10 Things to Know Before You Buy Your Machu Picchu Tickets

Machu Picchu Tickets

Look at anyone’s bucket list and you’ll probably see Machu Picchu, Peru.  If you’re planning on visiting the Sacred City of the Incas, you’ll want to order both your train and entrance tickets in advance.  Here are 10 good reasons why:

1)       Lines are horrible. 

Buying your Machu Picchu tickets here (I'm in Cuzco) means that you will first stand in line for a reservation and then stand in line for the purchase of the ticket, and both lines behind the same people.  You’ll stand in the same line twice, staring at the same people’s heads.  Think about that.

2)      There are at least one hundred better things to do in Peru...

Or more specifically, Cuzco.  Instead of waiting inside a stuffy room, try visiting the Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman, shopping at local markets, biking the Andes, spending a morning with a shepherd, or fishing a mountain river.  If you’re curious for ideas, look at our 15 things to do in Peru.

3)      It’s the Peruvian DMV. 

If you’re not from the US, DMV might not mean much to you.  But if you are, then DMV means Hell On Earth.  It’s unhappy people stuffed into a government building.  Don’t do it.

4)      You may not even get a ticket. 

After all the waiting, after hell on earth, you may find out that Machu Picchu or the corresponding trains are sold out, a result of the government-enforced cap on visitors each day.  Machu Picchu allows 2500 people per day, and the train spots are, of course, limited by seats.

5)       It’s a great feeling having your tickets in hand. 

You’ll meet a good number of people who have to buy their tickets the next day.  You’ll have yours back at the hotel, hostel, or airbnb.  Isn’t it better to have everything taken care of? 

6)      It can be cheaper. 

If you buy your tickets in advance through an agency, you may actually save money because more tickets will be available.  As the date gets closer and more are sold, the prices rise.

7)    Choose your train.

Buying your tickets in advance gives you a better chance to get the train you want, as some leave in early afternoon or late in the evening.  Your stay in Machu Picchu could be cut short by 1/3 just so that you could wait in lines and ruin another afternoon.  That makes no sense.

8)      The fees are slight.

An agency should only charge you around $20 for purchasing your tickets.  That’s two good IPA’s.  A basket of wings.  A cab ride.  A pair of socks. I can keep going, but you get the point.  Save yourself some precious moments by spending a little more, which actually may be a little less (see #6).

9)      The tickets are staggered. 

Imagine this scenario:  You’re happy-very happy actually- because you have just bought your Machu Picchu tickets.  It’s a dream come true, another check on the bucket list.  Then you get to the train ticket line- only to find out that there are no train tickets.  You can’t get to Machu Picchu because there’s no transportation.  And nobody cares.  You’re just standing there with Machu Picchu tickets and no way to get there.  It’s a bad feeling, much worse than the feeling you had half an hour ago when you bought the Machu Picchu tickets.

10)   Agencies hire people to do what you’re doing. 

It could be the wrong day- the day when agencies send staff to purchase tickets for their customers.  One guy might be innocently standing in front of you, looking as if he is going to purchase one ticket (naturally) for himself, so that he can bring his single body into the sanctuary of Machu Picchu with his one single ticket.  Unbeknownst to you, this single person is representing over sixty people.  Instead of one person in front of you, there are sixty.  The line just got longer.