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.
You might want to check out the ticket prices on Get Your Guide
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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Thanks very much for the tips especially the new rules. Have scheduled a visit to Machu Picchu in March, 2019. Hope to avoid spring breakers. Is it possible to visit as a traveler not a tourist? The Alhambra seems to be similar to Machu Picchu with the onerous rules.
There’s no difference between a traveller and a tourist. There’s no way to visit Machu Picchu as anything but a tourist. The whole Andean area in Peru is absolutely marvelous.
I really hope I get to visit Machu picchu one day, so I’m glad the government is enforcing these rules to help protect it. I had no idea about any of this though, so thanks for writing.
Thanks for writing this! With all the research I’ve been doing for our trip this is the first I’ve heard of these rules. They sound pretty reasonable and similar to my experience at the Taj Mahal. I’m all for preserving these sites! No snacks or drinks is going to be a little tough since we actually will have a toddler with us! Hopefully they at least allow water?
I visited post rules in October 2017. These rules are reasonable and makes for a pleasant experience. There are so many visitors, it is smart to have these rules in practice. It was an amazing experience. Incredible. I cannot say enough. It is smart to eat before, bring your own water bottle and pack light. Making all the required reservations for tours, and entry on line, is the easiest and most convenient way to enjoy your limited time in Macchu Picchu!
Nice write up. These rules are a good start for protecting this valuable piece of human heritage. Unfortunately, MP was never built to withstand the force of millions of people walking through it every day, and it is crumbling back into the earth more each and every year. Hopefully Peru can stem the tide of destruction with some better enforced rules.
And when are you going to visit? I’ll look forward to see how is your personal experience. You seem so prepare now. Good luck and all the best to all your travels!:)
In less than a month!!
I hadn’t even heard of this place before, but it sounds really interesting. It’s definitely on my to do list! Youre right that some tourists give everyone else a bad name and make the countries respective governments really wary of us as a whole.
Never heard of Machu Picchu?
A beautiful place. I am glad that it is prohibited to climb and lean on the walls. That is really important to preserve these structures.
This is a really helpful post! I haven’t been yet, but good to know all of this. I have to say im so glad about the nudity change…i find these photos unnecessary and tacky really. And on a place like this, respecting where you are should be paramount. Thanks for making this easy to understand!
Wow, I had no idea that the rules had changed! I was just there last summer and it was magical, so I totally understand why they want to preserve the character. Such a helpful post!
WOW, I love all your photos. It’s my dream to visit this place. I didn’t know that a guide is a requirement. Thank you for the info, it’s very helpful. I’ll take note of it.
I had no idea that there were new rules implemented at Machu Picchu. It’s too bad that some people have ruined it for the rest of us, but it’s probably a good idea to do it now before the site gets ruined. Hiring a guide and the other rules don’t sound so bad to me 🙂
This is on my bucket list (I need to lose more weight first though). “It is prohibited to get naked, dress up, lie down, run and jump.” I really shouldn’t be surprised that this needs to be included. Great write-up!
Ohh I still remember my husbands old photos of a hike he did to Machu picchu. He did it with his friend camping where ever he could. I think this was in 1999. For the the good of the place I guess its the best way.
Gosh, this makes me miss Peru SO much! I really loved my time at Machu Picchu and feel you summed it up very well. Thanks for sharing!
I had no idea people are streaking in Machu Pichu…he he…
Anyway great that you took the trouble to explain everything. I have seen many great tourist places go down the drain due to excessive commercialization. Censorship is no what I support but I guess it is needed at times when people behave too stupidly.
I’m so sad that they started implementing these rules. but also I feel like it’s definitely needed to preserve the site. Tourism has gotten more and more popular everywhere. There has to be a fine balance between experiencing a historical site and keeping it preserved.
Thanks for tutting together a post that hepled to make sense to what is happenig on Machu Picchu in these days. It is a pity that one has to have guide always around and that the hours for visiting are limited. I guess they want to stay free to over tourism.
It’s unfortunate they needed to implement some of these rules in the first place–it’s always a bummer when people just can’t be respectful. I agree with you, even though some of the rules can be inconvenient but it’s great to see they are taking measures to protect Machu Picchu. We would love to visit someday, and definitely won’t let the new rules stop us. Thanks for sharing!
I’d still visit under the new rules – it’s just unfortunate that it has had to come to this. But the Government have every right to try and protect this incredible site. And you trip is creeping up so quickly! I’m excited for you!
Of course I would visit under these new rules. They really aren’t that out there. But wondering if drinks include water? Everything else I am fine with, and most of the rules seem to be logical, so not sure what those toddler tantrums are about.
It’s really unfortunate how a few idiots ruin things for the majority. That being said, thanks for your effort in documenting the rule changes for tourists. Machu Picchu is still on my bucket list so this post will come in handy once it’s time to plan the South America trip.
We are very lucky that we saw it last year before all the rule changes have kicked in. Yes we are just tourists and this place has been there for thousands of years. Many people abuse the sacred spot, so I am sort of glad that they are making it a cleaner more organised place.
I welcome these rules! Glad govt there has taken such thoughtful steps to preserve the place. At the same I have to now plan to save up more to make a tour there. Machu Pichu is my dream destination.
I understand why these rules should be implemented. It is fair. If I were one of the locals who live nearby Machu Picchu, I would be very happy. It sounds restrictive but it will benefit everyone who wants to visit Machu Picchu. I have not been here but I am sure that tourists may have done a lot of unpleasant things here. Hence, the new rules. I like that they have put ‘no smoking’ as one of the rules. I cannot really tolerate when people smoke and not mindful of others especially children.
I think those rules seem completely reasonable. The country is just trying to do something to preserve this special spot for future generations, and if this Instagramming show-pony generation can’t cope with it, then too bad. I would love to visit this place, and I also think the visit would be much more memorable with a guide. I hope you have an amazing trip! I really look forward to reading about it.
I am really happy reading it that the another important step has been taken by the officials to maintain and preserve UNESCO heritage sites. It is just because of certain rotten travelers and tourist who cant control their emotions. So, somebody has to take a stand and that is what has happened. I will surely visit it in future following all these guidelines.
Thanks for this post. have been reading a lot about the recent rule changes at Machu Pichu and your post gives clarity! 🙂 It is just so bad that coz of a certain section of tourists, rules have to be got in place to curb ‘stupidity’. I really want to visit this. Hopefully soon! 🙂
I’ve heard about rules at Machu Picchu but never really fully understood what they were. All these rules seem fair and if you abide by the rules and plan ahead you should have a good time at the UNESCO site. I heard it was sinking which would be very bad as I haven’t seen Machu Picchu yet.
Woow, this looks really amazing,
This is really on my have to do list before i get into my 40’s
I haven’t been to Machu Picchu before but plan to do so in the future. Reading through all the detail within this post, I honestly do not know what all the fuss is about. There was nothing in here that surely would not be seen as reasonable in the circumstances. This is a world famous icon that should be protected and those with a problem with that should not bother going in my view. I don’t think these things will cause you any issue on your trip and I’m sure you will enjoy it just as much as if you had gone prior to the new rules coming into effect. Hope you have a great trip and I look forward to reading all about it!
Sounds like a prison with all those rules. That’s so sad that such beautiful places are restricted by all those rules. I would be so sad if I want allowed to bring in my tripod or drone. But on the other hand – it’s good to keep these amazing places clean ad safe.
Ouch a prison really that’s a bit harsh! So many places ban drones. They are invasive to other visitors.
I can see they need to address the issue of numbers, I’m so glad I saw it ‘last century’ in the 90’s we stayed for hours after hiking the trail. Got to sit and soak it up, just incredible. The local bus driver was drunk, so a few of us raced a local guide down the trail that goes to the bade. Very risky.. In hindsight as it’s steep and rocky! The local guide won!
Good to know! I didn’t know any of this – hadn’t heard about the changes. It’s kind of a pain that you have to have a (paid) guide, but in the end I think it’s better because then they can help ensure that future generations are able to see it as well. People do some interesting things while unsupervised, huh?! Thanks for sharing.
I think it’s great they’ve introduced new rules. Macchu Pichu is such an amazing World Heritage spot it would be such a shame if it got destroyed.
Even with the restrictions, i would still go. It’s one of my life long dreams. And hopefully these rules would discourage irresponsibel travelers and protect the site. Too bad for drone flying though.
Personally I think the rules are fare but at the same time, I dread about the no tripod rule as I tend to travel solo and would like to take photos myself (including when the photos include me, heh!) Sure, there’d be a guide with me (along with some others strangers around perhaps) but still, I don’t want to have to ask the guide to take photos of me again and again until I’m happy with the results. 😉
Such a useful post! I’ve always wanted to visit Machu Picchu and it’s good to know this update on visiting 🙂 Xx, Eleonore
It is good to know this but honestly I was not planning to scream or get naked there anyway lol So I am fine with the rules. It seems fair to me. I also like guides because I can learn more about the place.
I have to agree! We didn’t have plans to get naked, run around screaming or lick the buildings. Seems like we should be ok.
I had no idea there are going to be rule changes for Machu Picchu but they seem fair. I’d probably have chosen to go with a guide anyway in order to learn more about the place and it seems like the sensible thing to do. I really hope to visit one day!
It’s taken nearly 3 years for the government to make these changes and I only recently discovered these myself. I agree that they are fair and equitable rules.
I haven’t been to Machu Picchu yet but I really want to go! I’m fine with the new rules. Hopefully people can still take llama selfies though! I actually don’t mind having a guide.
Llama selfies are a priority
None of these rules are much of a shock for me. I actually like taking tours with a local guide because they can give some great insight into the history and local culture. I don’t know how I feel about the restrictions on entry times though. I feel like Machu Picchu is so full of things to see and do that it would be hard to get done in 5 hours without having to rush. I haven’t been to Machu Picchu but it looks incredible and I can’t wait to visit!
I feel the same! I’m worried that we will be in – photos and than out!
I think it will be a really good change. I wish people could just visit places without abusing these amazing places, but if it helps preserve it, it’s worth changing the rules. I can’t wait to visit.
I’m going to have to share this with my son and see what’s changed since he visited a few years ago. It’s so sad that a few people ruin things for everyone.
I havent been to Machu Picchu yet but cheers for the heads up. Will bear all this in mind when I eventually get there 😀
Thanks for making me aware of the rule changes. I have a trip planned here later this year though it may be delayed for a while, but I had no idea I needed a guide now. Thanks for making me aware and helping me be more prepared for the trip
Whatever we call ourselves, at the end of the day we are just tourists and there are more and more of us. Most of us are considerate but there a growing percentage of idiots. The rules would not put us off going, they just sound sensible in the circumstances.
Thanks for keeping me up to date on all the rule changes. It sucks but I get why they are doing this. I am glad they are taking steps to protect the integrity and beauty of this site. Thanks for sharing.
The way people behave is just demonstrative of why we can’t have nice things. I think it will still be worth going – would like to one day. Look forward to hearing about your experience there!
Having visited Machu Picchu in 2014 I don’t think these rules will change much. You already had to book in advance as they limited the number of visitors per day, you won’t want to carry large heavy bags when hiking (especially if you hike up from Aquas Calientes- that’s basically vertical!!! I recommend a dry top to change into when you get to the top, otherwise sweat fest!!) and when you got there at 6am you are totally done by midday!!! We also took food and ate before we entered the park (after the hike up) – there is a cafe at the entrance. Then ate again back in town afterwards (that pizza and beer never tasted so good). It’s totally worth visiting!!
Oh great tips! We are doing the Lares trek, having a day off then going to Machu Picchu!
That sounds amazing – we went in February when the main Inca trail is closed so we did the ‘jungle trek’ which includes down hill mountain biking and zip lining – so less actual trekking!!
Oh that sounds like fun! I am looking forward to trekking.