Tickets, permits, vaccinations and visas for Machu Picchu and PeruSee all Machu Picchu tours
Tickets, permits, vaccinations and visas for Machu Picchu and Peru
To access Machu Picchu, travellers can trek along alternative routes without a permit, or via bus or train. For travellers who have their heart set on trekking the Inca Trail, there are restrictions that should be taken into consideration. By now, you’d probably be aware that Machu Picchu is an incredibly desirable destination, which comes at a cost to the number of permits that are allocated. In order to complete the once-in-a-lifetime experience of a trek along the Inca Trail, you will need a permit to do so. This is a mandatory requirement imposed by the Peruvian Government since 2001.
Inca Trail permits
Due to the cultural significance of the Inca Trail and its overwhelming popularity, only 500 permits are issued per day – which includes permits for visitors, guides, porters, and chefs – in order to preserve the trails and to limit the negative impact on the environment. In January, all permits are released for the year and are sold on a first come first served basis. Once you’ve purchased a permit you cannot refund it, nor can you change the date.
The second part of the scheme is that each tourist is to be accompanied by a registered guide, which means you will need to purchase your permit through an authorised tour operator. Even if you do book a tour through a reputable operator, there is no guarantee that they will actually be able to confirm your spot on the Inca Trail for your selected dates. To guarantee your spot on the trail, it is recommended that you should start planning your travels to Machu Picchu at least six months in advance.
Alternative Machu Picchu trail permits
For the Lares Trek, Salkantay Trek, and the Choquequirao Trek (including the Vilcabamba Trek extension) there are no permit limitations for the number of people on the trail. If you’re an experienced trekker, the Salkantay Trek can even be accessed without a tour group or local guide.
Visa requirements & vaccinations for Peru
- Visa requirements
Most countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA and the UK do not require any permits to enter Peru, and travellers can stay for up to 90 days without a visa. You will need to make sure you have at least six months left before your passport expires, and at least two available pages for your arrival in Peru. Visa entry requirements are always subject to change, so it is best to check with your embassy before you travel.
There are no compulsory vaccinations needed in order to visit Peru. However, it is recommended by the World Health Organisation that travellers receive a yellow fever vaccination (depending on your itinerary), hepatitis A and B, rabies and typhoid. Before you travel, make sure you consult a health professional to ensure you have the latest vaccinations and are in good health.
Machu Picchu weather
How to climb Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley
How do I prepare for Machu Picchu?
The best way to prepare for a trek to Machu Picchu is to participate in plenty of cardiovascular activity. Activities such as swimming, cycling, or long-distance running will place you in a strong position to complete the trek with ease. Remember; a happy heart makes for a happy hiker. Learn more.
When should I climb Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu can be climbed year-round, but travellers should be aware that the Inca Trail is closed in February every year for necessary maintenance. The most popular time to hike the Inca Trail, for example, is June-August and is known to be quite crowded. Learn more.
What permits do I need?
Only 500 permits are allocated per day for the Inca Trail due to the overwhelming popularity of the route and must be booked in advance. Other trails and routes in the area do not need a permit. Learn more.
Do I need a guide to climb?
From 2001, it is a compulsory requirement that travellers on the Inca Trail, in particular, must travel with a registered guide. Many of the alternative trails, however, do not require a guide, and you are able to hike as you wish unassisted. Learn more.
How do I get to Machu Picchu?
The best way for travellers to reach Machu Picchu is to fly into Cusco, Peru. Spending a few days in Cusco prior to embarking on a trek to Machu Picchu will help travellers acclimate, and reduce the impacts of altitude sickness. Learn more.
What should I pack and what equipment do I need?
Walking poles, hiking boots, waterproof clothing and plenty of layers are just a few of the essentials that you will need for your hiking adventure. As for tents and cooking equipment, be sure to check with your tour operator as this may be provided for you. Learn more.
Machu Picchu routes
- Inca Trail. Distance: 45 km, average duration: 4-5 days
- The Lares Trek. Distance: 33-45 km, average duration: 4 days
- The Salkantay Trek. Distance: 55 km, average duration: 5 days
- The Choquequirao Trek. Distance: 65 km, average duration: 8-10 days
- The Vilcabamba Trek. Distance: 62 km, average duration: 5 days
- The Huchuy Qosqo Trek. Distance: 20 km, average duration: 3 days
- The Quarry Trail. Distance: 26 km, average duration: 4 days