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Classic Inca Trail vs Short Inca Trail

26 March 2018

The Inca Trail is a walking adventure that has as destination the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. There are two routes: Classic Inca Trail of 4 days and the Short Inca Trail of 2 days. While the Classic is more popular and more promoted, the short route also offers an unforgettable experience with less effort.
Here we show you the differences between the Classic Inca Trail and the Inca Short Trail.

Duration and itinerary

The first difference is the duration of the walk. The classic route is four days. During the first day 12 kilometers are covered, the second one 13 kilometers and the third 15 kilometers. On the fourth day there is a two-hour walk to reach the citadel of Machu Picchu and take the guided tour.

The Inca Short Trail is two days long. We start from Chachabamba at kilometer 104 and travel around 6 hours until we reach Intipunku. During the second day the guided tour to Machu Picchu takes place.

Attractions to visit

The Classic Inca Trail route includes the following attractions:

  • Miskay camp
  • Archaeological Group of Patabamba
  • Ruins of Wayllabamba
  • Mountain and Paso de Warmihuañusca, the highest point of the route.
  • Pacamayo, place of rest.
  • Archaeological Site of Runncurakay
  • Ruins of Sayaqmarca
  • Camp and Archaeological Site of Wiñay Huayna
  • Puerta del Sol or Inti Punku

The route of the Inca Short Trail includes the following attractions:

  • Camp and Archaeological Site of Wiñay Huayna
  • Puerta del Sol or Inti Punku

In the classic route you will see more and different attractions

Travel backpacks for Inca Trail

For the difference of days in both routes, the amount of clothes is less for the fast road. On the other hand, you should consider that on the classic route night camps are held while on the short route you spend the night in the town of Aguas Calientes.

You can find the complete list of items for the Classic Inca Trail as well as what to take to the Inca Short Trail.

If you want to go lighter, the Inca Short Trail is your option.

Amount of physical effort

Another major difference is the amount of physical effort required. The classic route lasts four days and goes through landscapes that go from low fertile valleys to the pass of Warmihuañusca to more than 4000 meters of altitude. The first days of the route have steep stretches that are a physical challenge for many.

Are you looking for a challenge that has a wonderful reward? Choose the 4 day Inca Trail.

Whether you are an experienced walker or beginner, the guide will go to everyone's pace so you can enjoy the route.

The 2 day route is lighter since you only walk during the first day. This route is more suitable for those who have little time or are beginners in the trekking.

We have the best physical preparation tips for the Inca Trail for you.

Inca Trail camping tours

In the Classic Inca Trail night camps are made on the route the first three days. You only have to bring your sleeping bag and the rest of the equipment is provided by the travel agency.

Unlike the long route, during the Short Inca Trail, the night is spent at the hotel of your choice in the town of Aguas Calientes.

Are you a nature lover? You can not miss a night of starry sky and Andean landscapes in the Classic Inca Trail camp.

Inca Trail permits

The availability of spaces is one of the most important differences between the two routes.

The Classic Inca Trail supports up to 500 people daily, including guides and service personnel. The spaces are usually sold quickly so it is best to buy them at least 6 months in advance. To date, there are only spaces for the months of October, November and December 2016. You can check the space availability of the Inca Trail for 4 days.

The route of the Inca Short Trail only supports 250 people. This route is new and popular so it is more available. You can check the availability of 2-day Inca Trail spaces.

In case there are no spaces for the 4-day route you can take the short route and not miss the best trekking in South America.

Inca Trail Programs

We organize tours for small groups, including families, friends, students and volunteers. Our tour leaders speak English, Spanish & Quechua (Andean Language) and will dedicate themselves to giving you the best independent tours in Cusco as well as Machu Picchu.

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Address: Recoleta Street C1, Zaguan del Cielo, Cusco, Peru

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