The Inca Trail is one of the most famous walks in the world that will take you to see the citadel of Machu Picchu. Being able to live this adventure is the dream of every traveler since you travel the ancient path that the Incas built, while you have to accompany you the beauty of the natural landscapes of the Andes, the jungle, and immense valleys, to end your journey in one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
This path is part of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, and for this reason, the Government of Peru has a regulation for the Inca Trail, which allows the care and protection of this entire area, and also guarantees the safety of visitors. This allows us as travelers the possibility of knowing more about the availability of permits, prohibitions, times when we should not travel, among other topics that will help us to be better prepared for this incredible trip.
New regulations of the Inca Trail
Over the years the rules have been changing due to the increase in visitors to this route and these are some of the new regulations that must be taken into account:
- Only a maximum of 500 people per day will be able to access the Inca Trail, an amount that includes authorized guides, cooks, and porters. In other words, the total number of tourists is limited to approximately 200.
- Applications for permission to enter the Inca Trail must be documented and paid (total amount) with a minimum of 48 hours prior to the date of entry.
- After entering the Inca Trail, the visitor will not be able to extend their stay for the amount of time indicated on the entrance ticket within the established route.
- All the people who enter the Inca Trail must identify themselves with their original documents at the control points of the Ministry of Culture.
- Due to conservation and restoration reasons, there may be periods of restriction and closure of the use of the Inca Trail. Users will be informed 30 days in advance, except in the event of an unforeseen event of force majeure, in this case, it applies without prior notice.
- It is prohibited to use the Inca Trail from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am, except in proven exceptional cases.
- All users of the Inca Trail, especially representatives of travel agencies, must segregate solid waste into organic and inorganic and take it outside the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
Organized Groups with Travel and Tourism Agencies
The use of the Inca Trail is made through travel and tourism agencies or by guides. In both cases, they must be authorized to operate this route. The groups are made up of visitors, tourist guides, and support staff (cooks, porters, and others), in addition, the groups can be made up of a maximum of 42 people.
Availability of permits for the Inca Trail
You must bear in mind that in order to obtain the permits for the Inca Trail you have to do it well in advance since only 500 people per day can enter at most. In addition, due to maintenance, conservation and cleaning works, as well as heavy rains, this route is closed during the month of February of each year.
The only way to make an excursion on the Inca Trail is through the services of a tourism agency authorized by the Ministry of Culture of Peru. It’s only possible to make reservations through the internet. No tourism agency has greater availability of permits to carry out the Inca Trail.
The demand to access the Inca Trail is so great that you shouldn’t be surprised if the availability of permits runs out in an instant. In that case, there’s no way to obtain more entry permits.
The permits are issued in your name, therefore they are not transferable in any case. No matter how many clients cancel their reservations on the Inca Trail, no one else can use these spaces.
It’s recommended to reserve the entrance to the Inca Trail several months in advance since, in addition to the high demand, there’s a limit of 500 people per day that includes visitors, guides, cooks, and porters.
To confirm your reservation you must provide the following information:
- Full name
- Passport number
- Copy of passport
- Full payment (100%)
Prohibitions / Restrictions
Along the Inca Trail, there are several archaeological centers and an immense diversity of flora and fauna. All these elements must be respected, so you must bear in mind that this is what’s forbidden on the trail:
- Alter or contaminate the natural, cultural, and/or archaeological monuments landscape.
- Camping or staying overnight outside of assigned camps.
- Enter and/or use elements that violate the cultural and natural heritage.
- Make bonfires in archaeological monuments and / or areas close to the natural environment.
- Climb the walls, make traces on the dirt floors or scratches on the archaeological monuments, and/or make any type of graffiti.
- Disturb or affect flora and fauna species.
- Perform overflights and / or use the airspace without prior authorization from the competent authorities.
- Place public or commercial announcements.
- Transit and work in an ethyl state or under the influence of narcotic drugs
- Entry and transit of motorized vehicles
- Carry out the transfer of tourists from one group to another
- The abandonment of the group of tourists by the tour guide.
- Obscene acts.
Items not allowed
This is the list of all the things that cannot be carried for the Inca Trail. You will realize that many of these elements are not really necessary on a trip:
- Firearms, hunting, fishing implements, axes, machetes, hunting knives (of which the steel blade exceeds 7 cm in length), picks, shovels, or other tools.
- Any type of trap to catch animals.
- Fuel like oil, diesel, and gasoline.
- Alcoholic beverages, stimulants, psychotropic drugs, narcotics, and other drugs. The prohibition of drug use is in all of Peru.
- Drinks and products with a glass container.
- Sound equipment and other noise nuisance generators (musical instruments).
- Domestic and exotic animals.
- Metal-tipped canes that do not have rubber protectors, as well as wooden canes of native species.
- Transport vehicles such as bicycles, tricycles, or others.
- Drones or any type of smaller ship and professional filming equipment for commercial purposes that have not been authorized.
Minimum mandatory equipment for guides and agencies
- Sleeping bags
- Insulators or mattress
- Canteen for water
- First aid kit
- Oxygen Balloon
- Location plans of the Inca Road Network
- Water filters
- Plastic screens to filter sediment from dirty water
- Propane gas burners
- Inelastic rescue ropes (9 mm diameter)
- VHF portable radio communication equipment adjusted to the frequency of the Ministry of Culture radios, only in cases of emergency.
- Appropriate deposit for transportation of solid waste.
Travel and tourism agencies, guides, and support personnel are required to carry out the segregation, transport, and final disposal of solid waste that’s generated during the stay on the Inca Trail and remove it outside the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
This is a job that everyone must do, for that reason in companies like Salkantay Trekking all its personnel is trained to be able to develop good environmental practices and promote the preservation of this important path.
These are the rules that as visitors we must take into account and comply with, since in this way we are taking care of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, but it also helps us to know what we should and should not do when we make our visit to this wonder.