Message for U.S. Citizens – Restricted Machu Picchu tickets

by Captain Bill

The historic site of Machu Picchu has a daily visitor limit of 2500 guests.  This limit is now being strictly enforced.  It is also the high season for tourism at Machu Picchu and recently tourists have been having difficulty obtaining tickets on the day they had planned to visit the site, resulting in substantial additional expenses.

The U.S. Embassy would like to remind all U.S. citizens planning a trip to Machu Picchu that the government of Peru recommends purchasing tickets in advance to avoid possible disappointment if the maximum has been reached for the day of an intended visit.  The website of iPeru, Peru’s tourist information and assistance agency, has detailed information on how to obtain tickets.  It is possible to reserve and pay online, although the website may be slow to load.  The English language website address is .

For those U.S. citizens already in Peru who have been unable to secure tickets, a limited number of extra tickets are being sold at the Direcion Regional de Cultura (DRC) office in Aguas Calientes over the next few weeks

Message for U.S. Citizens – restricted Machu Picchu tickets

Bill Grimes, United States Embassy in Peru, American Citizens Services Department Warden Of Iquitos.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Don Dean August 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I just arrived in Cuzco (Wednesday 3. August) – the place is packed, and tickets have been controlled for several years. Just don’t show up and expect to get to MP unless you have time. I was told the earliest opportunity was Sunday the 7th. All flights from Lima to Cuzco were delayed today, mine by 5 hours, and there were oodles of full, outgoing flights. Everyone seems to go to Cuzco for the “big one.” There are tons of other unusual and historic finds there, like Pichingoto (spelling?), a small village that lives in the cliffs with the birds, salt mines – shame that people miss so much.

2 Captain Bill August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Hi Don, Thanks for your boots on the ground report. Marmelita and I plan to go to Cusco, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley and the pink salt mines among other destinations in December. That is not the high season but we will get our tickets in advance anyway.

3 Kristian Flindt Hawker August 13, 2011 at 1:06 am

Hello Bill.

My name is kristian hawker I am 28 from the sunshine coast Australia I have been looking into coming to Peru and mainly iquitos for it’s sheer beauty I am saving every cent I have and would hope to be there in early march. From reading your posts and the lovely things people say about you I would vert much like to meet you. I hope to stay in Iquitos for around 1-2 months with some time spent deeper out, I have never thought this way before but something has called me.
Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you.

4 Captain Bill August 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

Hello Kristian, Thank you for your kind words and for your enthusiasm. With a good attitude like yours, I feel sure you will love it in Iquitos. I hope we have the opportunity to meet in person. Let’s stay in touch.
Warmest regards,

5 Danny August 20, 2011 at 6:06 am

@ Bill: I am Highly interested to visit Machu Picchu. Can you please mail me the procedure ?

6 Captain Bill August 20, 2011 at 8:49 am

Hi Danny, the last time I was at Machu Picchu was over 10 years ago so it’s beyond my expertise. I’m thinking of going there again this December. If so, I will know more then.

7 Cristina August 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm

I went to Machu Picchu in February 2011. We ordered our ticket a few days in advance, and when we spent our second day in Machu Picchu, we purchased the tickets the morning of (granted, it was about 5 am).

Aguas Calientes has a little town square, and there’s an official tourism office where you go to purchase your tickets to the park. You have to show your passport to buy the ticket. Most hotels will take care of this for you upon your arrival to the hotel. I arrived in the morning to Aguas Caliente, where we dropped off our luggage with a porter and then proceeded up the mountain to the park. Since our tickets had been purchased in advance we didn’t have to go to the tourist office to purchase the tickets. We came back to the hotel and did an official check-in where they offered to purchase our tickets for the next day, but I was being obstinate and didn’t give them the info they required to purchase the tickets for me. This is why I ran out to the tourist office at 5 am to get the tickets the next morning. I was turned down at the office because I didn’t have my passport. When I returned empty handed someone at the hotel offered to do the transaction for me so long as I provided them with a copy of my passport. They were able to get the tickets for me, and there was no surcharge, although I did tip for them running around for me.

I know there’s a big difference between the high season and low season, but in my opinion, Machu Picchu is prettier when it’s rainy season because everything is green. So far I’ve been in February, March, and December.

8 Captain Bill August 30, 2011 at 8:24 am

Thanks for sharing your valuable information Cristina. That is very nice of you to help other travelers. That fits right in with what we are trying to do.
Best regards,

9 Connie April 6, 2012 at 9:24 am

My friend and I plan to visit Machu Pichu in July….should we be buying our ticket from your suggested (above on the webpage) link before we leave the US. What can we expect for weather and crowds in July 2012. We are in our 60’s and although very fit do not plan to do any of the jaunts that require tremendous walking…as I see on the sites and from one of my previously visiting friends I want to be ther a day or so before to become acclimated to the heights.
Thanks for any info. I would think contacting the American Embassy office would be much more correct than going to general .com sites.

10 Captain Bill April 7, 2012 at 10:10 am

Hello Connie, That is not just a general .com site. It is the Peru government ministry of tourism site with the most up to date information available. I do recommend contacting the embassy to check in but their function will be to inform you if a particular destination is safe for U.S. citizens. They will not provide advise on the best way to get to a destination. Weather is variable but the odds are the weather will be nice in July with lots of tourists. Cusco and Machu Picchu are amazing places that I hope you get to experience. Good luck on your travels.

11 Alicja April 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Hello Bill
Not sure if anyone has some advice in regards to our situation.
Just an additional information about buying tickets to Machu Picchu in advance.
Our trip is planned in 3 weeks. We are trying to buy tickets on the official goverment Web site for 2-3 weeks already. The Web site requires to purchase tickets using Visa. It has to be a credit card “Verified by Visa”
I have four differnt Visa at home and none of them is working. We called Peru and they said this is a USA Visa problem. Other contries can buy tickets. We spend hours on the phone with our Banks, Visa –everything is fine with Visa, but governemt Web site is not accepting our transaction. So purchasing tickets using the goverment Web site is not easy. Not sure if any of your readers had any luck in recent months. Alicja

12 Captain Bill April 21, 2012 at 9:27 am

Hello Alicja, sorry you are having such problems. This is the first I have heard of it but I will check and see if it is a continuing problem. We are processing U.S. Visa cards for our cruises with no problem.??????
Best of luck,

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