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If you were thinking of making 2018 the year you finally realize your dream trip of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you'll need to start planning right now.

Normally, Peru's limited allotment of permits for the trail goes on sale early in the calendar year—and they usually sell out quickly—but for 2018 trips, they will go on sale October 1, 2017.

That means you'll need to start planning four months earlier than usual. If you want to be one of the 500 people per day who are permitted to trek the ancient 26-mile trail through the mountains to the vanished mountain city of Machu Picchu, you've got to get your act together this fall.

And that 500 a day aren't all tourists; about 60% of that number also includes porters, cooks, and guides, which are required to accompany visitors on the trek. There just aren't that many slots to go around.

Historically, demand is particularly acute in April, May, and June. 

The distribution of permits for the entire area is being restructured. A few months ago, responding to UNESCO recommendations, the government also began timing permits to visit the ruin of Machu Picchu itself. 

Further information and applications can be handled by the trekking company you choose for the trail. I used a company called Peru Treks and I can recommend it.

Tags: machu picchu, inca trail, trek, peru, cusco

Categories: Entry Requirements & Customs, National Parks, Outdoor & Adventure