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Machu Picchu Circuits
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Machu Picchu Circuits: differences and similarities

Machu Picchu is located in the Andes Mountains of Cusco, Peru. The visit takes place every day of the year from 6 am to 5 pm. Due to low availability, it is recommended to purchase the ticket online two or three months in advance. At the time of purchase, you must choose between five types of tickets, each offering a different circuit through the archaeological site. The circuits are recommended for different types of experiences. Which one to choose? Learn about their similarities and differences!



Machu Picchu Inca Citadel
Machu Picchu Inca Citadel

What type of entrance fee and what circuit does a tour to Machu Picchu include?
Many people prefer to visit Machu Picchu on an all-inclusive tour. The classic one-day service offers pick-up from the hotel in Cusco, full transportation by bus and tourist train, professional guide, and entrance to the Inca city. The entrance ticket that most tours choose is the most recommended, the ‘Machupicchu Only’ ticket which offers a tour of the archaeological site in circuit 2. Optionally, the visitor can add a route through Huayna Picchu mountain (for an additional cost). If the visitor is an older adult with a physical problem, the tour agency suggests choosing Circuit 3 or 4, which allows a more leisurely and not-so-long walk. The 1-day tour includes a schedule from ten o’clock, eleven o’clock, or noon. If the tourist visits on his own, he is free to choose the type of ticket, the circuit, and the schedule.


Visit Machu Picchu without a tour

If you visit Machu Picchu without a tour you will have to buy your entrance, train ticket, and bus, as well as book the tour guide service in the Inca city (this service is optional). The most important thing, the first thing to do, is to buy the entrance ticket and choose a train ticket with a schedule that fits your itinerary.

On the other hand, if you choose to visit Machu Picchu for a tour, the tourist agency is in charge of acquiring your entrance tickets, train and bus tickets, and the tour guide.

For many, the option to visit Machu Picchu with a tour is much simpler. However, other visitors prefer to customize their trip at their own pace, choosing a specific type of entrance and circuit. This option is recommended, above all, for young visitors who do not like a strict itinerary.

So to visit Machu Picchu without a tour the first thing to do is to buy the entrance ticket online. You have two options: do it through the official website or an authorized tourist agency. In both cases, you must buy your ticket two or three months in advance because availability is limited. The type of ticket and the circuit to choose depends on the experience you want to live in the Wonder of the World.


Entrance fees and the different experiences in Machu Picchu Picchu

There are five types of entrances to Machu Picchu:

  • Ticket Machupicchu Only (circuits 1 or 2)

    This ticket allows you to visit the archaeological site in its most classic and preferred route by tourists. It is the ticket that most visitors prefer because it includes the classic photo from the sector of the Guardian’s House. It does not offer any hiking routes. The purchase must be made two or three months in advance. It offers the largest number of tickets in up to ten different schedules: admission from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm.

  • Ticket Machuipicchu with Huayna Picchu (circuit 4)

    This ticket allows you to visit the archaeological site, as well as the hike to the top of Huayna Picchu, the most popular mountain in the Inca city. It is one of the tickets that sells out the fastest because it offers availability to only 400 people per day. The hike to the ‘Huayna’ is only for people over 12 years old. Circuit 4 is suitable for everyone. The purchase must be made two or three months in advance. It offers up to four schedules, admission from 7, 8, 9, and 10 in the morning.

  • Ticket Machupicchu with Mountain (circuit 3)

    This ticket allows you to visit the archaeological site, as well as the hike to the top of Machu Picchu mountain, the highest in the entire archaeological site. It offers availability for approximately 800 visitors per day. The hike to this mountain is open to visitors of all ages. Circuit 3 is suitable for everyone. This ticket allows re-entry to Machu Picchu after completing the ascent to the mountain. In addition, if you request permission from a guard, you can get the classic photo in the sector of the Guardian’s House. The purchase must be made two or three months in advance. It offers two schedules, the entrance from 7 and 8 in the morning.

  • Ticket Machupicchu with Huchuypicchu (circuit 4)

    This ticket allows you to visit the archaeological site, as well as the hike to the top of Huchuy Picchu, the ‘small mountain’ in the Inca city. It is available for only 400 visitors per day. The hike to ‘Huchuy’ is short, taking only 30 minutes, so it is suitable for visitors of all ages. Circuit 4 is suitable for everyone. The purchase must be made one or two months in advance. It offers up to five schedules, admission from 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 in the morning.

  • Ticket Machupicchu with Inca Bridge (circuit 1 or 2)

    This ticket allows you to visit the archaeological site, as well as the walk to the Inca Bridge, on the eastern edge of the citadel, a place that few visitors have the opportunity to visit. It offers availability for only 400 visitors per day. The hike to the bridge is super easy, taking 30 minutes or less. It is suitable for everyone. A great advantage is that this ticket includes circuit 1 or 2, the latter being the most recommended. The purchase must be made two or three months in advance. It offers up to nine entrance times: from 7, 8, 9, 10, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2 and 3 o’clock in the afternoon.


This is how the 5 entrances to Machu Picchu look like

Learn about ALL that Machu Picchu includes in this video. We use the 5 types of tickets on 5 different days: Machupicchu, Huaynapicchu, Mountain, Huchuypicchu, and Inca Bridge.


The four circuits in Machu Picchu

These are the circuits in Machu Picchu:

  • Circuit 1 – The first circuit makes an almost complete tour of Machu Picchu. From the starting point, it ascends to the sector of the Guardian’s House (there you get the classic photos). Then it goes through the Temple of the Sun, the Main Temple, and the Temple of the 3 Windows to descend directly to the agricultural sector and the water fountains. In total, the circuit takes 2 hours. It is recommended for all people, including children and older adults in acceptable physical condition.
  • Circuit 2 – The second circuit makes a complete tour of the most important constructions of Machu Picchu. From the starting point it ascends to the sector of the Guardian’s House (there you get the classic photos). Then it goes through the Temple of the Sun, the Main Temple, the Temple of the 3 Windows, the Intihuatana (open from 7 am to 10 am), the Sacred Rock, the Temple of the Condor (or another path through the Water Mirrors) and the agricultural sector. In total the circuit takes 2 hours and 30 minutes. It is the most recommended circuit in the archaeological site.
  • Circuit 3 – The third circuit makes a partial tour of the lower part of Machu Picchu. From the starting point, it goes through the agricultural sector, the Temple of the Sun, and the House of the Inca (only this circuit offers the visit to this construction). Then it goes through the water fountains, the llama sector, to finally leave the Inca site. Although it does not offer the classic postcard photo, it does allow a nice picture of Machu Picchu from the lower part. In total, the circuit takes 1 hour. It is recommended for older adults and children who do not like or cannot do long walks.
  • Circuit 4 – The fourth circuit makes a complete partial tour of the lower part of Machu Picchu. From the starting point, it goes through the agricultural sector, the Temple of the Sun, and the House of the Inca (only this circuit offers the visit to this construction). Then you will visit the Sacred Rock, the Temple of the Condor (or another route through the Water Mirrors), the water fountains, and the llama sector, to finally leave the Inca site. This circuit, although it does not offer the classic postcard photo, does allow a nice picture of Machu Picchu from the lower part. In total, the circuit takes 1 hour and 30 minutes. It is recommended for older adults and children who do not like or cannot do long walks.
Machu Picchu with all available tours

Similarities and differences of the Machu Picchu circuits

CircuitsCircuito 1Circuito 2Circuito 3Circuito 4
TicketMachupicchu Only and Machupicchu with Inca BridgeMachupicchu Only or Machupicchu with Inca BridgeMachupicchu with MountainMachupicchu with Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu with Huchuy Picchu
PhotoClassic photo from the Guardian HouseClassic photo from the Guardian HouseBeautiful photo from the agricultural sector of MachupicchuBeautiful photo from the agricultural sector of Machupicchu
Inca constructionsGuardian’s House, Temple of the Sun, Main Temple, Temple of the 3 Windows, water fountains and agricultural sectorGuardian’s House, Temple of the Sun, Main Temple, Temple of the 3 Windows, Intihuatana, Sacred Rock, Temple of the Condor, Water Mirrors, water fountains and agricultural sectorAgricultural sector, water springs, Temple of the Sun and House of the IncaAgricultural sector, water sources, Temple of the Sun, House of the Inca, Sacred Rock, Temple of the Condor and Water Mirrors.
Travel timeApproximately 2 hoursApproximately 2 hours 30 minutesApproximately 1 hourApproximately 1 hour 30 minutes
Type of visitorAll personsAll personsElderly or differently abled personsElderly or differently abled persons
DifficultyModerateModerateEasyEasy

Tips for choosing the right entrance and circuit

  • If you are looking for a classic photo in Machu Picchu, choose Circuit 1 or Circuit 2, which allows you to visit the sector of the Guardian’s House, where the classic photos are taken.
  • If you are visiting with children or older adults, choose Circuit 1, if they are in good physical condition. Another option is circuit 3 or 4 if they are in poor physical condition.
  • If you are traveling with people with different abilities, such as wheelchair users, the best option is circuit 3.
  • If you wish to see all of Machu Picchu on the same day or on different days, choose Circuit 2 and then Circuit 4.
Tourists taking a picture with Machu Picchu in the background
Tourists taking a picture with Machu Picchu in the background

Questions and answers

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

    For many, circuit 2 is the best circuit of Machu Picchu because it allows you to visit most of the Inca constructions and allows the classic postcard photo.

  • 2) Which is the circuit that allows me to know more in Machu Picchu?

    Circuit 2 allows you to visit the largest number of Inca constructions, such as: House of the Guardian, Temple of the Sun, Main Temple, Temple of the 3 Windows, Intihuatana, Sacred Rock, Temple of the Condor, Water Mirrors, water fountains and agricultural sector.

  • 3) Which circuit allows me to take the best picture of Machu Picchu?

    Circuit 1 and Circuit 2 include the best photo in Machu Picchu: the classic photo from the area of the Guardian’s House.

  • 4) Which Machu Picchu circuit should I choose if I am traveling with children?

    If children like to walk, they can choose circuit 1 or circuit 2. If children do not like to walk, circuits 3 or 4 are the best options.

  • 5) Which circuit in Machu Picchu should I choose if I am traveling with a person in a wheelchair?

    Circuit 3 is the best option for a wheelchair visit.

  • 6) Which circuit lasts longer in Machu Picchu?

    Circuit 2 is the longest circuit, which takes 2 hours and 30 minutes on average.

  • 7) Which circuit should I choose in Machu Picchu to visit the Inca House?

    Circuits 3 or 4 allow you to visit the Casa del Inca, the place where the Inca lived during his sporadic visits to Machu Picchu.

  • 8) Which Machu Picchu circuit should I choose to visit Huayna Picchu?

    To visit this mountain you must buy the ‘Machupicchu with Huaynapicchu’ ticket, which offers circuit 4.

  • 9) Which circuit in Machu Picchu should I choose if I am traveling with seniors?

    Circuit 3 or circuit 4 is suitable for older visitors. If the person is in good physical condition, circuit 1 or circuit 2 are also good options.

  • 10) What is the worst circuit in Machu Picchu?

    All circuits, 1, 2, 3 or 4, offer incredible experiences in Machu Picchu.

Advice from people who have been there

Machu Picchu

Raphael C.By: Raphael C.

“The best!“

“Simply Machu Picchu is one of the best places I have ever visited in my life. To see Machu Picchu from there, huge with its history and constructions is indescribable. Without a doubt the best trip of my life.“

 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, May 10, 2024