Inca Trail Permits & Availability 2024

Inca Trail Availability

The availability of Inca Trail permits can vary depending on the time of year and the demand for the permits. However, there are a limited number of permits available each day, and they tend to sell out quickly, especially during the high season from April to September.

The Ministry of Culture of Peru issues permits for the Inca Trail six months in advance, and they release them in batches throughout the year. The exact dates for when the permits become available can vary, but generally, the permits for the high season (May to September) are released in October (a year early),

It’s important to note that the number of permits available is limited to 500 per day, which includes all hikers, guides, and porters. This means that once the permits for a specific date are sold out, there are no more permits available for that day – No one has it at all.

If you are planning to hike the Inca Trail, it’s recommended to book your permit as soon as possible, ideally six months in advance, to ensure availability. It’s also important to book with a licensed tour operator who can help you secure your permit and guide you through the process.

Some frequently asked questions about the Inca Trail

Inca trail hike
Inca trail Hike
  • What is the Inca Trail?. The Inca Trail is a 42-kilometer hiking route that takes visitors through stunning mountainous landscapes and ancient archaeological sites to the citadel of Machu Picchu in Cusco – Peru.
  • Do I need a permit to hike the Inca Trail?. Yes, a special permit is required to hike the Inca Trail, which is regulated by the Ministry of Culture of Peru. Only 500 permits are issued per day, and they sell out quickly, so it’s recommended to purchase them as early as possible (at least 6 months in advance).
  • How long is the Inca Trail? . The classic Inca Trail is a 4-day, 3-night hike that covers a distance of 42 kilometers. However, there are also shorter 2-day and longer 7-day options available.
  • How difficult is the Inca Trail?. The Inca Trail is a challenging hike that requires a good physical condition. The trail reaches a maximum altitude of 4,215 meters, and the hike involves steep climbs and descents, as well as varying weather conditions.
  • Do I need a guide to hike the Inca Trail?. Yes, all hikers must hire an authorized tour guide to hike the Inca Trail. Additionally, a team of porters is required to carry camping equipment and food.
  • When is the best time to hike the Inca Trail?. The best time to hike the Inca Trail is during the dry season from April to September, when there is less rain and the weather is milder. However, this is also the busiest time of year, and the permits tend to sell out quickly.
  • What should I pack for the Inca Trail? It’s recommended to pack warm and waterproof clothing, sturdy hiking boots, a backpack, a sleeping bag, and a headlamp. It’s also important to bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as any necessary medication.
  • Is the Inca Trail permit refundable? The Inca trail permits are non-refundable and non-transferable to another person because the Ministry of culture does not give back the travel companies any money when clients change dates or cancel. The agency must purchase a new permit if a client changes dates. If any travel company tells you that the permit is refundable, they are for sure not telling the truth and they are not Inca Trail operators.  It is as simple as if a traveler cancels their space is not given to anyone else.

What can I do if  Inca Trail permits are already sold out for my desired date?

If Inca Trail permits are already sold out for your desired date, there are still other options available to explore the region and the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. Here are a few alternatives:

  • Alternative treks: There are several alternative treks to Machu Picchu, including the Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, and Choquequirao Trek, which offer stunning scenery and unique cultural experiences.
  • Train and bus: You can still visit Machu Picchu by taking the train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and then taking a bus to the ruins.
  • Visit other ruins: Peru is home to many other impressive archaeological sites, such as the ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, which can be visited as day trips from Cusco.
  • Consider a different time of year: If your desired date falls during the high season, it may be worth considering a different time of year when there is less demand for permits.

It’s important to note that some of these options, such as alternative treks and visiting other ruins, may also require permits, so be sure to check with authorized tour operators for availability and required permits.

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Book now your permits below for 2024

Sam Travel Peru is an official operator of the Inca Trail based in the city of Cusco with excellent 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor, even rated as #1 Inca Trail operator. They can help you organize your trip to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, offering a variety of tourist and trekking packages that adapt to your preferences and budget. With your expert guides and comfortable camping gear, you can enjoy a safe and unforgettable experience on the Inca Trail.

Availability Calendar for the 4-day Inca Trail

Join the thousands of satisfied customers who rate us #1 on TripAdvisor

Bernie s 2023/03/02

Had a great trip with our guide Ray Herrera and driver Alfredo. Lots of good experiences in a short period of time 4 days. Learnt a lot not just about the main tourist destinations but Peru in general by Ray. Ray has a passion for Inca history and local produce. Ray knows all the good photo spots and we managed the sun out every day .. Good culture and if you want to get on a tour ask for Ray at Sams Travel = amazing

Tanya H 2023/03/02

Ray was our Tour Guide and Alfredo was our driver for a 4 day tour we did with SAM Travel Peru. Ray's knowledge of the history of Cusco and Machu Picchu was outstanding. Ray was very accommodating with all our needs. He stayed alongside us when trekking and helped where he could. His sense of humour was pleasant to be around. Ray spoke very good English. He is such a nice guy. I would strongly recommend Ray to be your tour guide to visit Machu Picchu. Ray explained everyday what the plans were for the next day, which was reassuring what we needed to take etc

Captanjack 2023/01/012

Our 1 day tour thru the Sacred Vally with Danny was wonderful. He was very knowledgeable and able to answer all our questions in detail. I would recommend asking for him personally if you are able.

Sherry 2022/12/26

We booked the Classic Cusco to Machu Picchu tour with SAM travel which we really had a good experience. SAM travel is very responsive during the communication and cater to our changes needed. Our guide is Ray who is also an very awesome guide. He is knowledgeable, patient, humorous as well reliable, he help us take many good photos and also go extra mile to help with our request. Thanks Ray! Thanks SAM travel that gave us good memories in Peru! Highly recommend if you consider booking any tour in Cusco.

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C Clark 2023/01/20

Wow. We had such an incredible experience in Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Our guide, Dayvit, is the most knowledgeable guide we have ever had. He has such an extensive knowledge of the history and is very friendly and helpful. If you are planning a trip to Peru, I highly recommend SAM travel and be sure to request Dayvit!

Emma Dinzebach Clark 2023/01/10

2 day tour sacred valley / Machu Picchu highly recommend! David was the best tour guide. He knows an incredible amount about Incan culture and is personable and funny. He also kept us up to date on a political situation happening when we were there and was informative. Overall, this tour checks all the boxes. Thank you!

Nupur Joshi 2023/01/02

We used SAM Travel for a 2D/1N trip from Cusco to Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu on Dec 25-26, 2022. The team was good with communication from the start - both Saul and Junior were very helpful and professional with answering any questions and clearing up any misunderstandings. Our guide, Miguel, was prompt, pleasant, and quite knowledgeable. We enjoyed his company and insight over the 2 day trip and recommend him to anyone booking with SAM Travel.

Xueying Chen 2022/12/20

We booked the Classic Cusco to Machu Picchu tour with SAM travel which we really had a good experience. SAM travel is very responsive during the communication and cater to our changes needed. Our guide is Ray who is also an very awesome guide. He is knowledgeable, patient, humorous as well reliable, he help us take many good photos and also go extra mile to help with our request. Thanks Ray! Thanks SAM travel that gave us good memories in Peru! Highly recommend if you consider booking any tour in Cusco.

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Brandon Slater 2022/09/30

My wife and I just completed two excursions with SAM Travel Peru and we absolutely loved them. We did the 4 Day Salkantay Wilderness + Machu Picchu and then the 2-Day Rainbow Mountain + 7 Lakes trek with guide Carlos Estrada, chefs Nerio & Lucio, and horseman Unarato. Over the last 6 days we have learned so much about the Inca culture, discovered some of the most incredible sights, and ate delicious food every step of the way. We would definitely recommend SAM Travel (especially with Carlos!) to anyone that wants an incredible Peruvian adventure. The Wilderness trek is a much quieter trail than the standard Salkantay and goes a bit higher elevation, but camping at the base of Salkantay was incredible. Carlos's guided tour through Machu Picchu was so informative. We would have missed so much without him taking the time to share his knowledge.

Kellie Taylor 2022/04/06

Big thanks to David he was an amazing tour guide who really cared for our group. He allowed us to go at our own pace and was a brilliant photographer He was really funny and is full of interesting information & his passion for his inca ancestors is very obvious and warming. He also brought us to great restaurants! This company are very good and from what I can recall were cheaper than most. Thank you!

Mike Geelhoed 2021/06/10

They took care of everything! Saul the owner is very responsive and helpful. Johnny our guide was fantastic, as were our chef, assistant chef and horsemen. I can’t recommend them highly enough and will definitely use them again if we return to Peru!

Janice-Kaneki Chen 2020/01/28

Three of us decided to choose Sam Travel Peru, reason being is it is a local travel company that help indegenious communities. We picked Lares Trek 4D3N to have cultural experience while hiking. Good foods provided by talented Mario Chef! Johnny is our tour guide, very helpful tour guide. He even helped me to carry my daypack as I was too exhausted to carry it on day 1 hiking. Strongly recommend to those like to have local experience while hiking.

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