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Inca Trail Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance should we reserve our space on the Inca Trail?

We recommend that you make a reservation for the Inca Trail as far in advance as possible. From trips from October to March, we suggest booking six weeks in advance and from May to September, eight weeks. In the high-season (July to August) we advise a minimum of eight to ten weeks. Government restrictions designed to protect the route limits the number of trekkers to 500 per day, including guides, porters and cooks.

If the trail is fully booked there are many alternative Inca trails that follow other Inca roads systems which can include an optional visit to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes.

Do I need to buy a trail permit to hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

Yes. All who use the hiking trails in the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary are required to purchase a trail permit. Companies which claim to offer you a trek that does not require a permit are offering a trek which does not enter the Machu Picchu Sanctuary.

How do I buy the permit?

As part of confirming you on one of our treks, we purchase permits not only for you but for the porters and other trek crew who haul your gear and look after trek operations. In the following discussion, we use "permit" in both the singular sense ("you need a permit to trek in the park") and in the collective sense ("we purchase a permit for 8 passengers plus trek crew"). Before we can purchase your permit, we need: your full name as it appears on your valid passport (IMPORTANT: check the passport expiry date!), your passport number, your date of birth, and gender. This information appears in the official trail documents and is checked carefully against your passport at control gates on the trail. If the information does not match, you may be refused access to the park and lose your trek.

I need to renew my passport. How can I get a permit without a valid passport?

We can purchase the permit using your expired passport number. You then must bring both the expired passport and your new passport with you on the trail, and present both documents at the checkpoints. If your passport agency does not return your original passport, then it is essential that you keep a photocopy of the ID page of the original passport, and bring that with you to Peru. If you have no passport at all, then you cannot join a trek until you obtain a passport. If your name or passport number varies from what you supplied to us for the permit application, then the park authority may deny you access to the trail. Therefore, it is essential that you supply accurate passport data, and bring this passport with you to the trek.

I noticed that I gave you an incorrect passport number when I applied to join the trek. Can you fix that?

So long as permits are available for your trek date, we can purchase a new permit with the new passport number to allow you to participate in the trek. The cost of the original permit is non-refundable. At the trek orientation you will have to pay for both the old permit and the new permit. If no more permits are available, then park authorities may refuse to grant you access to the Inca Trail if your passport number does not match that listed on the permit.

I lost my passport which I gave you to purchase the permit. I’m applying for a new one. What happens now?

So long as permits are available for your trek date, we can purchase a new permit with the new passport number to allow you to participate in the trek. The cost of the original permit is non-refundable. At the trek orientation you will have to pay for both the old permit and the new permit. If no more permits are available, then park authorities may refuse to grant you access to the Inca Trail if your passport number does not match that listed on the permit.

Is it possible to join a trekking group close to the trek departure date?

For all dates but those very early and very late in the trekking season, the answer is a resounding NO. Trekking permits sell out typically three months ahead of the trek date. The park authorities allow only 500 people to enter the park for any given day. Each person who enters that day needs to be listed on a permit, including guides, cooks, porters, and trekkers. From the end of March through the end of October, if you’re not on a roster three months prior to your trek, you’ll likely find that no permits are left. When that happens, you have two options – change your holiday dates, or trek outside the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary. For an excellent alternate route, we suggest our Alternative Treks ending in Machu Picchu