When Machu Picchu Entry Tickets Are Sold Out
Tickets to Machu Picchu can sell out from time to time. This is most likely to happen in August, and in 2022 and 2023 it happened in July. And this year we can see that tickets are already sold out most of September and into mid October! With increases in the number of tickets available, there are now over 3600 tickets per day available for foreign visitors, and over 3600 tickets per day for CAN citizens (from South American countries). Not to mention hikers which I calculate to be about 450 per day on both the 4-Day Inca Trail hike and the 1-day Inca Trail hike. (I'm not including porters and cooks). The Peru government just announced that Machu Picchu capacity is up to 5044 visitors per day. But when I add up all the tickets that are available, i get 7200. Per Day! (some people are curious about the toilet situation at Machu Picchu. Here's a link to read more.) The reason Machu Picchu tickets can sell out in August is because seasonal demand from North American and European travelers collide with seasonal demand from Peruvians who take their "winter" holidays beginning with Peru Independence Day on July 28. Peruvian schools are closed and families take their vacations.
Machu Picchu Ticket Trends in 2023
In the summer of 2023 an interesting development occurred. Tickets for the main entry, called Machu Picchu Llaqta, started selling out before the highly desireable Huayna Picchu tickets. This has never happened in recent history. We believe this is because visitors want access to the upper circuits and the upper terraces for the classic view of Machu Picchu. We wrote an entire blog about the classic view of Machu Picchu. Then we wrote another blog about the difference between access to Machu Picchu Upper Terrace and Machu Picchu Upper Circuits. What are the biggest mistakes people make when buying Machu Picchu tickets? CLICK HERE to read more.
Should you buy Machu Picchu Entry Tickets from a private person?
No. Don't ever do that. All valid tickets purchased online at the Mach Picchu website or from a licensed agency, require every visitor to input their unique passport information There's no way to transfer a Machu Picchu entry ticket with someone's name and passport on it. Every visitor who enters Machu Picchu shows their ticket and the passport they used to purchase the ticket. Both documents need to have matching identification info. If you are in Cusco, there is a way to transfer a valid ticket in person if you have written authorization from the seller. What about getting a refund? It's not likely. But it doesn't hurt to ask right? Contact the Machu Picchu ticket office through the website where you bought your tickets.
How Can Visitors Get Entry to Machu Picchu When Tickets Are Sold Out?
Once tickets are sold out on the official Machu Picchu government website, there are no more tickets anywhere. Tour operators can't stash tickets or hold them until needed. When we buy tickets for our groups, we are buying from the same source as ordinary citizens. If none are available for you, we can't buy them either.
Perurail.com offers Machu Picchu entry tickets to all passengers who reserve Hiram Bingham luxury train service. However they only guarantee Machu Picchu tickets if you buy more than 30 days from your planned visit. The way things are going now, I would be very careful with any train bookings less than 60 days from arrival. Incarail.com offers upgraded service where they bundle the train tickets with the bus tickets and even with the tour guide. But you are expected to provide your own entry ticket to Machu Picchu. If you're searching for tickets less than 30 days from arrival, always double check if you're told that the entry ticket to Machu Picchu is included.
At this time, there are two viable options for getting entry to Machu Picchu when all tickets are sold out on the official Peru government website.
Buy Machu Picchu Tickets in Person in the village of Aguas Calientes. On September 1, 2022, the Peru government authorized the sale of up to 1000 tickets per day to be sold in person in the village of Aguas Calientes. These tickets are for entry on the same day as purchased. You need to be in the village early in the morning so you can go through the process. It's not easy! Go here, Wait over there. Pay here, etc. But as a last resort, you can try it. However there's no way to check availability in advance because tickets are for entry on the same day you buy or the next day. Get in line early. I got reports from a couple of groups in early September who tried it and got entry tickets for the next morning. Best to check with your hotel or other sources in Cusco to get the scoop on the logistics before you head off on a wild ticket hunt!
Book a 2-Day Inca Trail hike (or substitute a van tour) which includes 1 entry ticket to Machu Picchu. Fortunately, permits for 1 - Day Inca Trail hikes rarely sell out and if they do sell out, it's mostly last minute. But still we're required to buy those permits at least 4 days before the actual date of the trip because that's what the government requires. These permits include 1 entry ticket to Machu Picchu on lower circuits. (Our tour guides report that the tours on the lower circuits are not restricted to 3 or 4 or 5. However that doesn't mean if things get crowded that they won't decide to require ticket holders to stay on their respective circuits.) It's not required to hike the Inca Trail. That's right. We can buy permits for the 2-day Inca Trail and skip the hike. The permits are for a 2-day package trip to Machu Picchu. We have the flexibility to substitue a 1-day Sacred Valley tour by van instead of the hike. Sometimes people ask me if we can just buy the permits and give them the tickets. The cost to do this is higher than buying your own ticket online. We have to send someone in person to buy permits which cost more than ordinary entry tickets. This is why we only offer a 2-day package trip. The package includes the train tickets, tour guide, transportation and bus tickets. It's a much better value than just trying to buy permits and hand over the Machu Picchu entry tickets. Most companies that sell tickets have to sell in volume to cover their costs. We would rather sell fewer tickets and offer memorable experiences. But there are agencies now offering "VIP" entry tickets to Machu Picchu by accessing Inca Trail permits. Keep reading!
What's the most popular trip to Machu Picchu and can you book this trip when tickets are sold out? Yes. Usually CLICK HERE to review the 2-day Inca Trail Hike online. Contact us to confirm availability first. (includes 1 night in hotel in Aguas Calientes) When Machu Picchu tickets are sold out, this is a great alternative to accessing the upper terrace. Or we can substitute a day trip by van in the Sacred Valley for people who don't want to hike. But if you do that, there is no access to the upper terrace.
All Machu Picchu entry tickets are now sold for entry each hour. This has helped greatly with thinning out the crowds for early morning buses and for touring the circuits, which used to be the most crowded in the morning. I listed the distribution of tickets by the hour in another blog post. Before you choose your entry tickets to Machu Picchu always check the availability for train service. Although we haven't had any issues finding trains when we need them, there is always the risk of limited availability, especially if you're trying to do a 1 day return trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu.
Can you get permits for Inca Trail Hikes and tickets for Huayna Picchu when they are sold out?
There are no loopholes or ways to work around sold out permits for the 4-Day Inca Trail and tickets for the Huayna Picchu Hikes. However, because permits for the short 1-day Inca Trail hike do not typically sell out, we have designed a 5 day trip that includes a multi-day trek on Lares Valley or the Cachiccata hike, with the short 2-day Inca Trail hike. It's a great solution for people who want to book last minute treks with that multi-day trekking experience and the hike over the Sungate to enter Machu Picchu,.Cachiccata trek with the 2-day Inca Trail .These are custom, private treks or people who are booking hikes less than 30 days from arrival in Peru. Please allow at least one week to get permits for the 1-day Inca Trail hike.