Machu Picchu is one of the new 7 Wonders of the World and one of the most popular bucket list destinations. It’s also an UNESCO Heritage Site. Once you’ve made the decision to visit this ancient wonder, you’ll need to buy a ticket for Machu Picchu. Buying an entrance ticket is the FIRST STEP in planning your trip. Even before you book your flight, you SHOULD get a ticket to make sure you will get in.
What To Know before You Buy Your Ticket For Machu Picchu
Taking a trip to Machu Picchu involves a lot of planning. Before you book plane tickets to Peru you’ll need to buy a ticket for Machu Picchu first. Tickets are limited and you’ll want to make sure there’s some available for the day(s) you want to go.
How many Machu Picchu Tickets are there per day?
There are only 2680 people allowed to enter Machu Picchu per day. Each ticket purchased will have an entry time (that you picked) so you will not see 2680 people at Machu Picchu all at once. Those tickets are staggered throughout the day.
Should I buy my tickets in advance?
Yes, you must buy your tickets before arriving. You cannot purchase an entry ticket at Machu Picchu. Tickets sell out early so you should buy them as soon as you’ve decided to go.
What are my options for buying a ticket?
There are five options to buy a ticket for Machu Picchu. These are called Circuits. You’ll choose one of these when you make your purchase (directions below) and will only be allowed in the designated area within your circuit. In addition to the five circuits, you can also purchase a circuit plus hike one of 3 mountains at Machu Picchu or a circuit plus hike to the Inca Bridge.
Which Machu Picchu Circuit Is Best? How Do I Choose A Ticket To Buy?
It all depends on what you want to see and do. The most popular Machu Picchu ticket is Circuit 2. This ticket allows you to see all of Machu Picchu. More explanation on the different ticket options is below. However, if you want to hike one of the mountains then you’ll have to purchase either Circuit 3 or 4 with the mountain that goes along with that ticket. Unfortunately you won’t see all of Machu Picchu up close with circuits 3 & 4, only some of it.
My recommendation is to plan to spend at least 2 nights at Aguas Calientes and purchase 2 tickets. One ticket for circuit 2 which gets you into the whole site and one for the mountain you want to hike. You can either do this on the same day with your hike in the morning and the circuit in the afternoon or do the hike one day and the circuit the next.
Machu Picchu Ticket Options For 2023
In 2021 authorities changed how people can visit Machu Picchu. They created Circuits, each one having their own designated area within Machu Picchu. These tickets ONLY allow you entry to the main citadel of the site. There are 1800 tickets available every day for circuits 1-5. In addition to these circuits, you can also choose to buy a ticket that allows you to hike one of the three mountains at Machu Picchu or hike to see the Inca Bridge. There are 880 tickets for those each day.
Circuit 1 gives you access to the area you see in red. This one will give you the popular view of Machu Picchu that you see everywhere in photos. You’ll notice that there is a large section of the site that you don’t get to visit. You get two hours to explore.
If you choose Circuit 2, you will get to see everything in the dark blue areas. In my opinion this is the best option. You’ll have up to three hours to see everything.
Circuit 3 includes everything you see in yellow. This section is considerably smaller than circuits 1 & 2. You’ll have 1.5 hours to explore this area of Machu Picchu. You can also buy a ticket for circuit 3 and a hike on Machu Picchu Mountain.
In circuit 4, you’ll see all of the light blue areas. This circuit includes everything in circuit 3 plus a little more. I would rank this as the 2nd best option. You’ll have 2.5 hours to explore the site. You can also purchase circuit 4 with a hike on Huchuy Picchu Mountain or Wayna Picchu Mountain. More on that below.
Circuit 5 is the area you see in green. It’s very similar to circuit 3 but one section was taken away and another section added. You get 1.5 hours to explore.
Wayna (or Huayna) Picchu Mountain + Circuit 4
An entrance ticket for circuit 4 + hiking up Huayna Picchu Mountain. That’s the big mountain you always see in pictures. This mountain is also called Wayna Picchu Mountain. There’s only 300 of these per day and you will have 4 time slots to choose from. This is the most popular hike so if you are set on doing this you need to buy your ticket early. I can tell you that it takes approximately 2 hours to climb up and back down Huayana Picchu. Maybe 2.5 if you take it a little slower.
Huchuy Picchu Mountain + Circuit 4
An entrance ticket to circuit 4 + hiking up Huchuy Picchu mountain. This is the smaller mountain in front of Huyana Picchu Mountain. There are only 200 of these per day.
Machu Picchu Mountain + Circuit 3
An entrance ticket to circuit 3 + a hike up Machu Picchu mountain. This is the mountain directly across from the famous Huyana Picchu Mountain. There are only 100 of these per day and two time slots of either 7am or 8am.
Inca Bridge + Circuit 1 or 2
Circuit 2 is the best option to take because it allows you to see all of the Machu Picchu grounds. Plus, you’ll get to hike about 30 minutes to view the Inca Bridge. You can’t cross the bridge though because it’s just too dangerous.
Machu Picchu Tickets & Prices | 2023
- Circuit 1, 2, 3, & 4: Tickets cost $41/€38 each.
- Circuit 5: Although this circuit is shown on the main page of the Machu Picchu ticket site, there is not an option for this when you go to purchase a ticket. It could just be an oversight but I would assume that it is the same price as circuits 1-4 and included in the daily 1800 ticket availability.
- Circuit 3 + Machu Picchu Mountain: Tickets cost $54/€51
- Circuit 4 + Huyana Picchu Mountain: Tickets cost $54/€51
- Circuit 4 + Huchuy Picchu Mountain: Tickets cost $41/€38
- Circuit 1 or 2 + Inca Bridge: Tickets cost $41/€38
How To Buy A Ticket For Machu Picchu
Once you decide which ticket you want to buy, you’ll need to go to an official Machu Picchu Ticket site to buy your ticket. Spend a little time looking at all the options to make sure you pick the right one. There are no refunds once you buy .
Go To The Official Machu Picchu Ticket Website
Go to the official Ministry of Culture website to buy your ticket. Make sure you have your passport handy. You can purchase up to 5 tickets per reservation.
If you need to buy additional tickets then you can start another session when you’re done and buy more. It will look like the image below.
Next, click the “Buy Tickets” button. The next page starts the process. If you are not Peruvian you’ll stay on the “General” tab. Residents of Peru, Columbia, Bolivia, and Equador get special pricing.
Select Your Circuit And Date You Want To Visit
You’ll choose a route/circuit from the drop down menu. Choose the date that you want to visit and the number of people you want to buy tickets for.
Find An Available Ticket
Once you’ve done that hit the “availability” button to see how many tickets are available. If there aren’t any or there aren’t enough tickets for your group, you’ll need to go back and choose a different day.
You can see how many tickets are available for your day. If you’re planning your trip pretty far in advance you shouldn’t have any problem getting a ticket. Just remember that the hike up Huyana Picchu Mountain is very popular and may sell out sooner than the other tickets.
This is what it looks like if tickets are sold out or almost sold out.
Enter Your Personal Information
After you get your day and time you’ll continue to the next page and fill in your info. You’ll need your passport number, name, birth date, sex, and country of origin.
Verify That Everything Is Correct.
Once you’ve entered your information, verify that all of your information is correct. There are no refunds so don’t mess up. Continue on to the next page to pay for your ticket.
Once you pay you’ll get an email with your ticket. Just print it and that’s all you need to do. Well, besides booking your flights, hotels, transportation, and packing. But your ticket is purchased and you are ready for Machu Picchu! Yippee!
Frequently Asked Questions
What time does Machu Picchu open?
Machu Picchu is open from 6am to 5:30pm, however you will have a time slot for your visit. If your ticket says “7am – 8am” this means that you can enter at anytime between 7am and 8am. If you show up late, you might be out of luck. Or, maybe you’ll get lucky and be let in. I wouldn’t chance it.
When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?
You can expect it to be pretty busy from June through August which is the dry season. This is also the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere and when a lot of people go on vacations so it might get crowded during this time. Remember, South America is in the Southern Hemisphere so June through August is their winter months. It won’t be too cold during the day though. You should have temperatures in the 60’s or 70’s.
November to March is the rainy season. There aren’t as many crowds during this time. If you want to hike one of the mountains, do not plan to visit during the rainy season. The rocks up the mountain will be slick and there are some areas with no railings.
I would visit sometime between April and September.
Is there an airport near Machu Picchu?
No, the closest airport is in Cusco which is 3 hours away. You’ll fly into Cusco and either take a train, bus, or hire a driver to take you to the town of Aguas Calientes which is 10 minutes away from Machu Picchu.
Are there any refunds on tickets?
Are children and pets allowed into Machu Picchu?
Children, yes. Pets, no.
What happens if tickets are sold out?
If there aren’t any tickets for the day you want to visit, you’ll have to choose another day. Only a certain amount of tickets are sold per day and once they’re gone, they’re gone. I have read that some 3rd party sites might have tickets to buy but I would be very leary of that. Stick to the official site.
Is it safe to buy the tickets online?
Yes, as long as you are purchasing from the official Peru website. There may be other sites selling or reselling tickets so if you’re buying from one of those then I can’t really say for sure.
Do I have to print the ticket or can I show my phone?
You have to print your Machu Picchu ticket and bring it with you. They will not accept showing your ticket on your phone. You also need to bring your passport with you. There is a special stamp at Machu Picchu that you can stamp in your passport too.
What happens if I lose my ticket?
When you buy your ticket online, you’ll see a booking number. You can enter that booking number on the official site and re-print your tickets. Be sure to keep your e-mail receipt so you’ll have that booking number.
Do I have to hire a guide?
There were some new rules put in place in 2019 and one of those rules was that you had to have a guide to enter. I’ve read that that is still true for 2023 AND I’ve read that it’s not necessary now. So, it’ll be a surprise.
When you get to the Machu Picchu entrance there will be dozens of guides waiting to offer you their service. If it turns out you have to have one then you can hire one right there on the spot. It will cost between $10-15 a person. If you don’t need one then it’s up to you. You’ll get a lot of great information about what you’re looking at if you do hire one.
I’m looking for tickets for next year but I’m not seeing any available.
Tickets for the next year will be availalbe online after October of the current year. You’ll have to keep checking the website to see if they’re available.
Can i see Machu Picchu and hike Huyana Picchu in one day?
Yes, it’s definitely possible. Climbing Huyana Picchu, Huchuy Picchu, or Machu Picchu Mountains should only take a few hours. Just choose a time to climb the mountain that will give you enough time to see the grounds.
I came to Peru last minute and don’t have tickets for Machu Picchu. Can I still buy one?
Possibly. Chances are good there will still be a few tickets left for the grounds. You can go online at anytime and check. There are also a few offices in Cusco that sell tickets so you can check with them too. The ticket office address in Cusco is:
- Calle Garcilaso SN – Museo Casa Garcilaso – open Mon – Sat from 7am – 7:30pm.
- Inka Kusikancha Palace, 340 Maruri Street – open Mon – Sat from 7am – 7:30pm.
How do I get to Machu Picchu?
Read my article about How To Travel to Machu Picchu From Cusco in 2023.