Buying Machu Picchu tickets is the most important part of your journey. The government continues to set increasingly small limits on how many people can visit each day, and during busy season Machu Picchu tickets sell out weeks in advance. Currently, 2,500 people per day are allowed to visit the ruins, and only 400 are allowed to climb each mountain. If you are visiting as part of a tour group, verify that the company purchased the Machu Picchu tickets for you- the large majority will, as part of the package. You may have to tell them if you would like to climb Huayna Picchu, as tickets must be purchased together. Even if you are not part of a guided tour, many Peruvian tour companies or travel agencies will be willing to book the tickets for you, for a fee.
Buying Machu Picchu tickets yourself is possible, although a little confusing. You can purchase online or in person. The government website is only available in Spanish. The payment system is down from time to time, and warning messages may pop up. If this is the case, be sure to translate them, as you do not want to buy tickets only to find something went wrong. Follow these steps to book Machu Picchu tickets online:
- In the upper right corner of the site, you will see Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Italian flags. Do not change the language. Other versions of the site have been known to have problems.
- On the left sidebar, you will see a calendar and drop-down menus. In the “Lugar a Visitar” drop-down list, choose “Macchu Picchu”. From the “Seleccione la Ruta” drop-down list, select any additional options. If you would like to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, or would like to visit the museum, add them to your itinerary. (Note there are two time slots to climb Huayna Picchu, and you must make your selection now.) Finally, pick your date on the calendar.
- The main screen will now show purchasing options. In the upper left corner you will see the number of spaces still available. If space is available, change the “Cantidad” to the number of tickets you would like to purchase. Unless you are Peruvian or Andean, you will be purchasing the more expensive “Extranjeros” tickets. The total cost will update.
- Press the “Paso 2″ button at the bottom of the screen. Fill in the requested information for each person in your group- First and Last Name, Sex, Country of Origin, Age, and ID Number. Note that drop-down lists are not translated, so you must find the Spanish spelling of your country. For example, the United States would be Estados Unidos.
- Once the information is filled in, click “Paso 3″. Here you will enter your address in the “Direccion” spot- everything else should auto-fill. Check the box to accept terms and conditions, then click the “Generar Reserva” button. A ticket with a reservation number will pop up. Print this ticket, and save it on your computer.
- Now look at the menu bar at the top of the page- one of the options is “Pagos”. Type in your reservation number here, click the “Pagar” button, and fill in your credit card information. Many people say they need to call their bank and notify them of the transaction to avoid it being rejected. Follow instructions on-screen to complete your reservation.
Please note that the website is often down, and it may be necessary to use a travel agent or tour company to book Machu Picchu tickets ahead of time. If so, find a company that accepts credit card payments. If you send money via Western Union and something goes wrong, that money is lost for good. Your credit card offers a measure of fraud protection that will save you from scammers.
You can choose to wait until you arrive in Peru to purchase tickets. Bear in mind that during busy season, tickets to Machu Picchu sell out at least two weeks in advance, and Huayna Picchu tickets can sell out up to a month in advance. Unless you are travelling during wet season, it is highly recommended you buy tickets before leaving. If you do wish to purchase tickets in person, you can do so at the DRC offices in Cusco or Aguas Calientes. Bring exact change if possible. The addresses are:
DRC Cusco Office
Av. La Cultura No. 238 Condominio Huáscar. Monday – Saturday, 8.00 am – 4.00pm.
DRC Aguas Calientes Office
Avenida Pachacutec (next to the Main Plaza). Monday – Sunday, 5.00am – 10.00pm.
Ticket prices are as follows:
Children and students: S/.64
Museum entrance: additional S/.22
Access to Machu Picchu Mountain: additional S/.24
Access to Huayna Picchu Mountain: additional S/.14