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Machu PIcchu Inca Trail Equipment

The New Rules of Machu Picchu 2023


The new rules and tours of Machu Picchu change so often that it’s hard for me to stay up to date. (2023) What do travelers need to know to find their way around airports, trains, bus stations and hotels? Here you will find information that will allow you to deny some rumors and explain what our groups recently arrived in Peru have reported. The official Machu Picchu website has undergone some changes. Good advance planning is more important than ever. Here you will find essential information about traveling to Peru, which will help you overcome pandemic fatigue:

Machu PIcchu Inca Trail Equipment

Good news! Peru was awarded the highest distinction in three categories, including tourism, gastronomy, and culture, at the World Travel Awards 2023! By traveling to Peru, you are supporting local jobs and the local economy.

Do foreigners, including children, need to be vaccinated upon arrival in Peru? The availability. This was announced just a few days ago. We are still awaiting a written description of the new policy. And that brings me to my next point. (You can thank me later!)

Travelers wishing to visit several South American countries are increasingly interested. With so many variables for vaccination status and different entry protocols for birds in different countries, where can a traveler find out what they need to do to enter their destination? Here is a link to the interactive SHERPA map. It is fast and simple. I can’t tell you if this information is up to date. You use them at your own risk. I recommend that you have them confirmed by another reliable organization. Remember that the information you see now may look different when you travel, especially if you are planning a trip next year.

Other entrance tickets to Machu Picchu are on sale personally in the village of Aguas Calientes. More details are below under HOT TOPIC.

We have seen individuals attempt to resell entrance tickets to Machu Picchu. Do not purchase Machu Picchu entrance tickets (or Inca Trail permits) from a private party. They are not transferable.

Machu PIcchu Inca Trail Equipment

If an agency tells you they can get your tickets to Machu Picchu and you don’t see availability on the official website, run away. No, actually, you should run! You cannot buy them if they are sold out. Anyone can check the official government website, which shows ticket availability. This is the same site that tour operators use to buy tickets for their groups. HERE IS THE OFFICIAL LINK TO THE MACHU PICCHU WEBSITE.

The Inca Bridge to Machu Picchu has reopened for the first time in over two years. Then it was closed. I have no idea why. Vidal doesn’t know either. Maybe someone woke up with a headache in the office of the Ministry of Tourism!

How long can I stay in Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu rules dictate that tourists will be strictly limited to four-hour stays. Most visitors really don’t spend more than four hours exploring the archaeological site, on average, anyway. Officials need to exercise more control over the amount of foot traffic at any given time to preserve the Inca sanctuary.

Machu PIcchu Inca Trail Equipment

The Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca Pass is now reopened There is also another Rainbow Mountain hike «without the hike». What is the difference?

Peru entry protocols will apply from June 9, 2022. Ultimately, travelers over the age of 18 will be able to enter Peru upon presentation of proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated people over the age of 12 can also enter the country if they show a negative Covid molecular test within 48 hours. And passengers over the age of 18 residing in Peru must prove that they have received the booster vaccine (since June 9, the current protocol provides that the booster vaccine only applies to residents). There are so many variables that it becomes difficult to decipher them. Please inquire about your airline and Latin American airline entry protocols.

Inca Trail Elevation Gain
Inca Trail Elevation Gain

NEW rules «recommend» all visitors hire a private guide for their trip to Machu Picchu. But it is not necessary! The reason for this is that people show up at the wrong hours and get confused with the different tours and entrance tickets. Visitors should coordinate their logistics and timing for trains, buses, and entrances. Entrance tickets to Huayna Picchu do not include access to the Llaqta of Machu Picchu (the capital). Lots of variables to sort out. I have strategies for properly planning trips. Let’s call it my «superpower». Text me or call me at 757-714-6649 Jacquie. You don’t need to buy anything, although we appreciate if you can book a small day trip or something. I will do my best to help you for free (also on WhatsApp)

Machu Picchu guides are on their way! You will find them at the Aguas Calientes bus stop. To learn more, click here.

The NEW official Machu Picchu government website has revamped its landing page with a link to a map of the various circuits. Here is a link to the official Machu Picchu government website. On this site, you can buy your entrance tickets directly if you do not want to pay additionally to a tour operator or ticket seller. Circuit 2 is the main circuit and the longest. This is the one I would choose for a detailed visit. Buying tickets is a two-step process. The first step is to make the reservation. The second step is payment.

Permits for the Inca Trail include 1 entrance ticket for the new circuit 5 in Machu Picchu. Here is the link to book your hike at any time. Contact:

Most Machu Picchu hikes and trails are open. This includes Huayna (Wayna) Picchu and a new hike called Huchuy Picchu, which is spelled so close to Huayna Picchu that people might get confused! And new rules at Machu Picchu limit Inca Trail hikers to Circuit 5 (read more HERE). The Sungate is only accessible to Inca Trail hikers. And the Inca’s Bridge has returned to Spectacled Bears since no one is allowed there anymore.

For bus travel between provinces, passengers over the age of 18 can only board if they prove that they have been fully vaccinated, either in Peru or abroad. People over the age of 40 residing in Peru must receive a booster injection (if authorized), otherwise, they must present a negative molecular test issued up to 48 hours before boarding.

In closed spaces, visitors over the age of 18, whether Peruvian or foreign, can only enter if they prove that they have been fully vaccinated, either in Peru or abroad. From April 1, everyone over the age of 18 will have to prove that they have received a booster vaccination. Our guides report that this regulation is selectively enforced.

New Rules at Machu Picchu Includes a 4-hour Visitor Time Limit

“Machu Picchu rules 2023, four-hour time limit… seriously?” Yes. To preserve one of the Wonders of the World and ensure a quality experience for visitors from every corner of the globe, Peru’s Ministry of Tourism and External Commerce (Mincetur) on January 1, 2019, implemented new rules at Machu Picchu.

On Peruvian domestic flights, passengers over the age of 12 can only board if they can prove that they have been fully vaccinated, either in Peru or abroad. Passengers over the age of 40 residing in Peru must prove that they have received a booster shot (if permitted), otherwise, they must present a negative molecular test issued up to 48 hours before boarding.

HOT TOPIC: 1000 tickets per day for entrance to Machu Picchu are available personally in Aguas Calientes.

The local people of the Machu Picchu district have asked the Ministry of Culture to approve 1,000 day tickets to access Machu Picchu directly in the village.

In August, 300 to 400 tickets will be available per day and in September, it will be 1000 per day.

It is not guaranteed that tickets will be available when you «show up». You may have to stay more than one day to get one of the tickets.

The strike threatened for September 5 was suspended after the government relented and allowed the personal sale of 1,000 tickets a day in the village of Aguas Calientes.

The inhabitants are for the moment satisfied that the 2 other points are approached: 1) increase in the capacity of Machu Picchu 2) construction of the center of interpretation of Machu Picchu

Do visitors need to show their health documents to enter Machu Picchu National Park?

According to our guides, visitors entering Machu Picchu are not required to show proof of Covid vaccination or a negative Covid test. However, I cannot find any written confirmation of this policy.

The Covid protocols for Machu Picchu were posted on the website in September 2020 and are clearly outdated. But when you buy your Machu Picchu tickets, you’ll receive an email notification with a list of rules you must agree to. Pay attention, because this is the most recent version of the rules and regulations in force in Machu Picchu.

If you have any questions about the conditions of access to the ancient city, do not hesitate to ask to the staff of the Machu Picchu National Park office. Here is their copy-and-paste email: If you find something useful, can you share it with me? We would like to know.

New guidelines for Inca Trail permit holders visiting Machu Picchu.

I tell you the good news first. Hikers leaving the Inca Trail on the last day of the 4-day trek and the 1-day mini-hike have exclusive access to a location right next to the famous guardhouse overlooking the town of Machu Picchu. This is a special reward for the efforts made during the trek to Machu Picchu. Visitors who arrive at Machu Picchu by train or bus do not have access to this sacred place. This place is reserved for you! The bad news is that the Machu Picchu entrance ticket you receive along with your hiking permit limits you to the lower circuits of Machu Picchu, and you are expected to visit Circuit 5 after the hike. I assume you can see Machu Picchu by descending from the Sungate and standing next to the guard hut. It is therefore your only access to the upper terraces if you wish to enjoy the classic view. The Machu Picchu ticket, which comes with the permit, is for lower visit #5.

On the official government website, a pop-up message now appears on the homepage, inviting all visitors to order a tourist guide. The message also includes the latest information on the various entry tickets and the circuits accessible with these tickets. I think many people who buy tickets to hike Huayna Picchu and Mount Machu Picchu are surprised to learn that they cannot enter the llaqta of Machu Picchu. (the capital). And there is no place to buy additional tickets. I guess if one has internet access one could purchase a ticket online (if they are available). If anyone manages to do this, I’d be happy to hear about it. Here is a link to learn more about the most suitable tour to get the famous view of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Updates 2023 September:

Visitors can enter Machu Picchu without a guide, although authorities recommend that visitors have one.

Face masks are gradually being phased out. Official written guidelines may not reflect actual masking practice. Do like everyone else, if you wish.

There are now 5 one-way circuits and the Machu Picchu website has a great map tool that shows the map of each circuit. CLICK HERE.

The 4 and 5-day treks on the Inca Trail are possible until the end of 2022. Here is a link to read about the changes to Machu Picchu tickets that come with Inca Trail authorizations

Tickets for the WaynaPicchu and HuchuyPicchu hikes are available until the end of December 2022. You cannot buy tickets for 2023, no matter what you are told. You can buy tickets for 2023 from a ticket seller, but they won’t buy them until the tickets are released. ( usually late December)

from August 23, 2021, there will be no more capacity restrictions at all open-air archaeological sites in Peru

Machu Picchu trains and shuttles are 100% full, but there may be variations in the number of departures.

Face masks are no longer needed for outdoors (don’t throw them away yet! You’ll need them on trains and buses)

Luggage storage at Lima airport is open again. It is located on the international side of the airport terminal. On the back of the arrival area.

Covid arrival protocols in Lima, Peru

Please check your sources, especially your international airlines. Vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers can enter Peru, but unvaccinated travelers must present a negative molecular PCR test to take flights to Lima, domestic flights in Peru, and trains to Machu Picchu! Miraculously, I managed to contact Latam Airlines on FB and ask if the same PCR test scheduled for the international flight to LIM could be used for the domestic flight from LIM to CUSCO if it was within the window of 48 hours. They confirmed that this was indeed the case. However, when booking your flight with Latam, please reconfirm that you are not vaccinated and wish to use a Covid test for both your international flight and your domestic flight. I’m afraid the left hand of Latam Airlines doesn’t know what the right hand is saying. Just because the Latam team is up-to-date on social media, doesn’t mean that employees at the Latam counter at Lima airport are necessarily so informed. Can a test be used for more than one flight within a 48 hour window with molecular testing? (Using a test also works in reverse for return travel to the US if you are unvaccinated, provided it is a molecular PCR test). Here are the resources I used.

For your convenience, here is a list of various links to Peru entry protocols:

U.S. Embassy LIMA, PERU

Lima Airport Arrival Protocols

Official Peru Travel Site Covid Reports (last one posted June 9, 2022)

From February 28, 2022, all passengers will be able to enter Peru if they present proof of full Covid vaccination OR a negative Covid PCR test taken at least 48 hours before the start of the flight to Lima. (any other eligible document will also be accepted). This applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. From what I read in these documents, the rapid antigen test is not accepted. If you wish to present a negative Covid test to enter Peru, it must be a negative molecular PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to the ARRIVAL of your flight to Lima. Please check your international airline’s Covid travel policy. Passengers over the age of 18 must provide proof that they have received the booster shot if they reside in Peru. (per current protocol) (I got it from the Latam Airlines website)

What about Covid vaccine reminders for foreigners entering Peru? What does «fully vaccinated» mean?

A booster vaccination is now mandatory for all citizens aged 18 and over residing in Peru. Some of you have contacted me to find out how this applies to foreigners. (On August 30, an announcement was made regarding recalls for foreigners. We are still awaiting official written regulations. Stay tuned). Peruvian official documents currently state that «persons over 40 years of age residing in Peru must present their vaccination booster (if eligible) in accordance with the current protocol, otherwise they must present a negative molecular test issued up to 48 hours before boarding». Several people contacted me to make sure they didn’t need the booster shot. I am not in a position to give them that assurance. But I found an interesting hint in the Delta FAQ. They define «fully vaccinated» as two doses (of a two-dose vaccine) or one dose (of a one-dose vaccine). Here is a link to to convince you.

No matter what you read now, all travel protocols can change, especially if you’re planning a trip to Peru in 2022! The rules may change and travelers should check the protocols when booking their flights and then again just before their trip.

The current international travel trend favors those who can plan their trip at the last minute. I’m talking less than a month before arrival. In 2022 and early 2023, Vidal and I, along with our teams in the United States and Peru, organized last-minute trips for over 150 groups post-pandemic.

Avoid walking alone with valuables in your hands. (this should also apply to walks with companions)

Protect your devices with passwords. And don’t forget that some devices have separate SD cards with separate passwords!

How to find tickets on the official Machu Picchu website.

On the home page of the official Machu Picchu website, you will find a «BUY TICKETS» button. If you click on this link you will see at the top a window for Tarifa General and just below you will see «RUTA». Make sure that the «RUTA» voucher is displayed for the tickets you want to buy! There is a drop-down list with the different ticket options and «Bob’s Your Uncle! Now you know how to choose the right Machu Picchu tickets. The Machu Picchu website has just been updated and now has a separate link for each circuit See the homepage

(There’s always an «and»!) Be careful how much time these tickets give you to explore the ancient city proper before you start the hike. The entrance to Huayna Picchu is on the other side of the park and you have exactly 1 hour to get from the main entrance of Machu Picchu to the checkpoint of Huayna Picchu and Huchuypicchu. (In the next paragraph I have attached an example of a time breakdown) Once the hike is over, head for the exit. That’s all. You have finished. Here is what is written in fine print: «Visitors must enter {Machu Picchu} at the appropriate time and go directly to the entrance control of the Montaña Waynapicchu and Huchuypicchu alternative routes. They are not allowed to enter re-entering the LLAQTA , as they must take the complementary path (long and low circuit) to the alternate route they have chosen when moving to and from the alternate route.» Here is a link to read which is the best tour to get the classic view of Machu Picchu.

If you click on the box to buy the Huayna Picchu ticket, you will see that your entry time at the main gate of Machu Picchu is exactly 1 hour before the printed entry time for your hike. For example, if your Wayna Picchu hike is from 9-10 am, you can enter the main PM gate at 8 am. This gives you an extra hour and 45 minutes if you want to check in as late as possible for the Huayna Picchu hike. You can check in until 10 am. I would not like to arrive at the checkpoint later than 9:45. So you could do the lower circuit from 8am to 9:45 am if your HP tickets are valid from 9 am to 10 am.

Thus, you can visit lower circuit 4 by going from the main entrance of Machu Picchu to the check-in for the hike after the «lower short circuit». Then you can see more on the way after the hike. But one cannot enter the other circuits which include the ancient city. This could be a deciding factor for me.

However, the logistics for a trek to Machu Picchu Montana are different. I translated what is written in small print: «Visitors must enter at the appropriate time and go directly to the entrance control of the alternative route to the Machupicchu mountain. They have the right to re-enter the monument to carry out the visit to the central area exclusively by the short and low route, which does not enter the sacred space».

Print your entrance tickets. Purchasing Machu Picchu tickets are done in two steps if you do it on the official government website. The first step is to request the desired date, time, and type of entry ticket. You will then receive an email containing a confirmation code. The second step is to make the payment. Only then are your tickets confirmed. Then, on the official Machu Picchu website, go to the «Find a reservation» tab and copy your confirmation code into the search bar. This is where people sometimes make a mistake. The confirmation code must contain a dash between the last two digits. If your code doesn’t work, add the hyphen and try again. You can download and print it. I would do both.

What if you want to walk to WaynaPicchu and visit the ancient city of Machu Picchu? I have a solution.

Here’s what I would do. Organize a 2-day trip with a visit to Machu Picchu Llaqta (ancient city) in the afternoon of the first day. This will give you all morning to travel from Cusco or the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu at a pleasant pace. After visiting the ruins, you spend the night in Aguas Calientes. The next morning, you return to Machu Picchu to do the hike. In the afternoon, you take the train back to civilization. This means that you have to buy two entrance tickets for two different days. Is it worth it? For me, yes, because the «experiences» are very different. The Huayna Picchu hike is not the tour and the Machu Picchu tour is not the hike. But I can’t answer that question for you.

What is the difference between the Huayna Picchu and Huchuy Picchu hikes? Which one to choose?

First of all, you should know that Huayna Picchu and Wayna Picchu are different spellings for one and the same place. Let me explain to you. Before Covid, there was the famous little two-hour hike called Huayna Picchu, which is the little mountain you see behind Machu Picchu. He is famous for being treacherous. And because it’s so popular, tickets are sold out. Since the word «Huayna» is pronounced «Wayna», we ended up changing the spelling of the hike to «Waynapicchu», because of us gringos. Keep that in mind and stay with me. In October 2021, the treks to Machu Picchu were finally reopened what to say? They added another NEW hike called Huchuypicchu. (say it with me: «hoochweepeechu») This is a very short hike to an even smaller hill before Waynapicchu. Huchuypicchu has 8 departure times, all of which start on the hour, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. This is the first indication that you may be hiking the wrong way if you are looking for Huayna Picchu. Wayna Picchu has 4 hikes per day, which are only possible in the morning. Huchuypicchu has 8 a day.

If you want to climb WaynaPicchu (also known as Huayna Picchu), you must look for the Ruta «Circuito 4 + Waynapicchu». This is what is indicated on the official website of Machu Picchu. When you choose your date, ticket availability is displayed and you should see 4 departure times and a price of 200/s. per foreign adult. It takes me about 2 hours to do the round trip. I’ve heard of younger people doing it in less than an hour. But I have no idea!

Maybe you’re not in great shape or don’t have time to hike Waynapicchu. Or you just want to get high for a view of Machu Picchu. Whatever your reason for finding Huchuypicchu tickets, look for Ruta – «Circuito 4 + Montana Huchuypicchu». There are 8 departure times and the cost is 152/s. per foreign adult.

Moreover, once you have purchased your tickets, you cannot change them. I guess you could email the Machu Picchu office begging them, but they’re pretty cold when it comes to poor buggers buying the wrong tickets. Don’t expect them to change anything on their own. And it’s likely that most people who bought the wrong tickets don’t realize it until they’re at the check – in gate looking at Huayna Picchu, before realizing their tickets are for the Huchuypicchu.

Why did Machu Picchu tickets sell out in August, September and October 2021 and could it happen again?

Entrance tickets to Machu Picchu were sold out during the last two weeks of August, for most of September, and even into October. Here is the reason. Peruvians came to Cusco at the beginning of August (like every year for the Independence Day celebrations associated with two weeks of school holidays) to buy entrance tickets and visit Machu Picchu, a symbol of their national heritage. However, due to reduced capacity and a normal seasonal increase in visitor numbers, all admission tickets were unexpectedly sold out. Peruvians made use of their right to freedom of expression and protested in large numbers at ticket offices, stations, and buses. The government has proposed the following (short-sighted) solution. People could buy tickets for any date in September or even October and travel to Machu Picchu in August with those tickets. This of course created another problem, as the tickets for September and October were sold out and people who wanted to buy tickets to enter Machu Picchu in September and October could not find free places. On Monday, August 23, September 4 18, and October 1, the Peruvian government released additional entrance tickets to Machu Picchu. Unfortunately, additional entrance tickets to Machu Picchu have only been released at two-week intervals

This scenario probably won’t happen again, as Machu Picchu tickets are 100% full. However, Machu Picchu tickets can be sold in advance. And since the Peruvian holidays coincide with high tourism, August is the month when this could happen.

Besides, I don’t recommend buying Machu Picchu tickets on other dates and trying to use them on any date. The fact that the Ministry of Tourism authorized entry to Machu Picchu in August with tickets for the months of September and October does not indicate a general change in policy. This was a temporary measure to solve an immediate problem.

Can we buy entrance tickets to Machu Picchu with an expired passport?

Yes, here’s what you need to know. The only way to buy an entrance ticket to Machu Picchu is with your passport unless you are a citizen of a Latin American country (CAN), in which case you can use your identity card. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your arrival in Peru. The renewal of passports in the United States has been delayed. Some people report that it took 4 months. Consider this when buying tickets and planning your trip. The passport with which you buy your tickets is the same document that you must present to enter Machu Picchu. Here’s what to do if you’re buying tickets in advance with a passport that’s expiring soon. Buy your ticket online with a passport that will soon expire and, after receiving your new passport, travels with both the old and the new passport. You enter Peru with the new passport and you go to Machu Picchu with the old passport. We proceed in the same way for the Inka Trail permits.

Can we combine our trip to Machu Picchu with excursions to the Amazon jungle or Lake Titicaca?

Yes, the good news is that the Madre de Dios region of Peru is open again. As long as Latam Airlines flies to Puerto Maldonado (PEM), travelers will be welcome at jungle lodges. When planning your itinerary, I advise you to reserve this section at the beginning of your trip and save the Machu Picchu part for the end. You will thus be in Cusco, where you can easily take a Covid test as an American traveler. Another important point to consider is that flights to and from PEM should be coordinated with transfers from your lodge. Always confirm the flight schedule with your lodge before paying. Daytime bus service to Puno and Lake Titicaca has resumed. However, the frequency of bus departures depends on demand. If you have a fixed schedule, we offer private day transfers from Cusco to Puno. To learn more about the Amazon jungle and Lake Titicaca, follow this link.

What are the possible hikes in Peru?

If you want to learn about Inca Trail Trekking, Rainbow Mountain, Humantay Lake, Salkantay Trek, and other day and multi-day treks, we have created a page with a list of all open and closed hikes. The 4 and 5-day treks on the Inca Trail are still open until the end of 2022.

Can we get permits for the Inca Trail?

Yes. Permits are available for all Inca Trail treks in 2023. New this year in April. Hikers can now enter Machu Picchu and go directly to the guardhouse which overlooks the entire ancient city. It has been closed since the Covid and visitors coming from the main entrance do not have access. Hikers on the Inca Trail have exclusive access on the day they hike to Machu Picchu. Please note that we can no longer modify the entry ticket once we have added your data to it. The bad news is that the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu that you receive with your authorization only gives you access to circuit 5. This is the lower circuit. It’s probably assumed that if you walk around inside, you’ll be able to see the upper regions, even if you’re not actually in the citadel. The ticket for Machu Picchu is therefore only valid for the lower part.

Authorizations for the Inca trial are subject to the same refund and cancellation conditions as before covid. Authorizations cannot be refunded, transferred, or changed for any reason. Here is a link to see the details of the hike.

Pre-booking with a tour operator who will book the tickets for you (valid passport required)

Pre-book a package that includes hotels, tours, and all ground transportation, including train and entrance tickets.

Note that you cannot buy entrance tickets to Machu Picchu on-site, even if they are available. You cannot buy them in the village of Aguas Calientes. The only way to buy them is online or in person in Cusco. I guess you can buy them online in the village of Aguas Calientes if you have internet access. But I don’t know anyone who has ever tried. It would be a good experience.

What should you know about canceling a trip?

We cannot speak for other tour operators, but Sullpayky Experiences offers different terms for new groups booking a trip to Peru in 2022. It is our policy to be completely transparent about the strategies we can use to help you protect your investment in the event of last-minute cancellations due to unforeseen changes. If you don’t need authorization, we can defer your payment until your travel date gets closer. There are some restrictions you need to consider. Contact our US office for full details. It is strongly recommended to take out comprehensive travel insurance covering all costs on site. On this link you will find tips and strategies that will help you plan your trip to South America.

Keep in touch with Sullpayky Experiences to receive the latest information on trips to Machu Picchu.

Consult it from time to time, because I regularly update the information. Sometimes even daily if necessary. I am in regular contact with Vidal and Hubert in Cusco.

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