Lonely Planet Writer

Planning to hike the Inca Trail in 2017? Then you will need to book this week

If Peru features in your travel plans for next year, you are advised to book the Inca Trail this week, or miss out on one of the all-important permits.

Inca Trail, Peru. Inca Trail permit
Inca Trail, Peru. Image by Ian Armstrong / CC BY-SA 2.0

The most famous 24-mile hike in South America, is walked by thousands every year over a four day period. However, only 500 permits are issued for each day and these are allocated to tour operators who issue them to travellers. A proportion of these permits are kept for guides and porters by the travel agencies.

Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu, Peru Image by Oisin Mulvihill / CC BY 2.0

Usually permits are released in January each year, but the Telegraph newspaper is reporting that the permits for next year will be released this Thursday (15 December), one month ahead of schedule. You can only visit through a licensed agency, and the trail closes in February so spots are booked up quickly.

Macchu Pichu to build new exit route.
Macchu Pichu getting a new bridge to link with the ancient sanctuary. Image by Kenneth Moore / CC BY 2.0

According to tour operator KE Adventure Travel, which has operated Inca Trail trekking holidays for over 25 years: “it looks like the mad rush may be earlier than usual and the present situation is still unclear. However there is a good indication that there will be some Inca Trail ticket pre-booking as of the 14th Dec 2016. Therefore our message to anyone who is interested to trek the Inca Trail in 2017 is that they need to book now.” Meanwhile, a project to build a new bridge connecting the town of Machu Picchu to the ancient sanctuary of Machu Picchu has begun. The construction project is estimated to take 45 days. Between now and then, visitors will be transferred using a temporary pedestrian bridge.