Numbers don't lie (unless someone fiddles with the raw data!) According to the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, in the year 2021, about 447,500 people flew to the Andes Mountains and jumped through all the logistical hoops of fire required to get to Machu Picchu, the capital of the ancient kingdom of the Inca. Compared to the record attendance in 2019 before the corona virus pandemic, this was less than one third. Peru's President closed Machu Picchu and most tourist destinations the entire month of February 2021, in spite of the tears shed publicly by Machu Picchu's desperate Mayor Darwin Baca. When Machu Picchu finally reopened on March 1, at reduced capacity, a few brave travelers were rewarded for their tenacity, with private dream tours of a deserted citadel. 

Vistors trickled in and slowly increased through August 2021 when the limited supply of entry tickets actually sold out because Peruvians showed up to explore their national treasure. As a temporary solution, the new administration allowed distraught Peruvian travelers to buy tickets from future dates to use for entry in August. This created another ticket deficit for entry in September and October 2021. By November 2021, the government released Machu Picchu entry tickets at full capacity and demand leveled off and stabilized. In the month of October 2021, visitor entries peaked for the year, at 67,583.

Total attendance to Machu Picchu in 2021 represented 29.7% of the record total in 2019 when more than 1.5 million tourists crossed the threshold.  (I'm never sure if these figures include hikers, who could potentially add another 164,250 humans.)

How many people visited Machu Picchu in 2020?

Given that the ancient city was closed for 8 months due to the pandemic, it's not surprising that only 274,594 people toured the ruins for the entire year.

How many people per day can enter Machu Picchu in 2022?

As of January 2022, the number of available tickets are up to full capacity and for foreigners, is about 2220 per day. There is an equivalent amount of tickets for Peruvians and CAN citizens (from Latino countries) This totals over 4400 possible visitors through Machu Picchu main entry every day. Inca Trail hikers make up another 200 per day from the 4-Day Inca Trail and about 250 per day from the easy 1-day Inca Trail hike. (although it is advertised that there are 500 permits available per day for the 4-day Inca Trail hike, that includes permits for porters, cooks and guides, as well as hikers.) 

What is the annual capacity for visitors to Machu Picchu?

In 2022, the maximum number of potential visitors is about 1.5 million (multiply 4400 x 365 days) Give or take a hundred thousand or more hikers. In the good ole days, I could pull data from the official Machu Picchu website. It would tell me the % of men and women and the countries with the highest number of visitors. Now I have to rely on the occasional reports I find from the Ministry of Culture and other resources.

(Keep in mind that in January 2022, Machu Picchu entry tickets are released slowly by month for the rest of the year.)

What's the vibe for traveling to Machu Picchu in 2022?

Inquiries are up and interest is there. It's not back to normal by any means. But amazingly, we are seeing more bookings by private groups of 8 ore more this year. This could be a signal that some people are ready to travel if they have the security of being in a small group. Our message to people planning trips to Machu Picchu is the same this year as last:

  • choose one country per trip. Multi-country trips are more complicated and risky just because each country has their own arrival and departure protocols
  • don't expect to have everything confirmed and planned months in advance. Travel trends favor those who are flexible and able to plan their travel less than 60 days from arrival. It's fine to plan ahead, but don't spend money that can't be refunded until you're confident the winds are blowing in your direction.
  • what do you need to know about arrival protocols in Peru? Here's a link to our most popular post loaded with details!

Got questions? We're tracking arrival protocols and you're welcome to call or text me in Virginia on SMS or What'sApp. Jacquie 757-714-6649.