When looking to visit Machu Picchu one of the main questions will be; how, where and when to get those entrance tickets. Once you start looking into this, the next question will be; what ticket? Following we will try to guide you a little through the process of getting your Machu Picchu tickets.
Which entrance ticket should I buy?
With the new entrance rules for Machu Picchu the number of tickets and type of tickets has slightly changed. Before the 2500 daily Machu Picchu tickets available gave you access to the site for the whole day from 6.00am till 4.00pm and even allowed you to re-enter the site several times if you would like to take lunch or use the bathrooms. (It is worth noting that the only restrooms available are located outside of Machu Picchu next to the entrance). Nowadays the visits have been divided into two time slots; 6.00am till noon and noon till 5.30pm. For each slot 2500 visitors are allowed. This sounds like a lot but keep in mind that during the high season; June through August these do sell out for certain days. The new ticket will also only allow you to re-enter the site during your time slot. Therefore if you would leave the site after your time slot you will not be allowed in anymore with your ticket. This being said, there is a little flexibility on the time slots for the foreseen future. This means that visitors with an afternoon ticket are already allowed to enter from about 11.00am onward and that the visitors with a morning ticket do not get checked once inside meaning they can stay later then noon but not re-enter after noon.
Therefore the first distinction is the time slot for your ticket. The official name for the tickets are; tickets first turn (6.00am-12.00pm) and tickets second turn (12.00pm-5.30pm).
Then there are the tickets for Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. These are two hikes (click here for more information) within the site of Machu Picchu allowing you to get a bird’s eye perspective of the site as well as visit the Temple of the Moon on Huayna Picchu Mountain. These hikes are definitely worth the effort and are a great addition to your Machu Picchu visit. Nevertheless for most one day visitors (unless you would arrive to Aguas Calientes the night before) it will not be possible to do either of these hikes as these can only be done in the morning. For both hikes there are only 400 spaces available divided into two groups of 200 each. For Huayna Picchu the first time slot to start is from 7.00am till 8.00am and the second from 10.00am till 11.00am. For Machu Picchu Mountain the first slot is the same; 7.00 till 8.00am but the second slot slightly earlier from 9.00am till 10.00am (the reason is that this hike takes more time for most visitors). This means that you can start the hike during these slots. There is no official time limit to complete either of these hikes but the guards will start moving visitors down from noon onward. Finally it is worth noting that in years before Huayna Picchu always sold out quite some time in advance but that nowadays Huayna Picchu sells out for the whole year and mostly several months in advance. Therefore it is recommended to get your tickets for Huayna Picchu as early as possible. The most popular slot is the 10.00am slot but we recommend the 7.00am slot as this will allow you to hike in nicer temperatures, allows you to divide your day at Machu Picchu better (the start of the hike is about 20min walking from the entrance) and gives you more time for the hike and to enjoy the scenery.
We decided on what ticket we want, now what else do we need?
In order to purchase your tickets (at whatever outlet) you will need the following information;
- The date you would like to visit (make sure the date is correct as changing this is quite complicated)
- Your full name as on your passport
- Your passport number (this can be updated if necessary but involves some paperwork)
- Date of birth (age)
If purchasing your ticket online, with this information you can reserve a ticket for three hours when the payment has to be made as well. On contrary the ticket reservation will automatically be dropped.
Where can we get our Machu Picchu tickets?
There are basically 4 options to get your Machu Picchu tickets;
- The www.howtotraveltomachupicchu.com website
Here at www.howtotraveltomachupicchu.com we can provide you with entrance tickets to Machu Picchu as well as train tickets, guides and hotel reservations. Message us through the contact form and provide us with the dates, a color copy of your passport and email address and we can arrange these tickets for you. We will send you an online link for the payment via Paypal which can be done with your credit card. Once payment has been received will confirm the tickets and send you these electronically. You can just print these out and you are ready to go.
- The official government website for the sale of Machu Picchu tickets
For people having a tick skin and a lot of patience, tickets can also be bought directly through the government website; http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/ The website has quite some issues, but if you are lucky and reach the website on a good day you can buy your entrance tickets for Machu Picchu here. Please be aware that the website only accepts Visa payments (Mastercard or Amex are not accepted). Go to the website, choose the ticket you are looking for and fill out your details. This will generate a reservation code.
The reservation code you will be given can be used in two ways;
- You can pay for the ticket online via the website using a Visa credit card and print out your tickets.
- You can pay for the reservation at any Banco de la Nacion in Peru (long lines in general).
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT RESERVATIONS MADE ONLINE ON THE http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/ WEBSITE ARE ONLY VALID FOR 3 HOURS AND IF NOT PAID FOR WITHIN THIS PERIOD AUTOMATICALLY CANCELLED
- For Visa payments online you go (after having made the reservation) to the same website and go to the “pagos” option in the top menu bar. Here you fill out the reservation code you generated and continue to the payment page. This will take you to the “Verified by Visa” page for the payment of your tickets. Please be aware that due to a lot of time-outs on the page this may take a couple of tries to get through. Once the ticket is paid for you will return to the confirmation page were you can print out the entrance tickets. Note; please keep in mind that with these payments (especially in the high season) at the entrance of the site you can be requested for the Visa card used for the payment as well as a valid proof of identity with photo.
- Banco de la Nacion; with the generated reservation code online, the reservation can also be paid for physically. Once the reservation is made a reservation document will pop up. This reservation document you will have to print out (or copy at least the amount and reservation number) and with this go to the Government bank; Banco de la Nacion. There is a Banco de La Nacion in almost any Peruvian city so you could do this during your trip and not necessarily in Cusco. Please keep in mind that due to the fact that these banks are used for a lot of bureaucratic payment the waiting times can easily be up to an hour. To make this payment you will also need to bring your passport or valid proof of identity as well as the reservation print out or code. Once the payment has been made you will be given a voucher for this payment and have to return to the official website and in the “check-in” section of the top menu fill out the original reservation code. If the payment came through you will hear have the possibility to print out your ticket(s).
- The Direccion Regional de Cultura offices in Cusco or Aguas Calientes
You can also buy your Machu Picchu entrance tickets at the Direccion Regional de Cultura offices either in Cusco or Aguas Calientes. You can just go to either of these offices with your passport and they accept payment either with Visa credit card or cash. The office in Cusco is located at about 15 minutes walking form the main square and in Aguas Calientes on the main road of town. Keep in mind that as there are only 5000 spaces available per day (especially in the high season), this option is best only used when having at least a week in advance. If tickets are no longer available online they are no longer available for any outlet. The tickets will be given you at this moment.
Direccion Regional de Cultura Cusco Office
Casa Garcilaso - Calle Garcilaso s/n Cusco - Perú
Central Telefónica (84) 582030
Direccion Regional de Cultura Aguas Calientes Office
Av. Pachacutec (just off the main square). Monday – Sunday, 5.00am – 10.00pm.
- Buying your entrance tickets through an official travel agency
The last option would be to contact an official travel agency and let them buy the tickets for you. In general agencies will need your passport information (full name, passport number, date of birth and nationality) and the tickets will have to be paid for in advance as agencies have to make full payment on the moment of purchase. On average agencies will charge a 10-15% commission on the ticket price but this percentage can go down if you would have them organize more services such as trains or hotel overnights.
As you can read getting to visit Machu Picchu takes some time and effort apart from the obvious planning and travel time. Please keep in mind that once tickets are bought these are nonrefundable (very few exceptions), non-transferrable and difficult change in case you would have to make modifications to your personal details. Lastly it is important to keep the following in mind when buying your ticket; Machu Picchu tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable – therefore once you have bought the ticket and cannot go on the day you bought the ticket for this ticket will be lost completely and cannot be sold on to any other visitor – all tickets are personal and registered with passport numbers.
We hope that this blog will provide you with the information and guidance you were looking for; if not, please feel free to get in touch with us.