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Best tourist circuit
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Machu Picchu: Which is the best tourist circuit?

Since 2024 there are 10 entrance tickets to Machu Picchu and 3 tourist circuits. These offer different tours of the archaeological site. Circuit 1 allows a route through the upper part to the viewpoint of the Guardian’s House. Circuit 2 offers a route through the religious and urban sector of the Inca citadel, the most classic route. Circuit 3 offers a route through royal temples in the lower part of the Inca site. Circuit 2 is definitely the best option because it allows a more complete visit with a classic photo included. However, the other circuits also offer worthwhile experiences. Learn more!



Machu Picchu Inca Citadel
Machu Picchu Inca Citadel

The ideal circuit for seniors and visitors in wheelchairs
Circuit 3, called the royal circuit, is ideal for the elderly and wheelchair users because the route is on flatter sections where you do not go up and down stone steps, as in circuits 1 and 2. Circuit 3 offers a panoramic view of Machu Picchu from the agricultural sector. It also allows you to visit famous Inca constructions such as the Royal Tomb, the Temple of the Sun, the House of the Inca, the Temple of the Condor, the water fountains and more. This is one of the best options for a comfortable but interesting trip to Machu Picchu.


The new rules in Machu Picchu

Since 2024, new circuits and entrance tickets to Machu Picchu have been implemented. These rules seek to improve the distribution of visitors to the Inca citadel and, in this way, avoid future collapse and deterioration of the archaeological site.

The new entrance tickets to Machu Picchu offer tourist routes through circuit 1, circuit 2 or circuit 3. In addition, there are tickets that add adventure to these routes with the hike to the Huayna Picchu Mountain, Huchuy Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain. Likewise, there are other routes to mysterious Inca constructions, such as: the Intipunku, the Inca Bridge or the Temple of the Moon (Great Cavern).

The new rules at Machu Picchu state that the new entrance hours are strict. Only a maximum delay time of 30 minutes is allowed (45 minutes in high tourist season from June 1 to October 15). Re-entry to the Inca city is not allowed. After the tourist route, the visit is finished.

Tickets can be purchased online or in person in Cusco. Definitely, the first option is the most recommended because it can be done from anywhere in the world. The website of the Ministry of Culture of Peru, allows the purchase from anywhere in the world. It is recommended to do it 2 or 3 months in advance because all tickets have limited availability.

There is also the possibility to purchase tickets in person in the town of Aguas Calientes (1,000 tickets available for purchase in person). However, also due to the high demand of visitors, the purchase is made a day before and with the risk of not finding availability.

Tourists finishing the tour in the Inca Citadel
Tourists finishing the tour in the Inca Citadel

The new tickets in Machu Picchu

These are the new entrance tickets to Machu Picchu:

  • Ticket Machu Picchu Classic Photo – Circuit 1 / 10 hours of admission / available all year round and for all ages.
  • Ticket Machu Picchu Classic – Circuit 2 / 10 hours of admission / available all year round and for all ages.
  • Ticket Machu Picchu Classic Lower Terrace – Circuit 2 / 10 hours of admission / available all year round and for all ages.
  • Ticket Machu Picchu lower temples – Circuit 3 / 10 hours of admission / available all year round and for all ages.
  • Ticket Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu – Circuit 3 / 2 entrance hours / available all year round and for people over 18 years old.
  • Ticket Machu Picchu with Mountain – Circuit 1 / 2 entrance hours / available all year round and for people over 18 years old.
  • Ticket Machu Picchu with Huchuy Picchu – Circuit 3 / 2 entrance hours / available from June 1st to October 15th and for people over 18 years old.
  • Ticket Machu Picchu with Inca Bridge – Circuit 1 / 4 entrance hours / available from June 1 to October 15 and for over 18 years old.
  • Ticket Machu Picchu with Intipunku – Circuit 1 / 4 hours of admission / available from June 1 to October 15 and for all ages.
  • Ticket Machu Picchu with Temple of the Moon (Great Cavern) – Circuit 3 / 2 entrance hours / available from June 1 to October 15 and for people over 18 years old.

The three tourist circuits in Machu Picchu

These are the three tourist circuits in the visit to Machu Picchu:

  • Circuit 1 – Panoramic route / Includes Guardian’s House / Visiting time approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes / Recommended for all people.
  • Circuit 2 – Classic route / Includes temple of the sun, main temple, temple of the 3 windows, sacred rock, water mirrors, sacred fountains, agricultural sector / Visiting time of approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes / Recommended for all people.
  • Circuit 3 – Route of the royalty / Includes agricultural zone, royal tomb, temple of the sun, house of the Inca, three gates, temple of the condor, sacred fountains / Visit time of approximately 2 hours / Recommended for all people including seniors.

Circuit 1 in Machu Picchu

Circuit 1 through Machu Picchu offers a shorter route compared to circuits 2 and 3. However, it has the advantage of having the best views (and photographs) in the Inca citadel. It includes the ascent up the stone stairs until you reach the House of the Guardian, also called the House of the Watchman. From this point you have the best views of the archaeological site and its Inca constructions. It is also where you can get the classic photos of the visit to Machu Picchu. The maximum visiting time allowed is two hours, from the time of entry, however, the circuit can be completed in 1 hour 30 minutes or less.

Upper terrace - Panoramic view of Machu Picchu
Upper terrace – Panoramic view of Machu Picchu

Circuit 2 in Machu Picchu

Circuit 2 through the archaeological site allows you to see the most famous Inca constructions, such as: the House of the Guardian (classic photo), the Temple of the Sun, the Main Temple, the Temple of the 3 Windows, the Sacred Rock, the Hall of Mirrors, the sacred fountains and the agricultural area. It offers an average visit of 2 hours and 30 minutes, including the best photographs in the trip through the Inca citadel. This is the circuit that most tourists demand in the visit to Machu Picchu, which must be purchased through two types of tickets: a) entrance Machu Picchu Classic and b) entrance Machu Picchu Classic lower terrace.

Classic photo from the lower terrace of Machu Picchu
Classic photo from the lower terrace of Machu Picchu

Circuit 3 in Machu Picchu

Circuit 3 in Machu Picchu is called the circuit of the royalty because it offers the visit to the main royal enclosures of the lower part of the Inca city. Visit Inca constructions such as: the Temple of the Sun, the House of the Inca, the Temple of the Condor, the Sacred Rock and more. Circuit 3 also offers a beautiful picture of Machu Picchu but from the lower part, that is, from the agricultural sector. Circuit 3 takes two hours or more to complete. This circuit is suitable for visitors of all ages, including children and seniors.

Constructions in the lower part of Machu Picchu
Constructions in the lower part of Machu Picchu

What is the best tourist circuit in Machu Picchu?

Circuit 2 is definitely the best option in the visit to Machu Picchu. These are some of the reasons to choose this circuit:

  • It allows the classic postcard photo from the sector of the Guardian’s House.
  • It allows you to visit important Inca temples, such as the Temple of the Sun, the Main Temple, the Temple of the 3 Windows and the Sacred Rock.
  • It offers a visit to the agricultural sector, an area where llamas are usually grazed (one of the best photographs in Machupicchu).
  • It allows the tour for more time in Machu Picchu. The circuit can be completed in 2 hours 30 minutes approximately.
  • The circuit is suitable for visitors of all ages, including older adults in acceptable physical condition.
Tourists and llamas in the agricultural sector
Tourists and llamas in the agricultural sector

Map of the circuit 2 in Machu Picchu

Map of Machu Picchu Circuit 2
Map of Machu Picchu Circuit 2

Differences between the three circuits in Machu Picchu

These are the differences between the three Machu Picchu tours:

Machu Picchu: circuitsCircuit 1Circuit 2Circuit 3
DesignationPanoramic circuitClassic circuitRoyal circuit
Visiting timeApproximately 1 hour 30 minutesApproximately 2 hours 30 minutesApproximately 2 hours
Inca templesGuardian’s HouseTemple of the sun, main temple, temple of the 3 windows, sacred rock, water mirrors, sacred fountains, agricultural sectorAgricultural area, royal tomb, temple of the sun, house of the Inca, three gates, temple of the condor, sacred fountains
Best photographsClassic photo from the Guardian HouseClassic photo a few meters below the Guardian’s HouseBeautiful photo from the agricultural sector
Tickets that include this circuitMachu Picchu Classic Photo / Machu Picchu with Intipunku / Machu Picchu with Inca Bridge / Machu Picchu with MountainMachu Picchu Classic / Machu Picchu Classic lower terraceMachu Picchu Lower part temples / Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu / Machu Picchu with Huchuy Picchu / Machu Picchu with Temple of the Moon
AdvantagesThe best postcard picture of Machu PicchuThe most complete circuitInca royal temples
DisadvantagesShort circuitCircuit without mountain routesCircuit without postcard photo of the Guardian’s House

Questions and answers about the best touristic circuit in Machu Picchu

  • 1) What is the best circuit in Machu Picchu?

    Circuit 2 is considered the best circuit in Machu Picchu for being the most complete with the best photos of the place.

  • 2) Which is the worst circuit in Machu Picchu?

    Circuit 1 is the shortest and the one that only offers the visit to the viewpoint of the Guardian’s House.

  • 3) What is the advantage of Machu Picchu circuit 2?

    This circuit allows the classic photo of Machu Picchu and the almost complete tour of the main temples and Inca constructions.

  • 4) What is the disadvantage of Machu Picchu circuit 2?

    This circuit does not offer visits to royal temples, such as the Royal Tomb, the House of the Inca or the Temple of the Condor.

  • 5) Does circuit 2 include the classic photo of Machu Picchu?

    Yes, this circuit offers this famous photo from a few meters below the Guardian House.

  • 6) Does circuit 2 offer the visit to the Main Temple of Machu Picchu?

    Yes, this famous Inca construction is included in Machu Picchu circuit 2.

  • 7) How long does it take to complete Machu Picchu Circuit 2?

    Circuit 2 takes 2 hours and 30 minutes approximately.

  • 8) Is circuit 2 suitable for older adults?

    Yes, this circuit through Machu Picchu is suitable for older adults in acceptable physical condition. Older adults in poor mobility can choose to do Machupicchu circuit 3.

  • 9) Does circuit 2 include a visit to the Sacred Rock?

    Yes, this famous Inca construction is included in Machu Picchu circuit 2.

  • 10) Does circuit 2 include a visit to the Intihuatana?

    No, the Intihuatana is closed to the public.

Advice from people who have been there

Machu Picchu

Raúl V.By: Raúl V.

“Visit Machu Picchu as a couple“

“Together with my boyfriend we went to Machu Picchu and we left with a great feeling. We got beautiful pictures and made many friends along the way. We will come back yes or yes, we want to go with the Inca Trail.“

 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, July 2, 2024