This incredible Sacred Valley and Short Inca Trail Tour is an extraordinary adventure that takes you through the wonders of the Sacred Valley, unveiling its hidden treasures and remarkable archaeological sites. Following this remarkable journey, you will embark on the Short Inca Trail, leading you to the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. As you traverse the trail, you will be captivated by the grandeur of Inca ruins, mesmerized by the breathtaking mountain vistas, immersed in the lushness of subtropical vegetation, and amazed by the diverse ecological wonders that surround you.
Known as the “Ancient Inca Road,” this trail winds its way through the National Park, eventually guiding you to the renowned Sun Gate, where you will be greeted by unforgettable panoramic views of Machu Picchu. Along the route, you will pass through enchanting cloud forests, gradually transitioning into a world of vibrant subtropical vegetation. What makes this journey even more special is that participants of the short Inca Trail Trek will have the privilege of witnessing the magnificent Machu Picchu Citadel in the afternoon of the first day, with the opportunity to explore it further the following morning.
Designed specifically for those with limited travel time, this trek offers a glimpse into the historic Inca Trail, allowing you to experience its splendor and significance firsthand. With each step, you will be transported back in time, uncovering the rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes that make this region so revered.
We start this beautiful day at 7:30 am when your guide picks you up at your Cusco hotel in our private van. Our route to the Sacred Valley of the Incas leads us toward Pisac. We stop first at the Mirador of Taray to enjoy an expansive view of the Urubamba Valley and its traditional farming villages. You will see how agriculture in the Sacred Valley has changed little in the past five hundred years. Onward, we drive to the archeological site of Pisac, where you can see an amazing Inca cemetery with more than 2,000 tombs.
There, we can admire the carefully engineered farming terraces carved into the mountain, and explore the Inca tunnel and the religious area of this important citadel. Here, we will spend about 2 hours, exploring the Inca city. Then, we head down to the bright market of Pisac, spend about 20 minutes seeing it, and then drive to Urubamba for lunch.
Our next stop is the archeological site of Moray also known as “The Greenhouse of the Incas” a deep basin of architectural wonder. Levels of terraces are carved into a huge bowl, which was carefully engineered by the Incas. The terraces have varied microclimates depending on how deep into the bowl they are placed. Archeologists believe that they were used by the Incas to find the optimal growing conditions for their crops and experiment with hybridization.
Continuing on our journey to the colonial town of Maras, we look down onto the pre-Inca salt “mines,” called salineras in Spanish. Thousands of salt pans have been passed down through countless generations and used for salt extraction since before Inca times. A hot spring at the top of the valley discharges a small stream of heavily salt-laden water, which is diverted into salt pans and evaporated to produce salt. This is one of the few places in the world where you can find naturally pink salt!
Finally, we drive to Ollantaytambo, taking the time to explore the Inca village that has remained intact since Inca times and the massive Inca Ruins, with a tour provided by our guide. Visit the massive architecture of the Sun Temple at the top of the formidable terraces and learn about the importance of this site for the Inca during the beginning of the Spanish conquest. Here you spend the night at your hotel in Ollantaytambo, ready to start the Inca Trail the next day.
The journey begins as your train departs from Ollantaytambo at 6:10 am. During the approximately one-hour train ride, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the fascinating scenery that surrounds you. Whether you choose to savor a box breakfast provided by your hotel or pack your own, you can enjoy a delightful morning meal while on board.
Upon reaching the renowned Km104, a significant landmark, your experienced guide will accompany you as you disembark from the train. It is at this point that your thrilling hike officially commences, marking the start of an unforgettable adventure.
Along the way, you will stop at several outlooks where you have an expansive view of the Urubamba River. You will also pass through several microclimates, including cloud forests, so be ready for damp or even rain in any season of the year. The next hour and a half are a slightly steeper uphill trek with a beautiful waterfall as your reward at the end of the trail!
As you walk below the waterfall, be sure to gaze up at the spectacular Wiñay Wayna as you pass! (2,600m/8,500ft above sea level) These amazing Inca ruins have a fascinating history and some parts are still hidden by the dense jungle. This close to Machu Picchu, you are hiking through a lush sub-tropical jungle. Your guide will tell you all about the ruins, plus the incredible flora and fauna of this microclimate, and answer any questions you have before the short 5-minute walk to your lunch spot.
You will have lunch at the Wiñay Wayna campground, which is the last campground for those hiking the
Classic Inca Trail. Take your time enjoying your hearty, gourmet lunch and admiring the tropical flowers around the campground. Be sure to notify us of any food allergies or dietary restrictions when you book!
After lunch, you will have a mostly flat hike to the Sun Gate except for a set of steep stairs just before you arrive at the Sun Gate. As you walk through the Sun Gate and turn the corner, you will experience your first breathtaking view of Machu Picchu Citadel, so take some time to savor the moment and take photos. The last hour down from the Sun Gate provide many options to take more photos of Machu Picchu from this unique vantage point. There are also a couple more important Inca sites between the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu, so make sure to go slowly, enjoy your time walking in the footsteps of the Inca on the Inca Trail, and ask your guide questions about these historical places on the last bit of your hike to Machu Picchu.
Once you reach Machu Picchu, you will have time to take more photos from the viewing platforms above the site, the “House of the Guardians” where you can take the famous postcard pictures of Machu Picchu. You will arrive in the afternoon, as the archeological area starts to empty of tourists, which gives you the opportunity to take beautiful photos in the afternoon light with fewer people in your shots. Take your time to enjoy this magical experience before you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes to check into your hotel. You will have a delicious dinner, then have time to walk around this picturesque little town, visit the hot springs or just go to your hotel to rest after such an exciting day.
You will leave an overnight bag at the Ollantaytambo train station to be sent by train directly to Aguas Calientes.
This is the day you’ve been waiting for! After an early breakfast at your hotel, you’ll take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu so that you can be there to witness the sunrise. It is a truly great site and not something you’ll want to miss! Your guide will give you a guided tour of Machu Picchu, which takes about two hours. You will see many of the most important parts of Machu Picchu Citadel.
After your tour, those who have booked in advance for an extra hike up Huayna Picchu will have time to enjoy those views on their own. When you have had your fill of the amazing views of Machu Picchu, you will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included). Depending on your train departure time, you may also have time for shopping, sightseeing, or visiting the museum or hot springs.
The Expedition train will take you back to Ollantaytambo at 2:55 pm or 3:20 pm, following the stunning Urubamba River. Close to Aguas Calientes, the canyon is narrow and the river has many beautiful sections of whitewater. You can also see Wiñay Wayna from the train if you look up high on the steep canyon wall! Back at Ollantaytambo, your driver will meet you at the exit from the train station to take you back to your hotel in Cusco in our private vehicle. You can expect to arrive at your hotel by 7:00 pm.
**Huayna Picchu Mountain is an optional trek within Machu Picchu Citadel which does not include a guide. The climb is usually done on your own after your tour of Machu Picchu Citadel. If you would like the extra hike to be guided, please request in advance. There is an extra cost for this extra guided tour.
The fantastic Sacred Valley and Short Inca Trail Tour are available on any date that will suit you except in February when the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance! Join in with our group and get the best deals.
Private service is available for $100 USD more per person.
All entrance fees are included and we operate our tours in small groups averaging 5 people with a maximum of 8!
Huayna Picchu Mountain is an optional trek within Machu Picchu Citadel which does not include a guide. The climb is usually done on your own after your tour of Machu Picchu Citadel. If you would like the extra hike to be guided, please request it in advance. There is an extra cost for this extra guided tour.
Please read carefully the following information; it will help you answer all of your questions about our services and Sacred Valley & Sacred Valley and Short Inca Trail Tour
The briefing will take place the night before the trek at 6 pm in our office, which is located at Calle Garcilaso 210, office 213 (second floor) in the La CASA DEL ABUELO shopping center.
Of course! During the Sacred Valley and Short Inca Trail Tour, your main luggage can be stored at our office or at your hotel, whichever is more convenient for you.
Please be ready with the following information (FROM EACH PARTICIPANT in your group). We cannot purchase an Inca trail permit, entrance to Machu Picchu, or the train without the following information:
SECOND, we require a deposit of US$200.00 per person in order to purchase your Inca Trail permit, entrance to Machu Picchu, and train ticket. You can make your deposit by clicking on the VISA or PAYPAL symbols on the top of our home page, or you can click on the VISA or PAYPAL symbols on our booking page or click here on the payment method of your choice, either VISA or PAYPAL.
If you would like to avoid the high credit card fees in Peru, you may pay in cash at our office (US dollars or Peruvian soles) here in Cusco. There are many ATMS within the historical center to withdraw money. You can also pay by VISA or PAYPAL online but you will have to pay a 5.5% service fee, charged by VISA and PAYPAL. To pay your balance through PAYPAL, you need to log into your PAYPAL account and use our email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Peruvian Law, you must be under 18 years of age at the time of your trek or tour to Machu Picchu (students 18 & above need student cards). For example: if you book a trek at the age of 17 but you turn 18 before you do your trek, you must have a valid university ID card to qualify for the student discount.
All students must provide a copy of their passport at the time of their booking to get the student discount. Send us a copy at email@example.com
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Once the tickets for the Inca Trail have been bought the government does not allow any changes, so we can’t change any departure date after the tickets have been bought. Tickets are also not transferable nor refundable.
*** If you cancel your Sacred Valley & Short Inca trail to Machu Picchu, the deposit is not refundable at all!
Yes for sure! You have to bring your original passport and it is very important that it is the same passport number you sent to us to book your entrance to Machu Picchu, train ticket, other entrances, and reservations. The rangers will check when you enter Machu Picchu. The train company will also check your passport before allowing you to board the train.
In case you are renewing your passport or changing your name, go ahead and send us your old passport information to secure your permit, and we can change it when you get your new passport number or updated your name for a fee of $25 per person. We must have a copy of your old and new passports to make the change. Before you change your passport keep a copy of your old one.
If you do not wish to pay this fee you will need to bring both passports to Peru with you. You can enter Peru with your new passport but you will need to show both passports, old and new to be to enter Machu Picchu or the train. If you do not have both you will not be allowed to enter into Machu Picchu or get on the train. They are very strict about this here!!
The weather is very unpredictable and it’s difficult to foresee. We recommend that you bring a warm jacket for early morning and a rain poncho in case of a rain shower.
If you’re happy with the services provided, a tip – though not compulsory – is appreciated. While it may not be customary in your country, it’s of great significance for the people who will take care of you during the tour. It inspires excellent service and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many SAM Travel Peru destinations. Of course, you are free to tip as much as you feel appropriate, depending on your perception of the quality and the length of your tour. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Yes, we are a local sustainable & responsible tourism operator for that we incorporate the universal principles of tourism: protect the environment and benefit the local communities by respecting their culture and religion. With this in mind, we have trained all our staff to know, understand and respect the local places and its people.
The Sacred Valley & Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Package does not include an extra porter. You will need to carry all your things. Please try to pack as light as possible which is the key to enjoying this amazing trek.
In your daypack for the Sacred Valley and Short Inca Trail Tour, you should have:
In your duffel that will be sent by train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes: