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Covid-19 On The Inca Trail – Is The Trail Open For Tourists?

Alison Macallister

The international Covid Pandemic and subsequent lockdowns put a pause on our travel plans. But there is good news.

With most people receiving the vaccine, regulations across the globe are easing. The Inca Trail is open and trekking in Peru is back on the menu!

Of course, things aren’t exactly as they used to be. There are a lot of new regulations and protocols to be aware of. You should also know that the Inca trail is not open year-round.

In this article, we will look at trail closure dates and current Covid regulations in Peru. Read on to learn how these new rules will affect your plans concerning Covid-19 on the Inca Trail.

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How to hike Inca trail after Covid 

The Inca Trail is open for booking!

Covid-19 is no longer an excuse to put off planning your dream trek to Machu Picchu.

Peak season 2022 (June-August) was almost gone back to normal on the trail.

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Is The Inca Trail Open?

The Inca Trail was closed for almost two years over the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic. It re-opened on 15 July 2021. This was around the same time that borders opened and international flights resumed, making the chances of catching Covid-19 on the Inca Trail minimal.

Please Note: It is best to book as soon as possible though as spaces sell out months in advance.

Initially, permit numbers were reduced significantly to prevent crowding at the campsites. Daily admittance to Machu Picchu was also reduced by 50%. This was a huge drop from 3500 to 1200 visitors per day.

Currently, Inca Trail permits are back to normal (around 200 tourists a day). 


When Is The Inca Trail Closed?

Every year, the Inca Trail closes in February. This is the height of the rainy season and also the highest risk for landslides on some sections of the trail. This month is also a rest period for the busy trail. Authorities use the time for repairs and maintenance.

Please Note: Alternative trails to Machu Picchu including the Lares Trek and Salkantay Trek are open during this time if you still want to do some hiking in Peru.

Inca Trail Covid-19 Regulations

The Inca Trail has re-opened following a long closure during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

This is what you need to know about Covid-19 on the Inca Trail as well as regulations and protocols that will affect your trail trek. 

Covid-19 Regulations For Buses To Cusco

If you are travelling to Cusco by bus to start the Inca Trail, you will need to be fully vaccinated. Some of the smaller and cheaper companies don't check vaccination cards. However, the better bus lines including Cruz del Sur and Civa are very strict about passengers being fully vaccinated.

Please Note: You will need to present a card or electronic proof of vaccination. Two vaccination doses are usually okay, but things change weekly. Double masks or KN95 masks are required.

Covid-19 on the Inca Trail - Regulations You Need To Follow

To counter Covid-19 on the Inca Trail, face masks are still mandatory in public spaces or around people in Peru (as of October 2022).

As you can imagine, technical requirements and what actually happens are two different things.

Most locals wear masks around Cusco, even on the open street. The tourism areas operate with a lot more flexibility with very few foreigners or tour guides bothering with masks.


From my personal experience, I’d say it is a matter of respect to wear a mask when in a shop, booking office, or when in transport to or from the trail.

When hiking the Inca Trail, you are unlikely to need a mask. You may want to pack a few for around the crowded campsites. It is also a good idea to bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

Where to stay? Here are 5 of my favourite accommodation options in Cusco: 

See more Cusco accommodation options.

Covid-19 Regulations For Visiting Machu Picchu

Strictly speaking, you need two masks or a KN95 to enter Machu Picchu. Your booking agent or guide may also tell you this.

However, on the day, no one seems to care either way. During my visit in August 2022, the control station was only interested in my passport and ticket. Around 60% of visitors didn’t have masks.

Out of respect to the staff (who are all masked), I recommend bringing a KN95 mask with you. Wear it in the queue and through the entrance gate and take it off when there is more open space around you.

Please Note: Be sure to check out the official Machu Picchu website for more information and updates on current Covid-19 regulations in Peru.

Regulations are constantly changing, so rules may loosen up or become stricter in the coming months. I will do my best to keep this article up to date. If you know of any other government websites with relevant information on Covid-19 regulations in Peru, you can leave us a comment below. 

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Alison Macallister

With a degree in Nature Conservation and experience working with wildlife including the Big 5, Alison works as a guide for a 5-star reserve. She enjoys sharing her passion for all things nature-related. She enjoys hiking, horseriding, 4x4 driving and kayaking.

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