New Rules to Visit Machu Picchu
The Ministerial Resolution No. 070-2007-MC is a very large document written in Spanish. It reflects changes to visiting hours, how guides must lead their groups in the site, the established circuits which tourists must follow through the site and reconfirmation of general entrance rules. Therefore, below we have highlighted the main new rules Machu Picchu.
Why is the government changing the Rules?
Before Machu Picchu was integrated to the UNESCO World Heritage, the Inca Citadel was fairly unknown to the world. Since the UNESCO declared world heritage on Dec 09, 1983, tourism has grown year by year, and now in the high season the number of visitors per day are exceeding the capacity of the site causing overcrowdedness and disturbances to the visitors. The new rules have been implemented to moderate the number of people in the site and also to control how visitors and guides will properly explore the circuits. Even though the time is shorter than before, we clearly understand the main purpose of the new rules are to give a better satisfaction to visitors and also to maintain the integrity of the site and its legacy for future generations. However, in Inka Trail Explorer our expert guides are working hard to make sure that you will have the best experience during the tour of Machu Picchu.
Split Entrance Times
According to the new rules, Machu Picchu will be visited in 2 sessions. The new rules were going to come into operation on July 1st of 2018, but for some reason it has not been applied yet. Recently, the government announced that the new rules will be officially applied on January 1, 2018 and from this time forward, it will operate in the following way:
- Morning session: 6 am – 12 pm
- Afternoon session: 12 pm – 5:30 pm
You have basically 6 hours to visit Machu Picchu. Within this period of time, visitors must explore the citadel. Remember that readmittance is not permitted once visitors have left the site. The major difference between the morning and afternoon sessions is that admission is more controlled in the morning. As you can see, the morning session is slightly longer, but this is due to the expectation that some visitors will arrive late. In preparation for visitors arriving any from 10 am or later, there is an unofficial extension of the morning session to 1 pm. The clock starts running as soon as your ticket is stamped at the gate. Visitors and guides who don’t enter and leave within the time frame stated, will be escorted to the exit by competent authorities or will have to pay a new entrance fee! The afternoon session is more lax in this regard because Machu Picchu closes at 5:30 pm, therefore, there is no need to be as strict because everyone must leave by this time.
Do the new rules state that I will need a tour guide to visit Machu Picchu?
This is probably the most significant rule. From January 1, 2018 and onward, all visitors entering Machu Picchu must be accompanied by a professional tour guide. Guides must be licensed tour guides. They must present a valid, up-to-date guide identification upon entering Machu Picchu. Guides are only permitted to lead a maximum of 16 people per group. Guides need to sign in and sign out all visitors from their group. The guides will also be responsible for giving all pertitnent information to the visitors about the new regulations of the park before they enter the citadel.
Three established circuits in Machu Picchu
In the new rules, the government has established 3 circuits for which visitors to Machu Picchu must abide. Visitors must decide which route they will take upon arrival in Machu Picchu with their expert guides. This decision will depend on the visitors’ interests and physical conditions. Some details about the circuits in Machu Picchu are as follows:
Circuit 1.- Is the most complete route, and the most highly recommended one. It requires you to be a in good physical condition, but it is nothing serious. It first takes you to the upper-sector of the citadel where you will have the best view of Machu Picchu itself, and then it goes through the most beautiful and important buildings.
Circuits 2 & 3.- Visit the mid and lower-sectors, and are more suitable for those who want a more relaxing visit. Still, they both take you through beautiful places.
Why are there Alternative Circuits?
The alternative circuits are open to visitors in order to give them some extra options and diversify the hikes. This also helps reduce crowding in the citadel.
Huayna Picchu Mountain
Huayna Picchu Mountain stands behind Machu Picchu. The views from the top are spectacular, and it only takes 45 minutes to go each way, but the route is quite steep.
If you are interested in this experience, you need to book this in advance. Also, we highly recommend climbing Huayna Picchu with the second group which is scheduled for 10am because the views during this time are so much better. This ticket is in combination with the general Machu Picchu entrance ticket; it cannot be purchased separately.
According to the new rules, all visitors to Huayna Picchu Mt have 2 extra hours (until 2pm) so that they will have enough time to explore Machu Picchu and hike the mountain.
- First entrance: 7 am – 8 am
- Second entrance: 10 am – 11 am
Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu Mt. stands just to the left of the citadel. This climb takes about a total of 2 hours to go up and down. The view from the top is absolutely phenomenal, but it needs to be booked in advance. This ticket mustb be purchased in combination with the general Machu Picchu entrance ticket; it cannot be purchased separately.
According to the new rules, all visitors to Machu Picchu Mt will have an extra 3 hours (until 3pm) so that they will have enough time to explore Machu Picchu and the mountain.
- First entrance: 7 am – 8 am
- Second entrance: 9 am – 10 am
The Sun Gate
The hike up to the Sun Gate is another option. It’s the entrance that hikers on the Classic Inca Trail enter through in order to arrive to Machu Picchu. It takes 1 hour to hike and is free and available to all. According to the new rules, it can be visited during the morning session or in the afternoon session. It is still unsure if the government will give at least 1 hour to that people who want to do this extra hike.
Can I re-enter Machu Pichu after the first session?
The new rules also prohibit re-entrance to Machu Picchu, meaning once you enter, you are not allowed to return if you decide to leave. There is a stipulation included in the new rules which allows re-entrance for special circumstances. At the moment, the only toilets at Machu Picchu are located outside of the park. So until a solution is found to solve this problem, this is a pretty acceptable “special circumstance.”
Some important Rules that you should consider when you visit Machu Picchu
We really want to inform you of the most important rules that should be taken into consideration so as to avoid any trouble when you are visiting Machu Picchu.
Any backpacks that are more than 26 liters are not permitted during the tour and must be placed in storage (near the entrance).
- It is prohibited to enter with food.
- It is prohibited to enter with alcoholic beverages.
- It is prohibited to enter with umbrellas (hats, ponchos, and raincoats are permitted).
- It is prohibited to enter with photographic tripods or any type of camera stand/support. This is only permitted with pre-authorization and the appropriate permit.
- It is prohibited to enter with any musical instruments, including megaphones and speakers.
- It is prohibited to enter with high-heeled shoes or any shoe with a hard sole. Only soft soles are permitted (like those found in training shoes or walking shoes/boots).
- It is prohibited to enter with children’s strollers or prams. Only strap on baby/child carriers are permitted.
- It is prohibited to climb or lean on walls or any part of the citadel.
- It is prohibited to touch, move or remove any lithic items / structures.
- It is prohibited to enter with walking sticks that contain a metal or hard point. Only elderly people and physically-disable people are permitted to enter with a walking stick with a rubber tip.
- It is prohibited to get naked, change clothing, lie down, run and/or jump.
- It is prohibited to make loud noises, applaud, shout, whistle and sing. The tranquility and character of Machu Picchu must be maintained at all times.
- It is prohibited to smoke or use an electronic cigarette.
- It is prohibited to feed the resident or wild animals.
- It is prohibited to paraglide and to fly any type of drone or small aircraft.