Introduction

Shrouded by mist and surrounded by lush vegetation and steep escarpments, the sprawling Inca citadel of Machu Picchu lives up to every expectation. In a spectacular location, it’s the most famous archaeological site on the continent, a must for all visitors to Peru. Like the Mona Lisa or the pyramids, it has been seared into our collective consciousness, though nothing can diminish the thrill of being here. This awe-inspiring ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century.

In the most controversial move in Machu Picchu since Hiram Bingham's explorations, the Peruvian authorities changed entries from daily visits to morning and afternoon turns in 2018. Visitors must plan more carefully than ever to seize the experience. Though an expanded limit of 5940 people are now allowed in the complex (including the Inca Trail) daily, demand remains insatiable.

Top Tips

Entrance tickets for Machu Picchu often sell out: buy them in advance online or in Cuzco. If you have problems purchasing tickets online, see the authorized ticket agents (such as Peru Rail) listed on the Machu Picchu website or visit DIRCETUR in Cuzco.