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Macchu Picchu - new rules for visits

16 Jun 2017

Access to Machu Picchu is changing largely to protect the site and ensure that visitors enjoy a quality experience.

Since its ‘discovery’ in 1911 tourism to the Inca citadel has grown ceaselessly and Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has become Peru’s most visited tourist attraction. Nearly 1.2 million people visiting the site last year.

In an effort to preserve the archaeological integrity of the site and maintain the quality of the experience for visitors, the Department for Culture in Cusco has announced that, as of 1st July 2017, new regulations which aim to balance the flow of visitors throughout the day will be in place. These new regulations, however, will not be strictly enforced until January 2018, so visitors to the site between July and December 2017 will enjoy some flexibility.

New regulations for visiting Machu Picchu

  • There will be two entry time slots per day (6am – 12pm and 12pm – 5.30pm).
  • All visitors must be accompanied by a local guide during their first visit.
  • Those wishing to return to the site for a second visit, typically the following day, can do so without a guide upon presenting the previous day’s entrance ticket, as well as the entrance ticket for their re-visit.
  • There will be three guided circuits, mostly taking in the same highlights but in different orders.
  • There is a maximum group size of 16 but no minimum group size, so our small private tours will continue to be available.
  • Visitors will be limited to a maximum 4-hour stay per entry ticket.

Why is change needed?

  • At present, you can enter Machu Picchu with or without a guide, stay there all day from 6am – 5.30pm, and roam about the site on your own. Many visitors visit in the company of guides; backpackers often travel independently.
  • Most visitors heading to Machu Picchu aim to take the first bus from Machu Picchu Village just below Machu Picchu so they can be one of the first to arrive at the site.
  • During high season (July-August), queues for the bus can take up to two hours and it is not uncommon to then queue a further hour at the entrance of the site before gaining access. The new regulations should help the flow of visitors giving them an overall better experience.

Booking ahead is now advisable

  • Machu Picchu will remain just as popular as it has always been and you are advised to book ahead if you wish to visit this historic site..

The Machu Picchu authorities will be monitoring the new regulations and may make adjustments, so the information above is subject to change.

If you have booked a South American holiday with Ultimate Destinations and have questions about the changes to the visiting regulations at Machu Picchu, contact us on 01923 284148 and we will be delighted to be of service.


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