Rules to Follow When Visiting Machu Picchu (The Inca Citadel)

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Visiting Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, the legendary Lost City of the Incas, nestled in the mountains of Cusco, Peru, is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. To preserve this historical and natural treasure, some rules have been established that all visitors must adhere to.

Before your visit

  • Plan in advance: Machu Picchu is a highly sought-after destination, and entrance tickets often sell out quickly, especially during peak season. Therefore, it’s essential to plan your visit well in advance and book your tickets several months ahead, especially if you plan to trek the Inca Trail. Also, make sure to check visa and health requirements if traveling from abroad.
  • Choose your access route: Select the appropriate access route for your Machu Picchu visit; there are only 4 ways: (1) directly via the Inca Trail, (2) on foot or by train from Hidroelectrica or the Salkantay route, (3) by train from Ollantaytambo, (4) via air travel, as Aguas Calientes has a heliport for emergencies.
  • Pick the right time: Machu Picchu’s weather can be unpredictable, with heavy rain and fog at any time of the year. The dry season, from May to October, is usually the best time to visit, as weather conditions are more stable with fewer chances of rain. However, if you prefer to avoid crowds, consider visiting during the low season from November to March. check here weather time.
  • Choose the right circuit in Machu Picchu: Since 2022, the Peruvian government no longer allows as much freedom in the citadel; now, visitors must follow a pre-established route. Therefore, before purchasing your Machu Picchu ticket, choose your circuit carefully. The most recommended circuits are 1 and 2; circuits 3 and 4 are shorter and designed for people visiting not only the Inca citadel but also Huchuy Picchu, Huayna Picchu, or Machu Picchu Mountain.
  • Hire a tour guide (Optional): Although not mandatory, hiring a tour guide can help you better understand the history and significance of Machu Picchu. Official tour guides are trained to provide accurate and engaging information.
  • Don’t forget your equipment: Make sure to wear comfortable and appropriate clothing for walking, as well as sturdy and suitable footwear for irregular terrain. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, a reusable water bottle, and a camera to capture the incredible landscapes and memorable moments.
  • Prepare physically: Exploring Machu Picchu may involve long walks and steep climbs, especially if you decide to ascend Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu. It’s essential to be in good physical shape and acclimate properly to the altitude to fully enjoy your visit.
machu picchu before visiting

During your visit

  • Respect the silence: Machu Picchu was a sacred place for the Incas. Keep your voice down and avoid making loud noises that may disturb other visitors or disrupt the site’s tranquility.
  • Follow designated trails: Stay on marked trails. This helps protect the flora and fauna of the archaeological site and avoids the risk of accidents or damage to Inca structures.
  • Don’t touch or lean on walls or structures: Inca walls and structures are fragile and should be treated with care. Avoid touching or leaning on them, as this can cause irreparable damage.
  • Don’t bring food or drink, cigarettes, or vapes inside the citadel: Any activity that involves the deterioration of the Inca citadel, natural environment, and/or facilities is prohibited. There are designated areas for eating and drinking outside the archaeological site.
  • Don’t litter: Keep Machu Picchu clean and free of trash. Deposit garbage in designated containers.
  • Respect flora and fauna: Do not damage plants or disturb wild animals. Machu Picchu is home to various species of flora and fauna, and it is important to protect its ecosystem.
  • Don’t take photos with flash: Using flash can damage Inca structures and rock paintings. Turn off the flash on your camera before taking photos.
  • Don’t use drones: The use of drones is strictly prohibited in Machu Picchu and its surroundings.
  • Be careful with your belongings: Machu Picchu is a crowded place, so it’s essential to be careful with your personal belongings. Don’t carry unnecessary valuables.
  • Respect local customs: If you have the opportunity to interact with the local population, be respectful of their customs and traditions.
  • Don’t plan to bring your pet: It is forbidden to enter with animals, except for guide dogs when strictly necessary.
  • Don’t carry too large photography equipment: The use of filming equipment, tripods, cameras, and other large devices is not allowed due to the limited space in the circuits to use them and the danger they represent to other visitors. If you really need to carry them, you will need an extra permit during a less crowded schedule.
recommendations for Machu Picchu


Take the time to soak in the magic and beauty of Machu Picchu. Let the grandeur of this ancient site envelop you as you explore its mysterious ruins, walk its winding paths, and behold the breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks.

In summary, a visit to Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that requires careful planning and preparation. By following these tips and recommendations, you’ll be ready to make the most of this wonder of the ancient world and create memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy your trip to Machu Picchu!

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