Permits and regulations for the Inca Trail

Permits and Regulations for the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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 trek 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 can purchase a permit.

The Short Inca Trail trek starts at KM104 and to get to the start point you need a train ticket that permits you to get off at KM104.  You can only start the trek from the Ollantaytambo Train station not from Aguas Calientes. It is about 1 hour 10 minute train ride from Ollantaytambo to get to the starting point.  At the starting point, there is a check point where government officials check that the trekker has a permit and matches it with their passport.  Only original passports are accepted no copies.

All permits must be purchased 48 hours by only licensed tour operators in advance of starting your trek.  The government does not allow purchase of permits any later than 48 hours or 2 days.  You must purchase a permit in advance or you cannot trek. No last minute treks booked the day before are possible.

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 leaving on the trek 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.  Once you enter, you cannot leave and return even though your session time has not ended, except if you need to use the bathroom which outside of the citadel.

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 informing 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.

Three Specific Circuits or Routes

Another significant change is that there are now three routes or circuits to explore Machu Picchu. With your guide, you must select which route or circuit to enter first with your guide.  Licensed guides will make sure you are picking the best route for viewing and taking photos.  It is not still clear if after finishing one route you will be allow to enter a second.  You will be given time to walk to the Inca Bridge (about an hour round trip) or the Sun Gate (2 hours round trip)  if there is sufficient time left in your session time.  You must leave the park by 12pm if you are in the 1st session and 5:50pm if you are doing the second session.

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 has 2 turns, 7am and 10am entrance.  Machu Picchu Mountain is at 9am entrance only.  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.