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How DIFFICULT is the SHORT 2-Day Inca Trail – Hiking, Health and Equipment

Don’t really worry about how difficult! The Short 2-Day Inca Trail is categorized as easy and fast. It is the shortest of all Inca Trails; here we are going to cover the few potential inconveniences a hiker might have, so you will enjoy the best Inca Trail experience!

The Short 2-Day Inca Trail is done by people who want to have the experience of hiking through the Andean highlands visiting the amazing Inca sites, and finally arriving at Machu Picchu, but without the demands of a 4-day or longer day-hiking and night-camping package.

On day 1, we’ll transfer you from the hotel to the Ollantaytambo train station, and from there to km. 104 of the old Cusco city-Machu Picchu railroad, with an estimated time of arrival at 09:00 am; the hiking begins there, until approximately 03:30 pm, visiting amazing Inca sites like Chachabamba and Winaywayna, with a pause for lunch of course and then going until the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) the original entrance to Machu Picchu, at a close distance of the citadel. From 04:00 pm on, you will be in Aguas Calientes, the village next to Machu Picchu, enjoying the place or getting some rest at the hotel.

On day 2, you will have the grand tour of Machu Picchu: 3 hours, professionally guided, and afterwards, there is extra time to continue exploring the site at your own leisure! In the afternoon, you will be in Aguas Calientes enjoying the village, until 06:30 when the return to Cusco city begins.

So, the best of both worlds without much effort and with much comfort! Now let’s take one by one on the potential difficulties the Short 2-Day Inca Trail might present, really not much to wonder on how difficult it is:

1.- How Difficult – Hiking:

On day 1 you will hike for some 6 hours, both uphill and downhill, so you must take the following measures and everything will be ok

  • Before coming to Cusco, do some Short 2-Day Inca Trail simulations, with a full, medium-sized backpack containing snacks, clothes, bottled beverages etc and hike for 6 hours at a time on uneven terrain in the countryside, preferably with uphill stretches. Do this simulation 2 or 3 times, for it will give you the precise assessment on how difficult the Trail may be.
  • Get good hiking boots and mountaineering socks, so you won’t have feet sores
  • Get used to hike with a walking pole, for it will be really helpful to give you balance and grip during the Trail
  • Improve your fitness a little, if you feel the need to do so

2.- How Difficult – Health:

The potential problem here is altitude sickness, because on the Andean highlands, the air gets “thinner”, that is, less charged with oxygen, which can debilitate the organism and cause symptoms like fatigue and headache; but remember that altitude sickness is preventable, does not affect everybody and when it does, most people get ok just by taking a break to rest. Here we are going to address health issues

  • For altitude sickness, the best thing to do is to acclimatize, that is, arriving in Cusco at least 12 or 18 hours before the Trail, so the organism will automatically begin to adapt to thinner air; you should also avoid physical efforts during acclimatization, drink plenty of water, eat accordingly (carbohydrates and proteins mainly), no coffee, alcohol or smoking. The coca leaves tea is a general energizer which will surely contribute to keep you symptom-free and going.
  • Travelers can bring some pills like Diamox for managing altitude sickness, and also pills for headache and digestive problems, and in most cases it is enough to get them ready for all the hiking and touring
  • Finally you should bring anti-germ pads and varied size bandages in case you have a cut or scratch, and perhaps a mild painkiller, because some hikers may have body aches

3.-How Difficult – Equipment:

Remember that on day 1 you’ll be hiking for some 6 hours, and the Machu Picchu tour is for 3 hours, so make sure you have all electronic equipments fully charged for both occasions! We are completely sure you will want to keep a wonderful record of all the beauty and great moments the Short 2-Day Inca Trail has to offer! Lately, some hikers are using portable solar cell panels, which can charge electronic devices on the go.

So, the Short 2-Day Inca Trail is actually the lightest, easiest of all Inca Trails, and if you get some physical preparation, bring the right gear, prevent and are ready to deal with altitude sickness and have the suitable health items just in case, then you are ready for the best vacation of your life. You will only have to focus on enjoying the tour throughout and take a lot of pictures! Remember we have plenty of additional information on our internet resources, so you will be 100% prepared for your Short 2-Day Inca Trail experience!


How difficult is the Short 2-Day Inca Trail? Following all these guidelines, you will have only a great time hiking on the Andean heights and touring Machu Picchu! Contact our professional team to begin procedures for your next vacation in Cusco!