To make reservations for the Inca Trail you have to carry out the following procedure: The reservations can be made 360 days in advance before entering the Inca Trail, anytime of the year, be it through paper or by e-mail, according to the format (Reservation Card). The Reservation Office will hand a code with the status of “reserved”. The staff in charge of doing the reservations at the Reservation and Collecting Office of the Dirección Regional de Cultura del Cusco – INC has to be duly certified.
The reservation is subject to space availability, being the limitation the loading capacity. The applicant will confirm the reservation up until 90 days in advance before entering the Inca Trail, presenting the final group list at the Reservation and Collecting Office of the Direccion Regional de Cultura del Cusco – INC.
The applicant will also pay 50% of the total amount of the group’s entrance tickets at the aforementioned office. The Reservation Office will register the pre-payment changing the reservation to a “confirmed” status. Any reservation that has not been confirmed according to the previous clause of the present article will be automatically void. The reservation will change to the “reconfirmed” status after paying off the other 50%, which has to be done anytime 5 days before entering the Inca Trail, at the Collecting Office of the Direccion Regional del Cusco – INC
The information shown below is taken directly from the government trek permit database and shows the real-time availability of trek permits for the Inca Trail. Trek permits are required for the classic 4-day Inca Trail, the shorter 2-day Inca Trail and the 7-day Salkantay / Inca Trail trek. Alternative treks such as Lares Valley, Ausangate, Choquequirao, and the 5-day Inca Trail via Santa Teresa do not require trek permits. The government issues a maximum of 500 trek permits for each day. Since trekking staff are also included within this limit of 500 persons this means that, on average, about 200 trek permits are allocated to tourists and about 300 allocated to guides, cooks and porters.
Interpretation of the Results: If the number of spaces available is zero then it basically means that all the trek permits have been sold out and no matter how many companies you contact, none of them will be able to offer you space on the Inca Trail. Even if companies have cancellations regulations prevent them from filling these spaces with other clients. This may sound ridiculous but the system has been designed to prevent “wealthy” companies buying up all the spaces in advance using made-up names and passport numbers and then cancelling them nearer the time only to fill the cancelled spaces with real clients. The number of remaining spaces does not fall steadily, rather it falls exponentially. That it to say that the number of spaces remains between 300 and 500 for quite along time but as it starts to fall below 250 more companies decide to buy permits for their groups and the rate that the spaces drop starts to increase. Often the last 100 spaces can sell out in a day or so. For example just because there may be 160 spaces available on the day that you want to start the trek, by the time you find a suitable trekking company and send them your trek deposit, it doesn’t mean that there will still be 160 spaces left! So it is highly recommended to book your Inca Trail as far in advance as possible.
February Inca Trail closed throughout the month