In lieu of taking the train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, consider a 1-day hike along the original Inca Trail to enter Machu Picchu through Intipunku, Gate of the Sun. Permits are required for this trekking option and are limited to 500 per day. Confirmation is subject to Permit availability once they begin to go on sale in February. This is a great option for families traveling with children who may not be ready for an overnight trek in the Andes yet.
After breakfast proceed to the Ollantaytambo station to board the train headed to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. Hikers disembark at km 104 where you begin your one day guided hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. After crossing the hanging bridge over the Urubamba River to Chachabamba, pause to explore this Inca site and then begin a three to four hour ascent to the spectacular ruins of Winay Wayna (“Forever Young”), an important spiritual site along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Besides being an area for cultivation of sacred crops such as the coca leaf, it is believed that Winay Wayna was used for cleansing rituals for travelers along the route, prior to their arrival into Machu Picchu. After Winay Wayna, the trail joins the classic route which other trekkers have been hiking over the previous three days. In the afternoon, the trail traverses along the contour of a forested ridge full of orchids and bird life with dramatic views of the Urubamba River below. A steep and dramatic ascent up a final stairway brings you to the Intipunku, or “Gate of the Sun” where you will be rewarded with your first view of Machu Picchu. Proceed down through the site and on to your hotel for the night. This is a great option for families with children who may be too young for an overnight trekking trip in the Andes.
Details about the One Day Inca Trail Hike
Starting elevation: 6259’ at Km. 104
Ending Elevation: 7970’ at Machu Picchu
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2600’
Elevation loss: 890’
Time: 6 – 7 hours (5-6 hours if hikers are in great shape and fast)
Cost Per Person:
Additional $125 per person based on two people to add this into an existing Peru itinerary. This includes trekking permits; authorized trail guide; train tickets from Ollantaytambo; entrance fees for Machu Picchu; bus tickets from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes and boxed lunch.