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Inca Trail: what you need to know

The most popular hiking route in Peru is known as one of the best treks in the world

Peru is a popular destination for lovers of hiking and trekking. It has many great routes, but the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most well-known. In 2001, the Peruvian government introduced changes to the management of the Inca Trail to protect it from overuse. The number of people who can hike the route has been reduced, and tour operator services have been improved, but the booking system means travelers must make their reservations many months in advance. All the official trekking companies offering the Inca Trail must renew their operating license every December.

The maximum of 500 people permitted to walk the Inca Trail each day includes around 200 tourists, as well as 300 guides, porters and auxiliary staff such as cooks and camping personnel. Only groups with a maximum of 16 members are allowed on the Inca Trail, and any group larger than 8 must be accompanied by a minimum of 2 registered trekking guides.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is closed every year in February, at the height of the rainy season, for maintenance and conservation work. In February, at Andean Adventures Peru we offer a number of alternative hiking and trekking routes.

Because of the limited availability of Inca Trail permits, we recommend booking the trek up to 10 months in advance, particularly for dates during the high season (April to September each year). When you contact us to book your Inca Trail, you must provide the following information: Name as it appears on your passport, nationality, gender, and date of birth. Any discrepancy between the information you provide and that featuring on your passport could mean you are denied access to the Inca Trail. When we acquire an Inca Trail permit on your behalf, we must also purchase the entrance tickets for the porters who will accompany you. These government regulations mean there can be no refund for cancelled or unused Inca Trail permits.

During the Inca Trail trek, gear is carried by porters. The loads carried by porters are checked at the ranger station, and each porter is only allowed to carry 20 kilograms (44 pounds). Rules like these have improved porters’ working conditions. At Andean Adventures Peru, we are committed to porters’ rights and wellbeing, as well as to providing the very best Inca Trail to Machu Picchu service.

If you’d like to experience the destinations and activities mentioned in this article, contact us and we’ll help you create your Peru vacation!
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