New advice on Inca Trail permits

Simone Kane

Have you booked a holiday to Peru to take in the ancient sites of the Inca Trail such as Machu Picchu (pictured above)? Well, you could now find you end up without the necessary permit for your trekking trip.

The government body in Peru that manages the Inca Trail has made a last-minute change to the way it will allocate permits to tour operators this year. Previously offered on a first-come, first-served basis, permits were confirmed in February for treks later in the same year.

Now they will be randomly allocated throughout February, on a lottery basis, to different tour operators for particular months. Whereas before there was a genuine advantage to booking Inca Trail holidays in advance, now holiday companies will not be able to confirm to their clients that they will receive a permit at the time of booking.

There is particular concern about holidays booked for the peak months of June, July and August – when permits are in high demand.

'Ensuring Inca Trail Trek permits for our clients has always been difficult,' says Bec Whiffin, Global General Manager of Tucan Travel. 'In the past, however, when they went on sale in February they have always been offered first to those who requested them the earliest. This way we could be fairly confident of getting permits for clients that booked early.'

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Have you booked to trek the Inca Trail this year? What do you think of this unfair change to the system?