How to get Inca Trail Permits

November 29, 2012

The Inca Trail is one of Peru’s most famous treks, and every year thousands of foreign visitors are lured to the Andes to experience the magic, beauty and outright challenge of hiking this legendary trek. Unlike other treks in Peru, the Inca Trail is a protected zone, and trekking is only possible once you have secured a government permit. Paul Jones, a Peru vacations expert takes a closer look at how to get Inca Trail Permits.

Who Controls the Permits

A department of the Peruvian Government called La Dirección Regional de Cultura (DRC) is in charge of issuing all Inca Trail Permits. Permits are limited to 500 per day (including guides, porters, chefs and trekkers).

Who Can Buy the Permits

Only DRC approved Inca Trail operators are allowed to purchase permits. To purchase your permit, the Inca Trail operator will need to provide your full name, a valid passport number, sex and date of birth. This information must be correct at the time of booking, as errors cannot be corrected afterwards. If you need to renew your passport before you travel, make sure that you take a good colour copy of it, and bring both the old and new passports with you. See our related article on The Top 5 Inca Trail Operators.

How to Check How Many Permits Are Available

You can view the amount of Inca Trail permits available on the DRC website at Please note that as with many Peruvian websites, the information shown may not be the most accurate or up-to-date. Take what is written with a pinch of salt! Contact an authorised Inca Trail operator for the most accurate information.

1)      Close the advisory message when the page first opens.
2)      Click on the English language flag in the top right corner.
3)      Click on the tab ‘Queries.’
4)      In the drop-down menu called ‘Archaeological Centre’ select ‘Camino Inca.’
5)      Then in the other drop-down menus select the year and month that you want to hike.
6)      The results will automatically be displayed in the window.

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A Word of Warning

It’s not just the question of how to get Inca Trail permits; it’s more of a question as to when you can get them. The Inca Trail is really popular, and permits are often sold out several months in advance. Therefore, if you are considering hiking the trek, you must plan with several months of anticipation.

This article ‘How to Get Inca Trail Permits’ was brought to you by the Peru travel information experts at TheOnlyPeruGuide, the most comprehensive Guide to Peru on the internet.

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  1. Matt Green

    Hi Paul,
    I’ll be travelling through Sth America in August/September this year with 3 friends and have been researching Machu Pichu hikes. All the advice says plan several months ahead but we’re already finding we may be too late to book the traditional inca trail as it’s booked out. We know there are other other trails that conclude at Machu Pichu but wanted to try to take the usual/popular 4 day trek in if we could. HAve you any advice for us?
    MAtt G

  2. Hi Matt,

    I have just checked the government permit system and you are correct there are no tickets for August and September at all. Unfortunately, the first tickets start in October time. Permits are purchased with passport numbers and names on a first come first served basis, once they are gone, they are gone. Tickets cannot be refunded nor transferred to another person, so I am afraid that you are out of luck. Hike the Salkantay Trek, or if you want a really special trek arrange the 4 days Choquequirao trek! You’ll do something that no one does!

  3. Irena

    Hi Paul,
    First, I’d like to thank you for your website, it’s very good and helpful!
    I am traveling to Peru and do not have Inca Trail permit as well. Your suggestion – to have the 4 days Choquequirao trek instead.
    My questions:
    – what is the best company(s) i can do it with? The same as you advised for the Inca Trail (the link Top 5 Inca Trail Operators)?
    – is it possible to make it in 2-3 days? I don’t have 4 days unfortunately.
    thank you,

  4. Hi Irena,

    The list of 5 best Inca Trail operators still stands good. Personally I have used SAS and they are very good. You may find for the Choquequirao trek you will need to join a group departure. Obviously there is less interest in this trek so you may have to hunt around for a group departure that suits your travel dates.

    Most treks are 4 – 5 days if not more, I don’t know of any 2 – 3 days, other than the 2 days Inca Trail (or short Inca Trail).

    Let me know should you have any other questions!


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