There are hundreds of Inca Trails across the Incan Empire. However, the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is part of the Machu Picchu National Park system. The Inca Trail and region are protected areas, managed by The Peru National Institute of Natural Resources. In order to be on the official Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you need a permit to trek in this region and those can be difficult to get!
Strict Permitting on the Inca Trail
The government has very strict permitting rules on the Inca Trail, which is great. It keeps the trail very well regulated. Therefore the upkeep of the region, sites and Machu picchu are now better protected. Before the early 2000’s, there were no regulations safekeeping the Inca Trail. This meant that over 1,000 people per day were attempting to trek this famous trail, creating a wide range of problems. You can image the toilet situation on the trail. The Peruvian government decided to step in and make a few changes. A plan was implemented to protect the future of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. Read some REVIEWS from our trips.
Permits are Limited and Demand is High
There government has implemented a very strict limit on daily Inca Trail access. The permits only allow for 500 people per day to start the trail. This is roughly made up of 200 tourists and 300 porters, guides and support staff. There’s also a limit to the number of visitors allowed to enter the site of Machu Picchu – capped at 2500 people per day.
With limited availability on the Inca Trail, it helps to start planning your trip well in advance to ensure you can obtain a permit in time to get a space on the trek. Permits and fees on the Inca Trail are non-transferable and they are non-refundable. Therefore deposits paid for the Inca trail are non-refundable. We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance immediately upon booking your Inca Trail trip as there is no way to get your deposit back once permits are booked.
How do you Book a Permit for the Inca Trail
We make it easy for you! Our team manages all aspects of your Inca Trail trek. Our Head Guide will take care of obtaining your Inca Trail permit once you’ve booked your trip. We manage the crew, permits, food, tents, transfers, hotels and tours for you. CONTACT US for further information. We are happy to chat with you about this process.
When Should you Visit The Famous Trail
The peak season for trekking the Inca Trail is May, June, July and August. Currently permits open up for sale on the 1st October, the year before. So if you are looking to book in June, you need to be booking with us in October the year before to guarantee your space. Some companies block book dates early so this make it really difficult to secure one of the 200 spaces for any given day in the peak trekking season.
We have been leading treks on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for over 15 years, and as a result, we have developed the best itineraries and service. This is a very special route and you do not want to miss out. We have our own full time staff member on the ground in Cusco, managing all aspects of the trip. Once you are about to enter the gate to the Inca Trail, your permit will be handed to you. You present the permit along with your passport to the National Park representative. Once you cross the bridge you are walking on the famous trail to Machu Picchu. Firstly, start looking at dates a year out. Secondly, think about booking six months in advance to guarantee your space. Finally, pick the 5 day Classic itinerary for the best possible experience.
No Permits Left
Don’t worry. We can still make your dream of hiking the Andes and visiting Machu Picchu a reality. There are lesser known trails to reach Machu Picchu that are also options. We can also tailor a trek encompassing cultural experiences off the beaten path for you. Some of these other trails do not require permits. This makes it possible to make a last-minute decision to go trekking in Peru.
Would you Rather Catch the Train to Machu Picchu?
We hope you like our Inca Trail trekking video below. If you have read all our information on trekking to Machu Picchu and feel it’s not for you, we have other options. That’s fine, you can still visit Machu Picchu and take the bus, train and bus option. If you would like further information on this CONTACT US.
Ready to experience Machu Picchu for yourself? Ian Taylor Trekking have you covered on our small group adventures in Peru.