How To Get Your Machu Picchu Permits: Don't Miss Out!

Securing Machu Picchu permits is the golden ticket to one of the most iconic adventures of a lifetime. Nestled among the Peruvian Andes, this ancient citadel calls to travellers with its mystic allure and historical grandeur.
At Skyhook, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about obtaining these coveted permits.
machu picchu (7-day inca trail)

Understanding the Machu Picchu Permits

You can visit the official government website to view the availability of these permits. Understanding the Machu Picchu permits is crucial for turning your dream of walking among ancient Incan ruins into reality. 

Why Do You Need a Permit?

Why visit Machu Picchu and get a permit? To preserve the integrity of this historical marvel, the Peruvian government enforces strict regulations on visits to Machu Picchu Mountain.
One of these regulations is the requirement for a permit for the Machu Picchu circuits, ensuring that only a limited number of people access the site daily. This quota system is in place to minimise environmental and structural impact. It also means permits can sell out months in advance.
machu picchu guide

Types of Permits

When it comes to securing Machu Picchu permits, the type of Machu Picchu trek you choose, and the Machu Picchu hike length play pivotal roles. 
The Classic 4-Day Inca Trail permit is the most sought-after, giving you a four-day journey through various landscapes, from sub-tropical forests to alpine tundra. 
If you're pressed for time but still want to enjoy some epic Machu Picchu activities, the Short 2-Day Inca Trail permit offers a condensed yet fulfilling route. 
For adventurers looking to stray from the traditional path, special permits for alternative routes like the Salkantay Trek are also available. Each of these permits corresponds to a specific trek, dictating the duration and route of your Machu Picchu adventure.

How to Apply for a Permit

To get your hands on a Machu Picchu permit, you'll need to follow a specific application process. Start by choosing your preferred trek and corresponding permit type. 
Next, you must book through an authorised tour operator, as individual applications are not accepted. These operators handle the paperwork, ensuring that all details are accurate to avoid any hiccups. 
Once your details are confirmed, the tour operator will secure the permit on your behalf. It's crucial to book well in advance, especially for popular routes, as permits are limited and sell out quickly.
Did You Know? Skyhook takes the hassle out of this process by securing permits for you. That way, you can focus on gearing up for your adventure instead of getting bogged down in paperwork.
Hiking the Inca Trail (7 days)
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Costs Involved

Permit costs can vary depending on the trek you choose, ranging from around $200 for the Short 2-Day Inca Trail to upwards of $500 for the Classic 4-Day route. But remember, that's just the permit. 
Additional costs include hiring a guide, which is mandatory, and optional services like porters to carry your gear. These extras can add another $100 to $300 to your budget, depending on the level of service you opt for.
See also: Machu Picchu hike cost and travel tips Machu Picchu to learn more about the expenses associated with this adventure.

Availability and Best Time to Book Your Machu Picchu Permits

Due to the quota system, permits for popular treks like the Classic 4-Day Inca Trail can sell out as much as six months in advance. If you're eyeing this classic route, it's wise to start your Inca trail training plan early. 
The best months to book are from October to January for treks happening between May and September, which is the dry season and offers optimal trekking conditions.
Booking during these months increases your chances of securing a permit and experiencing Machu Picchu in all its glory.

What Happens If Permits Are Sold Out?

Missed the boat on Machu Picchu permits? Don't fret; there are still ways to experience this ancient wonder. 
Alternative treks to Machu Picchu like the Lares Trek or the Choquequirao Trek don't require the same permits and often have more availability. However, these routes won't take you directly to Machu Picchu, so you must arrange additional transport.
As for last-minute bookings, the myth that you can easily snag a permit just before your trip is largely that—a myth. While some tour operators claim to offer last-minute permits, these are often for less popular routes and come with a hefty price tag.
pixabay-roses street-children-at-machu-picchu

Much Picchu Permit FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Machu Picchu permits.

Can You Change the Date on Your Permit?

Once a Machu Picchu permit is issued, the date is set in stone. Any changes would require purchasing a new permit, provided they're still available.

Do Children Need Permits?

Yes, children also require permits to trek to Machu Picchu. Some treks offer discounted rates for children, but the permit is mandatory regardless of age.

What Identification Is Required?

A valid passport is required when applying for a Machu Picchu permit. Ensure that your passport is valid for the entire duration of your trip to avoid any complications.

Are Permits Refundable?

No, once purchased, Machu Picchu permits are non-refundable. Make sure you're committed to your trek before securing a permit.

Can You Trek Without a Guide?

Regardless of hiking Machu Picchu difficulty, a guide is mandatory for all treks leading to Machu Picchu. Trekking without a guide is not only illegal but also risky, given the challenging terrains and altitudes involved.
Salkantay 5-day trek


Securing a Machu Picchu permit is your gateway to an unforgettable Peru adventure. With the proper planning and a bit of foresight, you'll be well on your way to exploring one of the world's most iconic historical sites. So, grab your hiking boots and let the adventure begin!

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