• Overview
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  • Pricing
  • Dates
  • Hotels
  • Trip Reviews
  • FAQ

This short Inca Trail tour was designed as an alternative to the four day classic Inca Trail hike. Travel to Peru and explore the Andes Mountains on this exciting Machu Picchu tour. Visit the Sacred Valley and tour the Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The short Inca Trail hike starts at Km 104, stopping at the ruins of Wiñay Wayna. Spend several hours visiting these spectacular ruins before our Peru tour takes you to the famous Sun Gate at Machu Picchu. Spend two days exploring Machu Picchu and the surrounding cloud forests. This is an easy-paced Peru hiking tour, perfect for the traveler seeking adventure within a limited timeframe. No camping is involved in this Machu Picchu Tour.

 

Itinerary
Day 1 LIMA

Arrive and be transferred to your hotel. If you arrive in Lima early, we can arrange optional tours to explore the city, inclu

Day 2 LIMA - CUSCO

Your Peru tour begins with a morning flight to Cusco, center of the Inca Empire. Southern Explorations' guides meet you at the airport and take you on a quick tour of the beautiful Plaza de Armas. From there, you'll be taken to your hotel, where you will be free for the remainder of the day to relax, explore Cusco and get accustomed to the altitude (10,856 ft). (B)

Day 3 CUSCO

The day begins with a guided walking tour through the colorful markets of Cusco, the colonial cathedral and Koricancha, the impressive Temple of the Sun. After a lunch of tasty local Peruvian cuisine, depart for an afternoon tour of prominent Inca sights in or near Cusco. Visit such Peru tour highlights as the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, with its huge stone terraces; Kenko's carved stone surfaces and subterranean altars; the small fortress of Puka Pukara that protected the royal capital; and the water temple, Tambo Machay. In the late afternoon, return to the comfort of your hotel to relax or explore Cusco on your own. (B)

Day 4 CUSCO - SACRED VALLEY

Your Peru ecotour continues as you embark on a day-long guided excursion through snowcapped mountains to the majestic Sacred Valley. Along the way, see Inca terracing that climbs the steep valley walls and the temple ruins of Pisac, set dramatically against the jagged granite mountains. Explore the town of Pisac where one of the best Andean textile markets is located. After lunch, you'll continue on to Ollantaytambo (9,185 ft.), a small town with a remarkable Inca fortress. Spend the night at a hotel in Ollantaytambo. (B)

Day 5 SACRED VALLEY - MACHU PICCHU

An 7 AM train departure from Ollantaytambo gets you to station Km 104. After registering at the checkpoint, you'll begin the three-hour hike to Wiñay Wayna, during which you'll see ruins, waterfalls and many varieties of flora and fauna. You'll take lots of photos on this picturesque stretch of your Peru tour. Spend one to two hours exploring the beautiful Wiñay Wayna ruins. From here it is a two-hour walk to Machu Picchu. You will arrive at the famous ruins in the late afternoon when there are few visitors. After a brief tour, transfer by bus to Aguas Calientes where you'll spend the night at a charming hotel. The evening is free to explore this small village and soak in the hot springs. (B,L)

Day 6 MACHU PICCHU - CHINCHERO ARTISAN MARKET - CUSCO

Take the early morning bus to Machu Picchu to enjoy the sunrise at Machu Picchu. This is an excellent opportunity for great photos. After experiencing the sunrise, explore the citadel of Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas. Possibilities include climbing Huayna Picchu, the sacred mountain behind Machu Picchu, a visit the temple of the moon or the Inca Drawbridge. An early afternoon train returns you to Ollantaytambo, where you will have the opportunity for some last-minute shopping at the Chinchero Market. This cooperative artisan haven is renowned for its impressive textiles, some of the best in the country. Here the local artisans will explain their ancient craft and its rich history before you return to Cusco for your last night in the Inca heartland. (B)

Day 7 CUSCO - LIMA

You'll be transferred in the morning to the airport for the return flight to Lima and your connecting international flight, marking the end of Southern Explorations services. We'd be happy to arrange trip extensions to other regions or extra days in Lima or Cusco. (B)

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Peru is a diverse country. With beaches, mountains, rainforest and desert, there is no off-season. But it does pay to know a bit about where you're going, and what you'll need on your Peru tour:

The Andes - Though officially part of the dry season, April and May are considered the Andean spring, while June through October marks the Andean summer. Mid-day temperatures range from 70 to 80 F in the sun. Nighttime temperatures in Cusco range in the 40s F and can dip into the 30s F. Weather is usually clear in the morning with clouds accumulating in the afternoon. Rain can happen in any season, so quality rain gear is essential.

The Amazon - A rainforest environment, the Peruvian Amazon has varied weather conditions and frequent unpredictable rain showers. It is generally hot and humid during the day with more comfortable temperatures through the night. Daytime high temperatures average between 82° and 93° F, and the average nighttime low is between 62° and 73°. Nevertheless, in some areas cold fronts can sweep into the Amazon and push daytime high temperatures down to 50° F and nighttime lows to 43° F. Any time of year, one should always be prepared for cooler temperatures and rain showers. Around 80% of the annual average 79 inches of rainfall occurs during the rainy season (December through March) when heavy rain may continue for hours or days.

Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

LIMA

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN68-790.0
FEB69-800.0
MAR69-800.0
APR67-760.0
MAY63-720.0
JUN61-690.1
JUL60-670.2
AUG60-660.1
SEP60-670.1
OCT60-690.1
NOV62-720.0
DEC64-760.0

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

CUSCO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN44-656.3
FEB44-655.2
MAR43-664.3
APR41-671.8
MAY39-670.3
JUN33-660.1
JUL32-660.2
AUG35-670.3
SEP39-680.9
OCT42-691.9
NOV43-693.1
DEC44-694.7

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

PUNO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN38-625.2
FEB38-624.3
MAR38-623.8
APR33-621.5
MAY25-620.4
JUN19-610.1
JUL18-610.1
AUG22-630.2
SEP29-640.8
OCT33-651.5
NOV35-662.0
DEC37-643.6

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

PUERTO MALDONADO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN71-8813.6
FEB70-8712.8
MAR70-8811.9
APR69-876.1
MAY66-864.2
JUN63-842.3
JUL62-852.2
AUG64-882.5
SEP66-903.9
OCT69-906.5
NOV70-899.3
DEC70-8812.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

 

Maps

Short Inca Trail

Pricing
Per Person
$2,555

Domestic Airfare:
$375 (Lima/Cusco/Lima) – Subject to change

Single Supplement: $660
A single supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy.
 

Included in tour cost
  • First aid and oxygen bottle
  • Porters
  • Satellite phone communication
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

Short Inca Trail

Trip Dates
Can’t find a date that works for you in the list below? Southern Explorations can arrange a private departure on any date that works with your schedule. Custom tours are also available. Contact us for details.
Saturday, September 15, 2018 to Friday, September 21, 2018
Available
Saturday, October 20, 2018 to Friday, October 26, 2018
Available
Saturday, November 24, 2018 to Friday, November 30, 2018
Available
Saturday, December 22, 2018 to Friday, December 28, 2018
Available
Saturday, March 16, 2019 to Friday, March 22, 2019
Available
Saturday, April 20, 2019 to Friday, April 26, 2019
Available
Saturday, May 11, 2019 to Friday, May 17, 2019
Available
Saturday, June 15, 2019 to Friday, June 21, 2019
Available
Saturday, July 20, 2019 to Friday, July 26, 2019
Available
Saturday, August 24, 2019 to Friday, August 30, 2019
Available
Saturday, September 14, 2019 to Friday, September 20, 2019
Available
Saturday, October 19, 2019 to Friday, October 25, 2019
Available
Saturday, November 23, 2019 to Friday, November 29, 2019
Available
Saturday, December 21, 2019 to Friday, December 27, 2019
Available
Aguas Calientes
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Cusco
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Lima
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Sacred Valley
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

machu picchu toursI can't recommend Southern Explorations highly enough, from the great hotels to a totally awesome guide, Jose, who took care of us from the minute we stepped off the plane in Cusco to the time we flew back to Lima. Jose's knowledge of Cusco, the Incas, the sites we visited, history, plants and wildlife was boundless. Also, if you prefer to get off the beaten path and don't like big groups, Southern Explorations is without any shadow of a doubt the way to go ... we were easily the smallest group on the Inca Trail and thankful for it! The timing on the trail was also excellent, we avoided other groups to such an extent that we felt like we had the trail to ourselves 90% of the time. We were taken care of from start to finish and I'd certainly recommend and use Southern Explorations again for future adventures of this kind.   -Julia Relf, California (Inca Trail)


machu picchu tourTHANK YOU for a phenomenal trip! Krissy and I had an amazing time, both in the Amazon, as well as Cusco, Inca Trail. We could not have asked for a better experience. Everything went smoothly, and was extremely organized. We had a fantastic guide for Cusco and Inca Trail - Fernando Silva. THE BEST. We'd recommend you use him as much as you can! So THANK YOU, THANK YOU for making it all happen for us! We will definitely recommend you guys to our friends/family and anyone who asks. We're now thinking about Ecuador and Galapagos possibly for next year! Cannot wait. Cheers! - Nicole Cassani, California (Inca Trail & Amazon)

machu picchu toursThis was an amazing experience and our guide, Jose, made a significant impact on the quality of our trip. Jose was an exceptional guide who was attentive to all people in the group. He was extremely detail-oriented, knowledgeable, caring, thoughtful and went out of his way to ensure all needs were met. Jose went beyond what we expected. - Shelly Zavala, California (Inca Trail)


hiking inca trailI wanted to let you know how much Joe and I enjoyed our Machu Picchu adventure. From the minute we arrived in Lima to the minute we left, the capable crew at Southern Explorations took great care of us. In particular, our guide, Washington, was truly amazing. He was knowledgeable, helpful, and just plain fun to spend time with. But more than that, Washington seemed to generally care about the porters and people we came across on the trail. He was just wonderful! And another person in need of some kudos was our cook, Walter. Each meal was worthy of a nice restaurant--and this while camping in the middle of the Andes. Every meal was a delight. All in all, the trip was really fantastic. Thank you for providing us with a trip that we will always treasure! - Joe and Katherine Houlehan, Kansas (Inca Trail)


machu picchu hikingWe LOVED this trip. We went to Panama last year and SE exceeded all of our expectations. You did it again this year with our trip to Peru. We loved every minute of it. Every single detail was thought out and executed in a professional manner. We would plan another trip with SE in a second. Thank you for all your hard work. We feel grateful to have found such a wonderful and reliable travel company! - Elissa Bowes, New Jersey (Inca Trail & Amazon)


 

machu picchu hiking tourWe can't say enough wonderful things about our guide. He is absolutely amazing and so incredibly knowledgeable. We truly appreciated his ability to explain cultural and historic facts and the pride he has in being Peruvian. I would highly recommend him to my friends. Hacienda Concepcion and Casa Andina (the private collection) far exceeded our expectations. They were lovely! Every meal, whether it be in the jungle or on the trail or in Cusco was OUTSTANDING!!! The jungle excursions were okay, we were hoping to have a bit more exploration activities but the canopy tour was awesome! The trek and the festival were great!!! This was the trip of a lifetime! Both my husband and I were blown away with your organization and quality of everything. Jonathan Borgida put together an outstanding itinerary for us. We are so grateful! - Anne Darga (Inca Trail & Amazon)


I thought this was a great trip! It exceeded my expectations. Machu Picchu was just as amazing in person as I thought it would be. I am so happy we decided to hike the short Inca trail. Although it was a difficult and tiring hike at times it was an amazing experience. The whole trip went very smoothly from the time of booking to the time we got on the plane home. It was nice not having to worry about anything and letting Southern Explorations and their guides handle everything and take care of us. I am definitely planning on looking into taking another trip with Southern Explorations in the future. - Kara Trias, New York (Inca Trail)


Our guide was excellent - his knowledge and sharing of ancient traditions was wonderful. Excellent company- very good value for money- highly recommended. - Philip Jensen (Custom Short Inca Trail)

 
I would like to tell you that we had absolutely a wonderful and flawless trip in Peru from the beginning to the very end. Our guide, in particular, did a superb job in guiding us. He has a professional pride as a guide and his enthusiasm in informing us of the Incan culture came through very strongly. He was very pleasant. - Kazumi Hatasa, Japan (Inca Trail)
The best part of traveling with Southern Explorations was that I always had confidence that if something went wrong, we would be taken care of, and that was an enormous weight off my shoulders. Excellent and helpful service with beautiful hotels and better food than I could ever have dreamed of. - Arbrenne Kelly (Inca Trail & Amazon)

Overall this was a great trip, something I have come to expect from Southern Explorations. Everything from the initial planning to the final execution was arranged with care, professionalism, and much sensitivity to our needs. SE is composed by hard-working idealistic people who put much effort in creating itineraries that combine visits to natural wonders, colonial cities, and archaeological sites. I should add something that cannot be expressed by one’s satisfaction with hotels and transportation and that is the possibility of growth young people can gain in such a trip. I saw how much confidence my youngest son, Alexander, had gained through this trip. And Adrian’s charango (along with the coca leaves we purchased on Chema’s advice) provided much opportunity for us to get to know the other workers better and some of the local residents. Thanks for all for their hard work. - Gregory Jusdanis (Inca Trail)


Southern Explorations really knows what they are doing. They provide a top notch guest experience overall and I would highly recommend them and also consider taking another trip with them.   -Wanda Vermeer (Inca Trail)


The alternative Inca trail was mystical. No roads, no carts, no tourists, no planes overflying, no electric lines.....just remarkably capable, friendly, solicitous and knowledgeable people helping us to enjoy ourselves. This is the first vacation I took where I was not eager to return home. We were enthralled. - Daniel Ehrgood, Pennsyvania (Inca Trail)

It was a real treat to have a guide and driver devoted solely to us. We went at our pace and were able to have much interaction with the guide. Peru is a terrific destination. - Dave Stevenson (Inca Trail)


I cannot say enough about our guide Washington. He was personable and attentive as well as professional and knowledgeable. As a tour manager and tour guide myself for the past 28 years, I can fully appreciate the outstanding job Washington did in sharing his knowledge and passion for his culture and his country with the group. He truly made the trip. - Niki Sepsas, Alabama (Inca Trail)

Inca Trail - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: Peru offers several beautiful regions in addition to the Inca Trail. If you have time to explore areas like the Amazon or Lake Titicaca before or after your trek, contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator to discuss which areas best meet your interests. 
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to modify any tour to meet your needs and also add pre and post-excursion extensions. If you sign up for a group departure we cannot change the group portion but we can add extensions before and after. 
Q: When is the best time to hike the Inca Trail?
A: Many travelers like to hike the Inca Trail between the months of April and October, when the chances of rain are much lower. The trail is closed each year for the month of February to prevent erosion during high rains and also perform maintenance. Avoid the height of summer (June through August) and the Christmas holiday season for smaller crowds and the best selection of accommodations. 
Q: What is the weather like on the Inca Trail?
A: You can expect variable mountain weather on the Inca Trail during the dry season (April-October) with daytime temperatures in the 60s and nighttime lows in the 30s and possibly below freezing. The wet season (November – March) is slightly warmer and you can expect some rain most days. 
Q: What is a typical day like on the Inca Trail?
A: Each morning begins with hot tea and warm water to freshen up before breakfast. We hit the trail early so we can take in the scenic vistas and explore the numerous Incan ruins along the way. We will enjoy a picnic lunch on the trail and at the end of the day we arrive at camp, which will already be set-up for us by the porters. We can kick our feet up and relax before a delicious camp meal.
Q: Will I need to carry my own camping gear on the Inca Trail?
A: You will only need to carry a small day pack for extra clothing layers, water, a snack, a camera, and any personal items you need on the trail. Everything else will be stored in dry bags provided to you and carried to the next camp location by your porters. 
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip on the Inca Trail?
A: We rate the Inca Trail as most difficult due to the long hiking days, high elevation and travel over steep, rocky terrain. Experience with backcountry travel is not necessary, but a moderate level of fitness is expected to complete the trek.
Q: How much time do I need to visit the Inca Trail?
A: The Inca Trail takes four-days to complete, but the whole trip, beginning with arrival in Lima, is a 10-day adventure. We budget several days in Cusco to properly acclimatize to the altitude before hiking, and also to explore Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. For those with limited time, we can offer an Inca Trail trip in just eight-days.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: The Inca Trail is heavily regulated by Peru’s Ministry of Culture and only 500 people are allowed to begin the trail each day, including the guides, porters and support staff. This means that Inca Trail permits sell out very quickly each year and you should plan on booking an Inca Trail trip at least six months before your expected travel dates, although nine months is better. 
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We hire only guides who are native to the destination and are licensed and/or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English, and some also speak indigenous languages. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: In the cities and towns we work with three and four-star hotels that have been personally vetted by Southern Explorations’ staff. All of our hotels are clean, comfortable, well-located, offer en suite bathrooms. We also offer several five-star hotel upgrades. On the trail, you’ll have three-person North Face tents for two travelers, along with air mattresses and a separate dining tent. We have sleeping bags available to rent if you choose not to bring your own.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: We will confirm all airfare within South America and this price will be listed separately from our base tour costs. You are responsible for booking international flights to/from Peru. 
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: We operate our scheduled group Inca Trail trips with a minimum of two and a maximum of 12 guests. This policy minimizes our environmental impact, allows us to travel to areas less visited and makes the sightseeing experience more personal. It allows our guides sufficient time to attend to the individual needs of each visitor. Traveling in small groups also increases the likelihood of encountering wildlife.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary. This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.