1. Where to stay
It’s easiest to stay in Aguas Calientes, the closest based town to the infamous site if you’re not hiking into Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail. There is a range of accommodation on offer in Aguas Calientes, and from here you can easily catch the regular buses departing every 10 minutes for USD24 return that takes between 25-35 minutes each way. [ https://peruways.com/aguascalientes-bus/ }
If you’re feeling more active though, you can hike up to the entrance too relatively easily for about 1.5 – 2 hours. There is a clearly signposted trail.
2. Pre-purchase your tickets
Pre-purchase your tickets online via this government website for SOL152 (~AUD68) per adult. [https://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/inicio] This is recommended particularly during peak season or if you plan to hike Huayna Picchu as well to make sure you don’t miss out! Once you purchase your ticket though, write down your reservation number – many people have complained about never receiving a confirmation email, but if you have this number, they can pull it up and re-print the ticket for you.
3. Know your entry time
All tickets are split into hourly entry times now from 6 am, and you are officially given 4 hours to view the site. Being said, there is still much confusion over enforcement of this rule and when we visited in May 2019, people could stay as long as they desired as they have no way of enforcing ticket times and ushering people out yet.
4. You can’t leave and re-enter
You’re not allowed to leave and re-enter the site on a normal Machu Picchu ticket. Once you’re in, you’re in!
The only bathrooms at Machu Pichu are located outside the entrance and cost SOL2, so make sure to go before you head inside as you can’t exit and re-enter the site (unless you hold a Huayna Picchu ticket as well). It’s a stupid rule but one they haven’t seemed to address yet!
6. Get a guide
Official no visitors are allowed in without a guide on their first visit. Whilst listed as new regulation, many people have entered without a guide as, like many other regulations, enforcement has been quite lax. We recommend going with a guide to best understand the history and various aspects of the site, and what’s more, they’ll know the best route to take as tourists aren’t allowed to backtrack to certain areas once you’ve passed specific checkpoints. The guards stationed at various points will turn you back around.
7. Visiting Intipuku, the Sun Gate
Your regular ticket to Machu Picchu includes access to Intipuku (the famous sun gate) and the Inca bridge. If you wish to see these, however, make sure you visit them before you descend into the ruins as you aren’t allowed to backtrack up to these two spots!
8. No disposable plastics
Officially, only reusable water bottles are permitted within Machu Picchu; however, we saw many people with one-time plastic bottles, so it looks like this rule is not yet enforced.
9. Take a small backpack only
Other things to leave behind are large backpacks (you could be asked to store it in a locker), food, tripods, selfie-sticks and drones.
10. Best time to go
Our recommendation is going early. This does mean trying to catch one of the first buses from 5:30 am. When we rocked up with our tour guide at 6 am to the bus stop, there was already a considerable line as it’s a first come first serve basis, with many people in queue as early as 4:30am. We were lucky, and thanks to our guide managed to skip the line, but I would recommend going as early as possible if you’re looking to watch the first sun rays hit Machu Picchu.
We can wholeheartedly say it’s magical to watch and so worth going early and getting those first few snaps of the incredible site people-free!ho
11. A Special Passport Souvenir
Bring your passport and get a souvenir Machu Picchu stamp right outside the exit as a memento!
12. Keep Warm!
Don’t forget to bring layers if you’re heading there early. It was quite chilly early morning, but by 10:30 am and after hiking up and back to the sun gate, it was hot!
Thinking about doing the Inca Trail? Have you thought about the Quarry Trail instead?
We’ll have post up soon giving you all the exciting insights into trekking the hidden gem that is the Quarry Trail.
In the mean time check out our latest post on, tips and tricks when visiting Peru.