Machu Picchu Official Entrance Ticket
$89 | Rating 4.43 / 5 [23 ratings]
Tour supplied by:
Even if you’ve seen the view in a thousand pictures, you will be blown away: clouds drifting up the lush valley, the newly-risen sun burning them away and drawing the veil from the face of Huayna Picchu mountain and the cascade of ruin-strewn terraces below.
Welcome to one of South America’s most iconic sights: the remarkable Inca citadel that lay undisturbed for centuries, only to come to international attention after a National Geographic expedition in 1911.
This Inca City was lost for centuries in the cloud forest, until it was romantically ‘re-discovered’ by explorer Hiram Bingham (with the help of locals who always knew it was there). Straddling a high mountain ridge, it was famously bult as the Inca’s secret final refuge – but you can’t help thinking they chose the location for the view.
It was abandoned around the time of the Spanish Conquest, and remains relatively intact because it was never discovered by the Conquistadors.
Covering ten hectares of cloud forest mountaintop, its outstanding architecture is made up of elaborate ceremonial centres – including a sun temple – as well as residential areas and agricultural terraces. At the north end is Wayna Picchu, the cone-shaped mountain that stands majestically over the site.
Built in two stages during the 1400s and made using natural raw materials, the site is one of the world’s great examples of architecture that blends into its environment: set on the steep pinnacle of a granite mountain, the vast walls and terraces appear as if they are a continuous part of the rock escarpment.
Want more recommendations in this destination?Destination Guide >
Machu Picchu sits above the riverside village of Aguas Calientes. Arrive the night before and stay overnight to ensure catching the first bus up to the ruins (at 5.30am); for those dawn, crowd-free views.
Many people rely on tour operators to book tickets (train and entrance packages), but it’s also possible to buy tickets independently via the government website.
The most adventurous way to arrive in Machu Picchu is on the Inca Trail: a glorious Inca Road that winds 43km through the misty mountains past a string of spectacularly-located Inca ruins.
The site is open all year round, seven days a week.
People visit Machu Picchu all year, but the peak dry season months (June to August) are best. Going in the shoulder season (April to May, September to October) means fewer crowds. Expect plenty of rain from November to March, so avoid if possible.
When it’s time to visit the site, go early. Magical Machu Picchu is at its best near dawn.
Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity
$89 | Rating 4.43 / 5 [23 ratings]
$169 | Rating 4.77 / 5 [168 ratings]
$279 | Rating 4.80 / 5 [42 ratings]
$308 | Rating 4.4 / 5 [15 ratings]
Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first
Aguas Calientes, Cusco Region, Peru[0.3 miles]
Surrounded by rainforest, close to restaurants and the bus stop to the ruins, this is the best Machu Picchu village hotel for a pre-visit, overnight stop.
Aguas Calientes, Cusco Region, Peru[2.4 miles]
An otherwise average hotel in an unrivalled position next to Machu Picchu, offering guests the exclusive chance to see the citadel at dawn before the crowds.
Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru[70.9 miles]
Good-value, centrally located hotel with modern rooms fitted into the cloisters of the Spanish-colonial market.
Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru[71.1 miles]
A tranquil, family-run guesthouse sits in up-and-coming, arty San Blas neighbourhood, with views of central Cusco at every street corner.
Destination guides including or relevant to this experience
A land of spectacular deserts, high mountains and rainforests that teem with wildlife, Peru is also home to an array of dramatically situated pre-Colombian ruins, including Machu Picchu.
Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first
Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru[0.1 miles]
One of the world’s most spectacular train rides, the journey between Cusco and Machu Picchu via the Sacred Valley combines dramatic landscapes and absolute luxury.
Best for ages: 18+ | £550 | 3 hours
Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru[16.9 miles]
A once-in-a-lifetime, 4- to 5-day hike through the Andes, retracing ancient trails, combines mountain vistas, cloud forest and subtropical jungle. The finale is incredible – the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu, rising from the misty mountains.
Best for ages: 18+ | £377 | 4-5 days
Cusco Region, Peru[46.3 miles]
A spectacular – and relatively tourist-free – mountain walk on an Inca road cutting through wild forest, over high passes to the lost Inca city of Choquequirao.
Best for ages: 18+ | £700 | 4-5 days
Round-ups that include this experience
Throughout human history vast empires have risen and fallen into ruin, their culture and customs lost to the sands of time. Thankfully, some outstanding examples remain. Here’s our round-up of the best.