Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: 1-Day Trekking Experience

Experience the essence of the Inca Trail and the splendor of Machu Picchu in a rewarding one-day trek.

Home » 1-Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Cusco, Peru


1 Day




March - January

Tour type



Embarking on the 1-Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu offers an unforgettable journey through time and landscape. This streamlined adventure is perfect for those with limited time but a strong desire to experience the essence of the famed Inca Trail. Setting out from Cusco, the trip encompasses a scenic train ride, an enriching hike through diverse ecosystems, and the opportunity to explore the iconic Machu Picchu. Tailored for enthusiasts of both history and nature, this trek presents a blend of breathtaking natural scenery, ancient Incan ruins, and the rich cultural tapestry of the Andes.

This tour is meticulously crafted to ensure a fulfilling experience within a compact timeframe. From the moment of pickup in Cusco, every detail is taken care of, including comfortable transportation and a gourmet box lunch to enhance your journey. The trek from Km104 unfolds a path through lush cloud forests and past cascading waterfalls, leading to the stunning archaeological site of Wiñay Wayna and culminating at the awe-inspiring Sun Gate. As the day unwinds, travelers are treated to an afternoon exploration of Machu Picchu, experiencing the magic of the ancient citadel with fewer crowds. The return to Cusco is seamlessly arranged, ensuring a comfortable end to this enriching day-long excursion.

Departure & Return Location Your Hotel in Cusco
Departure Time 4:00 AM - 4:30 AM
Estimated Return Time 10:00 PM - 10:30 PM
Guide Languages Available Guides fluent in English and Spanish
Key Attractions Km 104, Wiñayhuayna, Inti Punku (Sun Gate), Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
FromUSD 410
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Select a package
  • Standard Large GroupGroup Size: 2 Min – 16ppl MaxStart Time: 04:00
  • Standard Small GroupGroup Size: 2 Min – 8ppl MaxStart Time: 04:00
  • Private GroupGroup Size: CustomizableStart Time: 04:00
  • Deluxe Private GroupGroup Size: CustomizableStart Time: 04:00
  • Solo TravelerGroup Size: 1 personStart Time: 04:00
  • Deluxe Solo TravelerGroup Size: 1 personStart Time: 04:00

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Tour Itinerary

Explore our expertly designed itinerary below, crafted to showcase breathtaking views and provide unique adventures every step of the way.

Your transformative journey to Machu Picchu starts with an early morning pickup from your hotel in Cusco at 4 am, ensuring a smooth start to this unforgettable day. Our comfortable transport whisks you to the Ollantaytambo train station, with a convenient 5:30 am pickup available for those staying in Ollantaytambo.

As you embark on the scenic train ride, a carefully prepared box lunch awaits in your daypack, fueling the excitement of the adventure ahead. After about 1 hour and 15 minutes, the train halts at the famous Km104, the starting point of your trek. Here, you'll cross the picturesque Urubamba River and pass through the checkpoint, setting the stage for your hike.

The initial stretch of the hike is a gentle ascent, offering spectacular views of the Urubamba River and passing through diverse microclimates like the captivating cloud forest. Be prepared for varying weather as you trek towards a breathtaking waterfall, the first major reward of your journey.

Beyond the waterfall, a short but enchanting walk leads you to the Wiñay Wayna ruins, set amidst lush sub-tropical greenery. This is where your guide brings to life the history of the ruins and the region's unique flora and fauna. A mere five-minute walk from the ruins, enjoy a delightful gourmet box lunch at a covered shelter, nestled among tropical flowers at the Wiñay Wayna campground.

Post-lunch, the trail meanders towards the Sun Gate, offering that eagerly-awaited first majestic view of Machu Picchu. The final hour of the walk is relatively easy but culminates in a flight of steep Inca stairs leading up to the Sun Gate. Here, take a moment to embrace the stunning views and capture these unforgettable moments on camera. The descent from the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu is filled with photo opportunities and additional Inca sites, enhancing your connection to this ancient path.

Upon reaching Machu Picchu, you'll have the chance to take in the iconic views from the "House of the Guardians” viewing platforms. Arriving in the afternoon offers a more tranquil exploration experience. Your guide then leads you on a comprehensive two-hour tour of Machu Picchu, delving into the agricultural, residential, and religious sectors of this enigmatic site.

The day concludes with a bus ride down to Aguas Calientes. In the evening, board the 6:20 pm Expedition Train back to Ollantaytambo. A private van will then transport you back to Cusco, arriving around 10:00 pm. For those opting for the Vistadome Train, a departure at 6:10 pm from Aguas Calientes is arranged.

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Tour Highlights

  • Scenic Early Morning Train Ride: Start your journey with a picturesque train ride from Ollantaytambo to Km104, offering captivating views of the Andean landscape.

  • Hike Along the Historic Inca Trail: Trek the famous Inca Trail from Km104, immersing yourself in the stunning natural beauty and rich history of the path once walked by the Incas.

  • Explore the Wiñay Wayna Ruins: Discover the fascinating Wiñay Wayna, an ancient Incan site known for its terraced fields and remarkable architectural features, nestled amidst lush vegetation.

  • First Glimpse of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate: Experience the unforgettable moment of seeing Machu Picchu for the first time as you emerge through the Sun Gate, a vantage point offering panoramic views of the citadel.

  • Afternoon Tour of Machu Picchu: Enjoy a comprehensive guided tour of Machu Picchu during the quieter afternoon hours, providing a more serene exploration of its agricultural terraces, temples, and residential areas.

  • Gourmet Box Lunch Amidst Nature: Savor a high-quality gourmet box lunch, carefully prepared to enhance your hiking experience.

  • Diverse Flora and Fauna: Witness the unique biodiversity of the region, including the enchanting cloud forest ecosystem, home to a variety of orchids, birds, and possibly even glimpses of Andean wildlife.


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Payment Terms

Payment Terms & Cancellation Policy

Kindly take a moment to read our Payment Terms & Cancellation Policy before booking. Happy adventuring!

Payment Terms

Beginning Your Adventure - Booking Confirmation and Deposit

Your journey starts with a commitment: a 30% deposit of the total tour cost. This initial investment is pivotal in activating the extensive preparatory process, ensuring every aspect of your tour is curated to perfection.

Final Payment: The Last Step Before Your Journey Begins

The remaining 70% of the tour cost is due no later than 48 hours before the commencement of your tour. This timely payment is critical to finalize all logistical arrangements, guaranteeing a hassle-free start to your adventure.

Expansive Payment Options for Ease and Flexibility

In line with our commitment to your convenience, Peru Tripper accepts a variety of payment methods, including bank transfers, credit cards, and PayPal. Please be aware that additional fees may apply depending on the payment method selected. Detailed payment procedures and potential fees can be found on our dedicated payment page.

Implications of Late Payments - Protecting Your Reservation

Adherence to the payment schedule is crucial. Late payments can unfortunately lead to the cancellation of your reservation, with the deposit being retained as a non-refundable fee. We urge you to maintain timely payments to safeguard your tour plans.

Policy for Last-Minute Adventurers

For those inspired to join this tour on short notice, namely less than 15 days before departure, full payment is required at the time of booking. This ensures that we can expedite all necessary preparations for your inclusion.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Terms for Clients

We recognize that life is ever-changing. However, due to the elaborate planning and expenses involved in preparing for this tour, we maintain a strict no-refund policy after booking confirmation. This underscores the importance of obtaining comprehensive travel insurance, which can offer protection against unforeseen cancellations.

Navigating Unpredictable Circumstances - Force Majeure

In extraordinary situations beyond our control, such as natural disasters or political upheavals, Peru Tripper will strive to offer alternative arrangements. This may include rescheduling your trip or issuing a credit for future travel, based on current availability and discretion.

Emphasizing the Need for Comprehensive Travel Insurance

To cover unexpected events, including trip disruptions and medical emergencies, we cannot stress enough the importance of securing comprehensive travel insurance. It’s your safety net, ensuring peace of mind throughout your journey. Please note, Peru Tripper does not bear responsibility for costs arising from incidents not covered by your travel insurance.

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Special Discounts


  • Adult (12+ Years): Standard rates apply for travelers over 12 years old.
  • Student (-25 Years with Student Card): Save USD 20 with a valid Student Card for those younger than 25 years old.
  • Child (3 – 11 Years): Save USD 30 for children between 3 and 11 years old.
  • Infant (0 – 2 Years): Infants younger than 2 years old are free (must ride on the adult’s lap; for a separate seat, add them as a child).
  • Group Discount: Automatically applied during online booking.
    • Save USD 10/person for groups of 5-7 people.
    • Save USD 15/person for groups of 8-10 people.
    • Save USD 20/person for groups of 11+ people.

Please note that the applicable age is considered at the time of completion of the trip.

View age and group-based discount details.

Inclusions & Exclusions

Dive into our in-depth guide on what’s included and not included for all package options on the 1-Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. With these carefully put-together lists, you’ll know exactly what to anticipate when booking the journey of a lifetime.

Standard Inclusions

Our Standard package offers a range of amenities and services for a comfortable and enjoyable trip experience. All package options include the following:

Not Included

The following items are not included in our trek packages. Please consider these additional costs when preparing for your trek. Note that some exclusions may be included in the Deluxe package, as mentioned in the Additional Inclusions section:

Additional Inclusions (Deluxe Package)

Upgrade to our Deluxe package for an enhanced and luxurious trekking experience. The Deluxe package includes these premium amenities and services, which can also be added individually to the Standard package:

What to Pack

When embarking on the 1-Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, it’s crucial to pack the right items for a successful and enjoyable experience.

Packing List

Packing Tips

  • Pack Lightly: Remember, if you’re not opting for a porter, you’ll be carrying everything you pack. Make sure your backpack is comfortable and not overloaded.

  • Layering is Key: Weather in the Andes can be unpredictable. Dressing in layers allows you to easily adjust to changing conditions.

  • Stay Hydrated: The trek can be strenuous, so always have enough water with you. Refill your bottles when you have an opportunity.

  • Protect from Sun and Rain: Even on cloudy days, the sun in the Andes can be intense. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat are essential. Equally, rain showers can be sudden, so always have a rain jacket or poncho on hand.

  • Footwear Matters: Your feet will carry you through the journey, so invest in a good pair of hiking boots. Break them in before the trek to avoid blisters.

  • Leave No Trace: The Inca Trail is a treasure. Please carry all your trash with you and consider using biodegradable products to minimize environmental impact.

  • Stay Organized: Use packing cubes or zip-lock bags to categorize your items. This makes accessing what you need easier and keeps your belongings dry and clean.

  • Prepare for Altitude: Consider bringing altitude sickness tablets. It’s also advisable to spend a few days in Cusco before the trek to acclimatize.

  • Personal Valuables: Keep essential documents, money, and valuables in a secure and accessible place, like a money belt or neck pouch.

  • Enjoy the Experience: Last but not least, pack a positive attitude and a sense of adventure. This journey is not just about reaching the destination, but also about enjoying the path that leads you there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We’ve got answers! Dive into our FAQ section for detailed responses to common queries. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, our team is just a click away to assist you.

Do I need a permit for the 1-Day Short Inca Trail?

Yes, a permit is required. We handle all the paperwork and acquire the necessary permits for our clients. It’s essential to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, as there are limited permits available.

Can I store my luggage at the Peru Tripper office while I’m on the trek?

Yes, Peru Tripper offers a secure luggage storage service at our office in Cusco. You can leave any belongings you don’t need during the trek, such as suitcases or extra clothing, with us.

What is the difficulty level of the 1-Day Short Inca Trail?

The trail is considered moderate. It involves some steep sections and uneven terrain, so a reasonable level of fitness is recommended.

How do we ensure our safety during the trek?

Our guides are trained in first aid and emergency response. We also carry a first-aid kit and an emergency oxygen bottle on all treks.

Are there age restrictions for the trek?

While there’s no official age restriction, the trek is best suited for those aged 10 and above. If you’re traveling with young children or seniors, please let us know in advance so we can make necessary accommodations.

How early should I book?

Given the popularity of this trek and limited permits, it’s advisable to book at least 4-6 months in advance, especially during peak season.

How long is the hike, and what distances are covered?

The hike covers approximately 12 km and takes about 5-6 hours, including stops for rest and exploration.

How experienced are the tour guides?

All our guides are licensed professionals with years of experience in leading treks in the Andes. They are well-versed in local history, culture, and flora and fauna of the region.

Will there be a briefing before the trek begins?

Yes, there will be a pre-trek briefing the day before the trek starts. During the briefing, our experienced guides will provide detailed information about the trek, answer any questions, and ensure that all participants are adequately prepared for the adventure.

Where does the tour start and end?

The tour starts and ends in Cusco. We provide pickups and drop-offs at your hotel in Cusco.

What should I pack in the duffel bag provided in the Deluxe package?

Pack essentials up to 7kg. This might include extra clothing, toiletries, and your boxed lunch. Remember, our porters will carry these for you.

Do I need to bring my passport for the trek?

Yes, a valid passport is required for entry to Machu Picchu and for train travel. Ensure it matches the details provided during booking.

Is horse riding an option on the 1-Day Short Inca Trail?

Horse riding is not available on the 1-Day Short Inca Trail due to the trail’s regulations and environmental preservation efforts. The journey is designed as a hiking experience to fully appreciate the historic paths and natural surroundings.

How do I secure my spot for the trek?

You can secure your spot by completing the booking form on our website and paying a deposit. Full payment and details are due as specified in the booking confirmation.

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  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices
  • Inclusions & Exclusions
  • What to Pack
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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