Machu Picchu trail permits allow visitors to join organized groups to trek the Classic Inca Trail and two other alternative trails to access the ruins. Read our guide for more facts and information…
Travelers or pilgrims who wish to walk on the ancient Incan trail to visit the ruins of the Lost City must have Machu Picchu hike permits. Three of the trails are controlled by the Peruvian government, requiring travelers to join a licensed tour to access the trail. Trail services are available as group services or private services. The former is a pooled service with a maximum allowable size of 16 members. The latter is for a smaller private group looking for more convenience and flexibility, and willing to pay more.
Machu Picchu trek permits
In order to preserve the ancient trails to Machu Picchu, the Peruvian authorities have enforced a limit on the number of hikers per day; only 500 persons (200 visitors and 300 porters + guides+ cooks) can trek each day. Participants must be a part of an organized trekking group, and tour operators must furnish the names and passport numbers of the visitors in their group before purchasing permits.
The 4-day Classic Inca Trail and two other alternative hikes are governed by the authorities. The alternative hikes namely, Salkantay Trek and Inca Jungle Trek are cheaper and offered by most Cusco tour agencies. The former is a 5-day trek through amazing sceneries in the Salkantay Mountain Pass, and the latter combines a bike ride with hiking.
The permits cannot be transferred and dates cannot be changed after issuance. At the time of reservation, travelers must furnish complete information, including full name, date of birth, nationality and passport details.
Machu Picchu government permits
Trekking companies that operate the Inca Trail must be licensed by the Peruvian government. The license is issued annually every December. Some companies serve as agents to connect tourists to a licensed operator. Operating companies must carry the essentials, such as kitchen and dining tent, oxygen, first-aid kit, and so on. As per the government standards, the trekking group must have a maximum of 16 members and have enough porters, guides and cooks. Porters must also be provided with sleeping bags, backpacks, warm clothes and support belts to carry the loads. They must have insurance and their load weight is also limited.
Availability of trek permits
As the number of hiking permits is restricted to 500 per day, it is important to book months ahead of a trip to Machu Picchu. The peak season lasts from May to September, when permits sell out very fast. It is advisable to book about four months in advance to secure a place in the peak season. In the low season, i.e. December and January, permits may sometimes be available even a week before the planned date. In order to carry out conservation projects, the trail remains closed during February. However, if the Inca Trail is completely booked for a given date, you can consider an alternative trail trek.
Some treks, such as Lares Valley, Choquequirao, Ausangate and Santa Teresa trails, do not require permits.