This shorter version of the famous hike, called the Royal Inca Trail starts at Km. 104 of the railway, coming from Cusco and heading towards Aguas Calientes, and involves a four hour walk uphill to Huiñay Huayna, after the guided visit, there are still a couple of hours of hiking, to get to Machu Picchu, which makes this short itinerary ideal for hikers who want to experience at least a part of the Incan Trail, but who don´t dispose of enough time or energy to complete the full 4 day trek.
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The train usually departs from Ollantaytambo at 08:23, for a one and a half hour scenic journey to the start of the hike, at km. 104 of the railway that connects Cusco to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Town.
Once there, the trail heads down to the river to the checkpoint by the bridge, which crosses the Vilcanota River. On the other side of the bridge, the trail makes a curve to the right, towards Chachabamba´s Incan Architectural Complex, which was discovered in 1940, and is located on the old Inca road that used to run along the Vilcanota River´s Southern bank. The style of buildings and stonework suggests that this was an important site devoted to spiritual activities and is believed to have served as watchtower as well, guarding the access way to Machu Picchu.
From Chachabamba, the Inca Trail goes south and climbs the hillside, entering some woods and crossing a small stream. The path then turns west, and continues uphill leaving the woods and passing by open grassland.
About 2 hours and 30 minutes after Chachabamba, the path descends into a forest and leads us into much needed shade, passing by a beautiful waterfall. At the end of the forest, we´ll arrive at the foot of the superb Incan Architectural Complex of Huiñay Huayna.
Afterwards, the trail from Huyñay Huayna to Machu Picchu takes about 2 hours, as it goes round the mountainside and drops into the cloud forest, before ending in an almost vertical flight of 50 steps that lead up to the final pass at the Inti Punku or Sun´s Gate, from which, suddenly, the whole panoramic view of Machu Picchu spreads out before your eyes, in its full glory, an unexpected and unforgettable sight. Afterwards, the trail descends to Machu Picchu, as we´ll slowly be descending and enjoying the beautiful scenery, to finally arrive in Machu Picchu, around 4:00 p.m. Today, you’ll have just a short time to take pictures, but, unfortunately, you will have to wait until the following day, to go on a more extensive guided tour of the Sacred Incan City.
So, we’ll take a tourist bus down to the town Aguas Calientes (20 minute ride), where we’ll spend the night at a hotel, and will have a chance to visit the local thermal springs which are open until 9:00 p.m. (Entrance fee: S/.10 soles).
Day 2: Machu Picchu – Cusco
This morning, we’ll take an early bus up to Machu Picchu again, arriving around 7:00 a.m., in time to enjoy the sun rising over the mountains. Then, your guide will start a tour of the most important sectors of the Incan Architectural Complex, which takes about 2 hours. Afterwards, you will have free time to climb up Mount Huayna Picchu (If you have reserved this activity well ahead of time, as there is a limit of 400 spaces per day, the extra fee is $15 dollars) which overlooks the Sacred City of Machu Picchu (Allow about 2 hours, to climb up and down). Once outside the archaeological complex, you may decide to have lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel´s restaurant, or take a bus down to the pedestrian village of Aguas Calientes, where there are plenty of restaurants to suit all budgets and tastes.
Late in the afternoon, the train bound to Cusco will depart from Aguas Calientes´s railway station and will arrive in Cusco, after about a four hour trip, still in time for you to have a late dinner and end the day with a well-deserved night´s rest.
Pick up at your hotel, in the morning and private transportation to Ollantaytambo Train Station
Train transportation to – Km. 104 (Trailhead).
Access permit to the Inca Trail Trek National Park.
01-night accommodation in Hotel Flower House.
Accommodation for our whole accompanying staff.
Meals during the trip: 1 Breakfasts, 1 Lunches, and 1 Dinners. Vegetarian or special menus available at no extra cost.
First-aid kit, including emergency oxygen bottle.
Tourist bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes.
Train tickets from Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo, in Expedition Service.
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