Classic Inca Trail Hike Permits Sold Out until July Reports Active Adventures South America

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Leading New Zealand-based adventure tour operator, Active Adventures South America, encourages those planning on hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to book well in advance. Permits are tightly regulated and often sell out months in advance, especially during peak season from May through August, but alternatives such as the Lares Inca trail are gaining in popularity.

Inca Trail hike

Walking in the footsteps of the Inca

“If you want to cross the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu off your bucket list this year, you still have time but I wouldn’t wait much longer,” says Darren Hill, a South America destination expert at Active Adventures.

Active Adventures South America, a small-group adventure tour operator, urges those planning active Peru vacations to book well in advance for the iconic 4-day, 43km Classic Inca Trail hike, especially during the dry season. Permits are already sold out through June, although some peak season spaces are still available in July and August and alternative hikes in the same region are another option.

“If you want to cross the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu off your bucket list this year, you still have time but I wouldn’t wait much longer,” says Darren Hill, a South America destination expert at Active Adventures. Access to the Inca Trail is strictly controlled, with only roughly 200 permits available a day to tourists (with the remainder of the 500 total daily permits issued to their accompanying guides and porters). Permits for the Classic Inca Trail can only be secured via authorized trekking companies, such as Active Adventures South America, with whom hikers must register their name and passport number for a specific departure date and permits are not refundable or transferrable.

Plenty of travellers vie for one of these coveted permits because hiking the Inca Trail is one of the best ways of gaining access to Machu Picchu for an hour or more before the throngs of tourists begin arriving in buses by mid morning. On the last day of the classic 4-day Inca Trail trek, guides lead the hikers out of camp in the dark for one of the highlights of the trek, catching the first glimpse of Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate at first light.

“Hiking the Inca Trail was the best hike I’d ever been on in terms of comfort, views and constant building of pride for making the distance. Standing in front of Machu Picchu after 26 miles/3.25 days of hiking and knowing that I’d made it (I’m 63 years old) was a huge burst of pride/accomplishment for me and fulfilled something I’ve wanted to do for more than 40 years,” said David Colvin (of Connecticut) who was on an Active Adventures ‘Jaguar’ 14-day in October.

An increasingly popular off-the-beaten-track alternative is the Lares Inca Trail and Active Adventures South America offers both options on the ‘Jaguar’. Hikers on the Lares Inca Trail option is in the same region but instead of a specific, signposted path, hikers explore the passes, indigenous settlements, farmland and lakes around the Lares Valley with experienced local guides who tailor each day’s hike based on weather, track conditions and participants. They are then transported to meet up with the hikers on the Classic Inca Trail option at Machu Picchu.    

This fabled “Lost City of the Incas”, a significant pre-Columbian site dating back to 1400 AD, remained hidden high in the Andes Mountains of Peru until American historian Hiram Bingham brought international attention to it in 1911, instantly turning it into the most popular tourist attraction in Peru. Machu Picchu was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in an extensive online poll in 2007.

About Active South America:

Active South America is a New Zealand-based tour operator specializing in bucket list travel to South America on small group adventures. In addition to hiking Machu Picchu and once-in-a-lifetime trips to Peru, they also run tours to New Zealand, Patagonia, Nepal, the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador. Call Darren to discuss South America tours or request a free brochure on 800.661.9073.

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Brett Black
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