New guidelines for how travelers visit Machu Picchu will be put into effect on July 1, 2017. Now you must enter the site during one of two time slots and explore attractions in the urban and agricultural sectors along an established walking circuit.
In 2016, a record 1.3 million visitors went to Machu Picchu. These new regulations have been established to protect the integrity and legacy of this stunning UNESCO Historic Sanctuary, and ensure a better experience for visitors.
Our team is on the ground in Peru keeping tabs on the latest updates and noting how these new rules might impact your upcoming visit to Machu Picchu.
Beginning on July 1, you can enter Machu Picchu during one of two time slots.
Morning Time Slot: 6am-12pm
Afternoon Time Slot: 12pm – 5:30pm
Each day you can spend a maximum of 4 hours at Machu Picchu (across the two time slots). If you enter Machu Picchu at 10am, for example, then you have until 2pm to visit.
Travelers who want to spend a full day at Machu Picchu (more than 4 hours) need to buy two entrance tickets for the morning and afternoon time slots.
The new walking routes around Machu Picchu are showcased (and color coded) for your convenience.
From the main entrance, the yellow inbound circuit traverses along an upper section of Machu Picchu, past a stunning view over the citadel from the Guardhouse (Caretaker’s Hut) and impressive structures such as the Temple of Three Windows and a series of fountains through which water still flows.
Click the map for a larger view.
The Sacred Rock (Ceremonial Rock) is where the red outbound circuit begins. It leads back to the main entrance through the lower urban section of Machu Picchu through the Group of Three Doorways and the fine masonry of the Royal Enclosures.
The blue alternative circuits branch off from the inbound and outbound circuits. Two of these alternative options go up to the Sun Gate or around the base of Machu Picchu Mountain to the Inca Bridge.
A general admission ticket holder needs to enter Machu Picchu with a guide. Guided tours need to be arranged in advance with your travel advisor. No re-entry into the ruins is permitted.
Visitors with a general admission + hike ticket are not required to have a guide accompany them on the hike. After completing the climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you can continue exploring the site on a guided tour. The “Sacred Rock” is currently the designated spot for our travelers to meet their guide after their hike and begin their tour.
Entry time restrictions also apply to general admission + hike tickets:
- Huayna Picchu hikers have a maximum of 6 hours total to visit Machu Picchu. This includes time to do the hike and take their tour.
- Machu Picchu Mountain hikers have a maximum of 7 hours total to visit Machu Picchu. This includes time to do the hike and take their tour.
Doing the 4-Day Inca Trail?
The new entry restrictions don’t apply to Inca Trail arrivals. You will enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate and then walk down to the entrance. After an overnight in Aguas Calientes, wake up the following morning to go on a guided Machu Picchu tour (4 hours total).
Doing the Salkantay, Lares, and 2-Day Inca Trail?
Spend the night at a hotel in Aguas Calientes the night before you visit Machu Picchu. The following day you will visit the Inca citadel for your guided tour (4 hours total). Our travelers will enter Machu Picchu during the morning time slot: the exact time will vary.
With Machu Picchu becoming a more popular site than ever, the new rules aim to control the flow of visitors and manage the crowds all in order to support the preservation of the historical site. These new visitor regulations will become effective for a 4 month trial period (July 1st through October 31st) and will continue thereon upon evaluation by the Peru’s Ministry of Culture.
Please check back here for more Machu Picchu updates and in the meantime “Go Discover.”