After Closing for Covid-19, Machu Picchu Reopens With New Rules for Travelers
Whether you call them lucky or plucky, the first visitors to Machu Picchu post pandemic, are likely to enjoy their experience more than usual. New rules for visitors when Machu Picchu finally reopens will offer optimum conditions for exploring the ancient Inca citadel without the hustle and bustle of crowds as seen in recent years.
Date of Reopening at Machu Picchu
March 11, 2021. Peru announced the suspension of quarantine for tourists arriving in Peru if you have proof of neg covid test upon arrival in Lima. Contact us now to book your trip.
April 5, 2021 Perurail train service and access to Machu Picchu restored after restrictions during Easter holiday. However restrictions on ground transportation continues every Sunday from April 19 through May 9, 2021. Airports are open and tour operators can get permits for airport transfers in Cusco with advance notice. Curfew in Cusco every day from 9pm to 4am. Capacity restrictions on restaurants and museums.
Are you confused about arrival protocols in Peru?
Well so are we. After studying the US Embassy in Peru website and the Lima airport arrival protocols, some travelers are even more confused than ever. Instructions say that travelers need a neg covid test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flight to Lima and, upon arrival they are expected to take another covid test. But what if, like most people, you're not staying in Lima? Can you fly to Cusco the next day? Are you free to go to your hotel?
Here's what our travelers are saying. Everyone should follow the recommendations of the international airlines which list the tests and documents needed to enter Peru. The Peru online health declaration asks travelers to agree to 14-day quarantine. But our groups who have arrived recently, report that after you show up with your negative covid tests (or other qualifying documents) the quarantine is waived. And no further testing is needed. Having covid vaccination does not offer any advantage but travelers should carry their cards.
(Disclaimer: I am offering this information anecdotally to provide perspective. I am not responsible for the actions of the Peruvian authorities or airline staff with regards to any arrival policy to any country)
Do Visitors to Machu Picchu Have to Wear a Face Mask and a Face Shield?
Yes. Here's what you need to know. The Peru government has mandated that passengers on planes, trains and public buses must wear face masks and face shields. Recently they updated the regulations to include archaeological parks like Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Pisac and Ollantaytambo as well as Machu Picchu. Our local tour guides are reporting that enforcement of the use of face shields in the parks is selective, and once inside, visitors may be able to remove the face shield. Visitors should be prepared to enter wearing a face mask and a face shield. Once you're inside your tour guide can offer further advice regarding the necessity to remove the shield.
Face masks and face shields can be purchased in airports, stores and markets in case you need one.
Can We Get A Covid Test in Cusco Before We Return to the US?
Yes! We have arranged this for a few other visitors. You can make your own arrangements or we can arrange a driver and an Adios guide to accompany you. We wrote an entire blog post with details. Follow this link to get full details.
Can We Buy Entry Tickets to Machu Picchu in 2021?
Yes. People are instructed to go to the official Peru government website to reserve their tickets. Foreigners must use their valid passport, while Peruvian nationals and CAN citizens can use their DNI cards. For your convenience here is a direct link to the Peru government website. They have issued new rules and protocols for all visitors going to Machu Picchu in 2021. I've translated and listed the new rules for Machu Picchu visitors below but there are even more changes and Vidal and I will do a video on our Youtube channel to explain.
Note: Machu Picchu may be closed on Sundays when mobilization restrictions are enacted. I recommend that you don't buy entry tickets to Machu Picchu for entry on any Sunday. Current restrictions closed Machu Picchu on April 25, May 2 and May 9. Restrictions are reassessed every 15 days.
Can we Buy Tickets to Hike Huayna Picchu in 2021?
No. You will notice on the new Machu Picchu website that there are new "experiences" this year. These experiences include the popular hikes to Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain, but also include new hikes to Sungate and Inca Bridge, which it appears they plan to monetize with the general entry tickets. At this time, only general entry tickets can be purchased. The rate is the same as previous years. 152/s. per adult for foreigners. At this time, the only people who can get to the Sungate are visitors who hike the 1-day Inca Trail. You cannot go up to the Sungate from inside the citadel. It has been rumored that the Peru government will not release tickets for any of these extra experiences until "covid is over." There are 2 options for exploring Machu Picchu at this time. Buy general entry tickets. Or hike the 1-day Inca Trail. (I included more info about Inca Trail permits below)
Can we combine our trip to Machu Picchu with excursions to the Amazon Jungle or Lake Titicaca?
Yes. And no. Maybe. Kind of. Depends on when you plan to travel and also how flexible your itinerary is. Booking flights to these regions is a commitment to go there. I personally think these regions will reopen more slowly than the Machu Picchu corridor. Vidal and I collected information from our contacts and set up a page in our blog where you can read more about travel specifically to the Amazon and Lake Titicaca. Follow this link.
Are Children Banned from Entering Machu Picchu?
No. Machu Picchu ruins are open to people of all ages.
When are Musuems and Secondary Archaeological Sites Reopening in Peru?
Local tourism is slowly cracking open with the reopening of outdoor archaeological sites after Easter on April 5, 2021. Qoricancha Temple and Inca art museums, are also open. There are capacity restrictions that can change based on Peru government assessments every 15 days. Outdoor sites like Sacsayhuaman, Qenco, Tambomachay, Pukapukara and Pisaq are open. Local tourist bus service was supposed to start again for most regions of the country, but progress has been slow. Give it some time as supply and demand are likely to affect the scheduling for a while.
Can we get Inca Trail permits?
Yes. Now that Machu Picchu entry tickets are officially available, we can also get permits for the 1-day Inca Trail for anyone who wants to hike to Machu Picchu in 2021. We're taking reservations now for 1-Day Inca Trail hikes in 2021. I hiked the Inca Trail on December 30 with Vidal and we noticed there have been many improvements on the trail. Paths have been groomed and bridges have been repaired. However, permits for the 4 and 5-day Inca Trail hikes are not available. We have been told they will begin in July 2021, but there is no information yet on when permits will be made available. The biggest change to the Inca Trail is the hike into Machu Picchu is that hikers are diverted from the citadel just before you get to the guard shack and the overlook of the ancient city. Your permit includes re-entry the next day (or as you hike in on the last day of the 4-day Inca Trail hike) and that is when you will have access to the overlooks and the ancient city center. Here's a link to see the details fo the hike.
Should we plan to travel to Machu Picchu for Christmas and New Years?
Peru is a great destination for people who like to travel during the Christmas and New Year holidays. There was a mini-surge of foreigners to the Cusco region over the Chrsitmas and New Year holidays in 2020. Most foreigners came from countries in South America. But many North Americans popped up as well. I traveled to Cusco on Dec 26 and although not all businesses were reopened, all the archaeological sites in the Cusco region were open.
Social Distancing Rules at Machu Picchu
- maximum of an average of 99 foreign visitors + 99 CAN visitors admitted per hour
- up to 7 people per group (with or without a private guide)
- spacing is 20 meters between groups
- trains at 50% capacity
- buses at 50% capacity
- guided tours may be limited to 1 hour/20 minutes (we're playing this by ear. We don't know how strict the time limits are for visiting the ruins)
- face masks and face shields are worn on planes, trains and public buses, and recently regulations now include wearing face masks and face shields upon entry to all archaeological sites including Machu Picchu.
How to Buy Entry Tickets to Machu Picchu After Covid-19
- Machu Picchu website is up and running. General entry tickets available to reserve for entry through the end of December 31, 2021
- Pre-order with a tour operator who will reserve the tickets for you (valid passport needed)
- Pre-Book a package trip with hotels, tours and all ground transportation including train and entry tickets
What do you need to know about trip cancellation?
We can't speak for other tour operators but Adios Adventure Travel is offering risk-free cancellation and 100% refund guaranteed for new groups booking trips to Peru in 2021. Follow this link to see full details. Our policy is to be completely transparent about the strategies we can implement to protect your investment in case of last minute cancellation due to unplanned changes. There are limitations you need to be aware of. Contact our US office to get full details. It is strongly recommended that travelers purchase comprehensive travel insurance that covers all ground expenses, and consider upgrading to (CFAR) "cancel for any reason" travel insurance. Policies vary. It's wise to read the terms. Follow this link to see tips and strategies to help you plan your trip to South America in 2021.
How to Get to Peru
While Peru international borders are reopening for passengers arriving from north America after March 15, 2021, some flights from Europe including Spain, France and Netherlands are resuming. However flights from UK, South Africa & Brazil will continue to be suspended until April 30, 2021. Airlines have been pretty good about providing details about arrival protocols. After March 15, 2021, the Peru border will reopen for tourists without any quarantine requirement if you have a negative covid test within 72 hours of your arrival. Expect to wear a mask in all public places, plus an additional face shield on planes, trains and buses and of course social distancing
Avianca and Latam Airlines both filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in May 2020. What does that mean for travelers trying to get to Cusco? Most international flights must go through Lima, Peru. But it's not as bad as it looks. Each airline has a different story and here's a link to more details.
Stay in Touch With Adios Adventure Travel to Get Up-to-date Info About Machu Picchu
Check back from time to time as I update information regularly. Sometimes daily if needed. I'm in touch with Vidal and Hubert in Cusco on a regular basis. I'm planning to travel to Machu Picchu as soon as possible. Vidal and I set up zoom and were able to make a few joint videos recently to provide updates and share news about what the first visitors to Cusco should expect. Here is a link to Adios Adventure Travel Youtube Channel.