When it comes to organising your own independent travel to visit Machu Picchu, you will want to buy your entrance tickets ahead of time. Here I explain, in detail, instructions on how to book Machu Picchu entrance tickets online.
In my blog, Choose Your Own Adventure, I discussed how to get to Machu Picchu independently, without needing to do a tour, or walk the Inca Trail.
In this article, I explain step by step, how to book Machu Picchu entrance tickets online, yourself.
The Peruvian website to buy Machu Picchu tickets can be quite quirky and not that user friendly. It does not like the back command (you risk losing your booking thus far if you do this). It sometimes reverts back to Spanish, even if you have selected English. This throws a lot of people off. It took me awhile to figure out how the website worked. Hopefully these instructions will save you time and you are able to book your tickets, without too much grief.
How to book Machu Picchu tickets online:
(Please note this is for the Machu Picchu site, NOT for booking The Inca Trail)
- Permits to visit the site of Machu Picchu are available from Dirección Desconcentrada de Cultura Cusco: Book Machu Picchu tickets
- After the long load of the webpage, you might see a message come up in Spanish – this is advising that some areas of the site are closed for maintenance. Press ‘close’.
- For Machu Picchu entry, go to the ‘Reservation’ tab (Reservas), select ‘Machu Picchu’ under ‘Lugar a Visitar’ dropdown menu.
- Under ‘Seleccione la Ruta’, choose regular Machu Picchu tickets, OR Machu Picchu and Hyuana Picchu (which is the walk up the big mountain behind Machu Picchu) and desired departure time, then the date. Note: June-September is peak season. At the time of writing (in April) passes for Hyuana Picchu are sold out until July. There is more availability for the earlier start time of 7am than 10am, which is a good thing. See tips on Hyuana Picchu in the ‘Tips’ section below.
- Under ‘Cantidad’ select how many passes you want. If you are a visitor (not a resident) select your passes under Foreign Category (Extranjeros).
- Then press the button below ‘Pago 2’ (Step 2) to fill out your first name, last name, gender, country of origin, age and passport information.
- Then click ‘Pago 3’ (Step 3), which will bring up the terms and conditions. Close this box, fill in your e-mail address (correo) and click the checkboxes and then press ‘Reservas’ (Reserve Generating) – a reservation code will be generated.
- Take this reservation number down and copy it and close the box. The code to copy is also at the bottom of the next page. Then go to the Payments tab and enter this code.
- Then from here you will be able to proceed to payment by pressing ‘ENVIAR’.
- Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu (the big mountain behind the site) have daily limits of permits, so book well in advance. June to September is peak season so plan months in advance if you intend visiting during this time.
- Huayna Picchu departures are at 7am or 10am. I recommend the earlier time, as there are less people on the track. You can get to the main Machu Picchu site early for sunrise (buses leave Aguas Calientes around 5am), head towards the sun gate for photos, then return down to the entrance of Hyuana PIcchu for the ascent. There are some incredible photos opportunities at the summit of Hyuana Picchu – if it is not too misty!! Afterwards, descend and to do a tour of the Machu Picchu site itself.
- You need reasonable fitness to climb Hyuana Picchu, it is steep and precarious at times. Good walking shoes are essential.
- If no numbers (Disponibilidad) are showing up when you are trying to book, tickets are either sold out OR they have not been allocated yet (usually this happens at beginning of the year i.e January). If you have missed out on Hyuana Picchu places, the main site of Machu Picchu has a lot more allocations, so don’t despair!
- Purchase tickets ahead of time rather than paying in Cusco.
- You will need access to a printer to print your tickets.