The impressive network of Inca roads had an initial length of 60,000 km and connected the territories of the present-day states of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina! 39,000 kilometres have been preserved to this day. The Inca road to Machu Picchu is one of the best engineering works ever, made entirely by hand, without knowing the existence of a wheel or iron. Ironically, it may have also hastened the invasion process, as the Spaniards could quickly reach all corners of the empire.
Anyway, there is nothing like the satisfaction of coming to Machu Picchu on your own feet! That is why the Inca Trail has become so popular in recent years. Every year, thousands of people are attracted to the city of Cusco by the energy of the Andes, but few of them can experience the magic of feeling this energy and travel on one of the most amazing paths in the world, the 500-year-old Inca Trail!
In both cases, the method of obtaining the permit is the same. The Inca Short Trail is intended for those travellers who want to hike Peru's Inca Trail, but do not want to do so for 4 days, while omitting the most difficult part of the journey. The classic 4-day is then for more experienced trekkers.
There Are Two Versions of the Inca Trail:
Trip type: Hiking, camping, adventure, history, culture.
Total distance: 43 km/26 miles.
Good for: Those who enjoy hiking and are at least moderately physically fit.
Trip Type: Hiking, adventure, history, culture.
Total distance: 12 km/7.46 miles.
Good for: Moderately fit.
A Cusco's office of the Ministry of Culture is responsible for issuing permits for the Inca Trail.
If you have inquired about the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you surely have read that there are 500 permits available every day. However, this is a bit far from the truth. Explain it better; only 200 hikers and 300 supporting staff (e.g. porters, guides, and cooks) can enter the track per day!
4-day Inca Trail permits must be booked at least 3 or 4 months beforehand. However, if you plan to visit it during May, June, or July; make your Inca Trail reservation 5 or 6 months in advance.
Short Inca Trail permits are not that hard to get. Despite this, it is advised to make booking weeks beforehand. In the months of May, June or July; try to book a month in advance.
You must book many months in advance to secure Inca Trail to Machu Picchu permit. The recommended time for early booking is 5-6 months, but it is possible that due to the difficult situation this year (Covid-19), it is assumed that interest in the Inca Trail 2021 will be much greater. The release of the permit for 2021 is scheduled for early December 2020 and the main concern is that 80% of the permits will be sold by the end of the year!
To purchase an Inca Trail permit, you must provide your full name, passport number (current), gender, and date of birth. All information provided in the Inca Trail booking must be accurate. Any mistake in the passport number or name could prevent you from entering the Inca Trail! If you change your passport after booking the Inca Trail, you must bring both passports, old and new!
One can see permits available on the "Ministry of Culture" website, as well as on many other websites. However, it is best to check with a travel agency certified to operate the Inca Trail on Machu Picchu, as the number of permits available may vary between the time you check availability and seek a travel agency. Contact us if you wish to enter Machu Picchu by the Inca Trail.
As you can see, the main problem is not "how to get a permit for the Inca Trail", but rather "when to book it"; because if you do not book your tickets in advance, you will have to reach Machu Picchu by train.
The only way to do the 4 day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu is to hire the services of a travel agency authorized by the Ministry of Culture of Peru. Booking is only possible via the Internet. These agencies organize and offer their services in various qualities. For this reason, prices vary from agency to agency.
The price usually includes entry to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, transport by bus, train (standard class), meals, professional guides, cooks, porters (to carry equipment) and camping equipment.
In case, you wish better tents, and other equipment (eg. mats, sleeping bag, hiking poles), better train transport or an extra porter, you have to pay an additional price.
Do you like to visit Huayna Picchu after the Inca Trail? Additional costs are approximately USD 25 per person.
Are four days of walking on the Inca Trail too much? The Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a choice for people with a lack of time. This route starts the walk from the middle of the classic route. Prices vary from travel agency to travel agency.
The price commonly includes permits of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, cooking equipment, a train round trip (standard class), transport by bus, cook and a porter.
If you want an extra porter or some other services during the Short Inca Trail, you must request it at your travel agency. These services have additional costs.
Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu/Machu Picchu Mountain is not included. You can request it by paying an extra amount of money.
It is not possible to enter the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu unless it is through an authorized travel agency. We have many years of experience in operating the fantastic Inca road to Machu Picchu. If you want to book a place, contact us.
You will need to complete details from your passport to obtain a permit to enter the Inca Trail. Permits are non-transferable and do not allow you to change the date! Before you can start the Inca Trail, your passport will be verified with your booking details so that no mistakes can be made!
You must bring the passport with which you made your reservation. If you have changed your passport after booking, you must bring both passports with you. Contact us and confirm the date you want to travel on the Inca Trail. Also, let us know in case you want an Inca Trail as part of a package when visiting Cusco.
If there is a discrepancy between your passport and your Inca Trail permit, you will not be allowed to start the trek; so there must be no errors in the booking process! Once we confirm your permit, it is not possible to revoke, change or transfer the Inca Trail permit to someone else!
Booking a permit for the Inca Trail is easy and secure. You should only seek availability through an authorized travel agent. Payment should be made through a secure payment gateway (see a lock in front of the website in the search bar) using a credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, etc.).
Find an Authorized Agency Online
There are several agencies on the Internet that deal with Inca Trail permits. Choose the one that looks most reliable. Its website must have an Internet security system (the lock) that protects your personal information. All these agencies must be licensed by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.
Find Available Spaces
After selecting a travel agency, go to the "accessibility" section on its website. Please note that the reservation should be made approximately 6 months in advance. Find the day and month in which you want to take the Inca Trail. If you have found availability, click on "Book".
Fill-in Your Data and Special Requirements
To buy permits for the Inca Trail, you must provide, among other things, personal data such as names, identity card number (passport), e-mail. In addition, you must indicate some special requirements such as Porter, vegetarian meals, hiking poles, etc.
Make a payment
Payment is made by various methods. Currently, PayPal is the most used because it accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Some agencies require advance payment and then complete the transaction after the client arrives in Peru. Eventually, you get a permit to perform the Inca Trail!
There are many hikes that can be a great alternative if you have not booked a permit to walk on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Salkantay Trail Peru and Lares are some of them. The next, Ausangate Trek does not end directly at Machu Picchu but offers you the opportunity to see it and visit the holiest and highest mountain in the Cusco region - Ausantate (or Apu Ausangate). However, if the Inca citadel is your main destination, you can also book Machu Picchu tickets beforehand.
The main season on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is from May to September and coincides with a holiday season in the Western Hemisphere. These months probably offer the best trekking conditions with a dry and sunny climate. However, as we said before, you should book a permit for it many months in advance.
April, October and November are also great months to perform the Inca Trail. There are fewer tourists, although it is likely that it rains at least one day during the trek. It is also easier to find available permits, although you still need to book them months beforehand.
The rainy season lasts from January to March, and if you decide to come during this time, expect rain. However, it is perfectly safe to walk with equipment - waterproof and adequate. Again, it is much easier to get a permit to travel on the Inca Trail at this time of year.
The Inca Trail closes the month of February every year because it is the rainiest month, and is used for maintenance to protect the trails. During this month, however, all alternative routes to Machu Picchu are open!
Children accustomed to trekking can perform the Inca Trail, although we personally believe that in order to enjoy such a route, they should be at least 12 years old. However, we witnessed smaller children who completed the trail! If you want to make an Inca Trail as a family, contact us and discuss the physical condition of your children in more detail.
It is recommended that you have a good level of fitness, but you do not have to be a fan of the exercise. If you are not in shape, it would be good to start with regular walking (uphill) a few months before this adventure.
Altitude is one of the biggest challenges of trekking in Peru; the highest step of the Inca Trail is at 4,125 metres at the Dead Woman's Pass. To help you acclimatize and avoid the symptoms of altitude sickness, we advise the following:
Hiking the Inca Trail is considered one of the best trek in the world, and if you want to enjoy it, do not look at it as a race. "Go at your own pace", enjoy the views, take photos and catch your breath. Even the most comfortable trekkers reach camping areas before nightfall.
Please note: A guide always goes with the last person in the group and instructs the fastest hikers to know where there are stops and meeting points on the route!
Due to the high demand, it is possible to book the trail only online and in advance. However, once you are in Cusco, Alternative Treks to Machu Picchu are possible!
No, unfortunately, once your reservation is confirmed, we can not change your trekking date or reimburse your permit! Therefore, you should be really sure of the dates when you book the trail.