How to book Machu Picchu tickets online and How I almost screwed the whole thing up

Part I: Getting There
Part II: Cuzco to Machu Picchu
Part III: Approaching Machu Picchu via Train
Part IV: How to Buy Tickets for Machu Picchu and How I Almost Screwed It All Up
Part V: Machu Picchu in Pictures
Part VI: Wrapping up the trip in Cuzco

I almost messed it all up.  I had one job, book Machu Picchu tickets online, and I blew it.  How did it happen?  Read on.

 

Buying tickets to Machu Picchu can be very confusing

Machu Picchu used to be easier to enter, but in order to preserve the site the Peruvian government instituted capacity controls in 2011.  Now only 2500 people are allowed to enter each day.  During busy seasons these slots are taken up quickly.

There are a few different categories of tickets:

  • Machu Picchu: Grants you access to the citadel at Machu Picchu (the main site).  $68 at current (January 2015) levels.
  • Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu: Access to Machu Picchu and to the mountain peak that’s in the background of most pictures you see of Machu Picchu.  Limited to 400 per day and in two groups, 200 entering Huayna Picchu between 7-8am and the other 200 between 10-11am.  $78.50
  • Machu Picchu + Montaña: Access to Machu Picchu plus another hike up to the peak of Machu Picchu Mountain (La Montaña).  This peak sits above Machu Picchu behind where most pictures you’ve seen of the citadel, facing Huayna Picchu.  Limited to 400 per day.  $78.50
  • Machu Picchu + Museo: Access to Machu Picchu plus the museum.  $78.50

So, an easy way of putting it is there are 2500 total tickets allowed for Machu Picchu.  Out of those 2500, 400 tickets are available for the Huayna Picchu add-on and 400 are available for the Montaña add-on.  Huayna Picchu tickets tend to go the quickest.

The Government’s Website

This is where I screwed it all up.  The annoying part is there is an English version of the site, but it’s not completely translated.  Although I speak Spanish pretty well, I don’t read it perfectly.  Anyway, there are many steps that must be completed to use the government’s website to purchase tickets.  Make sure your computer is connected to a printer before beginning this process:

Step One

Select the route you’d like to purchase from the above list (this is probably still read as ‘Seleccione la ruta’ on the site, even in the English version).  Then select the date you’d like to go and a calendar will pop up with the availability for those dates.  Select how many tickets you would like to buy, then you’ll click on Step Two

Step Two

This is where it gets a little cantankerous and the site gets a little glitchy.  Fill out the form for each person coming to Machu Picchu (passport numbers will be matched against your original passport at the entry gate so please get this correct!).  That’s really it.  Then you’re supposed to click on Step Three.  Here’s the thing though: Step Three doesn’t always appear.  You may have to try a few times in a few different browsers.  If it’s still not working, or just freezes up with the little clock spinning and spinning, switch to the Spanish version of the site.

Step Three

Fill out the form with your address, accept the T&C (mainly that you won’t undress at the site, which hilariously happens enough that they needed to say that), then click Reserve

***PAY REALLY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THIS NEXT PART***

You will receive a Reservation Code.  WRITE THIS DOWN.  Or copy it, or whatever.  Make some sort of note of it.  YOU ARE NOT DONE YET.  I had thought I was because I didn’t read the instructions correctly.  This reservation code expires in 24 hours, so don’t tempt fate, immediately proceed to the next page.

The next place to click is the Payment tab.

Payment Tab

Enter your reservation code here and enter your card information to pay for the tickets.

YOU’RE STILL NOT DONE

Now you’ll click on the ‘Check-In’ tab.

Check-in Tab

Enter your reservation code again.  Some people have to wait 30 minutes or so for the payment to process.

Once your entry tickets are displayed (in pdf format), PRINT THEM!  They’re not emailed to you.

 

Buying through an agency

This is what we ended up doing.  By the time I realized my critical mistake, the tickets for the standard Machu Picchu “route” were sold out.  We ended up booking the Macchu Picchu + Montana tickets (even though we had no intention of going up the mountain).  When I tried to use the website I was still getting error messages left and right, so I ended up using an agency called ticketmachupicchu.com.  We paid a little extra, but ultimately they emailed us the tickets the day we departed for Mexico City.

We cut it way too close and I didn’t read the instructions.  Don’t be like us!  Follow the directions and you’ll be just fine.

74 Comments

  1. Awesome! Bookmarked for my own trip. Thank you for this because I hate reading instructions and most likely would have failed.

    Reply
  2. I’ve been to Machu Picchu at least 8 or 9 times.
    If you forget or lose your tickets, just go to the office on the left of the main entry with your passport & they will reprint your tickets.

    Reply
    • I bought my tickets online but stupidly closed the window after I’d searched for my reservation code in the check-in section. Do you know if I can get the ‘print ticket’ page up again?
      Thanks!

      Reply
      • Hi Kit, you should be able to, did you write down your reservation code anywhere?

        Reply
        • I followed your steps and put in my credit card information and then closed that tab and went to the “check in” tab. When I put in my reservation number it an error message comes up saying “Reserva Pendente de Pago.” I think its saying I did not pay but my bank says I was charged like 95 dollars. Can you help me?

          Reply
          • That means the reservation was pending payment so hopefully it worked out!

    • Hi. Do you know how and where by a ticket for train to Machu Picchu. And how it work I mean from hotel to Machu Picchu. Thank you

      Reply
    • Hello Jacquie
      I am planning a trip next June 2017. My question is around my plan.
      1. Plan to stay at the Sanctuary Lodge. I know it is expensive, but seems so wonderful.
      2. Day One. Want to take a mid morning train from Ollantaytambo. Mid morning sounds good since we may avoid the rush. Get to MP, have lunch, hire a guide to see the grounds.
      3. Day Two. Take the 10 am Wayna Picchu Hike. Take Train back to Cusco late after noon after lunch at the lodge.
      My question> Do I need to purchase a 2 day ticket to MP. Day one to see the grounds. Day two to get in for the hike?
      Thank you,
      jana

      Reply
      • Yes Jana, you will have to purchase 2 Machu Picchu entries, each one is only good for one day.

        Reply
  3. Thank you so much for taking the time to write out these instructions! Forewarned IS forearmed…I am trying to plan a trip for October 2015 and appreciate all the help I can get.

    Reply
  4. The best way = Go online: http://ticketsmachupicchu.org (You can see the availability of tickets in real time and it works with all web browsers and both desktop and mobile devices) The website is also available in 10 different languages and you can pay with any credit card. Additionally, if you are a student, this website does the ISIC verification card in real time, so you can get an instant student discount! You get an email immediately to print your tickets. And if you loose your ticket or you have problems, they have an office in Cusco. They courier deliver your tickets to your hotel. What more can you ask for?

    The official Peruvian government’s website: http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe requires a flash enabled web browser. Your android and iphone mobile phones won’t work on this website. Additionally you must have a VISA that supports “verified by visa”. If you are a student, you are out of luck. The official website does not offer you this option. And if you loose your tickets, unless you have a printer and access to your ticket reservation, good luck!

    Reply
    • Thank you for your tip regarding http://ticketsmachupicchu.org
      I purchased my Machu Picchu tickets and got my student discount within 1 hour.

      Reply
      • Is ticketsmuchupicchu.org a reliable website? Do these tickets really work at the gate? =)

        Reply
  5. One correction on your numbers, the Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu don’t come out of the 2500 regular entry, so the actual max. number of people that can be in Machu Picchu on any one day is; Regular entry 2,500, Mountain 400, Huayna Picchu 400, Late entry (after 11am) 1,000 and about 200 from the Inka Trail, this means that on any one day it is possible to have 4,500 people at Machu Picchu.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for the information!

      Reply
      • Just noticed that they added another 400 Machu Picchu Mountain so now it is 4,900 a day.

        Reply
  6. Not sure if this is of use to anyone but I have just managed to save the pdf. tickets to my computer, my printer is playing up so this way I can print at a later date.

    From the pdf. I then emailed them to myself in case I lose the printed copy.

    The option to save the pdf. wasn’t visible on the ticket page itself, but can be found if you click on the printer icon and change the print destination.

    Hope this helps

    Reply
  7. Did you include a trip to Lake Titicaca? I am thinking that just booking through a tour company is the best and easiest solution, but since I typically do my own trips and get tours as needed I am fighting against the urge to do so for Machu Picchu, but even the tours are confusing

    Reply
    • Hi Donna, I didn’t.

      Reply
    • Donna, If you want to visit Lake Titicaca on your own it is easy, and if you would like to do a tour, most accommodations there can arrange them or you could easily book one once you get to Puno.

      For a visit to Machu Picchu there are really just a few options if you are not planning to do a trek, with the most common way to get there being by train. Again this is easy to do on your own, but if you are uncertain I would be happy to help you with planning and advice on booking.

      Reply
      • Is it easy to take the vista dome train back to Cusco since there is construction going on? I believe you have to disembark before Poroy Station. How far, accessible, and costly is a cab?
        Thank you

        Reply
        • Hi Trish,

          I’m completely uninformed about this situation with the construction. What I would always recommend is arranging transportation through your hotel from wherever the train drops you back into Cuzco. Back when we were here there was a massive melee of taxi drivers yelling at us and trying to get our business, I was grateful to have our guy already waiting for us to route us through everyone.

          Reply
        • It is not construction, during the rainy season they do not run passenger trains between Poroy and Pachar as there is risk of slides. Even when they do run the trains I would not recommend booking from the Poroy Station as the train options are far too limited and there is no real advantage to taking a train from Poroy. I would recommend booking the train from the Ollantaytambo station and as Andy mentioned, you can ask your accommodation to arrange transport or use one of the many buses or taxis that will be waiting at the station.

          Reply
  8. This is extremely helpful!! I have read that many face problems buying the ticket on the website but fortunately it was smooth sailing when I bought mine, even during payment, it was fast. Thank you for the step-by-step instructions!

    Reply
  9. hello andy sorry for misunderstanding, i have my ticket now. i have received it now.. i got worried because i had order during sunday. i had misunderstood it. its my fault. everything is sorted and i got the ticket from the website you gave. thanks for all the help. kindly delete my previous post .i’ve got my ticket from the website 🙂 thank u so much.

    Reply
    • Hi Mary, glad everything worked out! I deleted your first comment.

      Reply
  10. Cool post 🙂
    Thanks for your tips !!

    Greg

    Reply
  11. Thanks so much! My husband and I just used this as a guide when purchasing out Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu tickets, and I think we would not have known how to finish it otherwise. Going back and clicking on the tabs is what is confusing! But we did it!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your comment Naomi! It really means a lot to me, I’m so glad I could help!

      Reply
  12. You saved my @ss

    Reply
    • Glad to hear!

      Reply
      • I got through the booking but after paying found the date of entry to Machu Picchu was a day earlier on the Check-in page from the date on my reservation. This made me panic but I went ahead and printed the tickets anyway, and the entry date on them is correct. Wonder if anyone else had this issue?

        Reply
  13. Everything you did wrong I also did!!!! I am sitting in the airport to Lima with a reservation code and no tickets!!! UGH your blog post helped me freak out a little less (it was also my ONE job ha!) and book tickets via the agency you recommended. I hope they come through for us!

    Reply
    • Darah, I hope it worked out!

      Reply
  14. So, if you buy a ticket to Huaynapicchu for the 10 am entry, can you get into the main Macchu Picchu site before 10am?

    Reply
    • Cheryl, yes you can

      Reply
      • According to http://ticketsmachupicchu.org tickets for entrance and the hike are $60, but on the official gov’t site they are $152. What am I missing? Would you recommend either the 7am or 10am hike?

        Reply
        • That’s an easy one Cheryl, the price on the gov’t site is in Soles and not USD, so at the current exchange rate of about 3.3 the 152 soles is actually about $46 USD

          Reply
  15. Hi everyone! I went to the governments website to look for tickets for May of 2017. It says that there are 409 available but when I pick a day it says 0.
    If I wanted to buy them from a 3rd party website such as the one named above ticketmachupicchu.org is this reliable?! Will it work at the gate?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • They worked for us

      Reply
      • Thank you!!

        Reply
      • If there is no availability on the official website, then no other site can get you tickets either. The problem you are running into now is that tickets for next year are not yet available, so any ticket service will just do the same thing you could do yourself, wait until around the first of the year when they start to release tickets and get them then.

        Reply
        • Thanks Lyle!! It is still confusing though, because it does says that there are 400 and some tickets available for Machupicchu only but once I pick a day in May of 2017 it turns to 0 availability. Could they all have been sold already?
          Thank you

          Reply
          • The number that you are seeing once you start selecting the month is just a default number and really means nothing (no idea why they cant make it a blank), as in any month there are far more than 400 tickets available, It is not until you select the day that you will actually see how many tickets are available. No the tickets are not sold out, as I mentioned above the government will not post availability for next year until sometime in December, and May may not show availability until January or later. I would just wait and keep checking until you see tickets available.

          • Thanks! That helps a ton

  16. HI, JUST ONE FAST QUESTION
    IS IT SAFE TO PURCHASE TICKETS ON :http://ticketmachupicchu.com/
    I DON T MIND TO PAY EXTRA TO AVOID COMPLICATIONS
    BUT I CAN SEE A LOT OF PPL HAD PROBLEMS WITH GETTING TICKETS ON EMAIL.

    THANK YOU

    Reply
    • Yes

      Reply
      • I would recommend asking your accommodation if they would get them for you before using one of the ticket service, cost should be less and may accommodations will purchase tickets for guests.

        Reply
  17. I just want to verify that purchasing the Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu tickets will indeed give access to the Macchu Picchu main grounds, as described in the first ticket option. As in, does the cost of the Huayna Picchu tickets include everything described in the basic Macchu Picchu tickets.

    Also, we will be arriving at Aguas Calientes around 8:30am. Will that be enough time to get a bus and get there in time for the 10am hike?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Yes, the Machu + Huayna ticket gives access to the Citadel as well.

      Arriving in AC should give you enough time for the 10am Huayna hike but that depends on the line for the bus.

      Reply
  18. Did you pre-purchase your bus ticket from AC to Machu Picchu online or did you purchase it once you arrived in AC?

    Reply
    • Unless your accommodation gets a ticket for you you can purchase them once you arrive.

      Reply
  19. Hi, I’m trying to book MP for January 2 on the gov’t website. The site is not giving me the option to select the number of tickets I want. Is it too early to book on the site? Today is Oct 29. Any suggestions? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi! Availability on the gov’t website is always the most current, but try checking in your browser’s incognito mode to ensure it is not a caching issue from a previous visit. Let me know if it starts to work!

      Reply
    • It is too early, tickets for next year are not likely to be available until December sometime, just keep checking back until it shows availability.

      Reply
  20. if I bought a ticket on line whether it is necessary to have this credit card at the entrance to Machu Picchu, or enough the printed ticket

    Reply
    • You shouldn’t need the credit card as long as you have your passport and printed ticket.

      Reply
      • Thank you very much, then I can use my husband’s VIZA card for paying

        Reply
  21. Andy,
    We purchased our tickets from the site you recommended: http://ticketmachupicchu.com/. They said they will email us a copy of our tickets on December 31st, but also asked where we were staying in Cusco so that they could deliver them to us. Which version will we need at the entrance of Machu Picchu? The printed copy, or their hand delivered copy? Thanks in advance!!

    Reply
    • You should be fine with either but I would definitely reply back and ask them, I just printed of mine and was fine with them.

      Reply
    • Both copies will be the same so it will not matter which one you take with you.

      Reply
  22. Hi Andy,

    My partner and I have booked a train to Machu Picchu in a weeks time, however have not yet purchased our entry tickets as we were planning on buying them directly in Cusco to avoid the hassle of an online transaction.

    Would you recommend this or are tickets likely to sell out in the week running up to our visit?

    We are unable to access the government website as we only have access to mobile sites, however the ticket agencies mentioned on this thread indicate that the vast majority of the tickets for our chosen day are still available to buy. Are these accurate projections of ticket availability or estimates?

    Many thanks,

    Daisy

    Reply
    • Hi Daisy, I would very strongly encourage you to purchase your tickets online.

      Reply
    • I would say that it depends on what you want to do, it is likely too late to get Huayna Picchu tickets as some dates are already sold out, but there are still a lot of regular entry tickets available for next week, so you could likely wait. If you are concerned, try asking your accommodation if they could get them, you will have to be able to send them the money, but often time accommodations will purchase the tickets for you with little to no fee.

      Reply
    • Dear Daisy,
      You can buy the ticket in Cusco, a day before, or in Aguas Calientes. There spaces available, Now it is los season

      Reply
  23. This was extremely helpful! We first were trying to go through the website you ended up using and sharing, and they instantly got back to us stating that there were no available tickets left for the day we wanted when in fact I had been watching it all week and there were 125 as of the morning I was booking. So when that website emailed me back, they suggested the mountain and we didn’t want that one, so I instantly went to the government website, all in Spanish, which I know and can read and got my tickets instantly and followed your excellent directions. The other website got back to me in the meantime and said they had given me the wrong information and that they still had availability, however, I had already gotten them through the government website, and paid LESS. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad it was helpful!

      Reply
  24. Thank you for this! Just used this to book our tickets through the government website. Would not have been able to do it without your instructions. Very much appreciated!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad it was helpful Liz!

      Reply

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