Be aware of the rules and regulations to hike the Inca trail. If you want to experience a walk on the trail, you’ll have to hurry! They only permit 500 people per day which includes support staff. That only leaves 200 spots for tourist which makes this trail a limited experience. The Inca Trail is also part of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary and if you enter the Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail at early sunrise, you’ll be seeing it at its best. The Machu Picchu is also a protected area managed by the Peru National Institute of Natural Resources. This combination makes experiencing a walk on this trail a definite bucket list item!
Permits & availability
The trail permit availability is regulated by the Peruvian Government. Previously, trekkers used to walk this trail unregulated. During the peak seasons of July and August 1996 to 2001, as much as 1000 tourists per day were exploring this trail. Since there were no regulations in place, it resulted in trekkers camping wherever they wanted and the ruins being used as toilets and rubbishes heaps. UNESCO threatened to remove Inca Trails’ status as a World Heritage Site after they started receiving a lot of negative press. In order to uphold their reputation, the Peruvian Government introduced the new regulations in 2002 and by 2005 the number of people permitted per day was strictly limited to 500. Now, trekkers can’t do the trail independently anymore and the number of trekkers per day is regulated. Thanks to these regulations, the Peruvian authorities are successfully protecting the Inca Trails for future generations and they are highly praised for this. Hopefully they follow the same procedure for the Machu Picchu itself since it currently has no restrictions on the number of visitors allowed to enter the ruins.
For more information about availability please click at Availability
International Student Identity Card (ISIC) its necessary to book the Inca Trail permit and it must be valid. Invalid cards are not allowed to enter and no money fees is reimburse.
Rules and Procedures
All visitors are required to obey park rules and regulations at all times. This includes the prohibiting of littering, cutting, damaging, removing or killing of any fauna and flora as well as lighting open fires or camping on archeological sites or sites not listed as authorized campsites.
To gain access to the Inca Trail, certain procedures need to be followed. These include:
Payment of entrance fees.
IN order to receive a valid document issued by the Instituto Nacional the Cultura granting you access to the Inca Trails as well as the Machu Picchu, your visit to this site must be booked and paid in advance. No payment will be accepted by the entry control points. The ticket is personal and non-transferable. No refunds will be granted either.
After receiving a corresponding reservation code, the Departmental Headquarters of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura in Cusco will make your reservation. Reservations are subject to the daily capacity as set out in the trail regulations. Advance reservations are recommended.
Since such strict regulations have been implemented to preserve the Inca Trails, only registered travel operators, like River Explorers, can purchase permits on behalf of travelers. In order for them to do this for you, you need to:
- Provide River Explorers with a legible copy of your passport at the time that you request your Inca Trail permit. A booking or confirmation cannot be made without this since permits are linked to your personal details. It is imperative that passport information is 100% correct since modifications that need to be made to your booking will result in a loss of the permit as well as any fees paid.
- All passports used for bookings must have a minimum of 6 months validity after the end of your Inca Trial tour.
- Wrong information on tourists will result in the non-acceptance of entrance permits and no reimbursement fees will be made in this case.
- It is advised to make your booking at least 6 months in advance so that permit applications can be put in early, although advanced bookings don’t guarantee entrance since they can only be made once permits go on sale.
Necessary gear to get the certification
Every year tour operators who want to run Inca Trail tours they need to obtain a certification. This means that all companies need to go through an exhaustive examination of documents, gear and other details in order to get the certification. The minimum error will lead to loss of any permits.
You can feel safe knowing that agencies, guides and the assistance crew should always be equipped with the following items:
- Sleeping bag (Need to be according the season from -15 C / 5 F to 1 C/ 38 F)
- Sleeping pads.
- Tents (appropriate tents according the season: 4 and 3 season)
- Backpacks for porters to carry the equipment and food.
- Water bottles.
- Water filters.
- First aid kit with all accessories, one general for the company and other for the guide.
- Oxygen bottle with mask.
- Portable gas stove
- Rescue ropes.
- Portable VHF radio device.
- Maps templates of the Inca Trail Network
- Plastic filters for organic and inorganic sediments.
- Proper containers for human waste.
- Toilet tent.
- Authorized guides should carry these items.
Gear for crew:
Its up to every company to provide a better gear for porters and cookers.
- Winter jackets
- Rain coats and thick plastic protection for tents.
- Back protection.
- Hiking shoes.
Restrictions and prohibited items.
Since lists of what is needed are provided, there are quite a few items that are strictly forbidden to ensure the safety of tourists and preservation of the environment. These items are:
- Any kind of hunting gear including knifes, axes or similar.
- Fire arms or any kind of explosives including fireworks.
- Fuels such us kerosene, diesel oil, gasoline or similar.
- Drugs or any kind of stimulants, in fact drugs are not allowed by the current national legislation.
- Any products in glass containers including water.
- Noise generators including radios, speakers or any sound devices that may disturb the ecosystem of the area.
- Pets or any domestic animals.
- Walking sticks with rubber ferrule ends, metallic or wooden ferrule are nor accepted.
- Vehicles of any kind including bicycles, tricycles or others.
- Professional filming equipment for unauthorized commercial purposes.
- Drones or any type of flying device.
- It’s absolutely prohibited to make camp fires.
- Make unnecessary noises.
- Practice rock climbing or similar.
Another worry that most visitors have is the handling of waste. Luckily, travel agents, tourist guides and assistance crew are equipped to separate waste generated during their stay in the Inca Trail Network efficiently.
Exploring the Inca Trails is a wonderful experience and a must on any traveler’s list. Be sure to follow the correct procedures to make your booking for this great experience soon!