Permits and Regulations for the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

By shortinca
September 18, 2018
Permits and regulations for the Inca Trail

Permits & Regulations for the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 1 or 2 days

All Inca Trail treks require a government permit to enter the trail and a licensed tour guide for the trek. You cannot just hike the trek on your own. Only licensed tour operators for the Inca Trail can purchase permits. There are only about 150 tour operators out a 1,000 or more travel agencies that are licensed to purchase a permit.

The Short Inca Trail trek starts at KM104 and to get to the start point you need a train ticket.  You can only start the trek from the Ollantaytambo Train station and not from Aguas Calientes. The train ride is about 1 hour 10 minute from Ollantaytambo to the starting point.  After you cross the bridge over the Urubamba river, we stop over at an official government checkpoint. At the checkpoint we have to produce our trail permits and our original passports. Only original passports are accepted, no copies and the personal information on the permit and your passport have to match.

All permits must be purchased 48 hours in advance by a licensed tour operator.  The government does not allow the purchasing of permits any later than 48 hours or 2 days. It´s not possible to book last minute tickets the day before or the day of.

In order for a licensed tour operator to purchase a permit, they must have a copy of your passport or at least all of the correct data off of your passport including full name, date of birth, nationality, passport number and gender.  Without this information it is impossible to purchase a permit.  The only other option is a copy of national ID card and or license.  However, before doing the trail it is important to send a copy of the new passport.  If a person gets a new passport they need to send the tour operator a copy of their old and new passport so the number can be changed with the government office or just bring their cancelled old passport and new passport with them to Peru.

New Rules and Regulations for Machu Picchu Citadel

Since Machu Picchu was first given the UNESCO World Heritage status back on Dec 09, 1983, tourism has grown every single year making the historical site so crowded that it is difficult to visit and enjoy. The government is attempting to reduce the crowded conditions at Machu Picchu and to offer the opportunity for more people to enjoy the archeological site. The major concern is the preservation of the site and its legacy for future generations.  The new rules have been implemented to protect the heritage of Citadel of Machu Picchu, for the country of Peru and the world to continue to experience its magical presence and stature in the history of the Incas.

Morning & Afternoon Sessions

With the new rules for Machu Picchu Citadel, there are two different session times:

  • Morning Session, 6am to 12pm (6:00 – 12:00)
  • Afternoon Session, 12pm to 5:30pm (12:00-17:30)

There are limited amounts of entrance tickets for each session. You are only allowed to visit during the time of the session you have purchased, morning or afternoon. For example, if you enter at 6:00am your session ends at 12:00pm. You can no longer stay all day at Machu Picchu, go for lunch and then come back later on without paying a second time. You can only enter once with your ticket, once you go out you cannot return inside again.

Entrance Only With Licensed Guide

As of July 1 2017, no one can enter Machu Picchu without the guidance of a certified licensed guide for Machu Picchu.  Guides must be official Machu Picchu guides and present an up-to-date and valid guide identification. Guides need to sign in and sign out all visitors and inform visitors of the new regulations of the park.  With a professional company, you will have your own official licensed guide that will personally guide your group.

When your group is finished visiting the Citadel of Machu Picchu you must exit with your guide.

Four Specific Circuits or Routes

The government of Peru has created new regulations for visiting Machu Picchu with the purpose of preserving the historic site for future generations. However, the new 4 circuit system can be rather confusing and overwhelming to understand.

With the new Circuits for Machu Picchu, there are new ways to explore the Inca city. With these new regulations, four official tourist circuits to view Machu Picchu have been established. These circuits must be respected and followed by all people who enter the interior of the National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu. And these circuits must be followed by both visitors and tour guides. Please read carefully the descriptions below and the attached maps to better understand the new circuits.

Your Inca Trail only includes one circuit, circuit 3. If you wish to add another circuit, you have to purchase an additional ticket. We think the most comprehensive circuit is circuit 2 and if you have booked the extra climb of Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain then you will go through circuit 4.

Click the following link for more details and a map of all the circuits. Circuits.

Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountain

Huayna Picchu Mountain climb or Machu Picchu Mountain climb are only available in the morning session, 6am to 12pm.  Huayna Picchu 4 schedules to enter, entrance times are every hour from 7am to 10am. Machu Picchu Mountain only has 7am to 8am entrance time.  Those that have chosen either of these climbs will do their guided tours; either before or after their entrance times as agreed upon by their guides.  Those that are doing the Huayna Picchu Mountain climb have until 2pm to exit the park and those doing Machu Picchu Mountain have until 3pm to extra the park to give them time to do the climbs and be able to see Machu Picchu.

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