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Booking Machu Picchu Entry in Advance Versus Last Minute

May 3, 2024
Booking Machu Picchu Entry in Advance Versus Last Minute - 69explorer

Machu Picchu is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Thousands of tourists from all over the world make the trip every year. When planning your trip to Machu Picchu it’s important to understand the differences between booking Machu Picchu entry in advance versus last minute.

Machu Picchu Ticket Availability

The availability of Machu Picchu entry tickets largely depends on the time of year. Generally speaking, tickets in the dry season (May to September) sell out almost immediately where as in the rainy season it takes much longer. The number of tickets available for each ticket type greatly effects your chances.

Daily Tickets General Admission

Total Tickets for General Admission 3,450

Daily Inca trail tickets

***PLEASE NOTE: For the classic Inca Trail staff including porters, cooks, and guides take up about 60% 300 out of the 500 tickets. On the short Inca Trail there are only guides which take up around 10% 50 of the tickets 250 tickets.

Aguas Calientes Tickets (Machu Picchu Pueblo)

Booking in Advance

Planning your trip well and purchasing your Machu Picchu ticket in advance is the only way to guarantee your entry into Machu Picchu. Depending on the time of year tickets can sell out within weeks of being released. Tickets go on sale for the following year in December. For example, tickets for 2025 will go on sale in December 2024. It’s particularly important to book in advance if you want to go during the dry season.

***PLEASE NOTE: Tickets go on sale for in December for the following year

Dry Season

The dry season in the Cusco region and Machu Picchu is in the Peruvian winter, it starts in May and goes until October. During this time, the region has the best weather with almost no rain and the clearest views of Machu Picchu. You’ll be almost guaranteed a perfect picture of Machu Picchu. Because of the nice weather, everyone wants to visit during this time making it a very busy and crowded time.

Nearly all attractions will have lines many hotels will be fully booked and Machu Pichu Is guaranteed to sell out every single day, it’s just a matter of time! If you are planning to visit during the dry season book your ticket 4 – 6 months in advance in order to guarantee your entry!

***PLEASE NOTE: The busiest time of the year is in June, July, and August you will not be able to buy tickets last minute during these months! Purchase your tickets at least 4 – 6 months in advance

Rainy Season

As the season name suggests during this time of year there’s a lot of rain nearly every single day. The rainy season is in the Summer and ranges from November to April. January, February, and March are particularly raining making delays and road closures due to landslides a common thing. The rainy weather, possibilities of delays, and the holidays make for a lot less tourists. The least busy time of the rainy season starts in December around the holidays and continues until mid-march. There’s virtually no foreign tourism during these months with most of the visitors coming from various different regions of Peru.

You might feel like you have attractions all to yourself during the rainy season. Lines will be limited accommodations largely available and Machu Picchu may not sell out until a couple days before. If you’re visiting during the rainy season, it’s still recommended to book in advance anywhere from 2- 4 months before just to be safe.

***PLEASE NOTE: The Inca Trail is closed for maintenance the entire month of February

Booking With a Tour Operator

Booking with a tour operator is a simple and stress-free way to go. Tour companies have access to all the ticket calendars and have extensive knowledge about the entire process. If want to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu you will need to book with a registered tour company that has a Cusco business address.

Tour Operator Pros

If you’re interested in taking a guided tour have a look at our Best rated tour operators.

Buying Last Minute

It goes without saying that the longer you wait to purchase an entry ticket to Machu Picchu the lower your chances are of actually getting one. Depending on the time of year it can be absolutely impossible to arrive in Cusco and buy a ticket or can be completely reasonable.

During the dry season tickets can sell out in minutes. For example, there can be a dozen tickets left online, maybe you’re not sure exactly what day to chose and take 30 minutes to decide. By the time you go back to purchase to your ticket, to your dismay, all the tickets have sold out! Scenarios like this happen all to often which is why purchasing in advance is highly recommended.

Aguas Calientes Tickets (Machu Picchu Pueblo)

If there is no availability for your desired date you can always roll the dice and try to buy a ticket in person at Aguas Calientes. There are 1000 tickets for sale everyday but, they are only valid for the following day. Tickets are sold in the afternoon from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM at night. The ticket is only eligible for the one-hour time frame it was purchased for. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed entry!

Trying to get a ticket once you arrived to Aguas Calientes is very risky. If you are one of the first people in line you have a good to great chance of getting a ticket. However, even if you do get a ticket, you will still need to hire a tour guide in order to enter Machu Picchu. It can be hard to find a knowledgeable guide for a reasonable price. For these reasons this is the riskiest route to take. It’s much safer, and highly recommended, to go through a reputable registered tour operator who will take care of everything for you allowing you to relax and plan the next part of your trip.