Machu Picchu’s overwhelming popularity has prompted Peru’s government to introduce new admission rules designed to protect its top tourism site.
With approximately 1.4 million visitors a year – a 700 per cent increase since the 1980s – the iconic citadel city of the Incas archaeological site is beginning to “wear away.” Currently, visitors are free to roam Machu Picchu at their leisure, allowing them to touch and clamber upon the ancient stones.
What changes will travellers see?
Ticket sales will be divided into morning (6 a.m. to noon) and afternoon (12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.) segments, though visitors will have the option to buy both if they choose. Prices have not been announced.
When are the changes at Machu Picchu happening?
Originally set to be implemented this summer, the changes are now expected to come into effect in January, 2018, reports Goway, which adds, “The change is an attempt to manage crowding, easing the stress on the fragile ruins. It means a little more red tape, but with the greater good in mind, keeping Machu Picchu in great shape and accessible for future travellers. Authorities in Peru have been considering the change for some years, seeing it as both logical and eco-friendly.”
Machu Picchu travel tips:
- Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu admission tickets can be purchased in advance on this official website: machupicchu.gob.pe
- Current admission for foreigners is $152 USD. Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu combination ticket costs $200 USD. (Last updated: 5/30/17)
- The Inca Trail can not be hiked in February. It's during this wet season month that trail maintenance is performed.
- Aguas Calientes is the gateway town to Machu Picchu. It can only be reached by train.
- Round-trip tickets departing Ollantaytambo booked on Inca Rail or Peru Rail will run about $130-200 USD. Reservations are highly encouraged. A third train, the ultra luxurious Belmond Hiram Bingham, also runs this route.
- Coach buses depart Aguas Calientes for Machu Picchu every 15 minutes (often more frequently) starting at 5:30 a.m.
- Is Huayna Picchu worth hiking? If you are not afraid of heights and are physically fit, this 650-step trek offers spectacular views overlooking Machu Picchu. You must buy an additional ticket to access Huayna Picchu. 200 ticket holders are admitted between 7 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., 200 from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. If possible, opt for the morning departure to avoid the midday sun.
- Can Machu Picchu be done in a day trip from Cusco? Yes, but it would be a very long, rushed day. Do yourself a favour and stay in Aguas Calientes or Ollantaytambo (the latter being the best-preserved example of an Inca village).
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