years ago the Peruvian Government proposed many changes to the
administration of the Inca Trail in a bid to protect its fragile
eco-structure from over-use. Most of these proposals have been aimed
at reducing the number of trekkers on the trail, improving the
quality of the tour operators and offering a reservation system
whereby trekkers will be forced to make their reservations many
weeks (even months) in advance. Some of the proposals were
introduced slowly throughout 2001 and 2002 but the Government
started to enforce the majority of the regulations more strictly in
2003. Further regulations have been introduced at the beginning of
2004 with the main aim of eliminating poor quality operators. All
trekking companies that operate the Inca Trail must have an
operating license which is issued every year at the end of February.
2005, the main changes made the booking process even more
restrictive. Now, the entrance permits have to be totally paid at
the moment of the purchase. This forced the travel agencies to start
the booking once all the payment has been made.
recommend you to make the Inca Trail reservation (which means
paying for the program) far in advance. In the low season
(Oct-Mar). We advise you to make a reservation at least 5 weeks in
advance. In May and September, we recommend you to make a
reservation 6 weeks in advance and for the peak months of June, July
and August we highly recommend a minimum of 6-8 weeks to make a
booking. If the entrance permit has been bought, and then you want
to change the date, the only means for making such change is to buy
the permit again.
you turn up in Cusco in the low season (November to April), you may
still find space available with some agencies 5-7 days prior to the
trek departure date. However, during May 2004 there were many people
who were disappointed not to find spaces available even arriving in
Cusco 3 weeks in advance. Things were even more difficult for people
arriving in June, July & August with it being impossible for
visitors to purchase last minute spaces on the Inca Trail upon
arrival (at least legitimately anyway).
detailed account of the Inca Trail regulations can be found below:
Inca Trail Park Regulations
Inca Trail is part of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, a protected area
managed by the Peru National Institute of Natural Resources, INRENA.
visitors must obey park regulations prohibiting littering, cutting
or damaging trees, removing or damaging stones of ruins and the
Trail, removing plants, killing animals, lighting open fires or
camping in the archeological sites (only authorized campsites can be
following procedures must be followed:
1. Payment of entrance fees:
The only valid document granting the right to walk the Inca Trails
Network - the Machupicchu Historical Sanctuary Network RED or SHM -
is the ticket issued by the Instituto Nacional the Cultura (INC).
This ticket is personal, non-transferable and includes the entrance
fee to Machu Picchu.
Payment for the right to use the RED can only be made in the city of
Cusco, and has a cost of US$62, usually included in the quote an
authorized agency provides. From August 2006 onwards, this cost will
Under no circumstances, payment for the use of the RED will be
accepted at its registry and entry control points.
Payment for the right to use the RED must be made a minimum of
thirty (30) days before beginning the trip and the acquisition must
be made under your name.
The reimbursement of payment for the right to use the RED is not
possible under any circumstance.
Reservations will be made in the offices of the Departmental
Headquarters of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura in Cusco,
receiving confirmation with corresponding reservation code.
Note: Reservations will be subject to the daily capacity emitted by
the UGM (500 people, including guides, porters, helpers and
visitors), therefore we recommend you to reserve your place far in
The entrance permits can be bought even 360 days before the trip
To buy the entrance permits, the Tour Operator must pay 100% and
provide full names, passport numbers, ages, nationalities and
passport photocopies of all those going on the trip, to the relevant
authorities. The traveler must send this information and documents
to us from his or her home country.
Wrong information on travelers will result in the non-acceptance of
their entrance permits, and no reimbursement of fees will be made in
Only people under 28 years old with valid International Student
Identification will be considered as a student, entitling them to a
discount on the RED entrance fee.