All companies managing the Inca Trail must be certified and have an Inca Trail operators license. This license is issued annually each December. There are currently 188 registered operators (2015), with new agencies springing up each year. Many of these companies, however, may only operate a trek a couple of times a month during the high season and these treks are mainly private groups for overseas tour companies. Before you hurriedly sign up with any agency, its vital to comprehend some things about the industry. The most important thing is, that not all agencies are licensed tour operators. There are two types of companies that will try and sell you an Inca trail package: registered tour operators and middle men, otherwise known as endosars. The registered tour operators are a small quantity that run, sell, and operate their own Inca Trail packages. The advocate that you speak with are the ones you will be working with directly, so if you any concerns you can go to them directly.
When making a Inca Trail booking you will be asked to pay a deposit of about 50%. This is needed by the company to buy your Inca Trail permit and reserve your train tickets to Machu Picchu. Always ensure that this deposit is paid to a company account and not to an account in the name of one of the employees. All companies listed in Part 1 below are well established and recommended in at least one major guidebook so you shouldn't have any problems. Many accept payment of the deposit by credit card or PayPal to their company account.
At the end of the day its all about your experience!
The following Inca Trail trekking companies have received consistently good reviews:
Inca Trail Machu