Are you thinking about visiting Machu Picchu this year, but haven’t been informed of the regulations?
Well don’t let them surprise you right before entering!
The following article has an estimated reading time of 5 to 8 minutes.
That’s why we summarize the main changes that were put to the test during 2019 (although not all of them have been permanent) and of which you should be informed, because it’s better to be safe than sorry, since you never know when you will find yourself with a guard who is stubborn, or naturally confused by so many changes and trials.
Meanwhile, our recommendations from last year, to explore Machu Picchu and its mountains (Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu), remain the same, and you can consult them by clicking on the image below.
Already in 2019, the regulated visit (according to time of day) to the three main monuments of the citadel was implemented: the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana and the Temple of the Condor. So, depending on your time of entry, you will be free to visit only one of the three monuments, as it seeks to reduce the erosion caused by the thousands of daily visitors, from its passage through the three attractions to only one of them, and dictating specific schedules for it.
Another measure that is now permanent is that of the different circuits to do. Each one will take you on different routes, without the possibility of changing it or going backwards. The idea is to maintain the flow through the complex, and although it is said that admission without a guide is not allowed, in practice that is not fulfilled and there are many visitors without more supervision who roam freely.
But, if you’re traveling with us, you will always be accompanied by an official guide, firstly because the experience is remarkably enhanced with a complete tour and a correct interpretation of what Machu Picchu was at the time, and secondly: because RESPONSible tourism supports through this practice the care of heritage, the local economy, and finally order and formality.
The tickets to Machu Picchu are hardly sold out, but those combined tickets that include the entrance to the mountains Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu are in high demand, and since they are offered in smaller numbers (400 daily), they are sold very quickly. Therefore it is advisable to book in advance (up to 4 months). So get in touch with our travel designers specialists now! and experience a stress-free Machu Picchu in 2020.
Now, we’d like to help you some more, explaining our previous point in a way so that you can make a more informed decision.
Differences between Huayna Picchu and the Machu Picchu mountain.
To explain the differences between the ascent to each of the mountains that limit the citadel, we will again use the cover image where the Hefting family poses happily.
To the north of the citadel (and in the background of the photograph) -right where Simone is pointing, Huayna Picchu can be seen, whose access is a very steep path (not impossible), but narrow and with sections not recommended for those suffering from vertigo.
The round trip to Huayna Picchu will take a maximum of three hours and is about 2 km long, until reaching the top at 2667 m.a.s.l. after ascending about 200 meters.
To the south of the citadel is the Machu Picchu mountain, from whose top the photo was taken, so you can realize that the travel distances, both horizontal and vertical, are greater. But without a doubt, the greater time spent going to and from this mountain (4 hours) is compensated with less difficulty and zero vertigo, which makes it ideal for families with children.
The maximum height reached in Machu Picchu mountain is 3061 m.a.s.l. which translates into an ascent of approx. 600 m.
Both mountains offer beautiful views of the archaeological site, but only Huayna Picchu offers the option of knowing an additional monument such as the Temple of the Moon (which will require an extra hour of walking).
Do you have any other questions about the visit to Machu Picchu or Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town)?
Most likely the answer to that is yes, so here will answer some of the many questions you may have.
1. What to take for the visit?
- Good shoes, consider that there could be mud and/or wet rocks and that you also want your ankles to have good support during your walk or climb to some of the mountains.
- If it’s rainy season (November-April) there will most likely be some precipitation, and even if it’s not rainy season, you want to be alert. You never know when there will be wet conditions, therefore you will want to bring a light or heavy raincoat depending on the forecast that day.
- If you need a walking stick, it must always have a rubber tip. Similar objects such as selfie sticks or tripods are not allowed.
- Solar protection: everything you find to be necessary and enough, along with sunscreen (hat/cap, sunglasses, long sleeves and pants, others)
- Hydration for anywhere between 3-6 hours and snacks in reusable or eco-friendly containers/packaging.
- Small personal backpack
- Ticket and personal ID with which you obtained the ticket.
Pay close attention to this last section where many important aspects to keep in mind are mentioned.
2. Best time of day to visit Machu Picchu?
3. What are the recommendations for things to do in the area?
4. Is it worth spending the night at Aguas Calientes?
Well, this is quite simple to answer, and it mostly depends on the logistics of the trip you choose to do. Normally, our passengers spend one night in Aguas Calientes, be it because they arrived the evening before from one of the hiking/trekking routes (Café, Salkantay), or because we have recommended the first available hours to enter Machu Picchu. But logically it will also depend on your interest in the place, which is why you have our answer to question 3.
5. Is Agua Calientes sustainable?
What is commonly heard locally is that “Machu Picchu town has turned into the first city to be 100% sustainable in Peru and in Latin America”.
But to be honest, we ignore the criteria to fulfill that assumption, since saying that, only based on waste management, is certainly only looking at a small part of the issue of sustainability. You can find out more by checking out the following link to the Ministry of Environment of Peru. Where above all points 3, 4 and 5 are very illuminating (short read in Spanish).
You can not discredit all the effort in the management of waste such as plastic bottles, cooking oil, and organic residues in a city where some 4000 people travel daily, that is worthy of admiration and a model to replicate. But certainly, Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes) at first sight is not a 100% sustainable city, because it does not have appropriate urban planning, nor does it adequately regulate transport and we do not believe that it provides enough opportunities for integral development to its inhabitants, among other things.
We will be very happy to share the news about having a city that is 100% sustainable in Peru at some point, but for now it seems to be a very distant reality. To find out more about the concept of sustainable cities under the vision of the United Nations, you can access the link.
Meanwhile (and as a curiosity) in the world and in the region, this is the situation of the model cities to turn into sustainable ones, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
IMPORTANT: AT RESPONS WE DON’T SELL TICKETS OR EXCURSIONS FOR JUST ONE DAY, THE TICKET TO ENTER MACHU PICCHU WILL BE INCLUDED EXCLUSIVELY IN FULL TRIPS (STARTING AT 6 DAYS). THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING.
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Cover photo and tour in Machu Picchu: courtesy of the Hefting family.