Reservations for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
To make reservations for the Inca Trail you have to carry out the following procedure: The reservations can be made 360 days in advance before entering the Inca Trail, anytime of the year, be it through paper or by e-mail, according to the format (Reservation Card). The Reservation Office will hand a code with the status of “reserved”. The staff in charge of doing the reservations at the Reservation and Collecting Office of the Dirección Regional de Cultura del Cusco – INC has to be duly certified.
The reservation is subject to space availability, being the limitation the loading capacity. The applicant will confirm the reservation up until 90 days in advance before entering the Inca Trail, presenting the final group list at the Reservation and Collecting Office of the Direccion Regional de Cultura del Cusco – INC.
The applicant will also pay 50% of the total amount of the group’s entrance tickets at the aforementioned office. The Reservation Office will register the pre-payment changing the reservation to a “confirmed” status. Any reservation that has not been confirmed according to the previous clause of the present article will be automatically void. The reservation will change to the “reconfirmed” status after paying off the other 50%, which has to be done anytime 5 days before entering the Inca Trail, at the Collecting Office of the Direccion Regional del Cusco – INC
Inca Trail Trek Permit Availability
The information shown below is taken directly from the government trek permit database and shows the real-time availability of trek permits for the Inca Trail. Trek permits are required for the classic 4-day Inca Trail, the shorter 2-day Inca Trail and the 7-day Salkantay / Inca Trail trek. Alternative treks such as Lares Valley, Ausangate, Choquequirao, and the 5-day Inca Trail via Santa Teresa do not require trek permits. The government issues a maximum of 500 trek permits for each day. Since trekking staff are also included within this limit of 500 persons this means that, on average, about 200 trek permits are allocated to tourists and about 300 allocated to guides, cooks and porters.
Interpretation of the Results: If the number of spaces available is zero then it basically means that all the trek permits have been sold out and no matter how many companies you contact, none of them will be able to offer you space on the Inca Trail. Even if companies have cancellations regulations prevent them from filling these spaces with other clients. This may sound ridiculous but the system has been designed to prevent “wealthy” companies buying up all the spaces in advance using made-up names and passport numbers and then cancelling them nearer the time only to fill the cancelled spaces with real clients. The number of remaining spaces does not fall steadily, rather it falls exponentially. That it to say that the number of spaces remains between 300 and 500 for quite along time but as it starts to fall below 250 more companies decide to buy permits for their groups and the rate that the spaces drop starts to increase. Often the last 100 spaces can sell out in a day or so. For example just because there may be 160 spaces available on the day that you want to start the trek, by the time you find a suitable trekking company and send them your trek deposit, it doesn’t mean that there will still be 160 spaces left! So it is highly recommended to book your Inca Trail as far in advance as possible.
The Inca Trail Availability & Permits
*This information is provided courtesy of the Regional Directorate of Culture of Cusco.
BOOKING THE INCA TRAIL HIKE
We try to make booking as easy as possible. We need a booking form that is completed and includes all details for the entire party on one form please, and then a $250 deposit per person. The deposits can be paid separately, as long as we have one booking form that we can use to track payments. Once we have all deposits and details, we will then book your permits. When permits are in our hands, we will send you your invoice and confirmation that everything is 100% set. All start dates, once confirmed, are guaranteed.
PERMITS FOR THE INCA TRAIL HIKE
Only licensed Inca Trail tour operators, like Us, can obtain permits from the government. Once your permit is secured, the name and start date can not be changed, under any circumstance. The only information the government permits us to change is the passport numbers.
One of the most frequent questions we hear from hikers is, “Do you need a permit to trek to Machu Picchu?” On the list of necessities every traveler needs to remember when making travel arrangements, one of the most important – but also one of the most unexciting and often overlooked – is obtaining permits to hike the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu route!
Because the Peruvian government protects the historic landmark for its natural and historical significance, only 500 individuals are allowed on the Classic Inca Trail hike each day from Kilometer 82. Around 300 of these will be porters, guides and other staff, which leaves room for 200 trekkers that can join the trail per day.
Due to the worldwide popularity of this trek, permits must be purchased before you leave for Peru – sometimes many months before a trip commences! These permits for Inca Trail reservations used to go on sale in January of each year. However, for the 2022 season, permits went on sale in October 2021. It is important to note that in past years, once on sales permits for April and May have sold out entirely in just a few days, and in some years permits for June, July, and August have sold out as early as mid-February. So, it pays to plan and choose your dates at least six to nine months in advance.
If traveling in a group, it is essential that your group or party reserves Inca Trail permits in a contiguous ‘block’ at the same time. In our experience, we have seen several instances of a group or a family unit not doing this despite warnings. As a result, some of these parties have not been able to hike the Trail together as a group. Even a few minutes or hours can make a difference!
Please also note that the permitting system is carefully structured to prevent people and organizations from abusing it. Travel companies and tour operators cannot buy Inca Trail hike permits in bulk to resell at a later date. In order to obtain a permit, you will need to provide a full name, date of birth, passport details (passport number, country of issue, date of issue, and expiration date) and the dates you want to trek the Trail. Once the application for a permit is submitted, it typically takes anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to get a response from the Peruvian permit authority (through the Peruvian Ministry of Culture). This means that until a successful confirmation is received, you should not book flights to or hotels in Peru. Also, be aware that you will be required to pay a security deposit when initially booking the permit. If the permit is not secured for any reason, this deposit can be refunded. When a permit is successfully secured and paid, the deposit is no longer refundable.
Another critical thing to know is that after a permit is secured, you cannot change travel dates. If you can no longer go on the trek as scheduled for whatever reason, you will forfeit your deposit and the permit will go unused. Unfortunately, you can not transfer your Inca Trail permit to a friend or family member.
If you get a new passport after securing a permit, you must contact your tour operator to resubmit the new identification information to the Peruvian permitting authority. Please ensure that the passport you bring with you to Peru matches the permit’s details – otherwise, you will not be allowed to begin your Inca Trail tour! If you changed your passport, it would be wise to bring both the old and new passports to Peru. There are multiple permit checks performed along the way, and the agents are thorough!
REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION FOR THE INCA TRAIL HIKE TO MACHU PICCHU
To hike the fantastic Inca Trail 4 days, you need to bring your personal identification documents. The names in the permits must match the information in your documents. Therefore, make sure you provide accurate information to the agency you are booking the tour with. If the information is not accurate, you won’t be able to do the Inca Trail hike:
Valid original Passport
Student card (if you want a discount)
You must bring with you any of these personal documents that you used at the moment of booking. Otherwise, you won’t be able to do the Inca Trail 4 days. Make sure you have your personal documents with you all the time. Put them in a safe place before and during the inca trail hike.
Note: If you have updated your passport some days prior the trek, you have to let the agency know and ask them to update the new information. If possible, bring both the old and new passports. You should also send a copy of both the old and new passports to the agency.
INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU DISCOUNTS
Certainly, There is a small discount that the Culture Ministry gives to minors or students who have a valid student card. A student card is considered valid if it shows the following features:
Name of the university
Expiration date, which has to be the year that the student visits Machu Picchu (NOT a year early or later to the visit date)
Note: To apply for the students discount, you shouldn’t be over 25 years old.
UPDATING PASSPORT NUMBERS
The government will only allow us to change passport numbers if we have a copy of the new passport and old passport. If you no longer have your old passport, any government issue ID will be accepted, as long as the name is the same. Also, make sure your passport does not expire six months or less from your trip.