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My Machu Picchu report. August 12, the new restrictions

My Machu Picchu report. August 12, the new restrictions

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Old Aug 15, 17, 8:52 am
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My Machu Picchu report. August 12, the new restrictions

Well, I just arrived from Cusco. Since it was a short trip, I had to go to MP from Cusco city and returned the same day (couldn’t stay at Ollantaytambo, where the train trip is far shorter). So I took the (august 12) 6:40am train from Poroy station. My return train was scheduled at 4:30pm. Both train stations (Poroy and MP) are too small nowadays considering the lot of people that visit daily Machu Picchu. And it’s a mess, there are not enough signs nor space for queues and it’s so confusing (and I’m peruvian, I can imagine the perception of foreign and no Spanish speaking people).

I arrived at MP town (aka Aguas Calientes) at 9:50am. I have enough time for a brunch, since I got the second shift ticket (to enter the ruins at noon). Then I saw the line for the bus (that goes up the ruins) was quite long, but it moves along not so slow, or so I thought. Actually after eating a sandwich I got into the queue and… it took 70 MINUTES to get into the bus. The ride is 20 minutes to get to the ruins entrance. Crowded at always, there were several guides offering you the guided tour, what apparently was a must since the new rules. But as I read in a flyertalk post that they are not that exigent about the guide, I don’t take any. And that was right, when I entered the ruins nobody asked me where was my guide (this was my sixth visit to MP, I actually could be the guide of my own party he he). Nobody checks or ask you where your guide along the visit is. The allowed path within the ruins is more restricted than my last time. There is plenty space at the viewing points, like up there near the guardian house, but the Intihuatana place is very limited and the allowed path is very narrow considering all the people passing along.

Two hours were enough to complete the circuit (just the ruins, not including Huayna Picchu or the Inca bridge or climb the Machu Picchu mountain), so at 2:30pm I was ready to take the bus to go down to the town. Oh my God, another one hour line to take it. That was the worst part of the trip. Everything else was fine and didn't spoil the day, but the long queues were annoying. It had never been like that in my previous visits. I don’t know if it was because of the new rules, the 2 shifts, or because it was Saturday (more local visitors?) etc. Was the remedy worse than the disease?? I don’t know.

Anyway Machu Picchu was amazing as always, I was lucky it was a sunny day so I got stunning pictures. Just the access facilities were the issue.

Last edited by Villavic; Aug 15, 17 at 6:26 pm
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Old Aug 15, 17, 4:37 pm
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Thanks for the report Villavic. We always have a guide for the groups I take to MP, so my main concern is how strictly they are enforcing the time limits. For an afternoon ticket (my March group), the time limits aren't an issue. What I'm curious about however is how the morning shift (my May group) will work. We typically have quite a few who still want to be there (e.g., hiking to Sun Gate and/or Inca Bridge) past the morning time limit.
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Old Aug 15, 17, 6:11 pm
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Originally Posted by FrogProf View Post
my main concern is how strictly they are enforcing the time limits. For an afternoon ticket (my March group), the time limits aren't an issue. What I'm curious about however is how the morning shift
I arrived at the entrance at 12:10pm aprox. I saw a very long line and worried cause I thought it was for entering the ruins. But no, it was for the return bus. Then I thought probably it was that long because the morning shift had just ended. However at 2:35pm when I was returning to the town, the line was that long, too. So probably the line is that long almost the whole day. This picture was taken at 2:42pm. It took almost 70 minutes to get the bus.



A clue about your question may be this picture. It was taken at 12:47pm from the viewing point (right after I entered and went up to the point), near the guardian house. You can see lot of people in the Main Square, going up to the Intihuatana, or going down by the stairs after the group of the three doorways. I don’t think all those people entered after noon.


Last edited by Villavic; Aug 15, 17 at 6:27 pm
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Old Aug 15, 17, 7:53 pm
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Based on your experience, any recommendations on the best month to visit (best like in limited visitors)?
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Old Aug 16, 17, 12:29 am
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Originally Posted by edvasquez View Post
Based on your experience, any recommendations on the best month to visit (best like in limited visitors)?
I've found December, the week of Christmas, the park was empty. I'd have to check, but think this is also the rainy season.

For my second time we went in June at 1pm and there was no line for the bus going up, no line at the entrance, and about a 30 min line for the bus going down.
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Old Aug 16, 17, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by edvasquez View Post
Based on your experience, any recommendations on the best month to visit (best like in limited visitors)?
We were at MP towards the end of March this year for two days (stayed in AC) and there were virtually no lines, and luckily no rain.
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Old Aug 16, 17, 3:26 pm
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I only have experience with March and May as those are the months I go every year. Both of those are good and the crowds are not unreasonable. It's more crowded in May and more likely to rain in March.
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Old Sep 9, 17, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by edvasquez View Post
Based on your experience, any recommendations on the best month to visit (best like in limited visitors)?
Originally Posted by rubesl View Post
We were at MP towards the end of March this year for two days (stayed in AC) and there were virtually no lines, and luckily no rain.
Don't recall dates offhand, but it was March, and very few lines except for Machu Picchu mountain, and I'd say that was about 20 minutes for the morning session.

Yes, made it all the way to the top But was definitely feeling it in the legs and was glad when I finally reached the bottom. And still felt it at least two more days - and despite my handle, I'm not a kid anymore

Lots of sun, though it rained most of the evening in Aguas Calientes, though just lightly.
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Old Sep 11, 17, 10:28 am
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I texted with the guide I had on my trip last May (2016) - he leads trips there several times a month for a major tour company. He says the lines for the buses on the way up are pretty long all the time now. But as before the rule change, still the best way to avoid long waiting lines for the return buses is to leave late in the afternoon; not more than 15 minutes. Plus, on sunny days, the best light for photos is in the afternoon just before sunset.
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Old Sep 11, 17, 2:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Section 107 View Post
I texted with the guide I had on my trip last May (2016) - he leads trips there several times a month for a major tour company. He says the lines for the buses on the way up are pretty long all the time now. But as before the rule change, still the best way to avoid long waiting lines for the return buses is to leave late in the afternoon; not more than 15 minutes. Plus, on sunny days, the best light for photos is in the afternoon just before sunset.
I'm not aware of how the lines have changed, but I decided on my second trip to MP to go at 1pm as the ticket price was 50%. When we took the bus to the top ~12:30pm the line to take the bus back down was massive. We had no wait to go up to MP and the line back down was around 15 mins near the closing time of the park.

With less people in the park the photos are easier to take as you are not competing for "good" spots to take photos from. It's easier to take group photos without people walking into your photo. The downside is that it can be really hot. In June I was really sweating under the afternoon sun.
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Old Oct 26, 17, 11:12 pm
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Camera tripod/gorilla pod

Hello folks ! Can anyone share if they have seen anyone using camera tripods / gorilla pods / mobile phone selfie sticks on MP grounds?

Is a shame they have set this blanket rule. I would think a more ressonsble rule would be to say using of camera tripods / selfie sticks on narrow walkways and popular spots and crowded places is not allowed and the park staff can use discretion to enforce.

My camera tripods is a small simple one with rubber tips and not the huge pro series type. It's so inconvenient to keep troubling others to help you take a picture for you.

Thanks ya !

Last edited by Andrew Kiong; Oct 28, 17 at 12:09 am
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Old Oct 27, 17, 7:28 pm
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I have not seen people using tripods, but definitely lots of selfie sticks. Didn't even know it wasn't allowed until you mentioned it because definitely lots of people there with selfie sticks.
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Old Dec 28, 17, 10:37 pm
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Originally Posted by B407 View Post
I have not seen people using tripods, but definitely lots of selfie sticks. Didn't even know it wasn't allowed until you mentioned it because definitely lots of people there with selfie sticks.
My opinion is that selfie sticks might be OK in the main part of MP but absolutely positively not on HP... and we saw quite a few. We didn't see anyone using a regular tripod, but I don't think they're going to get on anyone's case for using a gorilla gadget.
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Old Mar 29, 18, 12:52 am
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We just visited MP today. At around 10am it was a 40 min wait for the bus going up. Extremely crowded at the entrance this time. They did not check for a guide. I entered at 10am and was able to exit at ~1:30pm, and then re-enter a few minutes later. Since you can't go "backwards" on their path you have to re-enter in order to hike to the top to take photos. I have to say that taking an umbrella on a sunny day is a great idea, especially if you are on a slow moving tour.

Here is the kicker, the park either closed at 2pm or 3:45pm. You could not get a straight answer our of anyone. We left some time after 2pm and the line is the longest I have ever seen it in the three times going. It looked 2-3 hours long. I assume people who entered between 9-10am were exiting and then people who bought afternoon ticket departing.

We ended up walking down the steps. This journey is not easy even though it is downhill. You've spent a lot of time in the sun already, hiked up number of steps, are dehydrated, need lunch.. etc.. It takes at least 60-90 minutes to get back in town. The steps are more cobblestones and very easy to twist/roll an ankle. I have no idea how people run down these steps. This isn't one long stair case either. It's definitely an option when the line is an hour and a half to two hours long then on top of that the bus ride down.
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Old Jul 4, 18, 1:25 am
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Originally Posted by Astrophsx View Post
We just visited MP today. At around 10am it was a 40 min wait for the bus going up. Extremely crowded at the entrance this time. They did not check for a guide. I entered at 10am and was able to exit at ~1:30pm, and then re-enter a few minutes later. Since you can't go "backwards" on their path you have to re-enter in order to hike to the top to take photos. I have to say that taking an umbrella on a sunny day is a great idea, especially if you are on a slow moving tour.

Here is the kicker, the park either closed at 2pm or 3:45pm. You could not get a straight answer our of anyone. We left some time after 2pm and the line is the longest I have ever seen it in the three times going. It looked 2-3 hours long. I assume people who entered between 9-10am were exiting and then people who bought afternoon ticket departing.

We ended up walking down the steps. This journey is not easy even though it is downhill. You've spent a lot of time in the sun already, hiked up number of steps, are dehydrated, need lunch.. etc.. It takes at least 60-90 minutes to get back in town. The steps are more cobblestones and very easy to twist/roll an ankle. I have no idea how people run down these steps. This isn't one long stair case either. It's definitely an option when the line is an hour and a half to two hours long then on top of that the bus ride down.
I found the issue with the steps wasn't so much their construction material (cobblestone or otherwise) but rather, in many places, their different length (pitch?) from step-to-step. Usually you don't have to constantly be looking down as you climb or descend stairs, because there's a predictability for where the next step will be. Not so for the Inca architects!
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