New Machu Picchu Entrance Times and Mandatory Guides as of July, Oh My!

New Machu Picchu Entrance Times and Mandatory Guides as of July, Oh My!

Yes, it’s now official. There will be two entry shifts for Machu Picchu, and the use of a certified guide to tour the citadel will be mandatory as of July 1, 2017.

What does this mean for you?

Well, according to the new regulations, guides can lead a maximum of 16 people. If you wish to explore on your own, PromPeru says in a communique that you can buy a second entry ticket for the following shift, either later in the afternoon or the next day. Your guide will be able to provide a stub to show at the entrance that will serve tourists who wish to re-enter Machu Picchu unaccompanied.

Another option to consider is the Short Inca Trail, a less arduous one-day hike to Machu Picchu than the Classic 4-day Inca Trail trek. It requires no camping or hauling of backpacks, and allows you to tour a half dozen major Inca ruins, including Runkuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñayhuayna. You will also get to visit Machu Picchu twice, once with your guide, entering at Inti Punku Sun Gate at the end of the hike, and again the next day.

An important note: the new restrictions on check-in and check-out times will not apply to those who purchased their tickets prior to May 2 to visit Machu Picchu between July and December.

“Most tourists have made those arrangements long in advance, but for those who have not, there are official guides available (for hire) at the entrance,” said Dr. Elías Carreño Peralta, the Ministry of Culture’s official in charge of implementing the 2015-2019 Machu Picchu Master Plan.
Currently, the official guides at Machu Picchu’s entrance charge approximately a hundred soles for up to four visitors, or approximately 25 soles, or just under $8, each.

~ Andean Air Mail and PERUVIAN TIMES

New Entrance & Departure Times for Machu Picchu:

1st entrance/departure times from 05:30 AM until 12:00 noon.
2nd entrance/departure times from 12:00 noon until 5:30 PM
○ The new daily visitor limit will be 5,940 people, spread out between the two shifts (55% percent in the morning and 45% during the afternoon), and over three principle routes through the ancient ruins.

Entrance times for Alternative Machu Picchu Routes:

  • Huayna Picchu 
    1st entrance from 07:00 AM until 08:00 AM
    2nd entrance from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AMOnly 250 people per shift can climb Huayna Picchu. The average time ascent and descent is about 3 hours, or 4 hours if you visit the Great Cavern. Visitors must exit Huayna Picchu by 1:00 PM, or by 11:30 AM if you visit the Great Cavern.
  • Machu Picchu Mountain
    1st entrance from 07:00 AM until 08:00 AM
    2nd entrance from 09:00 AM until 10:00 AMOnly 400 people per shift can climb Machu Picchu Mountain. The average time up and down is about 4 hours. Visitors must exit Machu Picchu Mountain by 3:00 PM.
    (Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a much easier trek than Wayna Picchu… It’s not!)
  • Intipunku (Sun Gate)
    This route allow visitors to hike the Inca Trail from the Citadel of Machu Picchu up to the Sun Gate. This trek takes about one hour, round trip.
  • Inca Bridge
    This option is voluntary and allows visitors to trek the Inca Trail from the upper platforms of Machu Picchu’s “Agricultural Sector” located northwest of the Guard House to the Inca Bridge. The journey takes about one hour, round trip.

For more background on these and other upcoming changes at Machu Picchu, check out these news stories:
Machu Picchu Extreme Makeover Plans Explained
‘Lost City’ no more, Machu Picchu feels the strain of booming tourism

Sharing is caring!

Authored by: Rick Vecchio

Rick Vecchio, Fertur’s director of development and marketing, was educated at the New School for Social Research and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He worked for Pacifica Radio WBAI and as a daily reporter for newspapers in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Then in 1996, he decided it was time to realize a life-long dream of traveling to Peru. He never went back. While serving as Peru country manager for the South American Explorers from 1997-1999, he fell in love with Fertur's founder, Siduith Ferrer, and they married. Over the next six years, he worked as a correspondent for The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Siduith built the business, which he joined in January 2007. Now he designs custom educational and adventure tour packages for corporate and institutional clients, oversees Fertur’s Internet platform and occasionally leads special trips, always with an eye open for a good story to write about.

There are 6 comments for this article
  1. Christina Desy at 10:31 pm


    Do you have the updates for 2018? I am wondering how long I can stay around the site if I have a Montana+Machu Picchu ticket for the 9am entrance. I am planning to skip lunch and restroom break in a hope that I can avoid purchasing the basic afternoon entrance ticket, unless they are checking my ticket again when I exit. If the 3PM exit limit still applies for 2018, that will be super great for me since I don’t have to buy the basic afternoon entrance ticket.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Rick Vecchio Author at 11:56 am

    Hi Christina,

    The buses head up from Aguas Calientes from 05:30 am to 2:00 pm and come back down until 3:45 pm. Visitors entering in-between the morning and afternoon shifts, say at 2:00 pm, can return to Aguas Calientes no later than the last bus at 4:00 p.m. If you’re willing to hike back down, then you can probably continue exploring the sanctuary without any problem late into the afternoon. (I’m not recommending you do that, of course.) The fact is, thus far in 2018, the park guards aren’t spot checking tickets for times of visitors within the site.

    If I can offer a couple of pieces of advice, if you haven’t already purchased your entry ticket, I’d recommend starting the hike up Machu Picchu Mountain during the first shift from 7 a.m. The trail and summit really fill up by mid-morning.

    Also, this business about Machu Picchu Mountain being easy compared to Huayna Picchu is nonsense. It’s less vertical, but it’s a workout, nevertheless. Don’t deny yourself the bathroom break and a chance to take a breather at the restaurant when you get back down to the sanctuary.

    It is a marvelous, unforgettable experience!

  3. Giordana at 11:42 am

    Dear Rick,
    I plan to visit MP on June 6th (2018). I bought a combination ticket (1st entry) for MP and Huayna. I would also like to walk the Sun Gate. I plan to be there at 6:30-7 am. In which order do you think we should do these 3 things? If you say that they do not check tickets, do you think we should be able to stay after 12 and rush a little less? THANK YOU

  4. Rick Vecchio Author at 1:24 pm

    Hello Giordana,

    I would definitely start as early as possible with Huayna Picchu to avoid the crowds when you reach the top. It really fills up as the morning wears on.

    As you know, the Sun Gate is at the extreme opposite end of the sanctuary. You can definitely get both in, but that’s presuming you’re in better shape than me. I’m an old man! 🙂

    You shouldn’t count on staying much longer than midday, as our operations office in Cusco informs me that the park is starting to enforce the entry shifts more rigorously now that high season is kicking in.

    Hope this information helps.

    Warm regards,


  5. Janice Stephens at 3:22 pm

    Hi Rick,
    After doing some research, realized the one day trip from Cusco isn’t smart. We’d like to do the sungate (morning?) and the ruins in the afternoon to catch the sunset and then grab a train back to Cusco. Should we stay in AC the night before?
    Can we stay that late and still get transport back to the train station in time?

  6. Rick Vecchio Author at 7:02 am

    Hi Janice,

    I think what you would want to do is stay overnight in Aguas Calientes and purchase two entry tickets, one for the morning with the Sun Gate and the other for the early afternoon. The hike to the Inti Punku takes about 40 minutes. There are trains in the late afternoon, either bimodal (stopping at Ollantaytambo and you continue via bus) or to Poroy Station. Would you like one of our folks to send you a detailed itinerary?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.