Rara Lake is located inside a national park, and it is the newest national park in Nepal. For all Non-Nepalese trekkers, a trekking permit is required.
Many blogs will state that you need a restricted area permit to visit the lake and that the cost of this permit is USD 90 for the first seven days and USD 15 per day after the first seven days. Also, the government rule for this restricted permit states that there should be a minimum of two trekkers per group.
However, I recently visited Rara Lake in September and did not obtain this restricted area permit, for this Mugu district. I also was not required to have a TIMS card. I only paid USD 30 USD plus 13 % government tax. This came out to be about USD 34. And I was able to get this at the national park checkpoint.
You may also obtain the permit in Kathmandu before your departure. You should note also that for SAARC countries the national park entry permit is even less.
SAARC member countries include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
And Nepalese people do not require a permit at all.
It may be confusing to you, but let me explain the need for a restricted permit. The restricted area permit for Mugu applies only to certain villages within the Mugu district, those known as the Village Developmental Committees (VDC). The trail from Jumla or from Nagma to the lake does not pass through these VDCs, and the lake itself is not located in this restricted area.
Necessary permit for Rara Lake Trek
- Rara National Park Entry Permit
So know that the only permit you need for Rara Lake trekking can easily be obtained at the checkpoint just be sure to have the cash, and enjoy your trek! You can check my Rara lake trek report.