Inca Trail Requires Permit - Other Routes to Machu Picchu
by David Schneider
(Los Organos, Peru)
Inca Trail Finale - Machu Picchu
In 2004, the government of Peru established limits to the number of people allowed to use the Inca Trail and also 6 official routes.
In order to high any of the 6 routes along the Inca Trail, a permit is required as well as an authorized guide. Tours are all-inclusive usually and local tour groups are generally just as good as the internationally-advertised tours and much less expensive.
Since the number of people allowed on the trail per day is 500, including guides, porters, and trekkers, permits get bought up early, so you will have to get signed up well in advance.
There are other routes from Cusco to Machu Picchu which are very good alternatives; however, they do not follow the Inca Trail. You might decide to choose an alternate trail route to Machu Picchu for several reasons. The main one is if the permits are all booked. Another reason would be if you have already done the official hike and want to see a different aspect.
All the hikes are spectacular. Although it is more comfortable in the dry season, (April through September), the scenery is much more lush and the sky and sunsets much more dramatic during the "rainy" season.
Treks can be from 4-7 days and probably around $500-600 USD on the lower end.