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.
Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most visited attraction in Peru. It was built by the Incas around 1450. Those ruins are remarkable and truly magical.
Tours and More Tips: Machu Picchu Tours, Tickets & Guides