Machu Picchu Tickets
Visiting Machu Picchu is incredibly popular – With thousands of people entering the archaeological site each day, it is necessary to purchase a ticket in advance.
Selecting a specific circuit and time slot for your visit is required when purchasing tickets. Tickets are scheduled in one-hour intervals, starting from 6 AM till 3 PM. Each time slot to access the site lasts 60 minutes. This allows the organization to control the number of people entering, providing a better experience.
In total, you will need 3 – 6 hours of exploring, depending on whether you choose to climb one of the mountains.
Machu Picchu Ticket Types
There are a total of 5 different Machu Picchu circuits that allow you to explore the historic site. Depending on what you want to see, you choose your ticket. Book your multi-day tour here (including Machu Picchu).
- Llaqta de Machu Picchu (Circuit 1,2,3 or 4)
- Circuit 4 + Huayna Picchu Mountain
- Machu Picchu Mountain + Circuit 3
- Circuit 4 + Huchuy Picchu Mountain
- Circuit 1 or 2 + Inka Bridge
We would recommend purchasing either option one or two.
Visiting Machu Picchu in Peru
Beat the crowds by getting up early and entering when Machu Picchu opens at 6 AM. Walk a short 5-min up to the first ruins and be on time for the incredible sunrise to appear from behind the mountain tops shining down on Huayna Picchu Mountain. (The large mountain behind the ruins)
It is simply mind-blowing when you see all the terraces in a valley with that incredible backdrop.
How to get to Machu Picchu
Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
In order to get an early start, spend the night in Aguas Calientes, a small town located near Machu Picchu. From there, take the first shuttle bus (30 minutes) to the entrance. Please note that a return bus ticket costs 24 USD, which is high compared to standard rates in Peru.
Please note: It is prohibited to take food, tripods, selfie sticks, and drones.
The first bus departs at 5:30 AM. However, make sure to start queueing at 4:30 AM as the line can get extremely long. Don’t let the length of the line scare you; the shuttle buses are very convenient and fast.
Hike from Aguas Calientes
Your second option is to save a lot of money and hike about 60 minutes uphill to the entrance of Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu Ruins
After sunrise, explore the Inca ruins: vast stone structures that used to be buildings for the people living here. The 600+ terraces were built and used for growing crops and as drainage.
If you bought a ticket that includes the hike to Huayna Picchu, please note that the gates to go up are only open between 7 – 11 AM (check the time on your ticket). To climb Huayna Picchu, it is recommended to book your tickets 8 weeks in advance, as there are only 400 entries allowed per day.
There’s also the option to choose Huayana Picchu’s sister mountain instead: Huchuy Picchu, which lies just to the left of the other. This short hike gives you views over the panoramic landscape and is a new route added by the Ministry of Culture in Peru.
The Passport Stamp
And when your time slot expires, head to the exit to place the official Machu Picchu stamp in your passport. It is allowed to do this in your passport, but if you don’t feel comfortable with that, take a postcard with you to the top to stamp.
Getting from Cusco to Machu Picchu Town
Cusco is the gateway to Machu Picchu in Peru. Take the incredible 1.5-hour train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, where each wagon has a see-through roof. The train is, next to hiking, your only option since there are no roads in the mountains.
Aguas Calientes, better known as Machu Picchu Pueblo (town), is located just 30 minutes away from the world-famous site. This tiny traveler’s town is built around the train tracks and offers a handful of good restaurants and hotels. Other than that, there isn’t much to do, and it is just a relaxing village to be in for one or two days.
Machu Picchu Elevation and Altitude Sickness
Altitude sickness can be a very unpleasant feeling. Fortunately, the ruins are located at 2450 meters. That is below the 2500 meters where altitude sickness can start appearing. Spend a few days in the higher-located Cusco to acclimatize, followed by a visit to the Mapi Ruins.
Hotels to Stay
It is best to find a hotel in Aguas Calientes while visiting Machu Picchu. Another option is to stay in Cusco or Ollantaytambo, but this would require an earlier departure and a train ride. This would take up quite some time. If you’re backpacking in Peru, there are also plenty of hostel options near Machu Picchu (search for hostel availability here).
Best time to visit Machu Picchu
Weather-wise, it is best to visit during winter in Peru. Winter is the dry season and runs from May to September, whereas June to August are the busiest months tourism-wise.
October to April is with the least tourists because of its wet season; however, a visit in October or April can be an excellent choice.