Grab your trekking shoes and trail mix, guys. The Inca Trail is open for 2016! Ever since 2002, the Peruvian government has said you can’t trek your way to Machu Picchu without a permit and a registered operator, and ever since 2002 the scrabble for these Wonka-style golden tickets has been intense. Only 500 people per day can trek the Inca Trail (200 travellers, and 300 porters and guides).
So if you want to see sunrise over the Lost City of the Incas this year, here’s all the info you need.
How do I book my permit?
We’ll take care of your Inca Trail permits when you book your tour, so you don’t have to worry about the details. When you arrive on the Inca Trail, your leader will have the passes waiting for you. Easy.
When do I need to book?
It depends on when you want to go. For treks in December, January and March, you can get away with 5-7 weeks in advance. For treks in April, October and November, 8-10 weeks is okay. For busier months though, you really want to plan ahead. Treks in May or September should be booked about 3-4 months in advance, and if you want to walk it in June, July or August, allow about 5-6 months for the permit to go through.
How much does it cost?
Put away that wallet – your permit is already included in the cost of your tour.
Can I go without a tour company?
Nope. Sorry. Solo trekking of the Inca Trail is no longer permitted. Take it up with UNESCO.
What do I need to bring with me on the trek?
Your permit, obviously, but also some valid ID that can confirm your name. A drivers license or passport should do fine. You’ll also need the all the usual trekking equipment to keep your body in tip-top order. For basics, we recommend:
- Two pairs of good trekking shoes (preferably worn in for a few months)
- A few pairs of good quality, breathable socks. plenty of socks
- Insect repellent.
- A high factor sunscreen.
- Some polarised sunglasses.
- A light rain coat or poncho.
- Some layers for when it cools off at night.
- Trekking pants (the daggy ones that magically turn into shorts)
- A hat.
- A good water bottle.
When should I trek the Inca Trail?
If you want to avoid the worst of the crowds, pick a shoulder month like May or October. The weather should still be fine, and it won’t be quite as packed as in June, July or August.
Feature image c/o Jared Smith, Flickr