The government of Peru has created new regulations for visiting Machu Picchu with the purpose of preserving the historic site for future generations. However, the new 4 circuit system can be rather confusing and overwhelming to understand.
With the new Circuits for Machu Picchu, there are new ways to explore the Inca city. With this new regulation, four official tourist visit circuits have been established. These circuits must be respected and followed by all people who enter the interior of the National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu. And these circuits must be followed by both visitors and tour guides. Please read carefully the discriptions below and the attached maps to better understand the new circuits.
Circuit Number 1 (High Short Route)
The Best but only Available in the Mornings.
Anyone looking to visit Machu Picchu will see that they can do four circuits or tours within the Inca citadel. Circuit number 1 includes what would be the high part near Machu Picchu mountain. Here you can tour a little of the agricultural area and have the first glimpses of Machu Picchu. This circuit begins at the well-known fork in the access road to the Inca Llaqta of Machu Picchu. At this point, you will ascend to a platform that is no more than 240 meters high. From there you will have the first complete view of the Inca Citadel, and then you can continue to the ceremonial platform where the well-known Guardian’s Hut is located.
From there you will go down the path that leads to Puente del Inca. You will find a path that descends from the Sun Gate and goes to the urban sector of the Citadel. There you can see the main entrance or the Main Gate. The main portal would be the original entrance to the urban sector of Machu Picchu. From the urban sector, you will be able to see the other side of the citadel. The road continues until reaching the quarry area (Granitic Chaos). And if you continue along the road you will descend to a group of Inca buildings to continue to the Temple of the Sun. Then you can continue and admire the Casa del Inca, the Hall of Mirrors, and the Temple of the Condor.
View map below:
Circuit Number 2 (High Long Route)
This circuit is a long high route to appreciate the Inca Citadel. Circuit number 2 consists of the same route as number 1. This route is different in the sense that after the Temple of the Sun, you will choose to ascend the steps of the fountains. From there you will go to the Sacred Plaza to ascend to the Intihuatana pyramid. From the top of the pyramid, you will go down in the direction of the Sacred Rock. And from there it will continue on its way to open space. From there you will find the Three Gates, a set of buildings dedicated to the Inca elite. Please note that each site cannot be admired for more than 20 minutes.
So once finished you will continue to the Hall of Mirrors and the Temple of the Condor. Unlike circuit one, this tour includes the sites of the Sacred Plaza, the Intihuatana, Sacred Rock, and the Three Gates. This circuit is one of the best Machu Picchu tours available. Since it goes through the Inca citadel and its different sectors in depth.
View map below.
Circuit Number 3 (Short Low Route)
Available all Day Long
This circuit begins at the fork in the access road to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. But unlike circuits 1 and 2, this one considers the route that crosses the area of agricultural terraces to go directly to the urban sector. This circuit is the shortest circuit of the Inca citadel. You will start descending no more than 30 meters to access the warehouses (Colcas) and continue along the path that crosses the agricultural sector. There you will be able to appreciate the different agricultural terraces until you reach the Main Gate where you will enter the Urban Sector.
From that point, you will go to the Ceremonial Fountains and then continue south to enter the Temple of the Sun. If you continue you will get to know the Casa del Inka and then continue ascending the steps of the fountains. From this point, the circuit takes the same route as circuit 1.
Ticket Machu Picchu Mountain Hike!
The Machu Picchu Mountain ticket is now a separate ticket from the 4 circuit tickets. It is no longer included in circuit ticket #3.
Circuit Number 4
Purchased Mostly to Climb Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu Mountain
Circuit 4 comprises the same route as circuit 3 with the difference that it includes the Sacred Plaza, the Intihuatana, the Sacred Rock and surrounds the Three Gates, the Hall of Mirrors, and the Temple of the Condor. This section is the same as the one before with the difference that this route decides to ascend to the Sacred Plaza and continue a circuit similar to that of number 2. With the difference that it surrounds both the Sacred Plaza and the Intihuatana. This circuit is available in certain Machu Picchu tickets, such as in the case of the alternative routes of Huchuy Picchu and Huayna Picchu Mountain climb.
In the case of these two alternative additional climbs, it is an add on to circuit ticket #4 to be able to climb either of these and is an additional fee of $75 for either.
The new circuits for Machu Picchu have been updated on June 2022.