As of July 1, 2017 the number of total visitors allowed to enter Machu Picchu each day increased from 2500 total, to 3200 in the AM shift (6 am - 12 N), and 3200 in the PM shift 12 N - 5:30 pm)  This doesn't include 500 permits for the 4-Day Inca Trail and another 250 for the 2-Day Inca Trail hike.   Before the new half-day entry tickets were introduced, access to the ruins was known to sell out some months.

With the new half-day entry tickets, we don't anticipate that all tickets will sell out each day, but we have noticed that morning tickets (1st shift) have sold out a few days in advance of entry. Afternoon tickets (2nd shift) seem to be available when morning tickets are sold out. With the new system, it's important to coordinate your train tickets with your entry tickets.  Now that the new half-day entry tickets are released we are watching the trends to see when most tickets are selling.  

In case you're curious, the least visited time of year has been in February, which coincides with the height of the rainy season and the annual closing of the Inca Trail for maintenance. 

(In June 2018, we're expecting another change to entry tickets. Follow link for Machu Picchu Update: One ticket, One entry)

There are no loopholes or ways to work around sold out permits for the 4-Day Inca Trail and Huayna Picchu Hikes.  We offer a combination hike on the Cachicaata trek with the 2-day Inca Trail this year for hikers who want a multi-day camping trip with hike over the Sungate to Machu Picchu.

Usually you will find tickets are available for Machu Picchu Mountain, the other hike inside the ruins.