Travellers keen on tackling Peru’s famed Inca Trail to Machu Picchu next year are being advised to book their spot ASAP due to a change in the way trail permits are being released.
Walking the Inca Trail isn’t for the last minute backpacker. Due to its popularity worldwide, the Peruvian government now restricts the number of people walking the Inca Trail to 500 per day – which includes all guides and porters. Permits are only bookable through tour operators, and often sell out months in advance.
This year, the rules have slightly changed. The annual permit quota – which is usually released in January – will now go on sale this Thursday December 15, an entire month earlier. As it works on a first-come-first-serve basis, it’s sparked serious concern that those who are unaware of the change will be caught out, and may miss out on spots altogether.[related_articles]17997[/related_articles]
Kathy Jarvis from Andean Trails told the Telegraph that they’re advising all trekkers to get their bookings in as soon as possible: “The Inca Trail is more popular than ever. Permits for May and June [the Inca Trail’s high season] can sell out in the first 24 hours, and other dates sell out over the next few days and weeks.”
Adding on to that, it’s also good to remember that although Machu Picchu is open year round to travellers, the Inca Trail is closed in February for yearly maintenance. And while 500 permits are available each day, around 300 of those are allocated to porters and guides.
But before you dismay at your trekking window getting increasingly smaller, it’s good to remember that the Inca Trail isn’t actually the only way to reach the lost city of Machu Picchu – though it is the only trail that sees you enter from above via the famed Sun Gate. There are a number of three- and four-day hikes available in the region, as well as the option to train and bus your way up to the main entrance of the site.
Whichever way you get there, it’s really important that you do in fact get there. Laying eyes on Machu Picchu for the first time is something else; a breathtaking experience that’s so worth the rocky, marathon-length trek you probably took to get there.[qantas_widget code=SCL]Check out Qantas flights to Santiago, the gateway to the rest of South America.[/qantas_widget]