Photo: Iryna Savina/Shutterstock

The New Machu Picchu Regulations You Need To Know

Backpacking Insider Guides Peru
Photo: Iryna Savina/Shutterstock
Kevin Groh
Feb 4, 2019

The state-owned Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is an incredibly popular tourist destination, and all those crowds could have a major impact on the historic site if not regulated properly. To lessen the cultural and ecological impacts of tourism on the UNESCO World Heritage site, and decongest the crowds, Peru’s government is implementing significant changes to the visitation practices that travelers to the magnificent 15th-century Inca complex should be aware of before planning their trek.

Changes starting in 2019

New Machu Picchu entrance times

Crowds of tourists in front of the entrance to Machu Picchu

Photo: prosiaczeq/Shutterstock

As of January 1, 2019, entrance to Machu Picchu will rely on a schedule comprised of three shifts:

  • First shift: 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM
  • Second shift: 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  • Third shift: 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Note that visitors can only enter at the top of the hour (6:00 AM, 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, etc.) and that they are allotted a maximum of four hours from the time they enter. If you bought a 6:00 AM ticket and show up at 8:00 AM, you won’t be allowed in. Closing time remains the same as before, i.e. 5:30 PM.

Only 2,500 people are permitted through general entrance daily. 500 additional people are permitted through the Inca Trail permit.

Since July 1, 2017, visitors need to be accompanied by a certified guide (leading no more than 16 participants) to gain entrance to Machu Picchu. Although this rule was not always enforced in the past, it will be imposed and monitored in 2019.

Hike changes

Close up view of Huayna Picchu with terraces, Machu Picchu, Peru

Photo: Uwe Bergwitz/Shutterstock

Starting in 2019, visitors will need to choose between hiking Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. If you want to hike both, you will need to do so on different days and purchase a second ticket.

There will be no change to the number of people permitted entrance to Huayna Picchu at 400 people per day, with 200 in the 7:00 AM group and 200 in the 10:00 AM group. However, the number of people permitted entrance to Machu Picchu Mountain has been reduced from 800 per day to 400 starting on January 1, 2019. There will be 200 permitted in the 7:00 AM group and 200 permitted in the 9:00 AM group.

An official tour guide is required to enter the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu hikes.

New waste restrictions

Starting in 2019, packaged lunches will not be permitted inside the Machu Picchu grounds. Small snacks are still allowed inside, however. Additionally, non-reusable water bottles will no longer be permitted inside either. Make sure that any water container that you want to bring with you to Machu Picchu or one of the other hikes is a reusable container.

Machu Picchu is now wheelchair accessible.

Person in special wheelchair designed for Machu Picchu visitors with limited mobility

Photo: Wheel the World

Wheel the World is a travel company that has developed the first wheelchair accessible tours of Machu Picchu. It provides special wheelchairs that can handle the rough terrains to those with limited mobility who want to access the site. Wheel the World currently offers two tours to the Inca citadel: A one-day Machu Picchu visit for $990 and a three-to-six day Cusco and Machu Picchu tour for $1,490.

Changes coming in 2020

Person looking at Machu Picchu, Peru

Photo: ohandwan/Shutterstock

In 2020, there will likely be a price difference depending on the time of day you want to enter Machu Picchu. Currently, the price is the same no matter which entrance shift you choose; however, it is expected that next year, the earlier, more popular morning shifts will have a higher price and the later shifts will be cheaper to help spread the flow of visitors more evenly throughout the day.

What did you think of this story?

More on


This Glamping Experience in the Peruvian Mountains Is the Best Way To Visit the Sacred Valley

At Peru's Skylodge, You Can Sleep in a Glass Pod Hanging Off the Side of a Cliff

Go Here, Not There: Choquequirao Is as Epic as Machu Picchu (but Without the Crowds)

Wake Up To Views of the Andes in These A-Frame Mountain Cabins

The Top 15 Inca Sites in and Near Cusco That Are Not Machu Picchu

10 of the Most Well-Loved Dishes From Across South America

5 of the Best American-Themed Restaurants Abroad, From the Kitschy To the Authentic

Make Your Reservations for the Inca Trail To Machu Picchu Right Now

This Tequila Honors the Diverse Dia de Los Muertos Celebrations in Central and South America

Sleep Like a Condor in Peru’s Only Cliff-Hanging Capsule Hotel

We think you might also like

The Most Famous Archeological Site in the World Dominates This European Capital City

18 of the Best Hotels in Las Vegas for Every Type of Traveler

How To Visit Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park in Madagascar

Get To Know the Real Banff, From Hot Springs and Waterfalls To Historic Town Sites

This Famous Parisian Church Is Open 24/7 To Maintain 130 Years of Nonstop Praying

The Most Colorful Park in the World Is Actually a Failed Housing Estate for the Rich

Your 2023 Azores Vacation: a Guide To São Miguel and Beyond

This Is France’s Most Famous and Mysterious Island That You Can Visit

The House Where Frida Kahlo Was Born (and Died) Is Now an Extraordinary Museum

Why It's Green and Other Things You Need To Know Before Visiting the Statue of Liberty

How To Spend a Weekend in Coweta, the Charming Small-Town County Outside Atlanta

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners. For more information read our privacy policy.