Machu Picchu is easily one of the most coveted highlights on every avid adventurer’s list. Located high in the Andes, thousands flock to the ancient Inca city to explore the legendary ruins. Getting to Machu Picchu is a huge part of the experience. Many follow the well-trodden Inca Trail, a four day trek which includes camping en route. Others may prefer the quieter Lares Trek, four days travelling through traditional Andean villages along the way. But what if you don’t have time to do the four day trek? Or what if you are travelling with a friend who does not want to trek at all? That’s where the day trek to Machu Picchu comes in.
New for 2017, we have introduced the new one day trek to Machu Picchu. You can experience a small portion of the Inca Trail, enjoy a guided tour of Machu Picchu and be in Cuzco before the day is up! It is perfect for those who want the famous hiking experience but cannot take the full four days out do it. Like the Inca Trail Trek, it is regulated by the Peruvian government. Permits must still be applied for. The one day trek to Machu Picchu is included on four of our group tours in Peru.
The Day Trek to Machu Picchu Itinerary
You will get a very early start as you wake in Ollantaytambo where take the train to km104 (2100m) to start the trail to Machu Picchu.
Begin your hike crossing the River Vilcanota until you reach the ruins of Chachabama. This is your first sighting of Incan ruins, located on an old Inca road that ran alongside the Urubamba River. As well as being a religious site, these ruins acted as a gate house, guarding the entrance to Machu Picchu.
Follow the Inca Trail south, hiking for about 2-3 hours passing beautiful landscapes until you arrive at the foot of the Wiñay Wayna ruins (2700m).
The trail continues up the mountainside, and you will reach a flight of 50 steps that leads up to the final pass known as the Sun Gate (2700m). Here you can see Machu Picchu spread out in front of you, a sight that will leave you in awe! Descend slowly down arriving at the world wonder in the late afternoon. As many of the Inca Trail trekkers arrive in the morning you will be able to explore the site when it is a little more quiet.
After enjoying some time exploring the ruins you will take the bus down to Aguas Caliente to get the train back to Ollantaytambo. You will arrive back in the evening, where a transfer will be waiting to take you to Cuzco with an arrival time of about 10pm.
Day Trek Quick Facts
- Timings: 06.10am train from Ollantaytambo – 10pm arrival in Cuzco
- Meals: Boxed lunch is provided
- Transport: Transfers (minibus, bus and train) are included.
- Group: The group size will vary depending on demand. However the trek group is subject to a maximum of 16 passengers (per guide).
- Staff: English speaking guide
- Extras: Please budget for extra drinks and tips.
This is a long day so it should definitely be considered before undertaking but it is a fantastic way to experience both a portion of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. View our tours which include it here.
About the Author: Rosanna is on the Marketing team at Tucan Travel. She has travelled independently and on group tours through Colombia, South East Asia, and Europe. You can find her on Twitter here