Grab your trekking shoes and trail mix, folks. Inca Trail permits for the 2019 trekking season go on sale on October 1!
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 trip, 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. But for busier months, 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 trip.
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:
- A pair of good trekking shoes (preferably worn in for a few months)
- Good quality, breathable socks and plenty of ’em
- Insect repellent
- A high SPF sunscreen
- Some polarised sunglasses
- A light rain coat or poncho
- Some layers for when it cools off at night
- Trekking pants (the really cool ones that magically turn into shorts work well)
- A hat
- A reusable water bottle
- Hiking poles (or you can rent them in destination for about 10 USD)
- A day pack to carry anything you need during the day (water bottle, extra clothing layers, etc.)
When should I trek the Inca Trail?
The high season for trekking in Peru runs over the drier months (April to October). The most popular time to hike the Inca Trail is from June to August – which is therefore the most crowded time. 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. The only month that is completely off the table is February – the Peruvian government shuts down the trail for maintenance during this month.
More pre-trip reading:
- What it’s really like trekking the Inca Trail
- 7 things no-one tells you about the Inca Trail
- Eat up! A typical menu camping along the Inca Trail
- 7 ancient ruins you’ll get to see hiking the epic Inca Trail
- 5 top tips for staying safe on your Inca Trail trek
Ready to hike the Inca Trail? Explore all our Inca Trail trips.
All images c/o Intrepid Travel.