In August 2018, an unprecedented situation occurred at Machu Picchu. There were several days where all tickets (and permits) were sold out! Morning shift, afternoon shift, 4 Day Inca Trail Permits, 1 Day Inca Trail Permits, and tickets for both hikes to Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. In this case there is no other way to get entry to Machu Picchu.  

In previous years, you could take your confirmed train tickets to the Machu Picchu ticket office and they would generate an entry ticket for you. That method is no longer available. If all tickets and permits are sold out, you cannot get in to Machu Picchu. 

Beginning in 2019, all entry tickets are now sold for entry on the hour. I listed the distribution of tickets by the hour in another blog post. This year we have not seen any days where every ticket is sold out. But we have seen certain times that are sold out. Usually 6AM.

History of Rule Changes for Machu Picchu Entry Tickets

On 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.   

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.  Machu Picchu citadel is open every day of the year.

Here's a link to statistics on Machu Picchu entry tickets sold in 2018. 

In July 2018, there was yet another change to entry tickets. Follow link for Machu Picchu Update: One ticket, One entry

Permits for Inca Trail Hikes and Tickets for Huayna Picchu

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 when 2-Day Inca Trail permits are available.