A question often on people's mind is when they should buy their permit for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. We also are often asked if we have a block of Inca Trail permits in our possession.
While you can try to buy permits for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu at any time during the year, your best chances are to buy them the same month as the Peruvian government releases them for that year.
The Peruvian government releases all Inca Trail permits for trekkers to visit Machu Picchu for the entire year in the first week of January. These permits are sold on a first come, first served basis so January is the time to book your trip to ensure you are able to trek on the day you want.
The maximum number of people allowed on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is 500 per day. Support staff is included in this number, meaning that only 200 Inca Trail permits are given to trekkers and about 300 for porters, cooks and guides each day.
Contrary to popular belief, tour operators cannot buy blocks of Inca Trail permits and sell them to their clients later. Each permit bought from the government is registered against a client's name and passport details, making it impossible for operators to horde permits.