Request information

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. The Inca Trail is the most popular trekking to Machu Picchu, because it manages to combine several climates to perfection, the impressive landscape and numerous ruins can be seen during the trip. Yeahh!! Because it offers a very attractive route is very requested by many travelersaround the world, to be able to guarantee a quota of everything it offers, you must request at least 5 months in advance as the quotas are very limited, many adventurers commit the mistake of buying their air flights first and then check the quotas to the Inca Trail, so be careful about it. The Inca Trail traverses 42 kilometers, inside it you can see the jungle with countless varieties of plants, countless species of birds and butterflies, as well as incredible mountains, as well as some archaeological complexes within it such as Pata llacta, Wiñay Wayna and, of course, the final route. lost city of Machu Picchu. Ready to know everything about this incredible adventures? Let´s go Inca Trail shows you everything you must know before book to have your dream trip come true. So Let's go Inca Trail!!!


To start you must know that there are 2 ways to reach at Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail:

  • 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 just 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.

Availability of income:


This is one of the biggest differences between these two walks:

  • The Classic Inca Trail Trek  supports up to 500 people per day, including guides and service personnel; the spaces are usually sold quickly so it is best to buy them at least 6 months in advance.
  • The route of the 2 Day Inca Trail Hike only supports 250 people, this route is new and unpopular so it is more available. If you do not have a lot of time to do the Full Inca Trail tour, you can choose to take the short Inca Trail tour, which will only take a day of walking and the other one to visit the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
  • Do the tour to the Inca Trail, either the 04 day trip or the 02 day trip is undoubtedly one of the journeys that any person would like to make, and above all things will fill us with satisfaction, travel this ancestral way to reach the magical citadel of Machu Picchu, will be an indelible memory for our life. To make the Inca Trail tour, contact Let´s Go Inca Trail, a company that cares about providing the best service to its passengers and makes your stay and visit to different archaeological centers as pleasant and safe as possible.The best? We are specialist on Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!!!

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
  • Sun Gate or Inti Punku

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

  • Camp and Archaeological Site of Wiñay Huayna
  • Sun Gate 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 weather:

The Inca Trail weather varies according to the months some with presence of rains, sunny days, cloudy days, cold nights; then we detail the Inca Trail weather per month:

  • In the months of January and March the rains are persistent mostly at night, the days are cloudy but there are nice and sunny days, if we have good luck.
  • In the month of April, the rainy season ends little by little, and the days become warmer and more pleasant, with sporadic rains.
  • Between May and October, the climate is warm and cool, with little rain, sunny days and quite bright.
  • The months of June, July, August and September are undoubtedly the best months to complete the Inca Trail, during the day it is clear and you can clearly observe the landscapes, the days are fresher, however, the nights are cold in the high areas.
  • During November and December, it is the time when the rainy season begins, the days are sunny, but at any moment it can rain, as well as, there are cloudy days without rain. 

When is the best time to go to the Inca Trail?

On the Royal Inca Trail, there are two distinct periods, the dry season and the rainy season. The best time to travel to the Inca Trail is from April to October (dry season), the months of November to March, is the rainy season, which makes it difficult, the accesses and camps. The maximum temperature is 19ºC and the minimum temperature is 0ºC. The relative humidity of the air ranges between 77% in the dry season and 91% in the rainy season. The annual rainfall ranges from 1,571 to 2,381 millimeters.


Inca Trail Closed

The trail even the 4 Day Inca trail trip or the 2 Day is closed every February for cleaning, so if you are planning your vacations on February don't forget to visit our alternative treks!!! For many adventurers the best experiences are in the imposing Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu  or many enjoy more the adrenaline at Inca Jungle adventure, really there are many options!!! So do not be discouraged and discover the incredible incas land.


Now is o your hands what type of trip you want to your next vacations!!! But remember all of Inca Trail will captive all of your attention the magnificent of Incas architecture is incredible.




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.

Home Inca Trail Tours Alternative Inca Trail About us Testimonials Gallery Blog FAQ Contact us

Phone: +51 84 255 305
Cellphone: +51 955 925 507
USA: +1 213 342 8370
Address: Recoleta Street C1, Zaguan del Cielo, Cusco, Peru

Merchant Equipment Store Credit Card Logos