So you've made the decision to visit this incredible place ('cause why wouldn't you?!). Now begins the exciting but gruelling process of trip planning. Hopefully you've read our all-encompassing how-to guide to seeing Machu Picchu on the cheap and our tips on flying South America affordably, which is practically all the info you need for booking this trip yourself.
Now, one of the lesser but essential costs of visiting Machu Picchu is purchasing entrance tickets to the ruins. This must be done before arrival at the site, as tickets are not sold at Machu Picchu itself. There are several ways to purchase your tickets. Here's the 2020 prices and your options for buying!
NOTE: Check the fine print on most major credit cards, and you'll see they charge a transaction fee of up to 3% on foreign transactions. After buying your tickets, airfare, accommodation, and other expenses, these fees will add up quickly. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is our top choice of no foreign transaction fee cards, offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points (worth $750) when you spend $4,000 on everyday purchases in the first 3 months. Be sure to read our full guide on the best credit and debit cards to use overseas here.
Machu Picchu ticket prices for 2020
Machu Picchu Main Grounds
Adult (18+ years): $45 USD (152 Soles)
Undergraduate students* (up to 25 years): $23 USD (77 Soles)
Child (<18 years)*: $21 USD (70 Soles)
GetYourGuide Instant Booking Price: $65 USD
This provides entry to Machu Picchu – that is, the main ruins, terraces, and temples that you see in typical photos (pictured above, left). It does not provide entry to climb either of the mountain peaks including Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu.
Machu Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountain
Adult: $62 USD (200 Soles)
Student*: $38 USD (125 Soles)
Child (8-17 years)*: $35 USD (118 Soles)
GetYourGuide Instant Booking Price: $80 USD
This provides entry to climb the taller mountain, Montaña Machu Picchu, which is 10,111ft/3,082m and provides a raised view of the ruins (pictured above, middle). This mountain is generally less busy, but has no ruins and is a longer climb. You must choose between 2 time slots to climb, either 7-8AM or 9-10AM. Only 400 tickets are sold to each time slot per day.
Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu (Waynapicchu)
Adult: $62 USD (200 Soles)
Student*: $38 USD (125 Soles)
Child (8-17 years)*: $35 USD (118 Soles)
Viator Instant Booking Price: $94 USD (the lower price initially displayed is for local residents only)
This provides entry to the shorter, busier mountain peak, Huayna Picchu (8,923ft/2,720m). Here you'll have sweeping views (pictured above, right) and entry to the Temple of the Sun and ruins at the top. You must choose between 2 time slots to climb, 7-8AM or 10-11AM. Only 200 tickets are sold to each time slot per day.
*Note: Children require a passport in-person for proof of age, including on arrival at Machu Picchu. As per the Ministry website, foreign undergraduate students must have a valid student ID card issued by the university that is valid within a year of the date of visit.
How to buy Machu Picchu tickets online
While you can buy Machu Picchu entrance tickets in-person in Cusco, Aguas Calientes, or any major city with a Banco de Nacíon, it's strongly advised to purchase ahead in the high season (June to September), as tickets can sell out. If your itinerary is tight or you're travelling in the busy season, it's wise to book ahead. To do that, here's how to buy your entrance tickets online in advance!
NOTE: While purchasing tickets yourself is the cheapest approach, a hassle-free (albeit pricier) alternative is to buy from a reseller such as GetYourGuide. This provides instant confirmation on booking, no check-in required. You can also consider an affordable guided tour from Aguas Calientes, which includes your bus and entrance ticket.
1. Go to the Ministry of Culture website
Be patient as the website may take time to load. The site should display in English, as indicated by the “EN” on the top left (note: if it shows “ES”, click this and change to “EN”). Once loaded, the homepage will look like this:
2. Select your ticket type & visit dates
Click “visit date” and select the number and type of tickets you want. Adults are 18+ years, school children are <18 years, and foreign (non-Peruvian) university students include those with an original, valid university-issued ID and passport who are up to age 25 years. Student tickets can be bought online through an authorized travel agency or at the reservation office in Cuzco with a valid student ID and passport.
3. Choose which sites & times you want to visit
Here you'll notice that you can scroll and choose from several options. At this point you need to decide whether you want to visit the Machu Picchu main grounds only, or if you want to also visit Huayna (Wayna) Picchu and/or Machu Picchu Mountain (Montaña Machu Picchu), and/or the Museo Manuel Chávez Ballon. We've provided some quick information on each of these below.
Huayna Picchu (Waynapicchu) & Machu Picchu Mountain
These are two steep mountains at Machu Picchu which can be climbed for higher views. Huayna Picchu has additional ruins at the peak. Both mountains have limited entry with time slots hence must be bought beforehand.
Huayna Picchu has a maximum of 400 people per day, with entry at either 7-8AM or 10-11AM. Montaña Machu Picchu has a maximum of 800 people per day, with entry at 7-8AM and 9-10AM. Huayna Picchu is the taller mountain (8,923ft/2,720m) and is busier, but it has wider views and ruins along the way to the top. Machu Picchu Mountain is shorter (7,874ft/2,400m), slightly cheaper, and less busy, but has no ruins.
Museo Manuel Chávez Ballon
The Museo Manuel Chávez Ballon a.k.a Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballon is a tiny but informative museum with artefacts and good translations. The museum is located near Aguas Calientes (not at Machu Picchu itself), and is an easy stop en route to hiking the Machu Picchu entrance from Aguas Calientes.
4. Enter your information
Now you must enter your information exactly as it appears on your passport and click next. You must then click the box “confirm visitor's information is right”, then scroll down and check the box to agree to the terms and conditions.
Next you must fill out the remaining information – be sure to put in an e-mail address you use as this is where your receipt will be sent. Choose your payment method and hit continue. Then finish completing your payment details. Remember, if you aren't using a no foreign transaction fee card, you might be paying up to 3% in extra fees, so it's best to sign up for a card ahead of time, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
5. Check-in to obtain your tickets
Once your purchase is complete (or you've at least put in your e-mail address), you'll receive an e-mail with your tickets which includes a reservation number (see photo below).
Click on the “check in” button on the homepage and enter your reservation number there. From there you can save and print your tickets, or complete payment if you haven't already. Don't forget to save and print your tickets for safe keeping. It doesn't hurt to save them to a USB for back-up in case of Wifi issues.
And that's it! If you want, you can also purchase your Machu Picchu ticket in-person. You may wish to do this if you're unsure of your dates and/or are arriving in the low season. Here's how to do that!
How to buy Machu Picchu tickets in Cusco
In Cusco, tickets can be bought at the Ministerio de Cultura which is open Mon-Sat, 7AM-8PM. The address is Casa Garcilaso on Calle Garcilaso, just before the Plaza Regocijo and near the Museo de Chocolate (see photo below – look for the unit with the glass doors). You must bring your passport and either a credit card or cash to purchase.
How to buy Machu Picchu tickets in Aguas Calientes
In Aguas Calientes, tickets can be bought at the Machu Picchu Cultural Centre (Direccion Regional de Cultura Aguas Calientes Office). The address is Av. Pachacutec (just off the main square), and hours are Mon-Sun, 5AM-10PM. You must bring your passport and cash to purchase (note: the latest information says only cash is accepted here). The ATMs in Aguas Calientes charge higher fees, so try to withdraw extra cash beforehand if you're able.
How to buy Machu Picchu tickets in Lima (or any city in Peru)
You can follow our instructions for reserving online, then make a payment in person at any Banco de la Nacíon in Peru with your reservation printed out. You will need to speak a bit of Spanish to explain what you want to do. If you are not conversational in Spanish, it's recommended to buy online or in-person at Aguas Calientes or Cusco.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How many Machu Picchu tickets are there per day?
A. 2,500 visitors are allowed into the site each day.
Q. Should I book my tickets in advance?
A. That depends and there is of course risk to not buying ahead of time. If booking in person, you always run the risk of tickets being sold out, though this tends to only happen in the high season (June to September).
Q. What happens if I need to cancel my ticket?
A. You should contact the Ministry of Culture regarding any changes to your ticket. You may call via the phone number listed on their site – 51 84 58 2030. You can also e-mail to: [email protected]Thrifty Nomads has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Thrifty Nomads and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.