In addition to the restarting of international flights to Peru, the reopening of Machu Picchu is a huge leap for humankind. In November 2020, the Peru government reopened the ancient Inca citadel for local tourism. This is progress for plucky travelers willing to jump through the necessary hoops to see one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, without crowds. Over the New Year holidays, borders were open, and I was able to hike the 1-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Then in January, 2021 border policies changed again and all persons arriving on international flights from any country were required to quarantine. Keeping up with the changes is almost a full time job. I found this great world mapping tool that shows the status of entry to all countries from any country you choose. Here's a link to our POST COVID TRAVEL page where you can find the tool along with a couple of other apps. 

Here's what you need to know about the Machu Picchu entry tickets in 2021:

  • Machu Picchu entry tickets for 2021 are now available online for entry through December 31, 2021 (Machu Picchu is closed until Feb 15, 2021 due to covid restrictions)
  • Machu Picchu tickets must be reserved online in advance.
  • Anyone can buy Machu Picchu entry tickets online at the official government website. (Here's a link to the official Machu Picchu website)
  • there are 3 categories of tickets: General for foreigners, CAN for Peruvians and citizens of other South American countries, and Cusquenos (Free entry every Sunday)
  • everyone must use their state ID or passport as tickets cannot be transferred
  • There are 124 tickets available per hour beginning with entry at 6AM and ending with entry at 3PM.  That's 1116 per day for General entry and 1116 per day for CAN citizens. (Total 2232 per day except Sunday when citizens of Cusco can enter for free)
  • Children under age 12 were not permitted entry in November due to terms of the state of emergency. Effecitve Dec 1, children under 12 are permitted to enter historical museums and archaeological sites in Peru including Machu Picchu, and are permitted to buy tickets on Perurail.
  • tickets are only available for Machu Picchu main city. There is no availability to explore Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. 
  • it appears that eventually they to will restrict access to the Sungate and Inca Bridge by requiring tickets. At this time, they're not available
  • Train service was suspended until December 18 due to a strike, then restored. But is suspended again until Feb 15, 2021.
  • Machu Picchu visitor capacity has been increased from 30% to 40% beginning in December.
  • you can only reserve 5 tickets at a time
  • it's advised to confirm your train and bus tickets before you buy your Machu Picchu entry ticket
  • Here's details about how to get a covid test for all US-Bound travelers

Here's what you need to know about Inca Traill Hiking permits in 2021:

  • permits for the 1-day Inca Trail hike are the only permits available now for hikes in 2021 (except in February when the trail is always closed)
  • The Classic 4-day Inca Trail hike is still not open but we do expect it to reopen after March 2021. Remember that it is always closed in February due to the rainy season
  • Inca Trail Hike permits can be obtained through a licensed tour operator.
  • it's essential to confirm train tickets at the time you get permits since that is the only way to get to KM 104, the beginning of the hike. And return by train to Cusco after both the easy 1-day Inca Trail and the 4-day Inca Trail hikes. The schedule of train service is still limited due to normal seasonal low demand. 
  • We have seen announcements from tour operators in Cusco claiming that the Peru government is allowing Inca Trail permits to be transferred. Vidal was not aware of this and called the official ministry office. Here's what's really happening. Tour operators are allowed to apply for a refund for Inca Trail permits that were never used due to covid shutdowns in 2020. Tour operators can buy new permits in any name when they become available again. The tour operators let you think that permits can be transferred to another person when in fact, they are getting a refund and applying for a brand new permit in another name. If this seems deceptiive. It is. There's nothing wrong with tour operators who offer penalty-free rescheduling for Inca Trail hikes. And there's nothing wrong with being flexible about transferring the permit to another person. But to imply that it is a government policy is downright dishonest. Most companies are not able to issue refunds and should be transparent about their policy.


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