New Rules for Machu Picchu 2021
Update January 27th, 2021
On January 26th, the president announced new measures and restrictions to be applied from January 31st until February 14th, the measure includes the temporary closure of Machu Picchu archaeological site as well as other archaeological sites and museums in Cusco and other regions in Peru.
Together with local authorities, the Ministry of Tourism have released a new set of rules to regulate visits to Machu Picchu from December 1st, 2020.
Information on the Cusco’s Cultural Board’s website 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.
The following points have been the measures taken before January 31st:
- Effective from December 2020, the new maximum capacity (daily): 1116 visitors (124 visitors per hour)
- Temperature will be taken before entry, visitors registering more than 37.5°C (99.5° 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).
- The visit has a maximum duration of 4 hours.
- 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 safety protocols.
- All passengers must show their ID along with their digital boarding pass.
- Boarding will be done exclusively by means of showing your digital boarding pass (on your smartphone).
- Before boarding the trains, the symptomatology form must be submitted in digital format, through a sworn statement. In the case of children under 14 years old, they may only travel with at least one of their parents/guardians. Find the sworn statement for each rail company:
General Form: Peru Rail / Inca Rail
Children under 14 years old: Peru Rail / Inca Rail
Over 65 years old: Peru Rail / Inca Rail
- Wearing of a mask and a face shield on board is compulsory.
- Temperature checks will be carried out on board.
- As of November 29th, 2020, the new capacity of the trains has been upped to 100%.
- Consuming of food on board is not permitted.
Hours & Admissions
The following items have been the measures taken before January 31st:
- Visits to Machu Picchu begin at 06:00 am. The site closes at 05:30 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 below, signs allow compliance with social distancing
- Wearing of a mask during your visit is compulsory.
- 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. Ticket sales for January 2021 will start on January 2nd.
- Children younger than 12 years are permitted to enter Machu Picchu as from December 2020.
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 Llamakancha, the Sacred Rock, the qolqas or warehouses (from the east side). Exit through the terrace in the lower sector.
In order to enlarge the map please download the PDF file (4 MB).
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 is 100%. Wearing a mask and a face shield on board is compulsory.
Admission to the Inca Trail
In the new rules for Machu Picchu the ‘Inca Trail’ is considered as the Fifth Circuit. It requires a different entrance fee. From November 2020 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.
Bear in mind that the Inca Trail remains closed every year in February for maintenance.
Access to Wayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountain
The new rules for Machu Picchu also includes guidelines for visits to Wayna Picchu and ‘Machu Picchu Mountain’. Both remain closed until further notice.