Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can just rock up to Machu Picchu and hope to ‘get in’, you can’t! The local government has imposed quotas on numbers of people allowed to enter, and they’re strict.
Thankfully, if you follow these steps, you will be ensured a ticket to enjoy one of the world’s most sought after experiences. Nice and easy, right…
… not quite!
The whole system of booking your tickets can be a bamboozling experience (even for those adept at jumping through the hurdles on the Ryan Air payment page).
There is a multitude of steps, pages and time limits that you MUST adhere to in order to ensure you’ve bagged yourself entry to Machu Picchu during your trip.
Take a look at my step by step guide into navigating the ticket booking process:
1.) Start the booking process on the official government Website
First things first, get yourself over to the government’s booking page where the ‘fun’ will begin. The website can sometimes take a while to upload and it doesn’t always load in a timely manner. The website itself does looks a little ‘vintage’, almost as if it’s appeared right from 1999 but, don’t fret it is the official site (http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/).
The website is translatable into English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian – though, the English translation still has lots of Spanish on the booking forms, so have Google Translate ready to help you out if you don’t speak Spanish.
2.) Choose the route and time you want to visit
Once on the government website, go to the ‘book online’ section on the top left hand side of the website and choose the route you want. You have the options of:
Machu Picchu: Simply, this ticket offers you access to the Machu Picchu itself.
Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu: With this ticket option, you can either choose to be a part of the first (07:00am) or second (10:00am) entry group. Each of the tickets includes access to Machu Picchu itself alongside the option of climbing Huayna Picchu that is the tall mountain right behind Machu Picchu in the picture below.
Machu Picchu & Montaña: With this ticket option, you can either choose the (08:00am) or second (10:00am) entry group. Each of the tickets includes access to Machu Picchu and the option of hiking up Montaña. This is the main peak directly opposite Huayna Picchu.
Machu Picchu & Museo: Simply, access to Machu Picchu and the museum.
3.) Check availability and enter your information, CAREFULLY!
After you checked for availability, you will reach ‘step 1’ where you’ll be required to enter the amount of tickets you need to purchase. The most you can seem to buy in any one transaction is 5. So be prepared for another member of your party to follow the same process if there’s a large group of you.
After completing the information, click on the ‘step 2’ tab, this will then prompt you to enter the passport details for each person that you’re purchasing tickets for. Top tip: Remember to double check the details and assure that you enter the information for the passport you’ll be travelling on. Once this is done, click on ‘step 3’.
This section of the form asks for your full address and for you to accept the terms and conditions for visiting Machu Picchu… mainly that you promise to protect the environment, not get naked… etc. After you’ve completed this step you will receive a confirmation code that is valid for 24 hours. Take a note of the code before closing the page.
Remember: This is NOT your ticket!
4.) Pay for your ticket!
Open a new window of the government’s website and press on the ‘payments’ tab on the main page. This will take you to a page to enter your confirmation code that you’ve just been issued. After entering the code, the page will load a billing page to enter your Visa card details. You will need to present this card when you enter Machu Picchu, so make sure it is one that won’t expire before you go!
The billing address form doesn’t translate properly so if your Spanish is as bad as mine then continue to use Google Translate.
5.) Check in!
This is important, you won’t gain access without doing this step, so don’t forget it! After payment has been confirmed (usually in a few seconds but, up to 1 hour) you then need to proceed to the check in tab. Yes, you sill haven’t managed to obtain your ticket!
Once you press check in, the website will ask you to enter your confirmation code that you obtained during step 3 (above). After entering your code, a page will appear displaying all of your tickets. Press to download, save as PDF and/or print… whatever you do, just make sure you don’t lose those tickets.
6.) Once you’re there
Once you arrive, present your printed out tickets, along with the passport and card you used to purchase your tickets. Enjoy!
The above steps will ensure you buy the correct ticket for your visit to Machu Picchu without having to pay a premium through an agency or tour operator (these do the same job as the steps above… unless you book a bespoke tour).