The rules have changed. It’s happening. There’s no hiding from it. Machu Picchu is fabulously famous and it’s feeling the pressure of being a travel celebrity. The photos. The nudity. The stupidity. We’ve all seen it and we’ve all shuddered at the crass nature of some travellers. Sadly the government has been forced to step in and as of July 01 2017 the rules surrounding visiting Inca Citadel are changing and will affect every single visitor to this historical Inca site.
We found this out the easy way on a travel bloggers Facebook group and followed up with our own personal research. And the many messages of people responding to our Next Stop South America post. Most messages were supportive and the others were hilarious. There was quite a few people asking me if I was planning on getting naked in Machu Picchu. Which I did not. I have immense respect for the local communities that we travel within, and getting my backside out just for the gram is not worth it.
*Post updated as of November 2019
How to make the most out of the Machu Picchu Rule Changes
Ministerial Resolution No. 070-2007-MC is a very long legal document written in Spanish of which I speak0%. This new long legal document reflects changes to visiting hours, how guides must operate within the site, the circuits which visitors must follow though the site and reconfirmation of the general entrance rules.
The new rules have been implemented to control how visitors and guides access the site, in order to maintain the integrity of the site and its legacy for future visitors.
The Rules for entering Machu Picchu
You will no longer be able to visit these areas without a guide, and need to adhere to a dedicated time slot. These rules are not entirely new and have been suggested since 2014.
The guides must be official Machu Picchu guides or licensed tourist guides. With there also being a restriction on the number of visitors that each guide can accompany. Now the internet tells me that a guide for the day is roughly $25 USD. Guides can be found at the entrance and booked on the spot. Make sure your guide is official and look for the blue identify badge issued by the National College of Tourism.
Tip- At the end of a guided tour of Machu Picchu it is customary to tip the guide. A rough estimate is $10USD per person.
This is similar to how things operate in Cambodia and other countries. So it’s nothing to be scared of or get angry about.
Entry Restrictions for Machu Picchu
They are rather interesting with the main red flag being entry times 6 am-12 and 12-5 pm for entrance and viewing. If you’re found in the area outside of your dedicated time you will be escorted out by authorities.
- The new rules prohibited re-entering the controlled area.
- Prohibited to enter with food/drinks (eek! I get hangry)
- Prohibited to enter with umbrella/sun shade
- Prohibited to enter with tripod or any type of camera stand/support
- No prams/strollers
Walk This Way
- Dedicated circuits- There are now 3 circuits which take 2-3 hours to hike.
- Backpack limits – Nothing larger then 40x35x25cm can be taken into the controlled area.
- It is prohibited to get naked, dress up, lie down, run and jump.
- It is prohibited to feed local resident or wild animals.
Don’t Take That
- It is prohibited to paraglide, fly any type of drone or small aircraft.
- It is prohibited to smoke or use an electronic cigarette.
- 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 climb or lean on walls or any part of the citadel.
- It is prohibited to touch, move or remove any lithic items / structures.
So really just don’t get naked, don’t take snacks and don’t feed the locals. Seems fair?
How To Buy Your Entry Pass to Machu Picchu
Now here is some more fun South American adventures. Buying tickets to famous tourist hot spots can be a spot of bother. You must purchase your tickets to Machu Picchu well in advance. You can not buy your tickets at the gate.
You might be lucky and be able to buy your entry to Machu Picchu tickets in advance in at the Ministry of Culture in Cusco or Aguas Calientes if you are already in Peru. We suggest that you look at buying your tickets as soon as you have decided to go. Many tour companies, as of 2019 are recommending that you buy your tickets 4-6 months in advance.
A guide will not be able to buy your Machu Picchu Entrance tickets for you. These tickets do sell out very fast so it’s best to be prepared and buy sooner rather then later
You can not buy tickets at the gate. Tickets must be bought in advance.
Making the Most Out of Machu Picchu’s Rule Changes
Book your tickets early.
Know your entry times and the restrictions on items that you can take in with you.
Hire a licensed guide.
Most importantly have a good time. These rules aren’t designed to make your life difficult. It’s to preserve the Citadel for future generations.
Packing List For Your Day At Machu Picchu
You’ll want to be prepared for any occasion. There is a limit on the backpack size, it needs to be small. Which can be frustrating but it’s workable.
Small foldable backpack
GoPro for some epic photos
Rain coat – the weather on the mountain can be dubious at best
Sunglasses because the sun glare can be horrid
Eco Friendly Bug spray! The humidity, altitude and moistness brings all the bugs to the yard.
Will You Go Explore Machu Picchu?
A lot of people have been throwing tantrums over the Machu Picchu rules. Like little tiny handed travel toddlers. Yes it’s sad that some people have ruined it for the rest of us responsible travellers. Yes it’s an additional cost hiring a guide and supporting the local community. Oh the horror that the government has taken measures to ensure that this UNESCO listed site is kept clean and pristine for visitors today and into the future. There’s a lot going on in Peru and as responsible travellers we need to ensure that we are all working together to keep these history and natural beauty available for all travellers.
The rules changes didn’t change our opinion of Machu Picchu when we visited in 2017. Infact it made a lot of sense and didn’t change our experience at all. If you are looking for a different guide we’d suggest taking a look into Lokal Travel.
Would you visit Machu Picchu with these new rule changes?
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