So I need a little advice and/or help and thought this site would be a great place to ask. I am going to Peru in late July/early August with my boyfriend and we have been planning this trip for a LONG time- based on the main purpose of going there to climb Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail. We booked our flight to Lima, as well as our flight from Lima to Cusco, only to find out that the Inca Trail permits are currently sold out for the entire month of August. We've been looking forward to this trip for a long, long time now and have invested a ton of time (and dollars) planning it. So needless to say, finding this out was a very unpleasant surprise.
Is there anything we can do? We were wanting to do the 2D/1N trek. Do people cancel and then the companies therefore sell more permits? Is there a waiting list of sorts? Worst case scenario, can we just take a train up to Machu Picchu without doing the hike, or is that not possible? Going to Machu Picchu was the entire basis for the trip, and we REALLY don't want to have to postpone it. Any help and/or advice would be tremendously appreciated!
My husband and I did the Inca trail in October (the 4D, 3N), and our permits were assigned to our passport numbers. As far as i am aware there is no reselling of permits because of this. Basically if you buy a permit and don't use it, tough. Sorry for the bad news, although if there is anyone out there who has different information, please jump in!
Although there is not a train to Machu Picchu itself as there is no station there! you can get a train to the nearest town, Aguas Calientes, and buses run all the time up to MP, there is no hiking at all, but again you will definitely need to book this in advance as you're travelling in peak season.
You have several options for the trains to Aguas Caliente:
1. Direct train from Cusco-Aguas Caliente-although apparently there aren't that many of these and they may already be booked up
2. Bus or taxi to Ollantaytambo, and then a train from there to Aguas Caliente. You don't say where you're staying but your hostel or hotel should def be able to sort this for you.
Check out http://www.perutreks.com/machu-picchu-by-train-1-day.html for a detailed explaination on the train system and http://www.perurail.com/ for online train booking (it's in English). I had a quick look and a lot of trains are already sold out so if you decided to do it that way, i'd move quickly!
Good luck, hope you get there, it's amazing!
Thank you so much for your help and advice. Both the Perutreks and Perurail websites were extremely helpful and I was able to book a train trip from Cusco to Aguas Caliente (actually to Machu Picchu) and back again so that we have a night to stay in Aguas Caliente in between our time in Cusco and the morning, when we will wake up early to hike or take the bus from there up to Machu Picchu itself. We are planning on trying to get there as early as possible to see Huayna Picchu as well!
I really appreciate your help 😊 Did you spend any other time in Peru? Are there other areas you would suggest visiting?
Oh fantastic, so glad you managed to get it sorted. Good plan on staying overnight in AC, you should have a good chance in getting one of the tickets to Huayna Picchu if you get up there nice and early! That's one of the drawbacks on the trek, we were so flipping knackered by the time we got to Machu Picchu we couldn't face climbing up!
We spent about 3 weeks in Peru and went to Puno and the floating islands on Lake Titicaca, Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, the Nazca lines, Cusco and Machu Picchu, 3 days in the rainforest leaving from Puerto Maldonado and a few days in Lima.
I think we would really recommend Lake Titicaca, the floating islands were amazing and every single hostel in Puno organises tours (either 1 or 2 days). We did the 1 day and didn't feel we missed out on anything. The Nazca lines were unbelievable too, it's totally worth splashing out a little for a flight over them, we went with Diana Air and found them very good. I think it cost us about $140 US for 2 people. We blogged a lot while we were in Peru so if you want to have a look feel free, there's lots of pictures!
It all depends on the time you have really. The bus system in Peru is excellent and pretty cheap although again if you have the cash, get cama seats instead of semi cama, really makes a difference on a 14 hour bus ride!
Glad i could help, if you have any more questions, fire away, i love talking about travels!
[Edited: 2011 May 24 14:52 - Liz and Ellory:174284 - typo]
Liz- One more question for you (you are my go-to person right now!) 😊 Do you remember how much it cost you to the the day trip to Lake Titicaca? I've heard so much about this and really want to go. Did you stay overnight there, or just do it in a day and then go back to Aguas Calientes or Cusco? Also, did you do any ziplining while in Peru? Thanks again for all of your help!
I think it was approx $65 (US) each, this included:
-Pickup at hostel
-transfer to boat
-Uros island (the floating ones)
-Lunch on the island (it was really tasty)
-English speaking guide
-Entrance to the national reserve
-boat back to puno and transfer back to hostel-you get back around 5pm.
We actually stayed in Puno for a few days. I'm not sure it would be possible to get from Cusco or Aguas Calientes to Puno in time for the start of the tour (it's like a 7am start) it'll be a flippin long day for you! I had a look at the website of the bus company we used a lot (Cruz del Sur-they're v good!) and there is only one bus a day from Cusco to Puno or vice versa and they are at 08.00 each day and it is $18 US. So at the very least you'd have to stay two nights in Puno. Although other bus companies may have other times. It's a nice place though, lots of good restaurants!
We didn't do any ziplining in Peru, we heard of a company called flying fox but that was when we were in bolivia so i'm not sure if they have a base in peru. Sorry i don't have more info on that one!
"Is there anything we can do? We were wanting to do the 2D/1N trek. Do people cancel and then the companies therefore sell more permits? Is there a waiting list of sorts?"
My friend Simon and I were booked for the MP Inca trail but when we arrived in Cusco we found out he was on the Lares Trek. He was extremely disappointed...and I ended up getting sick and couldn't go on my MP Inca Trek, so I tried to give my permit to him, and the officials wouldn't let us do this. They are pretty strict and the permit must match the passport designated. There is also no waitlist nor do they give cancelled reservations to others. We even tried bribes.
The Lares Trek, apparently doesn't book up (well you are a bit late now...and it is the busy season in Aug). If you weren't offered this alternative automatically then might be booked up. Check into it just be sure. Simon says (ha ha) that the Lares trek was extremely spectacular and he was pretty impressed.
I agree with Liz and Ellory, there are so many places you could go, Puno and Lake Titicaca were fantastic, the Colca Canyon breathtaking. Lots of stuff around Cusco and the sacred valley, you should find some great alternates. I absolutely loved Ollytaytambo and the ruins. Have a look at my blogs if you want. You can take the train from Cusco or Olly up to Agua Calientes and go up to MP for the day.
Have a fantastic trip, you will love it!
If your primary purpose was to hike the Inca Trail can you postpone your trip? For a small fee you should be able to change the dates on your airline tickets. We traveled to Peru in late October and the weather was wonderful.
You should not have any difficulty with the train but I would book it now. You do not want to face any additional disappointments. You will be able to hike around once you take the train up. You'll have a fantastic time.
Colca Canyon is amazing, the Nazca lines fantastic and Lake Titicaca is lovely. Puno is quaint.
The floating islands are a phenomenon to behold.
Have a great trip. Can't wait to read your blog.
I hope I am not jumping in with a different subject but I am a bit confused. So, to do one day treck to MP you dont need a permit but you need it for the Inca Trail right?? We are planning to do so and I am thinking about different possibilities hence my question ;-)
thanks in advance;-)
There isn't a one day trek to MP as far as I know, you get the bus from the nearest town, aguas calientes and you don't need a permit. Permits are only required for the inca trail itself so they can restrict the numbers on the trail and slow down the damage. There were loads of people who got the bus up on the day we arrived at MP after doing the 4 day trek so if there is a limit on the number of people at MP at any one time, it's a big number!!! Hope that makes sense 😊
So basically yes you are right, a permit is only required if you go on the inca trail itself but it is not if you just go to MP
Wow, thanks for all of the responses guys!
Yes- no need for a permit for the one day trek. Our plan is to take the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes the day before we want to hike MP- buy our pass to get into the park in Aguas Calientes that night, then get up REALLY early to take the bus up/hike up to MP and WP the next morning. We already booked the train- did that right after I first posted on here- so thanks for the advice on that! 😊
Right now, we're planning on doing Lake Titicaca for 1-2 days, then ziplining (??) after that/exploring the rainforest! We need to stay in that area (somewhat close to either Lima or Cusco) for our time in Peru just b/c of time constraints, unfortunately.
I welcome any other suggestions of things to do/see- but this forum has been tremendously helpful so far! I look forward to checking out some of the profiles/blogs of people who have posted on here already!
THANK YOU! 😊
Welcome to TravelBlog.
There's been some great suggestions here already :-)
Another place worth visiting is Sacsayhuamán. Peru Treks, who I did the Trail with, had some good full day and half day trips - they were really good to deal with.
Overnight 'homestays' is another option if you have the time.
thank you all ;-) Enjoy your trip Jessie ;-) Dont forget to blog ;-)
Thank you for your precious time and appropriate suggestion. Firstly, Peru is a fantastic place to travel. I really think you should do the Inca trail. You can get the tourist train from Cuzco to Macu Piccu, but it's very crowded. The 5 day hike will be one of the best the best things you'll ever do. Again, you get what you pay for. I went with SAS Travel who charged about $40 dollars more than the others, but the food was excellent and the porters were treated very well. Although you'll be shattered, at the end of your day in Machu Picchu try to climb the big triangle shaped mountain behind the ruins. It's a steep climb, but the views are amazing.
Thanks a lot Again
so what is the price for the Inca Trail?
It cost us £350 each for the 4 day trek 😊
Peru Treks are currently advertising $US490, but that might go up next year.