Inca Trail Permits: What and How?
The Classic Inca Trail is best known for its archaeological sites and original Inca stone paths and steps. This trail is a small section of the extensive and intricate Inca road system best known as the Qhapaq Ñan. The Inca Trail is also best known for its direct entry to Machu Picchu via the Inti Punk or Sun Gate. The trail spans over a total distance of approximately 40 KM and has access to 07 (seven) archaeological sites, not including Machu Picchu, along the way. The highest elevation along the Inca Trail is 4,215m.a.s.l./13,828 ft.a.s.l. (Warmihuañusca Pass – Dead Woman’s Pass).
The Inca Trail is an Unesco World Heritage Site and is heavily regulated by the Ministry of Culture in Peru. This trail requires permits which are limited in number and sold on a first-come first-serve basis.
Inca Trail Permits
Prior to 2002, the number of hikers along the trail were beginning to be well over the 1,000s, especially during peak months. At this time, no regulations were in place and hikers camped anywhere along the trail, leaving rubbish and human waste on the trail and various archaeological sites. As a result, UNESCO threatened to revoke the trail’s status as a World Heritage Site.
To prevent this from happening, the Peruvian government implemented a regulation system to restrict the number of trekkers along the trail on any given day, and prohibit any independent hikers from entering the trail.
Fast-forward to the present day, the Ministry of Culture only releases a total of 500 permits per day! These permits are booked for all people entering the trail, hikers and supporting staff alike. For this reason, Inca Trail permits often sell out within hours of being released into the system!
These permits are not only sold on a first-come first-serve basis, but they are also strictly regulated to allow no refunds or exchanges.
Short Inca Trail Permits
The Short Inca Trail entails only the last 12 KM of the Classic Inca Trail. The permits for this option are also limited in numbers, with only 500 permits per day. However, these permits do not sell out as fast as those for the Classic Inca Trail. Many travellers often find Inca Trail permits for the short version 02 to 03 months in advance.
Classic Inca Trail Permits
The Classic Inca Trail is the entire 43 KM trail from KM 82 to Machu Picchu. In this version of the trail, hikers will have access to all 06 Inca archaeological sites before Machu Picchu and enter Machu Picchu via the well-known Sun Gate or Inti Punku.
Only 500 permits are available everyday for the Classic Inca Trail. These permits are the ones that sell the fastest once available in the system due to popularity and high demand. For this reason, we recommend booking your Classic Inca Trail with at least 06 months in advance.
Entry to Machu Picchu is included as part of either version of the Inca Trail permits. For this reason, when you book your Inca Trail with any operator, you are guaranteed your Inca Trail permit and entry to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
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To check Inca Trail permit availabilty, head over to our website for a detailed availability calendar.
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