Let me explain to you about booking your trip to Machu Picchu. We're hearing from people who bought entry tickets from a ticket distributer or tour operator, only to encounter poor customer service. and slow, or no response to their followup emails or calls. Several travelers reported that they did not receive their entry tickets and had to wait until they arrived in Cusco to find out if their tickets were legitimate! This is not how it should work folks. Unless you're told this before you buy, I would not be happy if I had to wait until my arrival in Cusco to find out if my tickets were confirmed, and to get the final instructions for my trip! 

To be clear, there are tour operators who ask hikers to come to their offices in Cusco to finalize their trek. (this usually means paying the final balance in cash). But this is different than buying Machu Picchu entry tickets online. 

Anyone can buy Machu Picchu Tickets from the Official Website

In case you haven't heard, in 2024 a new official  website called TuBoleto/Joinnus was launched. Visitors can select, pay for, and download their own entry tickets to Machu Picchu. This is the same website we, and all tour operators, use. This website only sells entry tickets virtually. If you're seeing offers for train tickets, bus tickets and tour guide service you're not on the official website. The Joinnus website does not offer assistance by phone in case you encounter a problem. However, there is an email address for asking questions. But the feedback we are seeing is that there is very little attention to customer service.

Should Travelers Buy Virtual Machu Picchu Entry Tickets and Tours From An Online Agency?

There are legitimate 3rd party private companies who sell Machu Picchu entry tickets online, along with train tickets, bus tickets and tour guides. The thing that concerns me the most, after having done this for 17 years, is that some of these companies don't mention how your reservation will be handled if all entry tickets to Machu Picchu are sold out on your date. You go to their website and just choose your date and click a button!  I've seen comments on social media platforms and in emails from people who said after they bought their tickets, they did not hear from the operator within the advertised time frame and furthermore, the operator didn't respond to emails. This doesn't mean it's a fraud situation, but it does show poor customer service practices. Here's my biggest concerns:

1. If Machu Picchu tickets are sold out on the one official ToBoleto/Joinnus website, how are these operators able to sell packaage trips that include Machu Picchu entry tickets on dates that appear to be sold out? No one can buy "blank" entry tickets and store them. It's impossible. If tickets are sold out on the one official website, there are no entry tickets available anywhere. I suspect that some of these companies may send travelers to the village of Aguas Calientes where up to 1000 entry tickets per day are available for sale. There are a few things to be aware of. It can take 2 days to go through the process of getting these tickets. You don't know which ticket you're getting until you get in line and find out. Only travelers can buy these tickets in person. 

2. It's fine to "click & buy" tickets online, but having access to clear instructions before booking seems pretty important. And, if needed, having access to a real human to answer questions and solve problems is a top priority for me. If the policy says you will get a confirmation email within 24 hours after booking online, by golly there needs to be an email confirmation within 24 hours. 

3. If I don't get any response what am I supposed to do? Find their office in Cusco and show up to find out if I have tickets? That's a problem for me. However, if that is the accepted procedure and I know that before I buy the tickets and tours online, that's different. 

I"ve seen reports that trekkers who hiked in on the Inca Trail were not provided with their Machu Picchu entry tickets! They were told to go to the office in the village of Aguas Calientes to get in line for one of the 1000 Machu Picchu entry tickets available each day. Timing is everything and there is a deadline to get Machu Picchu tickets in person in the village. Now that we're well into the 2024 travel season, we are seeing entry tickets to Machu Picchu sell out 1-2 months in advance. (I have to say I'm suspicious. How can 10,000 tickets per day get sold so quickly? Here's a link to read more about 2024 ticket availability in case you're curious. That's another conversation for another day.)

Hopefully this gives you insight into best practicies for agencies and tour operators who are selling Machu Picchu entry tickets online. This should help you determine what kind of information is essential to know bfore you click that button. 

Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions. You're welcome to call Heather or me in Virginia and we'll do our best to answer your questions or direct you to a reliable source for more info. We appreciate when people call during business hours. If you call after hours. It's fine to leave a message.

757-270-9293 Heather
757-714-6649 Jacquie