Inca Trail booking advice
Since 2004, the number of permits for the Inca Trail has been limited to 500 per day, approximately 200 tourists and 300 trekking staff. If you would like to do this trek it is VERY IMPORTANT to book well in advance. During the high season, May to September, it is highly recommended to book at least 5 months in advance to guarantee a place on the date that you wish to depart. Permits are sold on a first come, first served basis. Once all spaces have been booked for any particular day, NO tour operator or trekking guide can reserve spaces on the Inca Trail. There is also no waiting list system, all spaces are personal and non-transferable, and even if someone makes a cancellation the permit will not become available.
Even in the low season it is suggested to book as far in advance as possible. Please also note that the Inca Trail is closed in February of each year for maintenance.
You can check availability here: Machupicchu.gob.pe or contact us
Choose your Travel Agency in Cusco
Please not that you have to book the Inca Trail to an official Inca Trail operator – many travel agencies in Peru are but not all. Once you have a spot, you can forget about the rest as now your whole Inca Trail trekking experience will be taken care off, from the pickup at your hotel, including the trek with the equipment, meals, porters, cooks, guides etc., till the guided tour in Machu Picchu itself and the train ticket back to Cusco. We recommend you do a bit of 'shopping' and compare agencies; there is no need to go for the most expensive (some are very expensive) but don't take the cheapest either. We recommend you choose a company that practices responsible tourism, provides a good service and that also suits your budget. Be sure that it includes all tickets and services and that there are no hidden costs.
Booking Huayna Picchu
Huayna Picchu is the peak that rises approximately 360 meters higher than that of Machu Picchu and takes approximately an hour and a half to climb and return. It is believed that this is where the high priest and the virgins lived. This high priest would climb down Huayna Picchu every morning before sunrise in order to reach Machu Picchu in time to welcome the new day. If you want to climb Huayna Picchu you will need to pay an extra entrance fee of $10 per person. If you are trekking the Inca Trail the price for this is $60 per person and this must be booked at the time of buying your Machu Picchu entrance or booking the Inca Trail. It is highly recommended to incorporate Huayna Picchu into any Machu Picchu itinerary.
Bus from Aguas Calientes to the ruins
There is a tourist bus that goes from Aguas Calientes to the ruins; the price is $16 return or $8 one way, which is only payable in dollars only. Some people like the walk up, many prefer to take the bus up and walk down. Other keen hikers like to walk both up to Machu Picchu and down to Aguas Calientes.
Rules of use of the Inca Trail
- 1. The flora and fauna are protected by the natural World Heritage organization these must not be disturbed.
- 2. Only use the marked paths and do not leave them for any reason.
- 3. Camp in marked areas, camping inside the archaeological sites or in restricted zones is prohibited.
- 4. Rubbish and waste must be carried out in plastic bags and disposed of at the end of your trek.
- 5. Campfires are dangerous and are not permitted.
- 6. Archaeological sites are intangible and for this reason you must not leave the path.
- 7. In the case of emergency follow the instructions of the person in charge.
Train tickets booking advice
You can find tour packages to Machu Picchu through one of the many travel agencies in Cusco. The tour will generally include entrance tickets to Machu Picchu and a guided tour of the ruins, transfers from your hotel in Cusco to the train station and return trains to and from Aguas Calientes. This tour option is a recommended way to avoid the hassle of booking the trip yourself and to get the very most out of your trip to Machu Picchu!
However, if you wish to buy your own train ticket, it is recommended to book this in advance, before your travel to Peru. Train tickets are limited and during the high season can be booked out on the day that you wish to travel. It is easy to find a trustworthy, professional travel agency online, many of which are located in Cusco. These agencies can buy the tickets for you and also make any further arrangements that you may require in Cusco. If you are about to travel and have not had time to contact an agency it is possible to book these tickets on the PeruRail website, though we would recommend (especially in the high season) that you purchase your tickets a minimum of FOUR days in advance as the trains are often very full.
Entry fee to Machu Picchu
If you decide to buy your train tickets and “go it alone” to Machu Picchu, you can buy the ticket from the National Institute of Culture in Avenue El Sol or also in the office in Aguas Calientes. The entry fee for adults is S/. 128.00, if you hold an ISIC Student ID card you can receive a $US 20.00 or S/. 54 discount (depending on the exchange rate at the time). Please note that you can ONLY pay with Soles for this ticket (dollars are not accepted).