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My wife and I just got back from Peru, and with 7 days in the Sacred Valley one of the things that we did was visit the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site – Machu Picchu.

(SEE ALSO: How to buy Machu Picchu train tickets)

Two new Machu Picchu restrictions

When we went last month, buying Machu Picchu tickets allowed you to visit Machu Picchu for an entire today.  You need a separate ticket if you want to hike Huayna Picchu, but a Machu Picchu ticket allowed access the entire day.

Now according to the Washington Post, Peru is limiting visitors to one of two different timeframes to visit. 3600 people will be allowed to visit in the morning (6 am to noon) with an additional 2700 in the afternoon.  If you want to stay the whole day, then you will be required to buy two tickets.

The other restriction is that people will no longer be allowed to explore Machu Picchu on your own – all visitors will be required to hire a guide and follow the prescribed paths (no more exploring on your own).  Guides must be licensed and can only take groups of a maximum of 16 people.  I don’t know if there will be guides that will allow hikes up to the Sun Gate (Intipunku) – that’s a 45 minute hike up to an amazing vista

These recommendations are being done per recommendations by UNESCO and a US archaeologist in an attempt to conserve the site and start on July 1st.

We did not hire a guide to take us around, and it’s not clear to me how that will be organized.  Seems like it would be fairly easy to “accidentally” lose your guide if you didn’t want to be with them, though I guess if you’ve already paid for them, you might as well let them

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