Recently the Ministry of Culture has posted a new notice that does seem to confirm the need to have a guide while visiting Machu Picchu, as well as a few other points that have been floating around since there first notice about splitting the day into two sessions. Based on the new information I thought it would be a good idea to add an update to my previous blog post about the split day.
My wife and I sat down and went over the most recent notice regarding the Machu Picchu entries, and the down side of some of the conditions that are on this new notice is that they are a little vague and will likely be subject to interpretation, but here is our take on how it translates, and what it means for new visitors.
#1 – Visitors that purchased Machu Picchu entries prior to the enactment of the split entry times, will be allowed to visit Machu Picchu under the old rules and will not be effected by these new rules/procedures. So if you purchased your tickets prior to the split, you should be allowed the full day at the site and should not be required to have a guide.
#2 – Visitors that purchase their Machu Picchu entries after the split, and are only planning on visiting Machu Picchu without the addition of Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, will have to choose between the first entry time of 6:00 am to noon, or the second entry time of Noon to 5:30 pm.
#3 – Visitors that are planing to visit Machu Picchu with the addition of Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain will not have to choose as these additional hikes can only be done on the first entry.
#4 – Visitors will be limited to 4 hours in the site and must have a licensed guide with them while in the site, with the exception of visitors doing Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (see points #6, #13 & #14 below).
#5 – Visitors that are planning a second day or session will not need a guide for the second visit, but will have to show the ticket from the previous visit and have the name of the guide that they were with during their first visit.
#6 – Visitors that are doing either of the mountains will be allowed to do the mountain hike without a guide, but must have a guide for their tour of Machu Picchu itself, unless they are doing the mountain on a second visit.
#7 – Visitors for the first entry that enter late (after 8:00 am) will be allowed to stay past noon to complete the tour, as long as they have a guide. Visitors for the second entry can enter as early as 11:00 am but must depart the site by 5:30 pm.
#8 – Visitors will no longer be allowed to exit and re-enter, once they have entered the site.
#9 – Guided tours must be a minimum of 3 hours.
#10 – The first entry is set for a maximum of 3,267 people, which includes those from Machu Picchu Mountain, Huayna Picchu and the Inka Trail.
#11 – The second entry is set for a maximum of 2,673 people, which includes the late entry tickets (after 1:00 pm).
#12 – Group size can not exceed 20 people
#13 – Visitors doing Machu Picchu Mountain will have a maximum of 7 hours at the site, 3 hours for the Mountain and 4 hours for the site.
#14 – Visitors doing Huayna Picchu will have a maximum of 6 hours, 2 hours for the mountain and 4 hours for the site.
#15 – This program will continue until November or December of 2017, at which time it will be reviewed and a determination will be made at that time to continue, modify or cancel the new procedures.
#16 – Those entitled to free entry (Cusco residence) will be allowed free entry on Sundays, only in the second session, and only if there are tickets available.
Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu – Our take on what we have read is that those that choose the first entry for either of these hikes, will need to do the hike and arrange to meet a guide at a set point, the small plaza by the Huayna Picchu start point is suggested in the notice, after the hike they will be allowed to 4 hour guided your. Those that choose the second entry are likely going to have to do the tour prior to starting their hike, and will do the mountain hike after the guided tour.
I believe that covers all of the main points, and keep in mind that a lot of what is on the new notice is going to be open to interpretation, for example the point about the maximum number of persons being 20, it is not specific as to if this is including the guide, or is just the tourists. Another good example is the wording for those that are doing Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu, it does not specifically say that they have to have a guide for the site, but it does mention that they have to arrange to meet a guide, which leads me to believe that they will also have to have a guide for the Machu Picchu portion of their visit.
I think it would really take an attorney that is fluent in both Spanish and English to really make this all make sense, and even then I believe there will still be wording that will be open for some interpretation, but the above is what my wife and I got out of the notice and may, or may not, be entirely correct. Only time will tell and if these are any major updates or changes after July 1st, I will post another update.