Cusco Peru Travel





Every person who enters the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu and uses the authorized trekking routes must heed the following rules provided by government authorities: 

- Give requested information to authorities and official entities.

- Pay the entrance fee to the Inca Trail or other path.

- Do not litter !!!

- Use public installations without deteriorating or destroying them. 

- Do not make campfires. Inca trail

- It is strictly forbidden to extract, depredate or buy any variety of flora in the Machu Picchu Historic Shrine. 

- It is strictly forbidden to capture, hunt, depredate or buy any wildlife in the Sanctuary. 

- Camp only in the places indicated. It is forbidden to camp inside archaeological constructions or restricted areas.

- Behave in orderly fashion so as not to disturb other hikers. 

Any violation of any of these rules will lead to police or park guards intervention so as to enforce the respective sanction. Respect the rules and avoid unpleasant incidents.




Inca Trail Regulations


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.

Six years ago the Peruvian Government proposed many changes to the administration of the Inca Trail in a bid to protect its fragile eco-structure from over-use.  Most of these proposals have been aimed at reducing the number of trekkers on the trail, improving the quality of the tour operators and offering a reservation system whereby trekkers will be forced to make their reservations many weeks (even months) in advance. Some of the proposals were introduced slowly throughout 2003 and 2004 but the Government started to enforce the majority of the regulations more strictly in 2005. Further regulations have been introduced at the beginning of 2006 with the main aim improving porter welfare. All trekking companies that operate the Inca Trail must have an operating license which is issued every year in March.


2. Student discounts:

Students with a valid International Student Identity Card (ISIC) receive a US$25 discount but you must inform the tour operator at the time of making your reservation and bring the card with you on the Inca Trail. No other forms of student identity are acceptable i.e. letters from college, international youth identity cards etc. The tour operator will purchase a student trek permit for you (clearly marked only for students). At the start of the Inca Trail your permit will be checked and you will be asked to show your ISIC card and passport. If the card is not valid or you forget to take your card then there is a possibility that you will not be allowed to start the trek. This can cause major disappointment and also delay entry of the rest of the group to the trail. In the past you could just pay an additional fee for a standard trek permit. Due to the added bureaucracy and potential problems associated with applying for a student discount and associated delays many trekking companies have stopped offering this option.


3. Restricted numbers of trekkers:

 Over the last five years Peru has become a more popular travel destination. There are many great treks throughout Peru but the Inca Trail is the most well known. During the peak season of 2000 many campsites became crowded and the trail became littered with rubbish. In early 2001 the Government proposed to reduce the number of people on the trail to 500 per day. This figure roughly comprises 200 tourists and 300 trekking staff (guides, cooks and porters).

In 2002 and 2003 the government tried to enforce the 500 limit but, due to many complaints by the local tour operators, they gave into pressure during the busy months of July and August and allowed an extra 200 persons. In 2004 and 2005 the government strictly enforced the 500 limit, and many trekkers were disappointed that there were no spaces available.

The figure of 200 tourists includes trekkers on both the 2-day and 4-day treks as well as the Salkantay 7-day trek. As an estimate we would say that about 160 trekkers per day are starting the 4-day trek, 25 on the 2 day trek and 15 on the Salkantay Trek. In March 2008, 170 tour operators in Cusco were awarded licenses to operate the Inca Trail.  With about 500 tourists looking for just 160 available spaces divided between 150 companies it doesn't take much to realise that things can become a little complicated. In 2008, there were many problems during the months of June, July and August as many tour operators could not obtain the trek permits for their clients. Many tour operators were forced to cancel some of their reservations. Trek permits are now being issued on a first-come-first-served basis so in order to avoid disappointment we recommend booking well in advance and with a reputable trekking company.



4. Making an Inca Trail trek booking:

Since only 500 trek permits are issued per day for the Inca Trail (trek permits are also required for the porters and cooks) it is important to try to make a trek reservation as far ahead as possible. There is no clear rule as to how far ahead is enough to to guarantee you a space since this depends on demand. As a guide, however, we recommend the following:





3-5 weeks in advance




6-8 weeks in advance




2-3 months in advance




3-4 months in advance


5. Independent Trekkers: Since June 2002 trekking independently on the Inca Trail has been prohibited. Regulations state that each trekker must be accompanied on the Inca Trail by a professionally qualified guide. Trying to organize a guide in advance is difficult since tour agencies just aren't interested in hiring out their guides. If you wait until you arrive in Cusco to arrange a guide then you are liable to be left with only the worst guides and the very high probability that all the spaces on the trail are fully booked. If you want to get away from it all and trek on your own then there are some excellent alternative treks such as Lares Valley, Choquequirao or Ausangate. If you do manage to organize a guide for the Inca Trail in advance you cannot have a group greater than 7 persons and you can't employ the services of other trekking staff such as cooks or porters.


6. Maximum Group Size: The maximum allowable group size is 16 persons. For groups larger than 8 persons there must be 2 guides. (on the shorter 2 day trek there must be 2 guides for groups larger than 07 persons)


7. Porters Working Conditions In April 2002 a new law was introduced to set a minimum wage for all porters on the Inca Trail. This has followed years of exploitation. This wage is about US$15 per day. It may not seem a lot but wages are all relative to livings costs. To put things in perspective teachers earn between US$150 and US$200 per month. Even though the law exists it is not being enforced and many companies are still paying their porters as low as US$8 per day. In 2002 the maximum weight that a porter can carry was limited to 20kg (15kg load + 5kg personal items). All porters have their weight checked by government officials at the start of the trail. However even this system is open to abuse and many tour operators get their guides and assistants to carry large loads across the checkpoint where they are dropped and left for the porters to pick up. Many trekkers who have hired an extra porter are also asked to carry their bags across the checkpoint to be given to the porters after they have been weighed. So even with the new regulations and a weigh-station at the beginning of the trail it is still possible to see porters carry loads of up to 40kg.


In general though, these two regulations have dramatically improved the porters working conditions compared to those just four or five years ago when wages of US$4 per day and loads of 45kg were the norm. There is still a long way to go though when it comes to the provision of adequate meals, backpacks and warm dry sleeping accommodation. When deciding on a tour company ask them what their policy is towards


8. Inca Trail Closure during the month of February: The route of the classic 4-day Inca Trail will be closed each year during the month of February to allow conservation projects to be undertaken as well as giving the vegetation a chance to recover. This is a good month to close the trail since it is also the wettest moth of the year. Machu Picchu and the shorter 2-day trail will remain open as usual. 


9. Licensed trek operators: The I.N.C (INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE CULTURA) is the regulatory body responsible for controlling access to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. In order to operate the Inca Trail companies must meet certain basic requirements proving that they have professional guides and good camping equipment, radio communications and emergency first aid including oxygen. The license to operate the Inca Trail is renewed each year in early March. Due to legal problems the Government has found it hard to withdraw licenses from poor performing companies and every tour operator that has satisfied the basic requirements has so far been given a license. Legislation is likely to be introduced later in 2006 to give more power to the Ministry of Tourism and allow them to fine, suspend or close badly performing companies. A comprehensive list of licensed Inca Trail tour operators can be found.



 Peru Travel Packages:  Peru Magestic 20 days  Peru Limited 16 days  |  Peru Ideal 13 days  |  Peru face your Dreams 12 days  |  Peru Intrepid 9 days  Peru Inti Raymi 7 days  Peru Traditional 5 days

 Lima Tours:  Lima City Tour and The Gold Museum  |  Lima City Tour and Larco  Pachacamac Ruins Tours  |  Lima City Tour by Night

 Arequipa Tours:  Colca Canyon 2 days  |  Colca Canyon 3 days  Arequipa City Tour  |  Climbing Chachani 2 days  |  Ascension to El Misty 2 days

 Ica and Nazca Tours:  Ideal Nazca lines 3 days  |  Ica and Nazca Lines tour 2 days  |  Nazca lines and Ballestas Islands 2 days  Nazca Lines Full Day excursion by Motor coach  |  Pachacamac and Paracas full day  |  Paracas and Ballestas Islands 2 days  |  Nazca lines 2 days

 Puno Tours:  Uros and Amantany Islands full day  |  Ideal Titicaca Lake of the Incas 4 days  |  Majestic Puno 4 days  Andean Life in Titicaca 4 days  |  Uros Island and Llachon peninsula full day  |  Amantany and Suasi Islands 3 days

 Cusco Traditional Programs:  The City Tour  |  Sacred Valley of the Incas  |  Moray and Maras  |  Tipon Piquillaqta Andahuaylillas  |  Raqchi  |  Machu Picchu full day  |  Machu Picchu by Train 2 Days  |  Rafting in the Urubamba River  |  Mountain bike Maras and Moray  |  Horse riding - half day  |  Tandem paragliding trip - half day

 Peru Jungle trips:  About Ecoamazonia Lodge  |  Monkey Island 2 days  |  Ecological Program 3 days  |  Eco Adventure 4 days  |  Manu Information  |  Manu Cultural Zone 3 days  |  Manu Cultural Zone 4 days  |  Manu Reserved Zone 6 days  |  Manu Reserved Zone 8 days

 Inca Trail to Machu Picchu:  Inca Trail Introduction  |  Inca Trail Description  |  Climate and Environment  |  Inca Trail Fauna  |  Inca Trail Flora  |  Inca Trail Archaeology  |  Inca Trail 2 days  |  Inca Trail 3 days  |  Inca Trail 4 days  |  Inca Trail 5 days  |  Inca Trail 6 days  |  Inca Trail 7 days  |  Inca Trail 8 days  |  Inca Trail 9 days  |  Inca Trail FAQ  |  Inca Trail Regulations  |  Inca Trail Tourist Facilities  |  Inca Trail Useful Information  |  Inca Trail Media Gallery

 Salkantay Treks:  Salkantay Treks Introduction  |  Salkantay Treks Description  |  Salkantay Treks 4 days  |  Salkantay Treks 5 days  |  Salkantay Treks 6 days  |  Salkantay Treks 7 days  |  Salkantay Treks 8 days  |  Salkantay Treks 9 days  |  Salkantay Treks 10 days  |  Salkantay Treks FAQ  |  Salkantay Treks Useful Information  |  Salkantay Treks Media Gallery

 Choquequirao Treks:  Choquequirao Treks Introduction  |  Choquequirao Description  |  Choquequirao Treks 4 days  |  Choquequirao Treks 5 days  |  Choquequirao Treks 6 days  |  Choquequirao Treks 7 days  |  Choquequirao Treks 8 days  |  Choquequirao Treks 9 days  |  Choquequirao Treks 12 days  |  Choquequirao Treks 14 days  |  Choquequirao Treks FAQ  |  Choquequirao Treks Useful Information  |  Choquequirao Treks Media Gallery