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Machu Picchu Rules 2024

Amy Kruger
October 5, 2023
12 min. read
Machu Picchu · Peru

Updated on December 4th, 2023


The regulations for entry to Machu Picchu and its surrounding mountains undergo frequent changes. The official website of the Ministry of Culture only provides ministerial resolutions published in Spanish and often lacks updates.

Understanding the rules released on the official site can be challenging for those without a legal background and is only available in Spanish. This section aims to share relevant information with visitors and is regularly updated.

There are a total of 3,044 tickets available for purchase on a daily basis, which can be purchased online at:

Another 1000 tickets are availbale for last minute purchase in Aguas Calientes town.

Ticket booking

TimeWayna PicchuMacchu Picchu MountainHuchuy Picchu Mountain

Entrance tickets to Machu Picchu are issued based on personal data and are non-transferable or refundable. The following information is required to purchase the tickets:

Due to the limited number of visitors, we recommend that our customers have their entrance tickets for Machu Picchu issued at least 40 days in advance. A reimbursement after issuance is not possible.

Children under 3 years of age do not have to pay admission. A reduced price applies to children/teenagers up to the age of 17. Students up to 25 years of age receive a discount on the presentation of a valid student ID from their university (an ISIC student ID is not sufficient).

The official website of the Ministry for Culture shows only availability for Machu Picchu entrance tickets (although sometimes it may not function properly). Alternatively, you can buy at the ticket office in Aguas Calientes (as explained further down this article)

There is no sales point at the entrance to Machu Picchu itself!

Visiting rules and regulations

At the entrance, every visitor must show their ticket and passport. Students must also present their valid student ID here.

The duration of the visit is generally limited to a maximum of 3 hours. The only exceptions are tickets for the surrounding mountain peaks Wayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain, and Huchuy Picchu, which allow for a longer entry.

The entry ticket entitles you to a single entry. It is not possible to leave and re-enter the citadel with the same ticket (exception: ticket for Machu Picchu Mountain for visiting route 3).

It is recommended to have a tour guide accompany you on your first visit to Machu Pichu. However, it is not mandatory. For groups of 10 travelers or less, one or more accompanying guide(s) are required. One tour guide must accompany the group for every 10 guests (larger groups are not allowed).

You may not take large bags, groceries, and disposable bottles into the citadel. You can only carry one small bag with you. Walking sticks are only allowed for physically challenged and elderly visitors.

Machu Picchu Map & Routes

Machu Picchu - map of the citadel with the given visiting routes

There are fixed routes through the facility with limited capacities to visit Machu Picchu. Below is an overview of the 4 official routes (as seen on the map above). There is also a 5th route, but this is only valid in combination with the 2-day Inca Trail, which we have included for your information:

Route 1 (upper short tour, red):

This route leads from the entrance through the upper sector, over agricultural terraces, past the guard's house, through the main entrance to the urban sector, to the sun temple, and from there over the water mirrors in the lower sector back to the exit.

Route 2 (upper long tour, dark blue):

This is the most comprehensive route and is the most complete exploration of the citadel. The route leads from the entrance through the upper sector, over agricultural terraces, past the guard's house, through the main entrance into the urban sector, to the temple of the sun. From there it continues over the temple square and the Intiwatana Pyramid in the upper sector to the sacred rock in the rearmost part of the citadel, and then through the lower sector past the condor temple to the exit.

For travelers with reduced mobility, you can walk along the route to the guard house where you can decide, together with your guide, if you wish to continue along the circuit, go to the lower part of Route 2 or end the visit and go to the exit.

Route 3 (lower short tour, yellow):

This is the shortest of all routes and includes only a small, limited part of the citadel. The route leads over agricultural terraces directly into the lower sector, past the Temple of the Sun, to the house of the Inca, and from there over the water mirrors in the lower sector back to the exit.

This route only requires you to navigate a few stairs and is particularly suitable for people with reduced mobility.

Route 4 (lower long tour, turquoise):

This route also only includes the lower sector, but leads to the rear area of ​​the citadel. The route leads over agricultural terraces directly into the lower sector, past the Temple of the Sun, to the house of the Inca, and on to the sacred rock, and from there to the lower sector past the Condor Temple and back to the exit.

Route 5 (applies to the 2-day Inca Trail):

For those who decide to hike along the 2-day Inca Trail, you will journey along a section of the famous Inca Trail on the first day. However, this hike does not end in Machu Picchu like the classic Inca Trail.

On the 2nd day of this option for the Inca Trail, you will make use of the regular entrance to Machu Picchu. Once you enter, you will conduct your visit along the so-called Route 5 within the citadel. This route is similar to route 3 described above and leads directly to the lower sector via Agricultural Terraces, past the Sun Temple to the House of the Inca. From there it continues to the Three Gates (No. 9 on the map) and back around to the exit.

With this ticket, you are not tied to a fixed time window and are permitted to enter the citadel anytime between 06:00 and 11:00.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive visit to the citadel or want to see something specific along routes 1 through 4 above, you will have to purchase an additional entrance ticket to Machu Picchu for that day.

Two young explorers in Machu Picchu

Additional time restrictions apply to three popular attractions within the citadel:

A visit to the Sun Gate is currently not possible.

Admission times

Machu Picchu is open to visitors daily from 6:00 to 17:30. Visits are not possible outside of these times. When purchasing the admission ticket, a fixed time slot of 60 minutes must be selected for admission. This can no longer be changed after it has been issued.

With the classic Machu Picchu ticket, you can choose from one of the 4 possible routes on site, explained above.

We usually recommend Route 1 or Route 2 to our customers, as these allow the most extensive visit to the facility. There are 9 entry time slots of 60 minutes each with a limited number of visitors to choose from.

Trains and Shuttle buses

Map depicting the location of Cusco, Ollanta and Machu Picchu

You can reach Aguas Calientes, the starting point for visiting Machu Picchu, by train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo. Trains operated by PeruRail and IncaRail, which offer different categories and frequencies, run on the route.

Train tickets are issued based on personal data and are only valid for the selected departure. A refund of already issued train tickets is not possible.

Due to limited space onboard the trains, baggage restrictions apply to passengers. You can only bring one piece of hand luggage on the train (one bag per person) with a maximum weight of 5 kg.

Shuttle buses, subject to an additional charge, run between the town of Aguas Calientes and the Machu Picchu citadel. The buses to Machu Picchu run between 5:30 and 15:30, the return trip is possible from 6:00 to 18:00. The journey takes around 30 minutes.

When there are high numbers of visitors, queues for the shuttle buses can form. You should therefore plan a sufficient buffer time. Visitors should take the shuttle bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu at least 30 minutes before the booked visit slot.

Surrounding Mountain Peaks

There are also tickets that allow a visit to the surrounding mountain peaks, but in return only include a limited visit via route 3 or route 4 through the citadel. You can find more details here:

Wayna Picchu

Wayna Picchu is one of the mountain peaks that surround Machu Picchu. It is probably the most famous as it towers over Machu Picchu in the background in many photos. The ascent takes place on a narrow and extremely steep path and takes around 45 - 60 minutes, depending on the pace. Once at the summit, a fantastic view of the whole of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains awaits.

Since the path is very narrow and exposed in some places, we recommend this hike for experienced and sure-footed hikers. We highly recommend sturdy shoes.

Access is direct via Route 4 to the checkpoint near the Sacred Rock. With the ticket for the Wayna Picchu visitors may not take the long route 2 to the checkpoint. After the descent, follow Route 4 again to the exit

Due to the duration of the hike, the maximum time limit of 3 hours for visiting Machu Picchu does not apply to this route.

Huchuy Picchu

Tourists going along a path within Machu Picchu facing the Huchuy Picchu Mountain and Wayna Picchu

Huchuy Picchu is something like the little brother of Wayna Picchu. Until 2020 this optional visit was included in the entrance fee for Wayna Picchu, but since 2021 there are separate tickets for this hike.

Huchuy Picchu is right next to the checkpoint at the Sacred Rock and can be reached on a hike of around 15 minutes. Compared to the other options, this hike is significantly easier and shorter and therefore also possible for less experienced travelers.

As with Wayna Picchu, access is via Route 4. After the descent, Machu Picchu must also be exited along this route.

Machu Picchu Mountain

Wood board in Machu Picchu indicating the path to Machu Picchu Mountain

Machu Picchu Mountain, which is also the Apu (sacred mountain) for the complex, is located south of the citadel, opposite Wayna Picchu. The hike partly leads through dense vegetation, but always rewards you with great views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding area.

It takes about 90 minutes to get to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain, depending on your pace. The path leads over a lot of stairs. We recommend having a good physical condition and sturdy shoes for this route.

Due to the duration of the hike, the maximum time limit of 3 hours for visiting Machu Picchu does not apply to this route.

Access to Machu Picchu Mountain is directly via the first part of Routes 1/2 to the control point. After the descent, however, it is not possible to continue along these routes and you have to leave Machu Picchu along the same path (as do the guests who reach Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail from the Sun Gate).

Then you can enter the facility again with the Machu Picchu Mountain ticket to complete the short tour along Route 3.

If you can't decide between visiting Machu Picchu Mountain or Wayna Picchu while planning your journey to Machu Picchu, our article has 5 questions that you need to ask yourself to help you make up your mind.

Inca Trail

Last minute purchase in Aguas Calientes town

If you didn't buy a day ticket for Machu Picchu in advance, go directly to the office of the Ministry of Culture upon arriving in Aguas Calientes to register for your ticket before checking into your hotel. You will be required to show your passport, after which you get a number and can then purchase a ticket - as long as availability allows. Please note ticket sales are only done from 15:00 - 22:00 and are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. It's recommended that you arrive before 15:00 as queuing starts much earlier. Tickets in Aguas Calientes are only available for purchase for a visit the next day and no same-day tickets are available for purchase.  You can check how many permits are left online for the next day: DDC CUSCO - Disponibilidad de Boletos en el C. C. Machupicchu (The website data updates in real-time).

There are 1000 permits per day available that are divided into the following circuits:

Machu Picchu200
Wayna Picchu (Circuit 4)100
Machu Picchu Mountain (Circuit 3)300
Huchuy Picchu (Circuit 4)100
Inca Bridge (Route 1 or 2)300

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