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Visit Machu Picchu stress-free this 2022

Visiting Machu Picchu nowadays implies a little more planning than usual (previous to 2020), but in the reality, things started to get tricky since 2007, when the archaeological site was named one of the New7Wonders of the World. Another “trickiness” booster was the 100th anniversary of the scientific discovery of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and for instance, becoming a crowds magnet, perfect for those instagramers looking for the quintessential picture of this marvelous place. Then, 2017 was the starting year of implementation of sustainable strategies given the fact that Machu Picchu was on the verge of being declared heritage in danger by UNESCO.

This said, let’s start to ease the “trickiness” one step at a time.

Entrance timetables for Machu Picchu

There are 9 time-slots to enter the citadel and they go every hour from 6 AM to 2-3 PM. At 3 PM the entry is closed.

The less busy moments are the last 3 slots (from 12M and on), followed by the first 3 (from 6 to 8-9 AM), while the busiest are the ones from (9 to 11 AM -12 M).

Here is an example of a typical situation of ticket availability on any given day (blue numbers represent available tickets from a maximum of 300).

And the following is what happens if you wait until the very last minute to buy your ticket.

Note: that the absolute maximum capacity of Machu Picchu (let’s call it MaPi from now on) per day is 2244 people (Jan 2022).


From left to right are the Sun Temple, the Intiwatana Pyramid (or “solar clock”) and the Condor Temple

One last additional restriction is the one that imposes certain periods of hours to visit three main monuments of the citadel:

  • Intiwatana Pyramid is open from 7 to 10 AM
  • Condor Temple is open from 10 AM to 13 PM
  • Sun Temple is open from 13 to 16 PM

This measure might want you to plan your entrance according to your interests, but very good planning can allow you access to 2 of 3 monuments if you choose an intermediate hour and take your time to move inside the citadel. For example: if you enter MaPi at 9 AM, you will be able to see Intiwatana before closing (10 AM) and then follow your way to Condor Temple that opens at 10 AM.

This level of planning is certainly tricky, but regulations at MaPi are intentionally made to try to limit degradation of the site caused by the thousands of daily visitors wanting to be all over during long periods of time. So the only thing to do is to accept that you will see things in MaPi but not absolutely everything. In conclusion, take it easy and ask your guide what is the best option given the circumstances.

Understanding the circuits or fixed routes in Machu Picchu

Visiting MaPi must be an enjoyable experience. To some people might be the one and only visit in their lifetime, so you better make sure you will have the best day you can possibly get (excluding of course unpredictable bad weather or very unfortunate contingencies) and this is when the right circuit choice takes place.

The following 4 circuits are the ones designed for visiting the citadel only (simple ticket). But #3 and #4 are the ones that people going to Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain have to take in their way to start the climb to the mentioned mountains (these require buying different tickets of higher cost than the simple one and up to 400 places available).

All 4 visit circuits are displayed for comparison, please keep scrolling down for further detail on each one

Pros

  • Gives access to the classic lookout for great scenery views.
  • Great during less-visited times, as explained before.

Cons

  • Doesn’t give access to almost one-half of the complex where the Sacred Plaza, Intiwatana Pyramid, Sacred Rock, Three Gates and Condor Temple are.

Pros

  • Gives access to the classic lookout for great scenery views.
  • Great during less-visited times, as explained before.
  • Probably the best circuit of all.

Cons

  • No cons to list here.

Pros

  • This is the circuit designed for people with motor limitations (and/or using wheelchairs) as there is no need to climb or descend.

Cons

  • Very limited: as it doesn’t give access to the classic lookout for great scenery views, or many other monuments of the site.

Pros

  • Good for the ones who can not (or don’t want to) climb high but still gives a more or less comprehensive visit of the citadel.

Cons

  • Doesn’t give access to the classic lookout or entering through the main gate (the one in the header image).

Protocol for entering the citadel of Machu Picchu :

  1. You will be checked for compliance with mask-wearing (and correct fitting).
  2. Temperature check (if above 37.5°C, you will be moved to the isolation area for observation and further checking).
  3. Pass through disinfection and health area. This means hand sanitizing and shoe soles disinfection.
  4. Ticket barcode scan (suggested in digital format instead of printed copy).
  5. You will be requested to hand-in the Contractor and Visitor Health Declaration Form “Formato de Declaración de Salud de Contratistas y Visitantes (Anexo 3)
  6. A random check of identity documents.
  7. Control compliance with the maximum number of visitors per group (8 including the guide).
  8. You will be communicated about the maximum length of stay. Normally 4 hours, but some exceptions to the rule apply.

Alternative routes and ticket types for Machu Picchu

Here you can see Huayna Picchu located north, and if you move down one bit, Machu Picchu Mountain will show up, while if you zoom in twice, you will see Huchuy Picchu Mountain in the way to Huayna Picchu.

To climb Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains in addition to your visit to the citadel, you must buy specific types of tickets granting access to each of the two mountains separately. Here is a comparison of the options:

The most popular choice is Wayna Picchu mountain, but this route only allows 200 spaces per day distributed in four time-slots from 6 to 7 AM, from 8 to 9 AM, from 10 to 11 AM, and from 12 M to 1 PM.

This climb is not for the heart-fainted and is of a mid-high level of difficulty.

By purchasing this ticket you are agreeing to do only circuit #4 of the explained above.

We use to recommed the Machu Picchu mountain, allowing 400 spaces per day distributed in two time-slots from 6 to 7 AM and from 8 to 9 AM.

It requires less physical effort and it isn’t as scary as the Wayna Picchu climb can be for the ones with vertigo.

By purchasing this ticket you are agreeing to do only circuit #3 of the explained above.

There is a third option for access (this involves no climbing) Huchuy Picchu mountain (but as huchuy means little, you might guess that this is less attractive and you are not wrong).

There are 200 tickets available per day distributed in two time-slots from 6 to 7 AM and from 2 to 3 PM.

By purchasing this ticket you are agreeing to do only circuit #4 of the explained above.

Prohibitions

During your visit to MaPi it is prohibited to:

  • Carry backpacks, bags or purses larger than 40x35x20 cm (16x14x8 inches).
  • Enter with food or kitchenware, i.e. plates, cutlery, thermoses, etc.
  • Enter with any illegal substance or be under the influence of any substance.
  • Enter with any type of alcohol or under the influence.
  • Enter with umbrellas, walking sticks, portable chairs, tripods, monopods, selfie sticks or other photography/film stabilization accessories.
  • Enter with animals, except guide dogs.
  • Feed domestic or wild animals.
  • Enter with any type of aerosol.
  • Deface, alter or leave any type of graffiti.
  • Enter with any type of musical instrument, megaphone or speakers.
  • Make loud or disturbing noises (scream, whistle, clap, sing, etc).
  • Use virtual apps in narrow paths or outside designated explanation areas.
  • Enter with heels or hard-sole shoes.
  • Access with baby strollers.
  • Enter with knives or weapons of any kind.
  • Enter with banners, posters, or other objects of this type, clothing intended for advertising purposes, costumes, among others.
  • Film or photograph for advertising purposes.
  • Generate turmoil, undress, lie down, run and/or jump.
  • Climb or lean on walls and/or structures. Touch, extract or move lithic elements such as rocks and stonework.
  • Disturb, collect or remove flora or fauna.
  • Carry out activities that distort the sacredness of the monument; such as fashion shows, dances, social commitments, obscene acts contrary to morality and good manners, perform any kind of activity that implies the impairment or deterioration of the monument, its natural environment and/or facilities.
  • Smoke or vape, or start a fire of any kind.
  • Litter.
  • Stray from the established circuits/routes.
  • Sell or trade inside the monument and surrounding areas, until Puente Ruinas.
  • Fly over with paragliders, drones or any type of craft.

Performing acts or entering with objects prohibited in this list will generate the immediate expulsion of the visitor without reimbursement and the start of legal actions if necessary. The park guards of the Ministry of Culture and the agents of the National Police are the authority within the monument premises.

What to take for the visit?

  • Good shoes, consider that there could be mud and/or wet rocks and that you also want your ankles to have good support during your walk or climb to some of the mountains.
  • If it’s the rainy season (November-April) there will most likely be some precipitation, and even if it’s not rainy season, you want to be alert. You never know when there will be wet conditions, therefore you will want to bring a light or heavy raincoat depending on the forecast that day.
  • If you need a walking stick, it must always have a rubber tip.
  • Solar protection: everything you find to be necessary and enough, along with sunscreen (hat/cap, sunglasses, long sleeves and pants, others)
  • Hydration for the maximum length of the visit (5 hours tops) and snacks in reusable or eco-friendly containers/packaging.
  • Small personal backpack

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ABOUT RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL PERU

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Following this business model, we practice fair trade, foster cultural identity, promote equal opportunities, and we preserve the environment that surrounds us and other species.

Together with you we improve, day by day, on the always-demanding path towards sustainability.

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