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You may have heard that change is afoot at Machu Picchu. Read on to find out what changes are happening to visiting regulations and how it will affect tourists.

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 with 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 be afforded some flexibility.  

Here are the main changes:

  • 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.
  • Information currently available suggests that 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. Details of how this will work in practice are yet to be confirmed.
  • There will be three guided circuits, mostly taking in the same highlights but in different orders.
  • There is a maximum group size of 20 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.

What will it mean for future visitors? How will it compare to the experience of visiting right now?

  • 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. The vast majority of our clients already enjoy their visits in the company of our excellent guides but backpackers, for example, rarely employ the services of a guide. 
  • 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.

Is there anything that new visitors will need to consider when planning their trips?

  • Machu Picchu will remain just as popular as it has always been and so we still highly recommend booking ahead.
  • By booking with Journey Latin America you can have peace of mind that your transport, hotel accommodation and excursion to Machu Picchu will be carefully knitted together so that you can make the most of your time in Peru.

    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 questions about the changes to the visiting regulations at Machu Picchu, you can speak to our travel experts by calling 020 8747 8315 or emailing

Last updated: 30 Jun 2017

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