If you didn't make it to Machu Picchu in 2021, don't worry.  Although it was actually a great year to travel because of reduced crowds, (we had a few visitors who had the entire joint to themselves!) the future is looking good my friends. I'm happy to report that visitors to Machu Picchu in 2022 is proving to be full of golden opportunities to explore the land of the Inca. If you're looking for signs of what's to come, pull up your nearest throne and let me tell you the news about the hikes reopening in Machu Picchu. You're going to love it.  

Machu Picchu is open at 100% capacity. 

Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain Hikes Reopen.

Hikes to Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain are now reopened. And there's a new hike. Yes keep reading. Nature lovers of all ages should celebrate! But. (There's always a "but.") There has been some confusion over which hike is which! There's too many hikes (is that possible?) and some of the names written in native lingo are befuddling travelers. I've already had people email me to ask about the difference between Huayna Picchu and Huchuy Picchu. Do not get these 2 mixed up. You will be sadly disappointed.  After I clear up the confusion about the hikes, I'll share more news about Inca Trail hikes going in to Machu Picchu. Yes, they made more changes. As if it wasn't confusing enough, now it's more confusing.  

The Peru government website displays all tickets for the Machu Picchu hikes, including Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. You can buy these tickets yourself on the official Machu Picchu government website.

  • Wayna Picchu + Circuit 4 Hike broken up into 4 groups of 50, with a maximum of 200 people per day.  After the hike, visitors will exit the park. (This hike can be seen on the internet spelled as Huayna Picchu which is the correct spelling. The spelling was changed to Wayna because gringos kept misspelling and mispronouncing it)
  • Machu Picchu Mountain + Circuit 3 Hike will welcome 400 people per day in 2 time slots followed by access to the citadel circuit 3 (short, low route)
  • NOTE: these hikes have specific 1 hour entry windows and limited access to the llaqta (the heart of the ancient city) What if you want to do the hike and tour the city? Keep reading. I have a plan for you!

New hikes in Peru include:

  • Huchuypicchu Montana + Circuit 4  - (small mountain near Wayna Picchu inside Machu Picchu National Park) opening for 9 groups of 22 people per day every hour from 6AM to 1400.. After the hike, visitors will exit the park. Buy this ticket on the official Machu Picchu government website. Entry is at the same kiosk as the entrance for Wayna Picchu. Could they have made it any more confusing? Better not ask.
  • NEW Route 4 - Inca Trail Hike - 4 days of hiking and camping at lower altitude than the Classic 4-Day Inca Trail hike. Permits must be reserved through a licensed tour operator. (Contact our US Office to make a reservation)

Are all trails and hikes at Machu Picchu open in 2022?

The old hikes to Wayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain, with the new Huchuypicchu Montana are open now through the end of 2022. Usually the Peru govverment releases tickets for the next year late in December. Inca Trail permits for 2022 were released on time in October 2021. We're booking Inca Trail hikes now. Remember the Inca Trail is closed every year in February which is the peak of the rainy season. But Machu Picchu is always open.  Hikes to Sungate and Inca Bridge from inside the Machu Picchu national park did not reopen. Anyone who hikes any of the Inca Trails (that have permits) will cross over the Sungate and descend to the ancient city. (entry to the citadel after the Inca Trail hike is a separate post because they changed that too!) No one has access to the Inca Bridge except maybe the spectacled bears (you know, Paddington!) 

What's this news about Changes to the Machu Picchu Entry Tickets Included with the Inca Trail Permits?

Ever since UNESCO called out Peru (was it 2016?) for allowing Machu Picchu to get hammered by excessive tourism, the Peruvian government has been whittling away at all the willy-nilly roving that visitors were once able to do at Machu Picchu. With just one entry ticket, you could enter and exit as much as you wanted in the same day. You could go to the bathroom as many times as you liked. You could walk in any direction and on any path. It was glorious! Of course the downside was the gridlock of humans trying to pass each other on steep narrow paths. I kind of miss the bottlenecks of people standing behind someone creeping slowly up the steep steps that led to the guard shack. All the people at the back of the line would watch the slow person lift a foot into the air, pause, breath, and in slow motion, move the foot forward then drop to the ground and rest for about 5 minutes before they could lift the next foot. But it wasn't all bad. It was actually amazing to sit on the protuberances on the uppper terraces. I took a group of teens there in 2007 and we sat in silence just trying to soak it all up. Which is practically impossible!

Up to now all the whittling has been for visitors arriving by train. Now it's time for the Inca Trail hikers to take a hit. Vidal told me the Machu Picchu tickets that come with the Inca Trail permits are different now. Consumers can't see this because Inca Trail permit availability is only visible to tour operators (That would be us!) If you haven't been to the official Machu Picchu website you should go and look at the new maps of all the 4 circuits. This new tool is very handy. I use the maps all the time. After you choose the circuit you like best, then you go to the page where you select the tickets you want to buy, you'll see a drop down box called "RUTA." (route) This is where you choose the ticket you want including Huayna Picchu and Montana and that new cheesy-quasi-hike called HuchuyPicchu. Each of those tickets include access to one circuit and you're allowed to enter the Machu Picchu main gate exactly 1 hour prior to the hiking time printed on your ticket. 

Inca Trail hike permits come with Machu Picchu entry tickets for circuit 3. This is a severe cutback. And it's the harshest I've seen in 15 years. It's like instead of amputating a toe, they cut off your foot. This one hurts. But as a consolation prize, hikers are the only mammals (except for the spectacled bears) allowed access to the famous Guard Shack overlooking the citadel. When you hike down from the Sungate, you will have access to the solitary outpost for magnificent views of the ancient city. There's that. But after that, it's all downhill, so to speak. Whether you enter the citadel right after your hike or after an overnight in Aguas Calientes, you will have access to circuit 3 only. 

However, people are welcome to buy additional entry tickets. That's what I would do. If you have the stamina to tour circuit 3 on the same day you hike in, do it. Then buy (in advance of course) additional general entry tickets to use after a night of rest in the village of Aguas Calientes. Go back and tour circuit 2 (the most thorough IMHO) or 1,3,4. It's your choice. The tickets are around $50 USD per person. When compared to the thousands of dollars you're spending to get there, it seems trivial to quibble about 50 bucks. 

The next morning you drink a bunch of coffee and meet up with your guide and head back up on the shuttle bus to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the ancient city itself. The magical citadel. This is where having a tour guide is like having the keys to the Inca kingdom. Vidal and the team of tour guides at Adios Adventure Travel know those paths like you know the way from your living room sofa to the frig. They know when to go to certain places to avoid crowds. A few of the historical sites at Machu Picchu have restricted open times and they know when they are. It doesn't mean he can get you in to all of them because they stagger the openings intentionally to reduce the number of visitors. But our tours are t-h-o-r-o-u-g-h! If that's what you want. If not. We're also fine with groups who want to breeze through just stopping for the "famous shots." 

Are Tour Guides Required For Entry to Machu Picchu?

Officially, no. Although I see that the Machu Picchu website now has a message on the home page recommending that visitors hire a tour guide. It's probably because of the people who are emailing them asking questions. People are confused about the circuits. The hikes. The Inca Trail permits. I believe that having a reputable and knowledgeable tour guide is more important now more than ever. The best tour guides will come from Cusco and you will need to book them in advance. These guides are devoted to your trip. They will take their time and if you want to explore the dusty corners of Machu Picchu, these guides are the best. The next best tour guides can be "picked up" at the main entry on the day of your visit to Machu Picchu. Keep in mind that these tour guides are not inclined to take their time. Their income is determined by how many groups they can wrangle at the main entry, get in, and get out to wrangle more groups.

Want more info? I could go on, but I won't. Send an email through our contact page on this website. It will come to me and Heather in Virginia. Or you can try texting me at 757-714-6649 and I'm on What's App. 

 What if you want to do one of the hikes in Machu Picchu and tour the heart of the citadel?

Here's what you do. Set up a 2-day trip. Trust me. you'll be thrilled with your experience.  Buy your tickets in advance: Day 1 buy Llaqta de Machu Picchu 1300-1400. Day 2 buy Huayna Picchu + circuit 4. You depart Cusco or whereever you're staying in the Sacred Valley, in the morning and take the train so that you arrive in Aguas Calientes by mid-day. Just in time for a nice lunch and a cup of coffee to get you jacked up for the afternoon. (I always go to HOT SPRINGS restaurant in "downtown" Aguas Calientes. Right where the rainroad tracks meet the main street.) Take the shuttle bus up to the main entry and enter with 1300 or 1400 tickets. (you do realize you have to buy these in advance don't you? Have I not taught you anything?) Take the upper circuit 2 which brings you to a landing right below the guard shack for "the famous shot." You know the one I'm talking about. Take your shots then keep going. Enter the main gate of the city and follow the circuit to the end. I could take you at least 2 hours and even longer, if you linger appropriately. You exit and take the bus to the village to spend the night in the hotel of your choice. The next morning you take the bus back up to Machu Picchu and enter to do the hike of your choice. These hikes give you 1 hour from the time you enter the main gate of Machu Picchu until you have to checkin at the checkpoint for the hike. There is a 1 hour window to checkin. You don't have to checkin right away. As long as you checkin within that 1 hour window, you spend the same amount of time on the hike. After the hike, you will be directed to the path to the exit. There's some great spots to explore on the way. Return to the village and you should have plenty of time to grab lunch before you board an afternoon train and return to your hotel wherever it is.

This should give you lots of choices now. A trip to Machu Picchu is much more than you think it is. There are so many ways to do it. 

Qechua Word and Peruvian Place Name Tutorial:

  • Machu Picchu - old mountain
  • Huayna Picchu - little mountain
  • Wayna Picchu - gringo abomination for little mountain
  • Huchuy Picchu - 
  • Winay Wayna

A lot of people ask me what my most useful travel item is?

Here's a link to read all about SCRUBBA. It's advertised as a portable wash bag for laundry while traveling. But I have been using it as a dry bag, a shower, a shopping bag and more. 
(I get a small commission if you buy one of the bags through the link in our website. We're truly grateful for those people who have been able to purchase one)