Our trip to Peru is still almost 3 months away and I already felt the need to write this post: I want to clarify some issues on how to buy Machu Picchu tickets online especially if you are travelling with toddlers and you are from the UK!
Why did I decide to write about this now? Because an action that shouldn’t require more than 10 minutes cost me already so much time that I hope I will be able to save you this time!
I will focus on the process to buy the tickets online, I will touch briefly on the other options and the different tickets, but not in detail.
Planning a trip to Machu Picchu:
There are different ways to get to Macchu Picchu independently or with an organized tour. You can decide to hike Machu Pichu for a few days or to ride a super luxurious train, but if you go as an independent traveler you will need to buy your ticket before you arrive to there.
If you are planning to go in high season, June to September buy your tickets far in advance because there is the risk they will sell out. For a last minute trip in high season to Machu Picchu you should definitely check if there are still tickets available before committing to other expenses.
You can buy your Machu Picchu tickets in three ways: in person directly at the office in Cusco or Aguas Calientes, through a tour agency (there will be a fee to pay), or online through the Machu Picchu official website, I went for the last option.
There are three different entrance tickets you can choose from:
-just the entrance to the Citadel, the main site: where you have 3 different routes you can walk
-the entrance to the Citadel plus entrance to the Waynapicchu mountain
-the entrance to the Citadel plus entrance to Montaña Macchupicchu
The second and third ticket need you to be at least not scared of heights and possibly moderately fit. Liam and Santiago will not be 3 yet when we will go there so we will focus on exploring the main site, when we will be back we will share our experience of Machu Picchu with kids.
The first ticket is what I choose to buy
First step: choosing the ticket
In December 2018 the Peru government updated their website, and thankfully it is now much better than the previous prehistoric version, but there is still some missing information and hiccups.
To start go to the official culture ministry website https://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/. If you have a passport issued from the United Kingdom switch immediately the language to Spanish (I’ll explain later why).
The pictures below show the first steps to take: selecting the type of ticket you need and the quantity.
Here is the first hiccup: you can select to buy a ticket for adults or for school age kids (and there is info for students) but it doesn’t mention anything about small kids…what about my sons that will be 2 years and 11 months when we will go there?
After extensively searching the website with no result, I headed to the contact page and wrote an email to the email address indicated there.
Well luckily I wasn’t in an hurry…I sent the email on the 11th of December and got an answer after 16 days!!! But at least it was a positive one!
Kids up to 7 years old(inc) can enter free and don’t need a ticket, just bring a valid document to the entrance gate to prove the age! So first issue solved!
Second step: choosing how to visit Machu Picchu and the timing.
In this page is where you will decide how you want organize your visit: just enter the main site, or if you also wan to visit the two Machu Picchu mountains.
Ok, second page second doubt.
The official website, as you can see in the picture below, it clearly states that there are 2 slots: from 6am till 12pm and from 12pm till 16:30.
So I guessed that inside that time I can enter whenever I want, but you are presented with a choice of entrance every hour from 6am to 2pm. The website also states that you can only stay inside Machu Picchu for max 4 hours…then my question was if I select to enter at 10am, do I need to leave at 12pm because I’m in the first turn or I can stay until 2pm? …well I don’t have the answer but after reading a lot around I understood that they are not really enforcing timing rules yet…but you never know when they will start, so I booked my ticket with the entrance at 12pm, even if we could be there a bit earlier!
Third step: filling all the personal information
And here we are again: third step third problem.
On the website, on the left hand side of each page, it gives you important info and at this stage it tells you that it is very important you select the right native country.
So what do you do when the UK is not listed? Not under United Kingdom, nor as Great Britain… the menu only shows England, but of course it isn’t the same, my husband is from Northern Ireland and his passport has been issued by the UK.
Here again I wrote an email asking for advice. this time the reply came back really quickly. The solution was to select Reino Unido but I couldn’t find that either, so another email and the suggestion to book from a desktop with Chrome. Anyway the lady that answered my emails after the second stated that the important thing is that the name is matching .
Then the lightbulb moment, what if I switch the website to Spanish? As you can see in the previous picture at this point my computer doesn’t give me this option anymore, so you need to start everything again from the first page (that’s why at the beginning I suggest to do that). Once I have switched to Spanish and moved back to the third step I finally found Reino Unido in the drop down menu!
Fourth Step: checks
Forth step is easy you just need to check that all the info you added is correct and accept the terms and conditions.
Fifth Step: contact details
Another easy step: just add your email address.
Sixth step: payments
On the sixth page the system will generate a reservation number (you will receive an email confirming it) , from this moment you have 3 hours to make a payment. To pay online you can only use a Visa card (on the MasterCard tab there is a coming soon sign)
Now last step last problem! When I clicked to pay the following page didn’t load properly (this could be just my computer issue I don’t know) and I couldn’t see any space where to add the payment information, so I just took my iPhone, opened the website again and on the first page selected check in and added the reservation number. This sent me again to the payment page and it worked fine on my phone.
With my phone I didn’t have any problem to add the payment information and after few seconds I received an email with the tickets ready to print!
And here we are at the end! At this point you should have your ticket! let me know if I forgot something and if this has been helpful!!!
Enjoy Machu Picchu!