When should you visit a historic site? Historic sites are locations where pieces of political, cultural, or social history have been preserved. Often due to their cultural value. Historic sites can be temples, whole cities, pyramids, castles, churches or any other kind of buildings.
TOURIST CROWDS and WEATHER:
Expect tourist crowds year-round with the busiest months being November to April. This is also the dry season with the most sunny and warm days. LOW SEASON with less crowds is in May / June and September / October. Rainy season with more heat, and humidity is from May to October. A great mix of good weather and lesser tourists is May. It’s already getting hotter, more humid and rainy but less than in September/October, when most rain and humidity occurs. Typically only 1-3 hours of rain each day. Although it’s low season, on 22nd or 23rd Sept the place is heavily crowded due to Fall Equinox.
TIME OF DAY TIP TO BEAT THE CROWDS:
Stay overnight and visit the next morning when the park opens at 8 AM. You’ll experience significantly less crowds before the tourist busses arrive around 10 AM and annoying vendors aren’t ready yet. It’s also the best time to avoid the heat. Alternative (secret tip): The park closes at 4 PM but reopens from 5 - 6 PM. Often you have the place almost for yourself within that 1 hour window.
The inside looks best with sunlight. It's the most popular place in Barcelona with 3 Million visitors each year. Thus it's crowded most of the times. The waiting lines are long. Most of the times it takes 1-2 hours until you get to the gates. Different ways to avoid the crowds are going at different times and buying the ticket online:
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
1) Go mid-week, avoid weekends if possible. Combine it with being there early in the morning right before 9 AM. It's not unusual that early visitors wait a couple of minutes only till they get in. If you visit outside peak season and go mid-week, you could also try the late afternoon when the light is even more perfect. In general, it's a little less busy in low season from October/November until March.
2) Buy online tickets in advance. With your ticket and an ID you skip the waiting lines and go directly to the meeting point (not the entrance gates). Then a tour guide will walk you past the queues.
Machu Picchu is open year-round, every day from 6 AM to 5 PM. Find our detailed season overview below. Including the best tips on how to avoid the crowds:
June – August (high season): Best weather but peak tourist time. Very crowded.
April/May & September/October (shoulder seasons): Still pleasant climate with slightly fewer tourists. October is a great month as you can already spot some amazing blooming orchids. However, many of them can only be seen in the rainy season.
November – March (rainy season): With heavy rain in February. Each February the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance. The wet season is not recommended for a visit. However, there are fewer tourists, and many fascinating orchids are blooming.
Rules and Time of Day
The place has over 1.2 million visitors each year and gets heavily crowded each day. Starting July 1, 2017, the government issued new rules to control the crowds. However, if you do the math you'll find out, that now, even more visitors can enter. That's why we still suggest, to get there early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
The New Machu Picchu Rules:
- Entrance time #1: 6 am - 12 pm
- Entrance time #2: 12 pm - 5:30 pm (entrance closes 4:30 pm)
- Ticket cost about 47 USD
- You have to choose one of the two entrance tickets.
- You are not allowed to re-enter the site on the same day.
- You can only enter with an official guide. That means you either book a guided tour (see below) or you get a guide in front of the site. However, as of September 2017 they still let you in with a valid ticket regardless of a guide.
- There are additional rules like it's not allowed to enter with food/drinks, as well as large backpacks. Again, at the moment they do not seem to check these rules as people still enter with food.
It will be crowded during the day. We strongly suggest one of these 2 options:
Early: Get here first thing in the morning by staying the night before in Aguas Calientes and taking the earliest bus at the bus depot to arrive at 6 AM at Machu Picchu. You have to buy a morning ticket for this (at the moment it's still fine without a guide / Sept. 2017. Or you can get a guide in front of the site). Buy a morning ticket in advance: Machu Picchu Morning Ticket
Late: Get there in the afternoon when many groups have already left, and you get the chance to enjoy the place again. The last bus leaves at 5:30 PM. Enter about 4:00 pm (last entrance at 4:30 pm). You have to buy an afternoon ticket for this: Machu Picchu Afternoon Ticket
Alternative to taking the bus: Hike from Aguas Calientes to Macchu Picchu and/or back (UPDATE: We need to check if this hike is still allowed without a guide after the new rules are in place). It takes about 90 minutes, and it’s very strenuous. The walk back is easier and excellent option. By walking back, you can enjoy the place in the late afternoon with fewer tourists and then just take a relaxed hike back after 5 PM. Again, you'd have to buy the afternoon ticket for this.
Victoria Day - Labour Day, Monday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mid-week most ideal, though in colder temps (which happen often in Canada) keeps tourists from coming out in large numbers to view the sites.
Spring or Fall presents the best weather for exploring the park, descending into the underground Ceremonial Kiva's and hiking the trails.
A must visit place , preferably in winter. Summer gets boiling hot and would tire one out soon, especially with the long walks required to properly explore this place. Also, avoid weekends if possible.