In case you didn't hear, the Classic 4-Day Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu reopened on July 15, 2021. The 4 day hike was shut down in March 2020 when the world stopped everything for covid-19. Since then, it's been two steps forward, one step, back as the travel industry attempts to recover from the global economic shutdown. And in my opinion, the adventure travel industry is struggling more than the domestic and mainstream destinations.

Inca Trail Permits in 2021.

Permits for both the 1-day Inca Trail and the 4-day Inca Trail are available through December 31, 2021. There is a 5-day Inca Trail hike which is nothing more than the Classic 4-day Inca Trail hike with an extra day added to sleep in a hotel 1 night and return to Machu Picchu on Day 5 for the guided tour. Everything I write about the 4-day Inca Trail also applies to the 5-day Inca Trail hike. (this is my personal preference when hiking to Machu Picchu. I like to rest before touring Machu Picchu citadel). 

It was interesting in June when permits were first released because none of us had any idea how quickly they would sell out. We have nightmare stories of our guides jostling for permits on opening day. There have been times when a guide would be texting dates to us here in the US, while standing at the counter. Meanwhile we're texting our groups to get approval for new dates. When the Inca Trail office opened in June 2021, we had several groups on standby waiting to buy flights and book hotels after we secured their permits. It went rather easy, which was good for us, but also not a good sign for the tourism industry in Peru.

Since June, we have been able to book Inca Trail hikes in August and September, with 3-4 weeks advance notice. Before covid, booking Inca Trail hikes last minute was unheard of. I've been saying all along, that current travel trends favor people who have the flexibility to travel last lminute. And this includes hikes in Peru. Tour guides, porters, cooks and wranglers are ready and available to work. 

If you have been following our blog, you might have seen information about Peru arrival protocols and updates about traveling in Peru. We are doing our best to provide accurate, up to date info about covid tests, masking requirements and other information that people need to know about traveling to Peru after covid. If you contact us by email, we have several resources to share. 

What is needed to book a last minute Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu?

  • Exact dates to begin and end Inca Trail hike
  • Let us know if you choose easy 1-day Inca Trail, strenuous 4-day Inca Trail or extended 5-day Inca Trail hike. (View Link to see all our Hikes)
  • Valid passport for each hiker. Must not expire within 6 months of your arrival dates in Peru.
  • Full non-refundable payment. (the cost is posted on webpage for each hike. When you send us an email we will provide exact cost. Groups may qualify for a discount)
  • Acceptance of Peru Arrival Protocols. (currently all healthy people can enter Peru with neg covid test and the same is required to re-enter the US. We have clinics in Cusco who offer covid tests)
  • At least 5 days advance notice for the 1-day Inca Trail hike and 7 days advance notice for the 4 day Inca Trail hike (which also applies to the 5 day Inca Trail hike)

Here's what you need to know about booking Inca Trail hikes last minute in 2021.

Permits for the Easy 1-day Inca Trail Hike:

  • Because this Inca Trail hike doesn't require porter service and handling food and camping gear, permits for the 1-day Inca Trail have been available since Machu Picchu reopened last November 2020 and again in March 2021.
  • Capacity is reduced to 50%
  • Permits are first come, first serve but we are not aware of any dates that completely sold out so far this year.
  • We need at least 5 business days advance notice to book this hike last minute. 
  • You need a valid passport and full non-refundable payment to confirm your hike.
  • Valid passports are required to obtain permits. Your passport should not expire within 6 months of your arrival dates in Peru. Anyone who is renewing their passport should check with the operator at the time you make your reservations.
  • Expired passports can be used to buy permits, as long as you are able to travel with both your old passport and your new passport. It's been reported that passport renewal in the US can take up to 4 months.
  • Hikers must go through a licensed tour operator to check Inca Trail permit availability and make their reservations. 
  • Permits cannot be cancelled, transferred, refunded or altered. This is the one time in your life where buying comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your ground expenses makes perfect sense. For your convenience, I am providing a link to SquareMouth Travel insurance for free online quote and real agents available to talk by phone. 
  • This hike is open to all ages but everyone needs to understand that once they begin the hike, there is no turning back and their is no way to send a car or even a chopper for pickup.  Here's a link to read more about the 1-day Inca Trail hike. It's usually sold as a 2-day package trip to Machu Picchu. We can customize a true 1-day Inca Trail hike, beginning and ending in Cusco, on request. 
  • Most of our hikes are private. There may be a few occasions where overlapping hikes or activities can be combined. 

Permits for the Classic 4-day Inca Trail Hike:

  • Reopened July 15, 2021
  • We need at least 7 days advance notice to reserve this hike if permits are available. This gives us time to contact porters, cooks, drivers and tour guides.
  • Capacity is 50%
  • Permits are still available for most dates in 2021. If you call or email with your dates and the number of people in your group, we can usually check availability on the same day.
  • To make a reservation for a 4-day Inca Trail hike (or 5-day Inca Trail hike) we need valid passport and full non-refundable payment before we can buy your permits.
  • Once we buy permits we cannot make any changes and they are non-refundable, nor can they be transferred to someone else. This is the year to buy full coverage travel insurance.
  • Most hikes are private. The minimum number of people is 2 because the cost of setting up a hike for 1 person is expensive. (However it can be done)

Are Inca Trail Permits Available for Hikes in 2022?

  • No. But that is not unusual at this time of year.
  • What is unpredictable is that no one know for sure if permits for hikes in 2022 will be released in October 2021 as has been the case for the last few years.
  • No one know how many permits will be released for Inca Trail hikes in 2022. Capacity for 4 day Inca Trail is 50% in 2021.
  • No one can hold, reserve or book permits for any hikes in 2022. Any tour operator who is taking reservations should make this clear.
  • I don't recommend booking non-refundable flights or hotels unt
  • Yes, you can make reservations now for hikes in 2022. But no one can guarantee when or if permits for Inca Trail hikes in 2022 will be released. So it's best not to book flights or hotels until we have your permit in hand.

If you have questions about Inca Trail hikes in 2021 or 2022 just ask. We've been operating hikes to all regions of Peru since March 2021. We have experience now with the current system. There are things we simply don't know and I'll be the first person to tell you what they are! This is an amazing opportunity for people to explore Peru without the crowds if they are willing to jump through the hoops to get there.