Over the last five years Peru has become a more popular travel destination. There are many great treks throughout Peru but the Inca Trail is the most well known. During the peak season of 2000 the trail became so crowded and littered with rubbish, that in 2001 the Peruvian Government proposed many changes to the administration of the Inca Trail in order to protect its fragile eco-structure from over-use: Reducing the number of trekkers on the trail, improving the quality of the tour operators and offering a reservation system whereby trekkers will be forced to make their reservations many weeks (even months) in advance.
Some regulations have been introduced slowly throughout 2001-2003 and further ones at the beginning of 2004, with the main aim of eliminating poor quality operators. All trekking companies that operate the Inca Trail must have an operating license which is issued/renewed every year in December. Culturas Perú is a local operator of the Inca trail.
NUMBER OF TREKKERS ALLOWED:
The Government proposed to reduce the number of people on the trail to 500 per day. This figure roughly comprises 200 tourists and 300 trekking staff (guides, cooks and porters) and covers the entire Sanctuary with all trekking routes: the 2 and 4-day Inca Trail as well as the 7-day Salkantay & Inca Trail hike.
Therefore we highly recommend you to make your reservations in advance, there are no extensions at all!!
We recommend that you make reservations for the Inca Trail well in advance: Between 8-10 weeks before planned trip start. Your reservation must include the following information: Full name, nationality, sex, birthdate and passport number (as it shows in your valid passport). If there are differences between your original passport and the information showing on your entrance ticket you may not be allowed to enter the nationalpark of Machu Picchu.
Since August 2014 entrance fees for the Inca Trail were increased to S/ 254.--/Pers. Students with a valid International Student Identity Card (ISIC) increased to S/ 128.--/Pers (you need to bring the card with you on the Inca Trail). If the card isn’t valid or you forget to take your card then there is a high probability you will not be allowed to start the trek. Children under the age of 12 years old also receive a 50% discount. Entrance fees may increase unexpectedly during the year. There is no devolution for cancelled or not used permits that are already paid.
The maximum allowable group size is 16 participants. For groups larger than 8 persons there must be 2 hiking guides.
All our gear is taken care of by porters. The maximum weight that a porter can carry was limited to 20 kg (15 kg load and 5 kg personal items). The weight is checked by government officials at the start of the trail and tour operators receive fines if they overload their porters. This regulation has improved the porters working conditions, however some of the cheaper companies do not provide their porters with adequate meals or sleeping accommodation and still pay very low salaries.
The Inca Trails are closed each year during the month of February to allow conservation projects to be undertaken as well as giving the vegetation a chance to recover. During this month we have other alternative hikes, some of them ending in Machu Picchu. See alternative hikes