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New Rules for visiting Machu Picchu, Peru

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New Rules for visiting Machu Picchu, Peru.

We new it was coming.  

In an attempt to limited the impact of daily visitors that number over 5 times more people than every resided in mountain fortress at the height of the Incan civilization. 

The number of daily maximum visitors is being raised to 5,940 people. In establishing the new Machu Picchu visitor numbers the Peruvian government rejected UNESCO’s recommendation of 2,500. Though the new regulations for Machu Picchu will spread visitors out over entire day weather than concentrating visits in early morning hours when light is best for travel photography. The day will be broken into 2 periods 6 AM to noon and noon to 5:30 PM.  The park will be cleared at noon of the  3,267 morning visitors allowing the 2,673 afternoon adventures to take over. It is possible to buy tickets for both sessions.

The new rules will go into effect July 1, 2017 so you still have time to grab a quick flight to Peru for Inti Raymi and a visit to Machu Picchu via the trip from Cusco. If you have already purchased tickets prior to May 2nd these restrictions will not affect you. In addition to the split sessions, guides will now be mandatory and allowed to wrangle a maximum of 16 people.  You can be sure that guide rates will rise steadily from this point on.

Visiting Machu Picchu now is a far cry from when I visited the Incan citadel in June of 1984. We walked into Machu Picchu late in the afternoon via the Inca Trail and the stone ruins were mostly deserted. We had time to visit the Hotel bar before making our way down to Aguas Calientes campground along the Urubamba River.  Early the next morning well before sunrise I set off with two of the porters from tour group to climb the steep trail back to Machu Picchu the in the dark. I had drawn the short straw and missed out on the 3 seats available in a vehicle that was arranged for our film crew by Sobeck / Mountain Travel. I arrived to find the stone walls of Machu Picchu empty. It remained that way for over thirty minutes before a few early visitors began to wander among the Incan ruins. 

These days are long gone.

At least they have not yet adopted the recommendation to build a funicular to the top of Machu Picchu.

~Jerome Shaw

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