Changes for Machu Picchu amid COVID-19: After being closed since March 15, 2020, the Machu Picchu Sanctuary has reopened for tourism as of November 1, 2020 with local authorities implementing a new set of rules to protect against the spread of COVID-19. The updated health prevention measures provided by Peru’s Minister of Culture are detailed in the following Machu Picchu Covid-19 Protocol PDF. Please contact us for further details and updates on booking Peru travel during coronavirus.

Peru’s Minister of Culture issued new rules governing all visits to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, and we’ve compiled this recap to let you know what’s new. The rules went into effect July 1, 2017, but have since been updated, which is reflected in this post. Since all of AdventureSmith’s Peru tours, including our popular Machu Picchu Explorer, are guided, these changes are fairly seamless for our travelers.

Chart explaining the new rules of Machu Picchu with the entry time table and alternate hikes information

In a nutshell, the biggest changes of note are:

  • Visits will now be more strictly timed (at four hours in maximum duration).
  • No re-entry will be allowed without securing a second permit.
  • Visitors must enter with a guide on their first visit.
  • 10 different staggered starts to spread out visitors throughout the day
  • Specifically timed starts for each hiking option

While our Machu Picchu trips take the worry of logistics out of our travelers’ minds, these new rules are good to know if you are planning additional days at Machu Picchu.

While our Machu Picchu Peru trips take the worry of logistics out of our travelers’ minds, these new rules are good to know if you are planning additional days at Machu Picchu. But as always, our travel experts are here to assist so that you don’t have to worry about the rules and can just enjoy as much time as you wish within this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Map of Machu Picchu with 3 different walking circuit routes and points of interest

A guided tour of the ruins lasts 2.5 to 3 hours, and there are three walking circuits.

Most of our tours take advantage of two half-day visits versus one full-day visit, and these half-day visits never have exceeded four hours, so these changes will not affect most of our travelers. On average, a guided tour of the ruins lasts 2.5 to 3 hours. There are three main circuits, or routes, to visit the sanctuary, and most of our trips take advantage of Circuit 1, the most comprehensive circuit of the site. Each visit always depends upon your group’s individual wishes and abilities, so circuits with less walking or elevation gain can be arranged. Separate permitted hikes to Huayna Picchu (a 2-hour permit) and Machu Picchu Mountain (a 3-hour permit) allow visitors access to these hikes, apart from the guided tours; our guests without a guide for these hikes will simply need evidence that their first tour was with a guide. Again, our tours arrange all of this for you and adjust as needed to the rules. Learn more about hiking options in our Machu Picchu Hiking Options Explained blog post.

Information for each of the three circuit walks at Machu Picchu

And as a friendly reminder, a few dos & don’ts while visiting Machu Picchu:

Machu Picchus dos and donts diagram showing icons of backpack, high heels, sneakers

This post on the new rules of Machu Picchu is among AdventureSmith Explorations’ extensive collection of travel guides. Find more on the AdventureSmith Travel Blog or discover more about our Machu Picchu Peru tours. This information was originally published in July 2017, when the new rules became effective on July 1, 2017. Our team of experts have since updated the content to reflect any changes and new graphics; our most recent update occurred October 2020 to reflect changes amid COVID-19.