When I say miraculous, here's what I mean. We haven't seen anything like this, in forever! Probably at least since hikers have been required to get permits. Here it is the month of June and permits to hike the 4 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu are still available in August! This is not normal. We have a pretty good idea about what is going on.    

Why are Inca Trail Hiking Permits still available for the summer of 2023?

We believe that foreigners are seeing widely publicized government travel directives warning them "not to travel to Cusco." These warnings are referring to VRAEM in the Department of Cusco. Peru has it's problems for sure and the region of VRAEM is one of them. Not to mention the disruptions due to protests last January/February. The alerts and warnings we have seen are centered on the Peru-Colombia border and the VRAEM region, (narco hidey-hole central), the latter of which happens to be located n the Department of Cusco. It's got to be confusing. But what people may not understand, is that there are 3 different "Cuscos," The biggest is the Department of Cusco, then there's the Province of Cusco, and finally, the City of Cusco. Everything in the city of Cusco is back to normal and has been for months. I just spent 40 days in Cusco city in March, April and May. Trains, buses, hikes and tours to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu are fully operational. I went to small villages in the mountains and the high jungle area behing Machu Picchu where the Salkantay Trek ends. There are no remnants of the unrest that occurred last January and February. Tourist police patrol the streets of Cusco and the tourism corridor between Cusco and Machu Picchu. The plucky travelers who have figured this out and are traveling now in Peru, are having the times of their lives. Without you! I can guarantee you that no one is traveling to the VRAEM regoin.

The Valley of the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro rivers, VRAEM regioin, is famous for being a haven for harboring the Shining Path and drug cartels, and has been for many years. They run their operations in the jungle segment of the Department of Cusco, setting up unauthorized airstrips and facilities to process coca leaf, one of the most lucrative cash crops in the world. For certain this has never been, and is still, not a destination for tourism and tour operators, so tourism industry officials ignore the illegal activities. Unless someone goes snooping around, the region is isolated and not easy to get to, which is perfect for drug lords who want to mind their own illegal business. Not to say they don't have internal problems with crime and violence. But no one in their right mind organizes excursions to tour the VRAEM region. And tourists should avoid going to VRAEM.

Are Entry Tickets to Machu Picchu Still Available in August?

Some of you may have heard the stories of entry tickets selling out every August. The stories are true. This is due to a seasonal collision between Peruvian National Independence Day Holiday travel and the peak of North Americans on vacation. However, this year we're still seeing plenty of availabiltiy for entry tickets every day in August. As of the middle of June, there are around 1500 spots per day for the Machu Picchu Llaqta tickets for foreigners. That's not counting 1500 spots per day for citizens of South American countries. And it's shocking to see that tickets are still available for Huayna Picchu hikes! They always sell out first. But not this year. 

Outside Magazine weighed in recently with an article on the benefits of traveling to a country after there has been a natural or human manufactured disaster. And to be fair, has any country in the world not experienced increased unrest and political disturbances in the last three years? Click Here to go to the article on Outside Magazine Website.

How does Peru's geography affect the ability of travelers to get around?

Peru is geologically separated into 3 distinct components. Accessing these different regions in Peru is not easy due to natural geographical barriers combined with limited transportation infrastructure.

The Coastal region extends up to the lower highlands including Ayacucho. Amazonia (jungle) makes up about 60% of Peru's total landmass. Yet only 5% of the population lives there. Finally, the third region is the dramatic Andes Mountains, where the city of Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu are located. VRAEM is located in the jungle region which is within the Department of Cusco. it makes sense for drug barons to conduct their business enterprises in the least populated regions of Peru. There is no tourism infrastructure down there, and it's not likely that travelers can accidentally stumble into the heart of the coca leaf processing network.

Hopefully this short explanation will enlighten people who are wondering what is going on in Peru since the protests. As always, when traveling, keep your spidey senses alert to protect yourself from petty theft. In 2021, Peru National Police reported a 15% increase in overall crime affecting Peruvians and travelers. Where are tourists most likely to be victims of petty crimes? Transportation hubs are notorious hot spots for theft. Airports, bus and train stations are holy temples for crimes of opportunity. What are the best sanctuaries from crime? You may be surprised to find out that hotels have the fewest problems with criminal activities. 

How do you book your Inca Trail Hike in August or September 2023?

The first thing to do is contact us to confirm permits are available for the hiking dates you would like to travel. Permits are sold on first come basis and we cannot hold them. They are subject to sell out. Then you should look at this link to the Classic 4-day Inca Trail Hike description. If you don't have time to set up the logistics for traveling to Cusco, Peru, we also offer a 9-Day package trip that includes the Inca Trail hike with hotels and warm-up activities to help you acclimatize. Click Here to see the 9-Day Classic Inca Trail Package Trip. You just need to book your own flights. All this info applies to the short Inca Trail hike as well. The 1-day Inca Trail is great for people who love nature and soft adventure and are short on time or don't want to camp. Once you choose your dates, and we confirm permits, then you can book your internatoinal flights to Lima, Peru. Followed by domestic flights from Lima to Cusco, Peru. 

What documents do you need to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

Everyone needs to have a passport that must be valid for at least 6 months after your travel dates. You must show that passport to get on the Inca Trail. That's all you need to enter Peru, checkin for flights and hotels, and enter the ticketed archaeological sites. If you need to renew your passport, make sure there's enough time to have it in hand before you travel. Once we get the permits, we can't reschedule or refund anything. 

Use the contact tab at the top of every page, or use this hyperlink emailCall, text, or What's App our US Office in Virginia and talk to a human. 757-714-6649 

This should clear things up at least for a little while.