Starting June 1, 2024 there will be major changes to all the circuits at Machu Picchu. So much is going on, we wrote up an entire new post.  CLICK HERE

I'm updating this post based on the preliminary maps we've seen of the NEW circuits at Machu Picchu beginning on June 1, 2024.

The same website Joinnus is still selling tickets, At least for now. That's right, a new website has been built and will be launched sometime in August. Of course no one knows exactly when.

What you need to know about NEW circuit #1 at Machu Picchu beginning June 1, 2024 (Color: RED)

Circuit #1 is now divided into 4 routes. NONE of these routes includes access to the ancient city. These routes are designed for people who want panormaic views from the upper terraces. There are 2 levels at the upper terrace. One is the "inferior" upper level and the other is the "superior" upper level. Both levels offer visitors access to the classic view of Machu Picchu. All 4 routes on circuit #1 include access to all the upper levels for the best panoramic views of Machu Picchu. Three of these rouotes also offer entry to walk either to the Inka Bridge, or hike up to the Sungate, (estimated time is1.5 hours up and 45 minutes return) and of course the hike to Machu Picchu Mountain (estimated 2 hours up and 1 hour down)

What you need to know about NEW circuit #2 at Machu Picchu beginning June 1, 2024 (Color: BLUE)

Circuit #2 is now divided into 2 routes. One of these routes named "Classic Designed Route" and the other is called the "Lower Terrace Route." These two circuits are what I would describe as the longest most thorough circuits for exploring the actual city up close. Both 2A and 2B routes begin with a climb up to the "inferior" upper terrace. I wouldn't be concerned about the word inferior. You still get the classic view of Machu Picchu. These two routes offer access to what I would identify as the 3 most popular features in the park, including: 1)view from the upper terrace, 2) access to the upper circuit in the city and 3) access to the lower circuit in the city. 

After the initial launch, as people became aware that only Circuit 2A included the tour of the city and the classic view of Machu Picchu, they change  Circuit 2B Lower Terrace Route because it did not include access to the upper terrace for the classic view of Machu Picchu. They've changed it now so that according to the maps, both 2A and 2B appear to be almost the exact same route!  After checking on this to make sure it's not an error we have found out that each route goes to a different terrace for the classic view of Machu Picchu. But other than that, they are the same. But my point is, that this recent change tells me they are still tweeking these routes. Keep that in mind as you diligently and carefully choose the route you think that you want. Minor changes could occur later. However, changes can be in the favor of travelers who are coming a very long way to get to the middle of the Andes Mountains! Follow that link at the top of the page to the post where I'll be updating intel most frequently. 

All the content below this statement is old information based on entry to Machu Picchu before June 1, 2024
(Be aware that some of the information presented in older posts on Adios website, and any website on the internet may be outdated after June 1, 2024) 

 

The fact that I'm asking this question should be an indication that not all of the 4 circuits at Machu Picchu are equal when it comes to photographing Machu Picchu ruins. Let me explain the situation. Machu Picchu visitors are traveling thousands of miles to the middle of the Andes Mountains, and investing heaps of dinero to arrive at their lifelong dream destination only to discover that they may not have access to see or photograph the iconic image of the ancient Inca city. Don't all entry tickets to Machu Picchu include access to this view of the city? No is the short answer. Read on for details. If you don't care about where you take your photographs of Machu Picchu, just ignore me, and go and enjoy yourself. This is one less thing to worry about. It won't hurt my feelings at all. 

Do all 4 circuits at Machu Picchu include access to the classic view of the Inca ruins? No

Here's what you need to know. Unless you're living under a rock, pretty much every human on the planet has viewed the classic image of Machu Picchu. You know the one I'm talking about. The ancient inca stone city is framed by the mountains including Huayna Picchu in the background. To see Machu Picchu from this angle, visitors must be standing on the upper terraces. This view is the most published image of Machu Picchu in the world. It's the iconic, and most recognizable angle of the Inca citadel. One or two at a time, visitors take turns proudly posing in their sweaty t-shirts, maybe flexing their biceps, or displaying the flag of their country, with Machu Picchu ruins and Huayna Picchu Mountain right behind them. And just about every visitor wants a chance to capture their version of that archetypal snapshot to cherish for the rest of their lives. What could possibly go wrong? Well, here's what's wrong. The lower circuits 3 and 4 do not include access to the upper terraces. And that view.

Machu Picchu Entry Ticket availability in 2023 took an interesting and unpredictable turn after the normal August crunch. For reasons that are yet to be fully understood, the tickets with access to the upper terrace (circuits 1 and 2) sold out so far in advance that visitors could not get tickets for the upper terraces. The limited availability of those tickets carried through to almost the end of the year.  We had the annual crush of visitors, where literally every ticket to every corner of the ancient city sold out in July and August. And for some reason continued into September and even through November. 

Before you book your trip to Peru and buy flights and other non-refundable services, make sure that entry tickets are available. I've explained in my other posts, that permits for the easy 1-day Inca Trail hike come with 1 entry to Machu Picchu lower circuit. These don't sell out because you have to go through a tour operator and the permit is for a 2-day trip, not a single entry to Machu Picchu. You're welcome to call me in Virginia if you want to find out more. We do offer a substitute tour of the Sacred Valley by van for people who don't want to hike. 757-714-6649 (I'm also on WhatsApp) 

Was there an increase in Machu Picchu Entry tickets in 2024?

Oh boy. You're going to love this. The answer is not just yes, the answer is a resounding and electrifying YES! I wrote up an an entire post explaining exactly what happened with Machu Picchu entry ticket availability in 2024. CLICK HERE to read "You won't believe how many tickets are available to Machu Picchu!"

Before you panic that you may end up with "inferior" entry tickets, remember one thing. No matter what ticket you have you're still going to the world-renowned ancient city of Machu Picchu! Even if I were to enter on a lowly llama path, I would still be thrilled just to be there. Every square centimeter trembles with "that ancient Inca vibe!" You'll find your own "vantage" points no matter what circuit you're on. Do me a favor when you're there, and find a little spot to stop and take a breath. Hug yourself and then click your heals and repeat these words, "There's no place like Machu Picchu! There's no place like Machu Picchu! There's no place like Machu Picchu!" It's all amazing! Even an inexperienced 5 year old can manage to click off a few decent photos at Machu Picchu from anywhere inside the city. if you can't get at least a few gratifying photos at Machu Picchu, where images fall like raindrops into your camera lens, you should slam your camera to the ground and jump up and down on it because there must be something wrong with it. 

What is the difference between Machu Picchu upper terrace and upper circuits? If you don't know you probably should find out. Click here to read more.

Which Machu Picchu entry tickets do not include access to the upper terraces?

Circuits 3 and 4, which are called the "lower" circuits do not include access to the upper terraces.This means that everyone who buys a ticket to hike Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu will not see the classic view of Machu Picchu. Here's a link to our blog about Huayna Picchu with an image of the view of Machu Picchu from the top. This view is not the same as the classic view from the upper terraces and that's the issue. So. All general entry tickets to Machu Picchu Llaqta include your choice of circuits 1 or 2 or 3 or 4. Note that it's not 1 and 2 and 3 and 4! Choose wisely. If you want "that" shot of Machu Picchu then you'll have to suffer a bit by hiking up to the higher terraces on circuits 1 or 2. In my opinion, the best circuit is 2, the longest, for the expansive classic view of Machu Picchu and the longest circuit. The Machu Picchu government website has great maps for each circuit now. Here's a link to view the maps.  

How to Get Access to Machu Picchu Upper Terrace Classic View when General Entry Tickets are Sold Out

In August 2022, the Inca Bridge reopened for the first time in over 2 years. Because access to the trail to the bridge is located in the upper terraces, the entry to the Inca Bridge includes your choice to tour upper circuits 1 or 2. This is now my new favorite entry ticket to Machu Picchu. Anyone who is able to hike up to the upper terraces should consider traversing a bit further to see the Inca Bridge. Before you start envisioning a magnificent handmade viaduct spanning a precipitious gorge, let me explain exactly what the Inca Bridge is. It's a length of wooden plank that has been placed over a break in the path along a stretch of granite wall with a steep dropoff. The hike to the bridge is quite short and has no serious elevation gains or losses. It will add 30 minutes to your tour of Machu Picchu. After the little hike to see the bridge (you will not tread on it) you can segue right into upper circuit 1 or 2. 

The Machu Picchu Montana hike comes with access to lower circuit #3. And fortunately for people who want the classic view, the entry to the hike is in the upper terrace. Even if you don't do the actual hike, you can still go up to the upper terrace for the view of Machu Picchu. Then continue to lower circuit 3 to explore the ancient city up close.

Are there changes to the Machu Picchu tickets included with the Inca Trail permits? Yes!

Just a reminder that Machu Picchu visitors with tickets purchased from the website (or through a tour operator) are no longer permitted access to the Guard Shack on the upper terraces or the Sungate. The Guard Shack is now reserved exclusively for hikers coming off the Inca Trail. All other visitors with tickets that include access to the upper terrace, will enjoy a view from the terrace right below the guard shack. Inca Trail hikers have access to the Sungate and from there they descend to a special landing on an open terrace next to the Guard Shack. Before you hikers jump for joy, remember the saying, "The Lord giveth and the Ministry of Tourism taketh away?"  Here's a link to read about the changes to Inca Trail permits and the Machu Picchu entry tickets that come with them. There's stuff going on over there too!

What's the most popular trip to Machu Picchu and does it include access to the upper terrace? CLICK HERE to review and book the 2-day Inca Trail Hike online. (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. 

I get calls and texts from frustrated and anxious people asking for assistance with solving their ticket and logistics problems. So we know it's getting complicated to decipher the ongoing changes to Machu Picchu rules. Even our guides get confused from time to time. This is why even the Machu Picchu website is recommending (not requiring) that people hire 1-day guides. Here's a link to read more about Adios guides, because not all tour guide services are equal!

Do Visitors Need to Have a Private Tour Guide to Enter Machu Picchu?

The quick answer is no. But it's worth it to understand why the Peru government is recommending that everyone hire a private guide. The main reason is that the system of one-way circuits can be confusing. And there's no forgiveness if you screw it up. In my opinion, most people can benefit from advice BEFORE they actually buy tickets and set up travel dates. Once you have your trains and entry tickets in hand, your trip is kind of locked down. There's very little wiggle room to make last minute changes if you discover you have a gap or made a mistake. I get emails weekly from people who accidentally made a booboo. Sometimes we can fix it, and sometimes we can't! Having a tour guide can enhance the tour. What do you need to know about tour guides for Machu Picchu? CLICK HERE

What did disappointed visitors do when they realized they couldn't access the prime location for taking the Classic photo of Machu Picchu?

Although park rangers are stationed at critical intersections and are checking tickets inside the national park, it is impossible to check every single ticket. So rangers would do random checks and people with tickets for lower circuits 3 or 4 were redirected to the lower level. But apparently, circuits 3 & 4 ticket holders were able to get through to the upper vantage point, at least enough to cause a problem for park officials. So. they decided to separate the people holding circuit 3 and 4 tickets at the main entry. They set up a new entrance at the exit gate and an agent with a laptop is now checking in visitors with circuit 3 and 4 entry tickets. How long this will last remains to be seen. But be prepared. 

What gear is the most essential for your trip to Machu Picchu?

Water is the top of the list. After 15 years of experimenting with several water filters, I scoured the internet and this is now my favorite water filter for travelers. I found a pod that does the best job. It's easy to share and it's passive, so there's no pumps or mechanisms to set it up. Just drop it in your water bottle and go. 

The next item is footwear. The terrain inside Machu Picchu ruins is a combination of rough cobble paths, dirt trails, occassional steep switchbacks and stone steps galore! While a few wooden handrails have been installed, the vibe is definitely original Inca construction!  Check out Xero sole shoes. This is what I wear when traveling. They work for day hikes and tours in archaeological sites where the landscape is still not modernized. 

CLICK HERE to read more about the gear I recommend.

Can you resell your Machu Picchu entry tickets?

No. Don't ever buy Machu Picchu entry tickets from a private party. You can buy them from the official Machu Picchu website, a licensed travel agency or through a Peruvian tour operator. There's no Stubhub for reselling Machu Picchu tickets. I copied all 13 pages of the official Machu Picchu website "Terms and Conditions" and translated into English, then posted on our website. For your convenience here's a link to view the entire document which includes the rules about refunds, reselling and acceptable behavior at Machu Picchu National Park. (you're welcome!)

What if Machu Picchu visitors want to hike Huayna Picchu and explore the upper terraces?

Here's a couple of ideas. The first is that you can ask the rangers inside the park. It doesn't hurt right? Most understand that tourists just want to soak it all up and get their photos! The answer will depend on variables out of your control. Did the ranger have a fight with his spouse that morning? Did the ranger just return from an amazing lunch? If you want to be sure you have access to the upper terraces, then buy 2 different entry tickets. Remember that you can't buy more than 1 ticket of the same kind on the same day. But you can mix and match different entry tickets on the same day. This is advanced travel planning and can be tricky to coordinate with trains for a one day trip. Which ticket should be first? How much time should you allow between ticket entry times? How long is the line to enter the only restroom at Machu Picchu? (Click here to read about toilets at Machu Picchu)  That's why we recommend doing a 2 day trip to Machu Picchu. I've been many times. I always do a 2 day trip. I have never once said to myself, "well I wish I hadn't done that!" The travel time from Cusco is a minimum of 5 hours each way. So there's that. It's so much more enjoyable to spend 1 night in the village of Aguas Calientes. But trust me, one night is plenty. There's not much going on in the village. It's a tiny town with undistinguished dining and t-shirt shops in the world's best location. But the river lends a nice vibe to the village that renders it worthy of one overnight. I love sitting at a table on the sidewalk at Hot Springs restaurant in "downtown" Aguas Calientes, slurping my latte. After that, I'm outta there! 

Can you buy additional Machu Picchu entry tickets after you get there? 

Let's say you get to Machu Picchu and realize your entry ticket doesn't offer the access to the areas of Machu Picchu you want. Can you buy additional entry tickets? Yes. But not at the entrance, or even in the village of Aguas Calientes! (starting in Sept 2022, there is an office in the village selling up to 1000 tickets per day. It takes several hours of waiting in various lines set up to accommodate people not able to find tickets online and who have the flexiblity to stay another day if they sell out.) If tickets are available they can only be purchased online or at the ticket office in Cusco. Technically, visitors can buy as many tickets as they want as long as they buy in advance or in person in Cusco. Keep in mind you cannot buy two of the same kind of ticket for entry on the same day. But you can buy different tickets on the same day. I have this theory that someone could buy entry tickets online after they get to Aguas Calientes. But we haven't tested this option. If you do try it and are successful, or even if you fail, I'd love to hear from you. And then there's the logistics. Train tickets and hotel reservations could be affected. That's when people call me for help! Let's say organizing trips to Machu Picchu with all the changes and new regulations, is my superpower. And of course I have my super top secret asset. Vidal! haha.  (text Heather: 757-270-9293 and on What'sapp)