If you’re planning to trek Machu Picchu’s Inca Trail in 2018, you’ll want to bookmark October 1 in your agenda, as permits will be released a full four months ahead of normal schedule. While the first batch of permits are normally released in January for travel that same year, the Ministry of Culture will be pushing that date up to October 1, reports The Guardian.

Last year, the first permits for 2017 were also released one month earlier in December.

While 500 permits are available a day, that number includes passes for guides, cooks and other trek members — permits are snatched up quickly.

Travellers are advised to book early.

Peak months for the trek are June, July and August.

While the four-day Classic Inca Trail is the most popular way to explore the Lost City of the Incas, travellers can also trek to the mystical site without a permit.

The alternative Salkantay route is an ancient and remote footpath, that crosses the Salkantay Pass at 4,600m above sea level, descends into cloud forests and likewise offers a view of Machu Picchu.

Earlier this spring, the government also introduced two new entry periods for visitors aimed at improving the flow of tourists, reducing wait times and congestion. The first opens at 6am and closes at noon, the second opens at noon and closes at 5.30pm. – AFP Relaxnews