Always wanted to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu? Of course you have. We all have too (luckily we have already done the trek, but we still want to do it again). Well, you better act fast before permits sell out, likely before January 1, 2017 for premium dates.
But did you know that only about 200 trekkers (500 total permits, but most go to guides and porters) are allowed to start the trek on “The Inca Trail.” In reality there are lots and lots of Inca trails in South America, but this stretch to Machu Picchu claimed the name, and since it is the only way to arrive to Machu Picchu on foot on an Inca Trail, it is very popular. Like, really popular. So popular, in fact, that permits to trek the trail in April and May often sell out the first day permits are available. Other popular months, like June, July, and August sell out quickly as well, with most other dates selling out 3-6 months in advance.
In past years permits weren’t issued for the upcoming season until January or February. This year Inca Trail permits will be available in December for the first time since the permitting system was started, with March dates available to be claimed on December 19, 2016. What does that mean for you? Well, if you want to trek the Inca Trail this year (why wait, it will only get harder to get permits in the future), you should act fast so that you can grab a permit on the date you want before they sell out. Hopefully because nobody was expecting the permits to be available until January they won’t sell out for any dates on day 1. They still will sell out quickly.
As of now, it looks like permits will be available on the following schedule:
Monday, December 19, 2016, reservations for March will be accepted
Tuesday, December 21, 2016, for April
Wednesday, December 22, 2016, for May
Thursday, December 23, 2016, for June
Friday, December 24, 2016, it then opens for July onwards.
However, this schedule is tentative and it would surprise no one if this is delayed. Either way, book now so you can get the dates that fit your travel plans.
Our favorite way to trek the Inca Trail is on a 5-day schedule which allows you to avoid most of the crowds who travel and camp together on the 4-day schedule, and it allows more time at ruins along the way and at Machu Picchu.
Here are a couple of our favorite Inca Trail Treks: