The Inca Trail in 2021 may be a different experience to the current Inca Trail. Big changes to how the Inca Trail operates were announced in November 2018, due to come into place on the Inca Trail in 2020. But they did not happen. They are said to have been delayed till 2021, but no-one seems sure.
The Inca Trail authorities are proposing changes to where you camp and changes to how you camp. There is currently a battle going on with some companies for it and some against.
1. Changes to where you camp on the Inca Trail
Winay Wayña campsite will close from 2021
- This is due to a history of landslides. The latest in January 2021 where a porter was killed by a landslide leading. Read more about this and how to hike the Inca trail safely here.
- All hikers will still pass through it, but not camp there
- Most 4 day Inca Trail hikers currently camp here. They will camp at Phuyupatamarca instead, meaning 5 day Inca Trail hikers need to camp earlier on the trail.
The last night’s campsite on both 4 and 5 day Inca Trails will change
5 day Inca Trail
Will camp at Llactapata, Llulluchupampa and Chaquicocha (where we currently have lunch). Walk 90 mins less on day three and 90 mins more on day four.
4 day Inca Trail
Will camp at Wayllabamba, Pacaymayo and Phuyupatamarca (the last pass). Walk 2 to 3 hours less, on day three and 2 to 3 hours more on day four. Then take an evening train home, after exploring Machu Picchu in the afternoon.
2. Change to the way you camp
The daily limit of 500 Inca Trail permits will be spread across one less campsite. So they are limiting the camping space allowed per group and introducing new rules:
- A maximum space per tent
- Permanent structures to act as kitchens and dining areas and toilets (use is obligatory)
- Camping spaces of two sizes, 1 to 8 and 9 to 16 people
How will this affect things?
No-one is really sure as plans have not been fully finalised
- The option to offer single tents may be affected
- There is a drive from some, to make companies share dining, kitchen and toilet facilities in order to fill the spaces. So if you have a group of two, you may need to share facilities with other companies to make a total of 8 per space.
- Others do not want this. It was mentioned that you may be able to pay for all 8 spaces to make it your private space. This would considerably increase the cost for small groups wanting exclusivity.
- Potentially, the structures could improve sanitation. The Ministry of the Environment is doing studies on water and wastewater this year. If the kitchen sinks have grease traps etc, and the wastewater is diverted and treated properly, this would be an improvement on the current system, where people tip wastewater on the ground.
- If the toilets are well maintained (unlike the current ones) this could make camping a more pleasant experience for all, and avoid a porter having to carry a toilet around.
- It might make it harder to differentiate your service from another company- if everyone is made to share facilities.
- Wildlife may be affected by the move to permanent structures, as they do not get that break between a camp being taken down and a new one put up
To check if there have been any updates on the proposed regulations or to book your Inca Trail with us, contact us here.2