Kondor Path Tours

How to Hike Peru’s Machu Picchu in One Day

Many roads lead to Machu Picchu, but none like the Inca Trail—the most popular among travelers and the most famous pedestrian trail on the American continent. There are 43 kilometers of paths between forests, dense fogs, stone steps, and majestic views from Cusco. In the end, the reward of the famous Intipunku and its impressive views of the ruins of Machu Picchu.

Making the Inca Trail is an initiatory rite for the traveler and a unique adventure, but planning well before getting on the road is necessary.

How to Hike Peru’s Machu Picchu in One Day

Hiking Peru’s Machu Picchu in one day is a challenging but rewarding experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:

  • Start early: The hike to Machu Picchu starts at the town of Aguas Calientes, and it’s recommended to start the hike as early as possible to avoid crowds and has enough time to complete the walk. Aim to catch the first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, which typically leaves around 5:30 am.
  • Train for the hike: The hike to Machu Picchu is steep and challenging, so advanced training is essential. Focus on cardio exercises like running or cycling, and try to include some hiking or stair climbing in your routine.
  • Pack light: Since you’ll be hiking for several hours, it’s important to pack light and bring only the essentials. Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, and a rain jacket.
  • Take breaks: It’s essential to take breaks during the hike to rest and stay hydrated. Look for shady spots along the trail, and take a few minutes to catch your breath and enjoy the scenery.
  • Hire a guide: While it’s possible to hike to Machu Picchu on your own, hiring a guide can help you navigate the trail and learn about the history and culture of the area.
  • Pace yourself: The hike to Machu Picchu is not a race, so it’s important to pace yourself and listen to your body. Take breaks when necessary, and don’t push yourself too hard.
  • Enjoy the journey: The hike to Machu Picchu is a challenging but rewarding experience, so take time to enjoy the trip and appreciate the stunning views along the way.

By following these tips, you can have a successful and memorable hike to Machu Picchu in one day.

Two-day Inca Trail 

A guided route with a stop at the road’s highlights consists of a steep climb of three to four hours from kilometer 104 to Wiñay Wayna and then another two hours on more or less flat land to Machu Picchu. Overnight in Aguas Calientes and visit Machu Picchu the next day.

Short Inca Trail Itinerary

The two-day Inca Trail is a popular alternative to the classic four-day trek, offering a shorter but more challenging hike to Machu Picchu. Here’s what you can expect on the two-day Inca Trail:

Day 1: The first day of the trek starts with a scenic train ride from Cusco to the town of Ollantaytambo, followed by a bus ride to the trailhead at km 104. From there, the hike begins with a steep climb up to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, where you’ll have lunch and explore the site. After lunch, the trail continues through the cloud forest, with stunning views of the Urubamba River and surrounding mountains. The day’s hike ends at the Sun Gate, where you’ll have your first glimpse of Machu Picchu in the distance. From there, it’s a short bus ride to Machu Picchu Pueblo, where you’ll spend the night in a hotel.

Day 2: The second day of the trek starts with an early morning bus ride up to Machu Picchu. You’ll have a guided tour of the ruins, learning about the history and culture of the Inca Empire. After the tour, you’ll have some free time to explore the site on your own before taking the bus back down to Aguas Calientes. From there, you can take a train back to Cusco or spend an additional night in Aguas Calientes if you’d like to explore the town or visit the nearby hot springs.

The two-day Inca Trail is an excellent option for those who want to experience the beauty and history of the Inca Trail but don’t have the time or physical ability to complete the long trek. It’s important to note that the two-day tour still involves steep climbs and high altitudes, so it’s essential to be prepared and in good physical condition.

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