Among the most famous treks in the world, the Classic Inca Trail brings you to Machu Picchu under your own power- and there’s nothing like it! This four-day, three-night trek retraces the footsteps of the Inca along restored stone walkways that are more than 500 years old! The moderately difficult trek traverses the diverse ecological zones that comprise the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary. Trekkers have the opportunity to view a variety of flora and fauna species, including exotic orchids, colorful birds, and perhaps even the endangered Spectacled Bear, the only surviving bear species native to South America!
Trekkers visit multiple Inca ruins while camping under the stars each night. The trek culminates on the fourth and last day, when after a two-hour ascent to the famous Sun Gate, Inti Punku, Inca Trail hikers finally arrive at Machu Picchu! Trekkers who have completed the Inca Trail call it a life-changing experience.
Machu Picchu Morning – Photo Courtesy of Megan Gaston
If you dream of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 2016 –please take a few moments to read this blog and be sure to submit your details to your travel provider as soon as possible so you don’t miss out! Spots fill up fast!
The following paragraphs include some useful information for getting your preferred Inca Trail trek dates.
The Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu is limited to 500 permits each day- that translates to 200 permits for trekkers and 300 for trekking staff, mainly consisting of the porters that carry equipment for the trekkers.
Trekker with team of Porters on the Inca Trail – Photo Courtesy of Megan Gaston
Since they are limited, permits sell out 5 months in advance for the high season – May, June, and July. In spite of the fact that this system has been widely publicized on the Internet and in the guidebooks, Apus Peru receives literally hundreds of emails from people each year who are upset to have missed out on the traditional Inca Trail trek! In these cases, we may be able to offer alternate Peru treks; however we cannot emphasize this enough: if it’s your goal to hike the Inca Trail this year, apply for your permit as soon as possible!
Inca Trail permits go on sale around January 1st each year to authorized Inca Trail companies who have passed an inspection carried out the previous November. Inca Trail companies that have the names, passport numbers, and monetary deposits of their clients enter a lottery in order to purchase the permits. Since the Inca Trail is closed due to maintenance in February, the first permits sold are for March 2016, followed by April 2016, then May… etc. If you have not submitted your information early in January, then you have to wait until after the lottery period has passed, which can be as late as the end of January, to purchase Inca Trail permits – if they have not already sold out!
Patallaqta Ruins- Photo Courtesy of Megan Gaston
Every year is different, but generally the main dates that sell out in the lottery period during January are…
- The first week of March
- Around Easter (in 2016 Good Friday will fall on March 25th). We anticipate that the period between March 25th and April 4th may sell out during the initial lottery period.
- Various dates in May.
- Around the Solstice and Inti Raymi – June 21st – 24th.
Once a date is sold out – it’s literally SOLD OUT – permits are non-refundable and non-changeable, so you can’t pick up a spot if there is a cancellation. Getting your information to us in early in January is, therefore. your best bet to get the dates you want.
If you are already travelling and already have your flights booked, with little flexibility, then we strongly advise that you submit your details, passport number and deposit to your travel agent as early in January as possible. As the “Inca Trail Lottery” is truly a lottery, it’s impossible to predict what demand there will be for permits in 2016; however the demand increases every year. Therefore, some or many dates may sell out during the lottery period at the beginning of January.
If you have some flexibility with dates, and you are not ready to commit, we recommend that you get in contact with us, or your travel agent, as soon as possible. However, be aware that while we will do everything we can to secure your permits, the options for your departure dates may be limited, the longer you wait; and if you wait too long, the likelihood is that Inca Trail permits will be sold out.
Inca Trail Snow Peak – Photo Courtesy of Megan Gaston
Please note, if you book with Apus Peru you are dealing directly with an official Inca Trail Trek Operator: we are licensed by Peru’s Ministry of Culture to operate this trek. If you are dealing with a third-party operator, please be careful. Most importantly, we don’t want you to miss out on trekking the Classic Inca Trail in 2016 – reserve your Inca Trail Permits now!
From now until January 16th, Apus is offering a 6% discount for Inca Trail treks: use the code BLOG16 when booking the Inca Trail!
This links to directly to the form for you to contact us with your information: http://www.apus-peru.com/contact-us/
This is a link to the Classic Four-Day Inca Trail with Apus-Peru: http://www.apus-peru.com/treks/classic_inca_trail.html
**Note: Several other treks that Apus Peru offers also include all or part of the regulated Inca Trail, and also require permits. These routes include our two-day Short Inca Trail http://www.apus-peru.com/treks/short_inca_trail_2.html;
Our six-day Salkantay-Inca Trail http://www.apus-peru.com/treks/salkantay_inca_trail_machu_picchu_2.html;
and our twelve-day Choquequirao-Salkantay-Inca Trail route http://www.apus-peru.com/treks/choquequirao_salkantay_inca_trail_machu_picchu_2.html
Inca Trail- Photo Courtesy of Megan Gaston