Are you hoping to hike the Inca Trail in 2018? Ever since Machu Picchu earned the distinction of being one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, its popularity has been increasing steadily and we are seeing people from every possible corner of the world now in Peru sporting trekking poles and camelbacks! The Inca Trail is selling out as much as 6 months in advance.
It's never too early to start thinking of making your dream come true! Permits for our 2017 season (which starts in March 2017) are released in mid-January for the next year, but booking early is key to making sure you get your preferred start date - especially for March, April, May and June treks, some dates of which sell out the very day they are released. (February 2017 the Inca Trail will close for a month – February is our wettest month - during which time maintenance of the Trail is also carried out.)
Many people don’t realize that there is a limit of 500 trekkers per day to start the Inca Trail, and that number includes all of the support staff – guides, cooks, and porters. In order to preserve the integrity of this famous part of what the Inca called the Qhapaq Ñan – the 24,800 mile system of paths that run through the Andes and the ancient Inca Empire and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – no hooved pack animals are allowed along the majority of what is now known as the Inca Trail. We therefore have to rely on people to help us carry camping gear, food, sleeping and cooking supplies. In ancient times these people were called “chaskis” that ran like lightning along these paths tag-team style, and were famed for the speed in which they could get messages across the vast expanse of the Inca Empire.
Today, for each group of 6 trekkers, Alpaca Expeditions will have 11 porters, 1 chef and 1 guide. So you can see that we need triple the number of permits to enter the Inca Trail as we have trekkers. Thus the high demand for the 500-per-day permits.
This is how to maximize your chances of receiving a permit to hike the Inca Trail:
Fill in our Booking Form with all of your details – we must have your accurate passport information as well to secure your permit (if you are in the process of renewing your passport, send us your old passport information and we can later update it with your new passport number). On the Booking Form we will need your first, second and third choices for dates to start your Inca Trail hike.
With your deposit of $200 per person, we will put your reservation in a queue for your requested dates and on the day that the permits are released we will be in the Permit Office. Though at this point we cannot guarantee that we will get you a particular date, but last year we did secure 95% of our client’s first date preferences.
The entire month of May sold out in the first few hours when permits were released this year. The important thing is to secure your permit to enter the Inca Trail – you can make decisions regarding staying extra nights, equipment rental or dietary restrictions once we have your permit in hand. Please be aware that once we have your permit to enter the Inca Trail in your name, it is 100% non-refundable and non-transferable. The Peruvian government does not allow for any changes at all to names or dates. We recommend that you wait until you have a permit to make your airline reservations.
So – what are you waiting for?
If you have any questions at all, please write to us at AlpacaExpeditions.com.