Inca Trail Permits go on sale Monday, January 7th!
Permits for the Inca Trail Trek are now given on a “first-come, first-serve” basis. Therefore, if you plan to trek during the most popular months of the year (April-Sep) it is important to make your reservation with Wildland Adventures as early in the new year as possible when permits go on sale; many key dates sell out within the first few weeks of January each year. Immediately upon receipt of your deposit at the time of your reservation, we require your full name (as shown on your passport), date of birth, nationality and passport number and expiration date. To confirm your Inca Trail permit, we must submit this information, along with an $80 non-refundable deposit. The final deadline for securing a permit is 30 days prior to the trek, however the likelihood of obtaining a trekking permit for last minute bookings is very low. The same regulations apply for those who want to do the one-day hike into Machu Picchu beginning at Km. 104. Day hikers must also have the same Inca Trail Permit and are competing for the same limited availability of permits as those doing the full Inca Trail Trek.
Our 9-day Inca Trail Trek is the classic 4 day/3 night trek (with considerable time to acclimate in Cusco and the Valley) following the Inca stone road through the mountains and ending at the Gate of the Sun to enter Machu Picchu. When people say Inca trail, this is what they are talking about. Though the actual trekking only takes 4 days, we have 3 days planned in the itinerary for acclimatization before you start ascending the trail up to the highest camp, so it’s not until the fourth day in the area that you camp high and the fifth day that you go over the two highest passes.
Being such a popular hike, permits are required and limited to 500 people per day. You hike during the day and a team of porters carries your heavier gear; you simply carry a day pack and trekking poles. In the evening, camp sites are set up away from the trail, so you do still get to enjoy some of the spiritual solitude that should accompany an arduous outdoor journey. In fact, we start our trekking adventure directly from the Sacred Valley so we stay ahead of the larger crowds coming from Cusco to begin the trek that day. As recent trekker J. Meyer put it – “I know that there were supposedly 500 other people on the trail with us, but we didn’t see a soul. The campsites were in unique locations offering amazing views of the Andes, with the camp on the last night, perhaps the most amazing locations I’ve ever pitched a tent in."
As you are camping, there aren’t showers, and toilets are temporary latrines built by your trekking staff, but the hotel we use in Aquas Calientes at the end of the trek certainly compensates for all of the ‘roughing it’.
If you don't want to deal with getting your Inca Trail permit and still want to go trekking in Peru, check out our South America Program Director's Escorted Peru Trek. Kirsten will be leading trekkers on a 14 day trip to visit Machu Picchu via the Salkantay route and the Quechua village of Paucartambo to participate in the lively Virgen del Carmen festival.
Keeping it wild,
Got questions about the Inca Trail? Ask our South America Program Director Kirsten Gardner
The Inca Trail is part of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, a protected area managed by the Peru National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA). In recent years, IRENA has administrated more stringent rules and regulations in an effort to protect this fragile natural and historical site from over-use and to care for the interests of porters from local communities. With this in mind, they have reduced the number of trekkers allowed on the trail to 500 people a day (including guides, cooks and porters). Porters have strict weight limitations, and it is not possible to trek on your own; all trekkers must go with a licensed outfitter accompanied by a professional guide in groups no larger than 16 (although Wildland groups are limited to 12 persons except for private parties).