Biosafety Protocols for Machu Picchu Tours

Together with local authorities, the Ministry for Tourism have released a new set of biosafety protocols to regulate visits to Machu Picchu from November 2nd 2020. Information on the website of Cusco’s Cultural Board is currently available only in Spanish. Therefore, we have summarized the relevant aspects for visitors and tourism companies in English.

The pictures in this post have all been taken during an inspection trip by our Cusco team.

  • New maximum capacity (daily): 1116 visitors.
  • Visitors are required to fill in a health affidavit before entering the archaeological site.
  • Temperature will be taken before entry, visitors registering more than 38°C (100,4° F) or more won’t be allowed to enter the site.
  • Groups will have a maximum of 8 (7 visitors and a guide).
  • During the Machu Picchu tour, a minimum distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) between visitors is suggested, and for groups, at least 20 meters (66 ft).
  • Wearing of a mask is compulsory during the entire visit to Machu Picchu.
  • To comply with safety and health protocols throughout the travel experience, measures to keep social distancing have been implemented. Socially distanced markings on the floor for the waiting line to board the shuttle bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu can now be found. At train stations, one seat has to remain empty between passengers.
  • Antibacterial hand gel is available at train and bus stations, etc 

Trains to Machu Picchu

PeruRail and IncaRail have resumed their operation on November 1st. Both companies have implemented strict safety protocols.

  • Before boarding the train a health declaration must be submitted to the train’s staff.
  • Boarding will be done exclusively by means of showing your digital boarding pass (on your smartphone).
  • All passengers must show their ID along with their digital boarding pass.
  • Wearing a mask and face shield on board is compulsory.
  • Temperature checks will be carried out on board.
  • Capacity has been reduced to 50% to comply with social distancing protocols.
  • Consuming of food on board is not allowed.

Map showing Cusco, the towns in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
Passengers wearing face shields and masks traveling with PeruRail after Machu Picchu's re-opening

Hours & Admissions

  • Visits to Machu Picchu begin at 06:00 am. The site closes at 04:00 pm.
  • There are 9 daily visit slots, the first from 6:00 am to 7:00 am and the last from 2:00 pm through 3:00 pm.
  • Visitors should take the shuttle bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu max. 30 minutes before the start of the assigned visitation time slot.
  • As you see in the picture, signs allow compliance with social distancing
  • Due to the limited number of tickets to Machu Picchu on sale, we recommend you first check slot availability and based on that look for a suitable train frequency.
  • Entrance availability can be checked online here. Currently, tickets for November 2020 are almost sold out.
  • Children are allowed to enter Machu Picchu from November 30th, 2020
Visitors wearing masks queuing at the entrance of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Circuits

Four one-way circuits have been defined to reduce gatherings in Machu Picchu.

  • First Circuit (short): walk from the House of the Guardian to the Main Gate, includes the stop at the quarries, the lookout point to see the Sun Temple, the Square of Temples, the Water Fountains. Exit through the Pisonae Square
  • Second Circuit (long):  Similar to the first circuit with the addition of Intiwatana (Pyramid), Llamakancha and the Sacred Rock. Exit through the terrace in the lower sector.
  • Third Circuit (short): access through the Qolqas (storehouses), terraces, the House of the Inca, the Water Fountains and exit through the Pisonae Square.
  • Fourth Circuit (long): similar to the third circuit with the addition of Lllamakancha, the Sacred Rock, the qolqas or warehouses (from the east side). Exit through the terrace in the lower sector.
Boris, Celio and Cesar inspecting Machu Picchu after its re-openingg
Map of Machu Picchu showing the most important sites of the Inca site

In order to enlarge the map please download the PDF file (4 MB).

Admission to the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is considered as the Fifth Circuit. It requires a different entrance fee. From November there are two options to book the Inca Trail:

  • Option 1: Hiking from KM 104 and then visit to Machu Picchu (the same day).
  • Option 2: Hiking from KM 104 and visit to Machu Picchu the next day.

The first option is the one we recommend for travelers in a good physical condition and with previous hiking experience.

The maximum number of hikers joining a group is 6. Each group has to be led by a guide and a porter. In case that a porter is not required, an additional hiker could join the group.  Biosafety protocols are similar to the ones set for Machu Picchu and this includes the wearing of a mask during the hike.

Access to Wayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountain

The alternative routes to Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain will remain closed until further notice.

Shuttle bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

Similar to the trains, the capacity of the shuttle buses from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and vice-versa have been limited to 50%.

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