Where do I have to be on the morning of the trek and where will I be dropped off at the end of the trek?

On the morning of the trek departure, we will pick you up from inside your hotel in Cusco (don’t wait outside in the street) and drop you off either in the Plaza de Regocijos ( next to the main square) or Plaza San Francisco (two blocks from the main square) upon your return to Cusco. You won’t be dropped off directly at your hotel/hostels.

It helps us if you try to stay in a hotel/hostal that is within a few blocks of the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). If your hotel/hostal is far away from the main square we will ask you to come to our offices with the exact location and name of your accommodation. If you are not staying in the city center, we may not be able to pick you up from your hotel. You must take a taxi to the center. 

The guide will come into your hotel and ask for you at reception. Because the centre of Cusco is full of small cobblestone streets, our larger bus/van is not permitted to enter certain zones in the city centre, so you will then have to walk a short distance to where the bus/van will be waiting for you. Traffic regulations prohibit large buses/van from entering the main square but usually after 10pm we don´t have a problem and will be able to drop you off in the main square upon your return. You can then take a taxi back to your hotel (between US$2 to US$4 for a taxi).

If we have to drop you off in Plaza San Francisco, you may be a bit disoriented (some people may need to be woken up!!) but we recommend that you ask for directions to the Plaza de Armas and our guide or driver will be happy to help. It’s only two blocks away, but usually it’ll be quite late at night so it is best to walk together as a group back to the Plaza before taking a taxi or walking back to your hotel.

Is there a minimum group size and what happens if Inka Trail Backpacker does not meet the minimum size?

We require a minimum group size of just four people. During the last few years, Inka trail Backpacker has always managed to meet the minimum group size for ALL of our departure dates and have never had to cancel any group departures due to group size.

If in the unlikely event that we do not reach the minimum required number of persons we reserve the right to combine our clients with another trekking company of similar cost.

What vaccines do I need for my trip? Will I need malaria pills?

Before traveling to Peru, you should consult your doctor. Routine vaccines, Hepatitis A, and typhoid vaccines are recommended for most travelers by the CDC. Some travelers may also need vaccines for Hepatitis B, rabies, and yellow fever. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should also be advised that the Zika virus is present in Peru.

Malaria pills are not necessary for these treks.

Do you recommend a rain poncho, or is a rain jacket okay?

The rainy season in Cusco is generally from November to April, when there are near-daily showers and the ground—especially in trekking areas—is wet and muddy. However, there are occasional showers throughout the rest of the year; you should always pack a rain jacket, regardless of when you plan to visit. For treks, a rain poncho is highly recommended—since you will be walking through rain for potentially several hours without shelter, a poncho will be much more effective at keeping all of your belongings and your base layers warm and dry. Waterproof shoes are also strongly recommended.

What if I get sick on the trail during my tour?

In the event of illness or injury, we will offer all of the support and care we are able; however, you should carry any medications you expect to need with you (ask your doctor for specific recommendations or prescriptions for altitude sickness, traveler´s diarrhea , colds and sore throats, and pain or inflammation). If you are not capable of completing the trek, we will transport you back to Cusco, where you can seek medical treatment. However, the cost of this transportation is not included in your tour and you will be expected to pay the additional expense—for this reason, we highly recommend travel insurance for your trek.

Will I have a private bathroom in the hostel?

Yes, in all of the hostels that we book for you, you will have a private room and bathroom.

Do I need walking poles?

Although not required, walking poles are recommended for any trekkers worried about joint stress or balance. They also are quite helpful in providing stability and leverage on especially steep climbs and descents. If you do not have poles or are unsure how to use them, we are able to rent them to you and provide instruction.

What documents do I need to bring to Machu Picchu?

As of July 1, 2017, you must have your original passport to enter Machu Picchu. You also need to have your entrance ticket, which your guide will give to you at the appropriate time. The passport that you bring to Machu Picchu must be the same one that you used to book your tour and entrance; if you change or renew your passport between booking and your trip, please be sure to bring the originals of both.

Do we go to Machu Picchu for sunrise?

Your entrance time to Machu Picchu will depend on when you book your trek. As of July 1, 2017, there are two possible entry times to the site: 6:00 am to 12:00 pm, or 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Your ticket will grant you entry for either the morning or the afternoon—not both. The morning entry is significantly more popular and quickly sells out—unless you book your trek two to three months in advance, we cannot guarantee a morning entry.

If you book far enough in advance to secure a morning entry, you will start to hike up to Machu Picchu at 4:30am, arriving at the site by about 6:00 am—just in time for the sunrise!

 

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Book your Inca Trail to
MACHU PICCHU  2018
$499.99 per person

Starting on Thursday, October 5th, the Ministry of Culture will begin allowing licensed Inca Trail tour operators, like Inka Trail Backpacker to secure the permits for their pre-booked clients. They are now available.

So if this is a journey you dreamed about making next year, do not wait...book now. Permits are limited and sell out quickly and in order to secure the start date you really prefer, early reservations are needed.