Hundreds of people visit Machu Picchu every single day of the year and all the foot traffic has caused erosion of the terrain over time. That’s why there’s netting on the pathways of certain sections, there are set routes within the archeological site, and there are security guards who make sure everyone’s following the rules. That’s also why, yes, you technically do need an official tour guide to enter and visit Machu Picchu.
On trips to Machu Picchu, an official tour guide:
- Enriches your experience at Machu Picchu by explaining the significance of Machu Picchu, sharing the history behind the archeological site, and explaining our current knowledge of Machu Picchu.
- Helps make sure travelers are following the rules of the Machu Picchu archeological site implemented for its conservation and the protection of its visitors.
- Can answer all your questions about Machu Picchu.
- Will be your advocate if you need support or special assistance during your visit to Machu Picchu.
- Is required to accompany you and your group (up to 10 people) during your entire time at Machu Picchu from the time you enter to the time you exit the archeological site, which normally is a tour that lasts 2.5 to 3 hours.
How much is a tour guide at Machu Picchu?
A typical tour guide at Machu Picchu can cost anywhere from US$10.00 to US$60.00 depending on whether or not the tour is a private tour, how big your group is, and what else is included in the tour. Machu Picchu Tours generally cost more than that because they include transport to and from Cusco and Machu Picchu, which are not very near each other.
Can you visit Machu Picchu?
You can definitely visit Machu Picchu, and we encourage you to! There's a reason it's considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Is it hard to climb Machu Picchu?
Yes, it's hard to climb Machu Picchu, but you don't need to climb the mountain to see Machu Picchu. Instead, you can take a bus up the mountain, so no climbing is involved at all. If you do want to climb the mountain, it's decently challenging as it involves hiking purely uphill for around an hour (see Best Time to Climb Machu Picchu).