During the peak months of July and August from 1996 to 2001 as many as 1500 people were starting the trek everyday (about 1000 tourists and 500 porters) . There were no regulations and many trekkers camped wherever they wanted, using the ruins as toilets and discarding rubbish along the trail. The Inca Trail was starting to receive a lot of negative press and UNESCO threatened to remove its status as a World Heritage Site. In order to protect the site the Peruvian government introduced new Inca Trail Regulations in 2002. These regulations restrict the number of trekkers and prevent trekkers from doing the trail independently.
In 2005 the number of people permitted to start the Inca trail has been strictly limited to 500 persons per day. This figure is made up of about 200 tourists and 300 porters. The Peruvian authorities should be praised for their progressive stance on successfully protecting the Inca Trail for future generations.
The government has also limited the number of visitors to Machu Picchu to 2500 people per day. However trekkers visiting Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail arrive very early at sunrise and get to see Machu Picchu at its best, well before the hundreds of day-trippers arrive by train at midday.
The Inca Trail is part of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, a protected area managed by the Peru National Institute of Natural Resources. All visitors must obey park regulations prohibiting littering, cutting or damaging trees, removing or damaging stones of ruins and the Trail, removing plants, killing animals, lighting open fires or camping in the archeological sites (only authorized campsites can be used). The following procedures must be followed:
1. Payment of entrance fees:
The only valid document granting the right to walk the Inca Trails Network – the Machupicchu Historical Sanctuary Network RED or SHM – is the ticket issued by the Instituto Nacional the Cultura. This ticket is personal, non-transferable and includes the entrance fee to Machu Picchu. Under no circumstances, payment for the use of the RED will be accepted at its registry and entry control points.
Payment for the right to use the RED must be made a minimum of thirty (30) days before beginning the trip and the acquisition must be made under your name.
The reimbursement of payment for the right to use the RED is not possible under any circumstance.
- Reservations will be made in the offices of the Departmental Headquarters of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura in Cusco, receiving confirmation with corresponding reservation code.
Note: Reservations will be subject to the daily capacity emitted by the UGM (500 people, including guides, porters, helpers and visitors), therefore we recommend you to reserve your place far in advance.
- The entrance permits can be bought only for the current trekking season.
- To buy the entrance permits, you must provide full names, passport numbers, ages and nationalities of all those going on the trip, to the relevant authorities. The traveler must send this information and documents to us from his or her home country.
- Wrong information on travelers will result in the non-acceptance of their entrance permits, and no reimbursement of fees will be made in this case.
- Only people with a valid Student Identification Card (containing photo, complete name, college name and expiration date) will be considered as a students, entitling them to a discount on the RED entrance fee.
The complete Inca Trail Regulations are given in Spanish and can be found below or on the government site: INC
"Following all Inca Trail Regulations, our amazing Classic Inca Trail Trek is designed to provide you with the best opportunity to experience the most exclusive treks in the world. We take care of all the details so you can experience incredible vistas and enjoy your hike along the Inca Trail as you make your way to Machu Picchu. While trekking on the Inca trail, you will enjoy first-class personal service from our professional, licensed and certified guides."