2022 has been a transition year for the country, Peru tourism, and Machu Picchu tours in general. Here’s the latest:
We’re Finally (Mostly) Mask & Vaccine Card Free
This pandemic year and the couple of years before it have been a rollercoaster for Peru and nearly everywhere else in the world. Thankfully, COVID-19 has died down enough to reopen the travel industry, and the biggest change yet is the announcement that the country of Peru is finally (mostly) mask-free as of October 1st!
You wouldn’t believe it, but as late as September 30th, many places were still asking for double masks and vaccine cards before entry. I’ve given it some time by now to happily report that the transition has gone smoothly. There are currently very few places that require any masks at all (unfortunately, the train and bus up to Machu Picchu are still included in this list), and not a single person has asked me for my vaccine card. In fact, supposedly the only places obligated to require masks are closed places without ventilation. Importantly, you still need to show your vaccine card at the airport to enter the country.
In any case, it is SO freeing to be able to breathe fresh air and see others’ smiles again. This also means that you will no longer have to sneak mask-free photos at tourist sites such as Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, restaurants, and other archeological and tourist sites.
Get Machu Picchu Tickets Early to Avoid Frustration
There were various instances of Machu Picchu tourist strikes this year because of misinformation. Can you visit Machu Picchu last minute? Yes, some tourists will get lucky with tickets, but I can’t stress how risky it is to try. The majority who aren’t lucky may get stuck paying for portions of trips without being able to actually see the Machu Picchu archeological site.
It’s not easy to travel to Machu Picchu from Cusco, so we always recommend booking at least 60-90 days in advance to be sure to get an entrance ticket. Each entrance ticket to Machu Picchu is specific to the tourist – we need to show the identification page of your passport to purchase a ticket, and the ticket will have your name, country, and passport number printed on it.
When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?
There are 2 main opinions about when to visit Machu Picchu – either June to August, or 1-2 months before or after that 3-month period. June to August is the busiest tourist season because it's super dry in the Andes, so you're most likely to get clear skies and amazing photos. You may run into clouds and/or rain during the shoulder season (April-May and September-October), but it's much quieter, so there will be less tourists showing up in your photos.
What's the cost of a trip to Machu Picchu?
For a streamlined tour with the least chance of mishaps, a standard Machu Picchu tour costs US$350-450 for a minimum of 2 people. The price covers the entire roundtrip travel from Cusco (where the airport is) to Machu Picchu (not at all near Cusco) and back. Prices increase if you're interested in adding on hikes such as the Lares Trek or Inca Trail.