One day Inca Trail Machu Picchu

On the trail to Machu Picchu
The most famous trek in Peru is the Inca Trail, a five-day hike from Cusco that culminates at the ruins of Machu Picchu. But for those with scheduling constraints, there's one-day, abridged version of this trail that allows folks to experience all the stunning scenery in a mere 24 hours.

The tour starts early in the morning with a train from the town of Ollantaytambo, a couple hours from Cusco, to Km 104. The train ride affords stunning views of canyons and the Sacred Valley before the scenery changes into mountainous, semi-tropical cloud forest. Passengers will disembark the train at Km 104 and begin the approximately seven-hour hike along a challenging uphill path towards Machu Picchu.

The first archeological site on the route is Chachabamba, which the Incas used as a gatekeeping point for this entrance to Machu Picchu. Then it's a three-hour ascent to Wiñay Wayna (2,732 meters/ 8,964 feet), an ancient rest area for Incan travelers. A boxed lunch will be served here amid superb views of the massive green mountains and native orchids. The trail then becomes gentler and continues through the cloud forest to Intipunku (the "sun gate") where hikers will glimpse their first panoramic views of Machu Picchu. A half-hour descent leads to the famous ruins of Machu Picchu, where hikers will have a short break and an opportunity for photos.

For those that are short on time, after the 2 hr visit to Machu Picchu, you will head back to Cusco (via the trail from Ollantaytambo).  If you have another day to spare, you can over night in Aguas Caliente, and have a bit more time in Machu Picchu the next day before heading back to Cusco.

Tours that Include One day Inca Trail Machu Picchu

Uros floating island on Lake Titicaca
Essential Peru - 12 Days

From the Colca Canyon to Machu Picchu, this 12-day itinerary takes you to Peru's major highlights. Fly over the Nazca Lines, some of the world's most impressive geoglyphs, before exploring Lima and the colonial city of Arequipa. Then visit Lake Titicaca, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley. Cap off your trip by walking in the footsteps of the Incas on a short hike to Machu Picchu. 

View of Machu Picchu citadel from Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu & Short Inca Trail - 5 Days

This itinerary is ideal for travelers who have a limited amount of time in the Sacred Valley, and really want to make it count. Spend 5 days delving into the beauty and rich culture of the Sacred Valley. Walk in the footsteps of the Inca on the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and top it off with an exploration of the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.

A red-headed poison dart frog
Lima, Machu Picchu & Amazon Jungle - 10 Days

Go from the Sacred Valley to the Amazon with this 10-day itinerary. Explore the markets, small towns, and Inca ruins around Cusco before walking a section of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Then, travel east to Puerto Maldonado, your launch point to the rainforest. Spend multiple days viewing wildlife like the giant river otter and tropical parrots, and spend your nights in the comfort of an eco-lodge.

Colca Canyon
Map of Culture & Nature in Peru: Colca Canyon, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca - 14 Days
Culture & Nature in Peru: Colca Canyon, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca - 14 Days

Start your two-week trip at the impressive Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world. From there, visit the floating islands of Lake Titicaca and the ancient Inca capital of Cusco. Explore the markets and towns of the Sacred Valley, complete a short Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, and end your trip in Puerto Maldonado among Amazonian wildlife including macaws, cayman, giant river otters, and tapirs.

Trees reflected in the waters of the Amazon River in Peru
Sacred Valley, Short Inca Trail & Amazon Adventure - 9 Days

This 9-day itinerary brings you to Peru's most stunning landscapes. Head to the Inca capital of Cusco to explore the colorful textile markets and small towns of the Sacred Valley and take the short Inca Trail to the famous Machu Picchu ruins. Next, travel east to Puerto Maldonado, your launch point to the lush Amazon. Spend three days viewing wildlife, like the giant river otter, river cayman, and vibrant parrot species, while enjoying a comfortable stay at an eco-lodge.

Sunset in Huanchaco with traditional totora reed boats
Peru Cultural Tour & Short Inca Trail - 16 Days

Explore Peru's history from Pre-Incan cultures to the Inca empire, all the way to modern times. Start in the modern capital of Lima, then take a spectacular flight over the iconic Nazca lines. From here, head north to discover the Mochica pyramids, the mud-brick city of Chan Chan, and the Tucume pyramids of the Sican people. Then, challenge yourself on the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and enter the iconic ruins through the Sun Gate.

Paracas Coastline Preserve
Peru's Cities, History, & Ecotourism - 8 Days

Explore Peru's cities, archaeological sites, and coastal wildlife during this 8-day journey. Start in Lima, then head south to Paracas for a marine wildlife tour and views of a 2,200-year old geoglyph. Go sandboarding in the desert oasis of Huacachina before visiting Cusco, where you'll check out textile markets and experience the culture of the Sacred Valley. End your visit with a day trip to the world-renowned ruins at Machu Picchu.

Glacier lake in Lares Valley
Sacred Valley Trekking & Lake Titicaca Exploration - 12 Days

This 12-day tour of Peru's highlights is perfect for adventurous and fit travelers. Begin in the imperial Incan city of Cusco, where you'll embark on a 3-day trek to Machu Picchu. Then, explore the Sacred Valley's ruins, markets, and villages before summiting Rainbow Mountain and getting your fill of culture and stellar views at Lake Titicaca.

Paracas Coastline Preserve
Peru's Cities, History, & Ecotourism - 7 Days

Explore Peru's iconic cities, ancient archaeological sites, and coastal wildlife in this 7-day exploration. Start in the capital of Lima, then head south to Paracas for a marine wildlife tour and views of a 2,200-year old geoglyph. Try your hand at sandboarding in the desert oasis of Huacachina before heading to the imperial Inca city of Cusco. Explore Inca ruins, bustling textile markets, and the local culture of the Sacred Valley. Finish your visit with a day trip to Machu Picchu, the iconic 15th-century citadel.

Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon & Lares Trek Adventure - 13 Days

Discover Colca Canyon - one of the deepest canyons in the world. Here, you'll find a canyon filled with rivers, verdant forests, and an ancient agricultural tradition. During the trek, you'll have the chance to interact with friendly Andean farmers and taste the typical foods of the region. Enjoy afternoon swims in natural pools and waterfalls before camping overnight in tents in beautiful natural campsites. After your time in Colca Canyon, head to the Inca capital of Cusco and explore colorful textile markets and small towns of the Sacred Valley. Next, embark on the Lares Trek, and hike the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Top it all off with a full day exploring the iconic Machu Picchu Ruins.

Birds flying over a natural arch in the Ballestas Islands
Peruvian History & Wildlife - 15 Days

From Incan ruins to the wildlife-rich Ballestas Islands, the 15-day version of this itinerary shows you the many sides of Peru. Experience metropolitan Lima, the incredible Nazca lines, and the Incan capital of Cusco. Walk a section of the Inca Trail, followed by a day at Machu Picchu. And make your way to Puerto Maldonado, where you'll spend three days viewing wildlife on jungle excursions while enjoying a comfortable stay at an eco-lodge.

Colca Canyon
Peruvian Landscapes & History Adventure - 13 Days

Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu, and beyond: this itinerary takes you to Peru's major highlights. Explore metropolitan Lima before heading to Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca. Then, explore the colorful textile markets of Cusco and small towns of the Sacred Valley, hike the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and top it off with a day exploring the iconic citadel ruins.