Machu Picchu, the fascinating structure created by the Inca Empire in Peru, South America, attracts travelers from all over the world.
This Inca citadel was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and is one of the most iconic landmarks in South America. Still, travelers must carefully study local rules before visiting.
A few months ago, Peruvian authorities reopened access for tourists without any COVID-19-related restrictions, but with a daily limit number of tourists still in place since 2019.
The Peruvian Ministry of Culture just announced the expansion of the number of visitors per day because tickets until mid-august were already sold-out. The number changed from 4,044 visitors per day to 5,044.
The visitors limit had already been increased just a few days ago, on July 17, from 3,044 to 4,044. But it wasn’t enough for the current demand. The decision for a second expansion this month was taken after over 800 tourists were denied access to Machu Picchu and around 1,000 tourists and locals protested.
According to local authorities, this expansion shouldn’t affect the preservation of the Peruvian Historic Sanctuary and they shared a statement on Facebook: “This decision took into consideration the conservation of the property to avoid irreparable damage that compromises its outstanding universal value, following the recommendations that UNESCO issues to the Peruvian State.”
Machu Picchu Entry Limit
The decision to adopt an admission capacity has been taken to protect the environment and the historic structures.
The “Lost City of the Incas”, as Machu Picchu is also known, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2007 and its popularity has only increased during the past few years. Local authorities worry about damage caused by visitors and over-tourism.
In 2019, when the new entry limit measure began, the daily limit was 2,500 tourists. The number has been constantly increasing ever since to adapt to visitors’ needs.
Still, tourists have sneaked past security or damaged structures—like a few tourists from Argentina, Brasil, Chile, and France did in 2020— and have even been deported from Peru.
During the pandemic, fewer travelers visited Machu Picchu, but now that travel is going back to pre-pandemic levels, Peruvian authorities must negotiate and satisfy demand while also protecting their sanctuary.
Concerns about overtourism have been reported all over the world. Other destinations like Venice in Italy and natural monuments like the Diamond Head State Monument in Hawaii are also restricting tourist entry.
What Travelers Should Know
Those interested in visiting Machu Picchu must take precautions and consider local rules and conditions. Here are a few recommendations and relevant information for travelers:
- Book your ticket online as soon as possible. Be careful, there are scam pages, opt for the official site.
- Each basic adult ticket cost 152 soles, around 38 US dollars (prices change depending on tour options selected and currency fluctuation). Children and students pay less.
- Beware of altitude illness. Machu Picchu is located at 7,970 ft, on a high mountain. Travelers can get sick if they don’t climb gradually. The CDC has relevant official information travelers can read.
- Prepare your route. Transportation is limited, there are three main ways to access the Inca citadel: the Inca Trail, by train, and through Hydroelectric. Travelers must consider their physical conditions, especially for the Inca Trail and the Hydroelectric alternative, and also prepare baggage accordingly.
- Consider the best times to travel. According to travelers’ recommendations, the best period to visit Machu Picchu is from April to October when it is usually dry and clear —although crowded in July and August. During January and February is usually rainy and travelers might not be allowed to visit the sanctuary.
- Bring proper clothing and water. The best strategy is to bring lightweight layers and also a rain jacket, even if it looks sunny, the weather frequently changes. Sun protection is highly recommended as well.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories