Short Inca Trail

to Machupicchu

2 days / 1 nights – Private Services

Short Inca Trail to Machupicchu

2 days / 1 nights – Private Services

About Inca Trails

The Incas developed a network of more than 30,000 km (20,000 miles) of trails to connect the most remote corners of their vast empire. These constitute the most important pre-Hispanic communication route in America and the spinal column of the then all-powerful Inca Empire. The “main” Inca Trail consists of over 3,000 km (2,000 miles) connecting Quito and La Paz, in today’s Ecuador and Bolivia respectively.

The Inca Trails are considered an engineering masterpiece. They were built for the passage of people and goods, as well as for the transmission of news, through the “chaskis” or Inca messengers, who are known to have run along these paths between the coast and the highlands non-stop. These trails are designed to be hiked, with stones covering their surface and sides, ensuring a firm footing and stability in such varied areas as high plateaus, grasslands and cloud-forests rich in vegetation, while fully integrating and respecting the nature and environment they cross.

About this Trek

This shorter version of the longer, classical Inca Trail route covers a 13-km cobblestone path, departing from km. 104 of the Cusco – Machupicchu railroad. Following an uphill trail along an impressive hillside, we ascend from river-level to the impressive archaeological site of Wiñaywayna, immersed into a lush cloud forest rich in Andean flora and fauna. It then continues through the famous Inti Punku or Sun Gate to reach the famous Inca citadel of Machupicchu, which is visited on the second day of the program. The combination of the gorgeous mountain scenery, the mysterious ruins and the very special energy of the area makes this trek an experience of a lifetime.

Enigma’s experienced trekking guides enrich the days with their knowledge and sharing, covering diverse topics such as Inca history, archaeology, architecture, social structure, economy, politics, astronomy, and fascinating traditions and beliefs.

This two-day program is recommended for those having less time or those looking to hike a shorter version of the Inca Trail without camping.

Our Insight

We can’t help but love this route. No matter how many times we walk it, it continues to fascinate us. An absolute must. Don’t listen to those saying it is too crowded: Enigma avoids the masses as much as possible, often by being ahead of them. Additionally, this shorter version has a 250-visitor allowance per day and is a fabulous way of reaching Machupicchu saving oneself the bus drive up the citadel and the crowds. It is totally feasible with younger children and also very enjoyable, as it is rich with interesting flora and some surprising fauna can also be found as well.

Compared to the crowds at the world’s famous monuments, this shorter trail seems nearly empty! And by tuning in to the beauty of this route, the other trekkers fade away and you become immersed in having the experience of a lifetime.


Day 1 Cusco/Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes

Early morning we pick you up from your hotel and drive to the train station to board the train that will take us to km.104 on the Cusco – Machupicchu railroad (starting point of the hike), where we arrive at around 9:00 am. We start by visiting the Chachabamba archaeological complex (2150m/7052ft), located very close to the control point, to then embark upon an 8 km (5 miles) ascending trail, which after four hours takes us to the archaeological complex of Wiñaywayna (2650m/8692ft). This is an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector. On the way up we may enjoy magnificent views of the Urubamba River Valley and the Choquesuysuy archaeological complex located on the other side of the river, and also of a beautiful waterfall located just a few minutes away from Wiñaywayna. We then continue and climb to Intipunku, or The Sun Gate. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, we may contemplate the sacred citadel of Machupicchu. From Intipunku we descend to Machupicchu and then by bus to Aguas Calientes. We are then accommodated at the selected hotel.

Meals: B, L, D

Total distance  13 km (8,08 miles)
Estimated hiking time  6-7 hours
Maximum altitude point 2,650 m (8,692 ft)
Campsite altitude 2,400 m (7,872 ft)

Day 2 Machupicchu visit & Aguas Calientes to Cusco / Sacred Valley

We wake up early and board a bus, which will take us up to Machupicchu where we begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. Then, if you would like, you can choose to climb Huaynapicchu or Machupicchu Mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machupicchu and the surrounding valleys and mountains or visit the Temple of the Moon or the impressive Inca Bridge (**). In the afternoon, we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in its hot springs. From here we take the train back to the city of Cusco, where we arrive after nightfall.

Meals: —

* Departure and arrival times are approximate
** The visit to these sites is subject to limited capacity, must be booked in advance and is subject to an additional cost. Please let us know at the time of your booking, if you wish to add any of these options to your visit




Departure Dates

Daily departures are available throughout the year. Exception: one-month closing period of all Inca Trail routes in February. Please contact us to check departures to alternative routes.

All Inca Trail departures are subject to government space availability, please check the following website: Ministerio de Cultura ( > Consultas > Disponibilidad > Seleccione Ruta – please select Camino Inka Ruta 05 > Select the month.

All private service departure dates are adapted to your request.

Group Size

Size requested by client

Price Information

Price per person
Prices per person depend on the group size, the larger the group the lower the price per person.

Please contact us to check our prices, specifying:

  • trekking program
  • number of people in the trek
  • departure date
  • requested train service: Expedition (Economy), Vistadome (Superior) or Hiram Bingham (Belmond Luxury train service)

Available discounts (these discounts are not cumulative)

  • Teenagers: US$ 22.00 (up to 17 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
  • Children: US$ 44.00 (up to 3 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)

Additional discounts (may be added to the above)

  • Early bookings: 5% on full program price for all bookings confirmed at least six months in advance. This discount may not be applicable in case a promotional price is offered.

What’s Included

  • Pre-departure briefing
  • Pick up from your hotel in the morning and transfer to the train station (one transfer only – if multiple pick-up points, additional costs apply)
  • Inca Trail and Machupicchu entrance fee
  • English-speaking, professional, and official tourist guide (2 guides for groups of over 8 people)
  • Meals (01L – boxed-lunch). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Bus ticket from Machupicchu ruins down to the village of Aguas Calientes – first day
  • Round trip bus ticket Aguas Calientes – Machupicchu – Aguas Calientes – second day
  • Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (Expedition, Vistadome or Hiram Bingham service, upon request) (*)
  • Transfer train station to hotel in Cusco or the Sacred Valley (one transfer only – if multiple drop-off points, additional costs apply)
  • 24-hour guest service: please ask for the emergency number available during your time of visit

(*) In the case of requesting the Hiram Bingham luxury train service, please note that only the return trip from Aguas Calientes to Poroy (Cusco) would be operated with the Hiram Bingham train, as the portion Cusco – km.104 would necessarily have to be operated with the Vistadome service, due to the program schedule making it impossible to operate it with the Hiram Bingham. For guests requesting the Expedition or Vistadome services, please note that should there be no train tickets available in the direct route Cusco – km.104 and / or Aguas Calientes – Poroy (Cusco), a train ticket Sacred Valley – km.104 and / or Aguas Calientes – Sacred Valley will be provided, with an additional private transport from your hotel in Cusco to the Sacred Valley and / or vice versa

What’s Not Included

  • Accommodation in Aguas Calientes or Machupicchu
  • Lunch and dinner on the last day: after the guided tour at Machupicchu, you can enjoy free time to further visit the ruins and choose to have lunch either in Machupicchu or in Aguas Calientes at your own expense. Arrival in Cusco is estimated after nightfall, dinner being at your own expense, too.
  • Visit to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes: a relaxing way to wrap-up the trek while you’re awaiting the return train to Cusco, only 10 minutes from the village center, entrance fee is s/20.00 (Peruvian Soles).
  • Huayna Picchu entrance fee: if you would like to climb this mountain, an additional entrance fee applies (US$70.00).
    • Machu Picchu mountain entrance fee: if you would like to climb this mountain, an additional entrance fee applies (US$70.00). This is a separate mountain visit from the Machupicchu citadel.
  • Tips: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish.

Optional services at additional cost

  • Accommodation in Aguas Calientes or Machupicchu: please let us know if you wish us to make the hotel booking and, in this case, your requested hotel category and accommodation, and the number of nights you wish us to book. Our Reservation Department will provide you with a list of our selected hotels, services and prices for you to choose from. Our list of hotel choices is based on previous client reports and is regularly updated.
  • A porter to carry your luggage along the hike: US$160.00. Maximum weight allowance per porter: 18 kg
  • A porter to carry your luggage from your hotel in Cusco to your hotel in Aguas Calientes: US$ 120.00. This service means the porter will not hike together with you but just transport your bags/suitcases safely from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. Maximum weight allowance per porter: 20 kg

Please contact us should you require additional services.


Inca Trail Important Notice

According to the Resolution #002-2004-UGM-CD, published in El Peruano on Nov 12, 2004, modifying chapter III of the Inca Trail Regulation that refers to Inca Trail space bookings, bookings will only be guaranteed by the governmental institutions when providing full names, nationalities and passport numbers of passengers, and when having paid the full amount for passengers and staff (cook and team of porters) entrance fees.

ENIGMA Adventure Tour Operator will guarantee the spaces booked provided:

  1. The booking has been first confirmed by our Reservation Department by e-mail, this meaning that spaces are available on the Inca Trail for the requested date at the moment of the booking.
  2. The full passenger data has been provided and the required deposit has been paid .

Since the Inca Trail has a maximum allowance of 500 people per day (including guests and agency staff), we strongly recommend making your bookings as early as possible to make sure you will find spaces on the desired departure date. We receive bookings for departures scheduled as far as one year prior to the trek departure date, so if you wish to travel with us on the Inca Trail, please make sure to confirm your booking as soon as possible.

The following client information is requested for any Inca Trail booking:

  1. Complete names and surnames
  2. Nationality
  3. Passport copy
  4. Date of Birth
  5. Gender

The exact information you provide will be submitted to the governmental institution in charge of regulating the access to the Inca Trail and will be included in the official permit to enter the Inca Trail on the requested date. Should there be any change in the above-mentioned data (i.e. new passport number), we kindly request you to inform the Reservation Department at ENIGMA via email as soon as possible. The government reserves the right to deny entrance to any visitor whose data is not exactly as on the official permit. ENIGMA is not responsible for denial of entry if the passenger information has changed without prior notice to us.


Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 ºC at night.

Along the Inca Trail, temperatures range from 15-20ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 05-10ºC if cloudy or rainy. At Machupicchu and Aguas Calientes, at lower altitude, temperatures are usually warmer though warm clothes are still recommended at night.

Appropriate clothing along the Inca Trail

Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by a sweater or fleece and waterproof jackets if cloudy or rainy. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required in Aguas Calientes and Machupicchu, although the temperature is usually warmer than in Cusco due to the lower altitude. The rest of necessary implements are included in the Pack List.

What’s Included

  • A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
  • Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
  • Camera and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
  • Sun block
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
  • Insect repellent – minimum 20% DEET – no malaria risk has been reported
  • Toilet paper and tissues
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, dried fruits, muesli, etc.
  • Water container and water for the first day. Important notice: plastic water bottles are no longer allowed on the Inca Trail.
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
  • Cash in soles and/or US$
  • Original passport
  • Optional: walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage the Inca Trail)


If you would like to make a reservation for this trek, please follow the process below:

  1. Please make sure to read and agree with the Booking Terms & Conditions as your booking is subject to these terms.
  2. Then click on the Book Now button below. This will lead you to a Reservation Form that we kindly request you to fill out and submit.
  3. Once received by us, one of our travel consultants will reply within 48 hours to confirm or discuss options available for your booking.
  4. When your booking is confirmed, a money deposit will be requested within a specific time frame to secure your reservation.
  5. Once we have received your deposit and if received in time, your booking is secured and confirmed. A service confirmation form will be sent to you including all the details of your program.

In case you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us, we will be very glad to assist you.

Don’t miss out! Limited spaces available

Due to government restrictions, Inca trail permits are limited to just 500 per day and issued on a first-come, first-served basis. This means they can sell out as far as six months in advance – so be sure to book early with us to avoid disappointment!


  • Because all our treks are only and strictly operated by Enigma and its very professional staff. Other agents claiming daily departures operate their treks jointly with other companies in service rotation. Hence, you book a departure with tour operator A, which risks being operated by tour operator B without you knowing. ENIGMA has a high quality of service and a great reputation, which is only possible by ensuring that only ENIGMA staff operates ENIGMA treks. Even if we only have a single traveller for a set departure date, we will operate this trek.
  • Because we have and can prove an excellent treatment of our staff, including chefs, porters, and wranglers. ENIGMA not only complies with the Porter Law and Regulation, but our wages are above the minimum requested by law and above the average paid by most of the tour operators. All our staff eats well and more than enough, they are provided with sleeping bags, thermal clothes, sleeping tents, trekking boots, thick rain ponchos, harnesses, and lumbar support for their duty on field. Most importantly, they have a program ensuring them a minimum number of departures per month and hence, a minimum income per month as well.
  • Because we are very careful to choose and train the best guides for each group. About 80% of our guides work exclusively for ENIGMA and are highly trained, have excellent language proficiency and communication skills, and are regularly evaluated by the reports each guest fills out after each service. We have specific guides for special requests (ornithology, history and archaeology, flora and fauna, and also generalist guides). Our guides have been trained in Wilderness First Response and/or Advanced First Aid by NOLS and are updated every two years by local authorized schools. We also have guides proficient in several languages besides English and Spanish, including French, Italian, German, Chinese and Japanese. In all of our treks, not only on the Inca Trail, there will be a guide for every 8 guests with one of them being the head guide. This ensures a higher safety and attention to guests versus other operators.
  • Because we have some of the best equipment in field, renewed every year, employing excellent brand and performance tents, surgical steel vaiselle for best hygiene, the best water filters, therm-a-rest sleeping systems, with adequate-warmth bags and inflatable and high-isolation pads, and orthopedic foamy three-level base sleeping pads, among others.
  • Because we have one of the best in-field meal services in the area: throughout our decades of operation, our chefs have been trained by several institutes in Lima and Cusco, with chefs coming from the NY Culinary Institute and renowned chefs from Lima as well, with whom menus have been designed and implemented. Their operation ensures maximum hygiene. Above all, be prepared to not only have a superb trekking experience but also a culinary one, including generous and delicious breakfasts, snacks, lunches, tea services and dinners that we can adapt to your very specific requests. Our menus include a variety of Peruvian and international food and also cater to vegetarian, vegan and special dietary requests (Atkins, Gluten-free, etc.), all at no extra cost. ENIGMA is recognized for its gourmet meals, the quantity and quality of food, as well as for its outstanding menu design. We take natural, locally sourced ingredients on the treks and prepare them in the field; we do not take prepared low-quality food, the meals being an added experience in all of our programs.
  • Because ENIGMA’s responsible operation makes sure to have a minimal impact on the environment of the natural protected areas in which it runs. We train all our staff in our environmental policy, and while ENIGMA used to be the only Inca Trail Official Operator to run a yearly Inca Trail Clean-Up, this initiative has now been taken over by the government, and we continue to participate actively.
    • Because we pay legal taxes on all services contributing to the country’s growth and development. Other tour operators do not declare their sales or most of their earnings, or declare them with a lower value, thus allowing them to lower their prices through a dishonest competition. We always declare our earnings and pay the appropriate taxes.
  • Because all our Group Services have a maximum group size of 12, whereas most tour operators work with a maximum of 16 on the Inca Trail, since this is the number authorized by law, or even higher on other routes. We have established 12 as a maximum since this increases the quality of our service, as there are spots along the treks where being 16 makes it impossible to provide a personalized service.
  • Private Services have no size limit. Enigma guarantees to assign 1 guide for each 8 trekking guests, which means an additional guide is added as of guest number 9.
  • Also, our excellent treatment to our staff is not reduced in the low season: porter wages and guide fees are maintained throughout the rainy season, a gesture highly appreciated by our staff.
  • Finally, due to all of the above, we have very highly satisfied guests, as our numerous testimonials prove. In our Testimonials section of our website, you may find reports dating from 2003 (when we started our operation) to today. The original reports are available at our office in Cusco.
  • We are aware other operators may offer the Inca Trail or other programs at a lower price. This does not mean they are offering the same program at a lower price: the level of service will not be the same. We understand price is an issue, but we kindly request our potential guests and clients to choose a responsible tour operator as otherwise, you risk indirectly promoting the exploitation of rural communities and the growth of informal and illegal operators that do not support the country’s development and growth.

“Excellent mix of history, culture, COMMENTS; Edgard was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about everything we did and it really showed, he made the experience truly unforgettable”

Neal Peskind /USA
Inca Trail 2d/1n
August 2022