Visit Mystical Machu Picchu

Posted by Marianne Salmans

This way you have maximum time to fully enjoy this UNESCO world heritage site

Peru is “hot”! In 2018, more than 4 million travellers from all over the world visited this intriguing country. And that is understandable, because Peru has a lot to offer to its visitors. Cultural activities with many indigenous communities and a great Inca and colonial heritage. Activities in nature with visits to protected reserves in the Amazon, the Andes and the coastal desert. And many opportunities for adventurous undertakings in the form of mountain climbing, kayaking, sand boarding and buggy racing in the dunes. All this while enjoying a delicious pisco sour in the evenings and dishes from one of the world’s best cuisines.

Naturally, a visit to Machu Picchu cannot be missed during your holiday. Magical Machu Picchu was built by the Incas in the 15th century on a mountain ridge in the eastern Cordillera of southern Peru in the Cusco region.

Forgotten during the Spanish colonial period and early Peruvian Republican times, the Inca citadel was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. While Machu Picchu gained interest among archaeologists, explorers and a few tourists over the decades, it took nearly a century for Machu Picchu to become the world-famous symbol of the Inca civilization and a tourist magnet.

Machu Picchu has been declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary (1981), UNESCO World Heritage Site(1983) and was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World (2007). Machu Picchu.

Since the 1990s, Machu Picchu has seen an increasing number of local and foreign visitors. While fewer than 80,000 tourists visited Machu Picchu in 1991, the number increased to 1,578,030 in 2018. This means that the famous Inca citadel receives on average more than 4300 people a day. During the high season (July, August and September) this number increased to around 6000 a day in 2018, while in January, February and December, the quiet months in Machu Picchu, there were ‘only’ around 2000 visitors a day (figures PromPeru ).

Preservation of cultural heritage

The result of these staggering numbers is that in recent years the Peruvian Ministry of Culture has created various rules to steer the large number of visitors in the right direction and to protect the beautiful citadel against the overwhelming interest so that future generations will also continue to admire this impressive structure. Our guests often ask what the possibilities are to visit this world miracle and what they should think about in order to optimally enjoy their visit. Below an overview.

  • Machu Picchu is open daily from 6am. to 5:30pm
  • There are 9 timeslots (between 6am and 2pm) to access Machu Picchu.
  • A limited number of entry tickets is sold for each timeslot.
  • Visitors can enter on or after their assigned timeslot, but not before the indicated time.
  • The entrance fee entitles travellers to a visit of up to 4 hours in Machu Picchu, except when the visit to Machu Picchu is combined with Wayna Picchu or with Machu Picchu Mountain (approximately 7 hours).
  • When you leave Machu Picchu, you are not allowed to re-enter within your 4-hour timeframe (except for travellers who add Machu Picchu Mountain or Wayna Picchu to their visit to Machu Picchu).
  • Travelers must be accompanied by an official guide for the first visit to Machu Picchu. During a second visit you can enter Machu Picchu without a guide; you must then show your ticket from the first visit.
  • There are three mapped routes to explore the archaeological site. Visitors are free to choose which route they take to visit the citadel. It is not permitted to deviate from the route once chosen.
  • The routes are all one-way traffic and once the route has ended, it is no longer possible to visit the route again and you must go to the exit.
  • The first bus to Machu Picchu departs from Aguas Calientes at about 5.30am and goes back and forth during 10-minute intervals during the day, with the final descent at 6pm.
  • Each bus has a maximum capacity of approximately 32 passengers.
  • Large bags, food and plastic packaging or single-use bottles are not permitted on the site. You can take small bags, but everything larger must be left in the luggage room at the entrance (for an additional fee).
  • Walking sticks are only permitted for visitors who really need them, such as the disabled or the elderly.
  • Before entering, all visitors must show their printed e-ticket and passport at the entrance.

Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain

Whilst the hikes up to Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain are challenging, they should not be missed when visiting Machu Picchu.

  • The number of visitors to Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain is limited to a maximum of 400 people per day per site and tickets are sold on ‘first come, first serve’ basis.
  • The access ticket for Wayna Picchu / Machu Picchu Mountain cannot be purchased directly from Machu Picchu, but must be purchased well in advance (at least 60 days in advance) at the offices of the National Institute of Cultural Affairs in Cuzco.
  • The Wayna Picchu / Machu Picchu Mountain ticket can only be purchased together with access to Machu Picchu and the visit to Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain must take place on the same day.
  • The steep hike up to Wayna Picchu is challenging and takes approximately 3 hours (return). In some places you will have to use your hands to keep your balance. Some parts have cables that you can hold on to, but not everywhere. Do not take this walk if you are afraid of heights.
  • The hike up Machu Picchu Mountain takes approximately. 4-5 hours (return) and is also a challenge (2670 uneven steps to the top at 3051 meters). This hike requires less use of your hands than climbing Wayna Picchu.
  • Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to climb Wayna Picchu / Machu Picchu mountain the same day if you arrive in the morning via the Inca Trail or the train. It is recommended to stay overnight in Aguas Calientes.

We relieve you of your concerns

When you book your trip to Peru with Aves Travels, we will of course relieve you of all concerns regarding these rules, but it is good to know the background of requirements that may influence the planning of your trip. If your time allows, we prefer to craft your journey in such a way that you visit the site twice during your stay, once to explore the citadel itself and the next morning to climb Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. This way you have maximum time to fully enjoy this UNESCO world heritage site.

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