• OFERTA01
  • OFERTA02



As stated above, no more than 500 people per day are allowed to start the Inca Trail trek at km. 82. This number includes all support staff (ie. porters, cooks and guides) and is very tightly controlled. Once this limit of 500 people is reached, the Trail is effectively closed off for the day and no further bookings can be made.

Reservations are not held on the Trail and all permits to trek must be bought as far as possible in advance with complete and correct passport information, to which no modifications can be made. Any attempts at modifications result in a loss of the permit and any money paid.

Source: The complete regulation is available in Spanish on the INC Website 

A detailed account of the Inca Trail regulations can be found below:

1. Inca Trail entrance fees / Trek permits: As from January 2010 the entrance fee for the 4 day Inca Trail is 252 Peruvian Soles (about US$ 90) students and children under 15 years old receive a US$20 discount. Trekking companies also have to buy a trek permit for each one of the porters in the group (41 Peruvian Soles, about US$ 15 per porter). The entrance fee for the shorter Inca trail trek costs 146 Peruvian Soles (about US$ 52 for adults). Students and children under 15 years old pay 84 Peruvian Soles (about US$ 30).

2. Student discounts: Students with a valid International Student Identity Card (ISIC) receive a US$20 discount on the price of the entrance fee but you must inform the tour operator at the time of making your reservation and bring the card with you on the Inca Trail. No other forms of student identity are acceptable i.e. letters from college, international youth identity cards etc. The tour operator will purchase a student trek permit for you (clearly marked only for students). At the start of the Inca Trail your permit will be checked and you will be asked to show your ISIC card and passport. If the card is not valid or you forget to take your card then there is a very high possibility that you will not be allowed to start the trek. This can cause major disappointment and also delay entry of the rest of the group to the trail. In the past you could just pay an additional fee for a standard trek permit.

3. Restricted numbers of trekkers: Over the last five years Peru has become a more popular travel destination especially since Machu Picchu became one of the 7 new wonders of the World.. There are many great treks throughout Peru but the Inca Trail is the most well known. During the peak season of 2000 many campsites became crowded and the trail became littered with rubbish. In early 2001 the Government proposed to reduce the number of people on the trail to 500 per day. This figure roughly comprises 200 tourists and 300 trekking staff (guides, cooks and porters).

In 2002 and 2003 the government tried to enforce the 500 limit but, due to many complaints by the local tour operators, they gave into pressure during the busy months of July and August and allowed an extra 200 persons. Since 2004 the government has strictly enforced the 500 limit, and many trekkers were disappointed that there were no spaces available.

4. Making an Inca Trail trek booking: Since only 500 trek permits are issued per day for the Inca Trail (trek permits are also required for the porters and cooks) it is important to try to make a trek reservation as far ahead as possible. There is no clear rule as to how far ahead is enough to guarantee you a space since this depends on demand. As a guide, however, we recommend the following:

  • December, January, March: 2 months in advance, 3 or 4 months in advance for departures around Christmas
  • April, October, November: 3 months in advance, 4 months in advance around Easter
  • May, September: 4-5 months in advance
  • June, July, August: 5-6 months in advance

5. Maximum Group Size: The maximum allowable group size is 16 persons. For groups larger than 8 persons there must be 2 guides. (On the shorter 2 day trek there must be 2 guides for groups larger than 07 persons)

6. Porters Working Conditions: In April 2002 a new law was introduced to set a minimum wage for all porters on the Inca Trail. This has followed years of exploitation. This wage is 45 Peruvian Soles per day which is about US$ 16. It may not seem a lot but wages are all relative to livings costs and compared to other professions 45 Soles is quite well paid. Even though the law exists it is not being enforced and many companies are still paying their porters as low as US$ 5 per day. In 2002 the maximum weight that a porter can carry was limited to 25kg (20kg load + 5kg personal items). All porters have their weight checked by government officials at the start of the trail.

However even this system is open to abuse and many tour operators get their guides and assistants to carry large loads across the checkpoint where they are dropped and left for the porters to pick up. Many trekkers who have hired an extra porter are also asked to carry their bags across the checkpoint to be given to the porters after they have been weighed. So even with the new regulations and a weigh-station at the beginning of the trail it is still possible to see porters carry loads of up to 35kg.

7. Inca Trail Closure during the month of February: The route of the classic 4-day Inca Trail will be closed each year during the month of February to allow conservation projects to be undertaken as well as giving the vegetation a chance to recover. This is a good month to close the trail since it is also the wettest month of the year. Machu Picchu and the shorter 2-day trail will remain open as usual.

8. Licensed trek operators: The INC (Institute of National Culture) is the regulatory body responsible for controlling access to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. In order to operate the Inca Trail companies must meet certain basic requirements proving that they have professional guides and good camping equipment, radio communications and emergency first aid including oxygen. The license to operate the Inca Trail is renewed at the beginning of each year. Due to legal problems the Government has found it hard to withdraw licenses from poor performing companies and every tour operator that has satisfied the basic requirements has so far been given a license. Legislation is likely to be introduced later in 2008 to give more power to the Ministry of Tourism and allow them to fine, suspend or close badly performing companies. A comprehensive list of licensed Inca Trail tour operators can be found by clicking here.