1-Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: A Day of Wonder and Exploration

Experience the highlights of the Inca Trail and the mystical Machu Picchu in just one day.

Home » 1-Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Cusco, Peru


1 Day




March - January

Tour type



Immerse yourself in a day-long journey that captures the spirit of the Inca Trail and the awe-inspiring splendor of Machu Picchu. This experience is meticulously crafted for those who desire to soak in the rich tapestry of Inca history and the breathtaking natural landscapes of Peru, all within the span of a single day. From the moment you embark on this adventure, you’re whisked into a world where ancient history and modern exploration converge, offering a unique blend of cultural immersion and natural beauty.

As you traverse the revered paths once walked by the Incas, each step reveals the profound mysteries and architectural marvels of a lost civilization. The journey is as much about the destination as it is about the discovery en route, with mesmerizing ruins like Wiñay Wayna and the iconic Sun Gate unfolding before you. This tour is not just a visit to a historical site; it’s an intimate encounter with history, nature, and the enduring legacy of the Inca Empire. The culmination at Machu Picchu stands as a testament to human ingenuity and the timeless allure of ancient civilizations, leaving you with profound insights and memories that linger long after the day has ended.

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.

Early Morning Departure from Cusco

Your transformative journey to Machu Picchu starts with an early morning pickup from your hotel in Cusco at 4 am. Our private transport will whisk you away to the Ollantaytambo train station. For those opting to begin in Ollentaytambo, we'll arrange a convenient 5:30 am pickup directly from your accommodation.

Train Ride to KM104 and Beginning of the Hike

Aboard the train, you'll receive a box lunch to carry in your daypack, fueling the exciting day ahead. After a scenic 1 hour and 15-minute train ride, you'll disembark at the famous Km104 (2,000m/6,560 ft. above sea level). The adventure begins with crossing the Urubamba River on a picturesque footbridge and passing through the checkpoint with your passport. Prepare to be captivated by the first Inca site that lies just a short distance from the start.

Ascending Through Varied Landscapes

The initial hour and a half of the hike is a gentle climb, offering expansive views of the Urubamba River and passing through diverse microclimates, including the enchanting cloud forest. Be prepared for varying weather conditions, as rain is a possibility at any time of the year. The trail then becomes steeper, leading you to a stunning waterfall – your reward at the end of this segment of the hike.

Discovery at Wiñay Wayna

After crossing the bridge below the waterfall, a short but awe-inspiring walk brings you to the incredible Wiñay Wayna ruins (2,600m/8,500ft above sea level). Here, amidst lush sub-tropical jungle, your guide will delve into the ruins' history, the region's unique flora and fauna, and answer any questions you have. A mere 5-minute walk away, you'll enjoy your gourmet box lunch at a covered shelter, surrounded by tropical flowers at the Wiñay Wayna campground.

Journey to the Sun Gate and First Glimpse of Machu Picchu

Post-lunch, the trail leads to the Sun Gate, offering the first majestic view of Machu Picchu. The hour-long walk is relatively easy, ending with a flight of steep Inca stairs leading up to the Sun Gate. Embrace the stunning views and capture these unforgettable moments. The descent from the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu is laden with photo opportunities and additional Inca sites, enriching your understanding of this ancient trail.

Exploring Machu Picchu

Upon reaching Machu Picchu, you'll have ample time to take photos from the viewing platforms, including the famous shots from the “House of the Guardians.” Arriving in the afternoon allows for a less crowded experience, enhancing your exploration. Your guide will take you on a comprehensive two-hour tour, uncovering the agricultural, residential, and religious sectors of this enigmatic site.

Return to Cusco

After immersing yourself in the magic of Machu Picchu, a bus ride brings you down to Aguas Calientes. In the evening, board the 6:20 pm Expedition Train back to Ollantaytambo, followed by a comfortable private van ride to Cusco, arriving around 10:00 pm. Those opting for the Vistadome Train will depart Aguas Calientes at 6:10 pm.

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Tour Highlights

  • Scenic Train Journey to Km104: Begin your adventure with a picturesque train ride through the heart of the Sacred Valley, offering stunning views of the Andean landscape.

  • Historic Trek on the Inca Trail: Step onto the renowned Inca Trail at Km104, embarking on a journey through diverse ecosystems, from lush cloud forests to rugged highlands, each offering a unique glimpse into the natural beauty of Peru.

  • Exploration of Wiñay Wayna: Discover the fascinating Wiñay Wayna, an ancient Inca site shrouded in mystery and lush vegetation. This stop offers a perfect blend of historical intrigue and natural splendor.

  • Arrival at the Sun Gate: Experience the unforgettable moment of emerging through the Sun Gate, where the first breathtaking views of Machu Picchu are revealed, a reward for the trek’s effort.

  • In-Depth Discovery of Machu Picchu: Delve into the heart of Machu Picchu with an expert-guided tour, exploring its agricultural terraces, residential areas, and religious sites, each telling a story of the Inca civilization.

  • Afternoon Light Photography: Capture the perfect shots of Machu Picchu in the afternoon light, a time when the crowds thin and the soft sunlight accentuates the site’s mystical beauty.

  • Cultural Immersion and Insight: Gain deep insights into Inca history and culture throughout the day, led by knowledgeable guides who bring the past to life with their stories and expertise.

  • Comfortable Return Journey: Conclude your day with a relaxing return journey by train and private transport, reflecting on a day filled with adventure, history, and unforgettable memories.


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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, Huaynas Expeditions 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, Huaynas Expeditions 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, Huaynas Expeditions 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.

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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 Huaynas Expeditions office while I’m on the trek?

Yes, Huaynas Expeditions 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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  • Inclusions & Exclusions
  • What to Pack
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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Why Choose Huaynas Expeditions

At Huaynas Expeditions, we believe that every journey should be an unforgettable experience filled with warm memories, new friendships, and exciting discoveries. Here are a few reasons why you’ll love exploring with us

Local Expertise

As a Cusco-based travel agency, our knowledgeable local guides and travel experts have an in-depth understanding of Peru's history, culture, and hidden gems, ensuring an authentic and immersive experience.

Experienced Team

Our dedicated team shares a deep love for Peru and its diverse offerings, ensuring you receive a memorable and uniquely crafted travel experience.

Personalized Itineraries

We understand that every traveler has unique interests and preferences. That's why we work closely with you to create customized itineraries tailored to suit your travel goals and desires.

Top Support

Our devoted team is available 24/7 to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have, ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable travel experience.

Safety and Reliability

Your safety and well-being are our top priorities. We adhere to strict safety protocols and maintain strong relationships with trusted local partners to provide you with the best possible experience.

Competitive Pricing

We strive to offer high-quality travel experiences at competitive prices, ensuring you receive excellent value for your investment.

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