What is the best time of day to visit Machu Picchu?

best time of day to visit machu picchu

The ruins of Machu Picchu sanctuary is the tourist site that tops the list of the best attractions in the world and Peru. And when it comes to knowing this amazing place, it is normal to wonder what is the best time of day to visit Machu Picchu.

So, if you are planning your trip to Peru, especially to Cusco and the ruins of Machu Picchu, then you should know what time of day is the most ideal to make your visit one of the most unforgettable.

What to know before visiting these Inca archaeological ruins?

First of all, it is important to take into account that you must obtain your entrance ticket to Machu Picchu at least one month in advance. In case you wish to visit in a busy season (from June to September), it is recommended to make the purchase at least 3 months in advance.

On the other hand, tickets are sold for specific times: in the morning and in the afternoon. The option you choose will depend on your interests. Of course, each schedule has its advantages and disadvantages, which we will discuss below.

So, if you only want to visit the sanctuary, the schedules are as follows:

  • Morning hours: 06:00 am to 12:00 pm.
  • Afternoon hours: 12:00 pm to 17:30 pm.

At each of these times, the sanctuary receives a maximum of 5,000 people per day.

You can also purchase tickets to visit Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountain (2,720 m.a.s.l.), which is located just in front of the citadel and offers a very attractive view of the surrounding area.

In fact, it is a perfect place to take breathtaking pictures of the ruins and the lush plant kingdom that surrounds it (it will leave you speechless!). Without a doubt, it is a great opportunity to get amazing shots to take as a souvenir of your visit.

Therefore, the schedules to visit both mountains are:

  • First Group: 07:00 am to 08:00 am
  • Second Group: 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

It should be noted that this modality allows up to 400 people per day.

When is the best time to book the Machu Picchu climb?

Now, the trip to the sanctuary lasts approximately 3 hours, in either of the two schedules: the morning from 6 am or the afternoon schedule. So, let’s see now what are the advantages and disadvantages of each schedule. At the end, we will give you our recommendations.

Visiting Machu Picchu in the morning


  • Admission is from 6 in the morning, so it is the perfect time if you want to see the sunrise from the ruins, and take pictures of great beauty.
  • You will be among the first people to visit Machu Picchu that day.
  • There are more crowds of people than in the afternoon, so you can walk in the citadel and the mountain with less freedom. This also happens because many people include other stops in their tour, such as the visit to the Huayna Picchu mountain and the museum.
  • You have time to visit the town of Aguas Calientes in the afternoon, or to do other activities after visiting the archaeological ruins.


  • Midday is the busiest time for travelers, so getting down from the citadel may take some time and effort.

Visiting Machu Picchu in the afternoon


  • Watching the sunset over the citadel and the mountain is as beautiful as the sunrise. You will also be able to take incredible photos of this magical moment after 2:00 pm, since the mountain is clear of clouds and fog.
  • Although the visit is in the afternoon, you have plenty of time to return to your hotel early. You can even schedule other visits in the morning.


  • Although admission is at 12 noon, it is advisable to arrive an hour earlier.

Which schedule to choose?

As we can see, there are different benefits in each schedule to climb the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Undoubtedly, both have advantages that we would not want to miss. However, when it comes to getting the most out of the day, it is best to make a firm decision.

In this sense, we believe that the best time to visit Machu Picchu in the morning is at 9 am, and in the afternoon, at 2pm. In the first, you will contemplate a beautiful sunrise and you can make the most of your day to get to know the surroundings, and in the second, you will have better light for your photos with an equally spectacular sunset.

However, the sunrise is a beauty, even with a lot of fog, but so is the sunset. Without a doubt, we believe that the experience is equally amazing and will remain forever etched in your memory. In this case, your decision will depend on your preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions travelers have when traveling to Machu Picchu.

Can I stay all day in the ruins?

Of course, as long as you buy two tickets: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. In case you have purchased for only one part of the day, you will only be able to stay at the site for about 4 hours after your arrival.

Another way to increase your time in Machu Picchu is to purchase a ticket for some of the additional areas, such as Huayna Picchu mountain or Huchuy Picchu mountain. Even to visit the museum.

Is the Tourist Guide service mandatory?

Yes, the maximum number of people in a group is 16. In addition, the tour has an average duration of 2 hours. You can also go up on foot or by bus to the sanctuary gate. If you want to walk to Machu Picchu, we recommend you to do it in the afternoon.

Final words

There is no doubt that Machu Picchu is one of the most famous tourist sites in the world, and will remain so for a long time to come. The experience of walking through its mountains and wandering around the citadel is an out-of-this-world experience!

Therefore, no matter what time you decide to go, this moment will not change the result. However, if you want to take beautiful souvenir photos, we recommend you to take advantage of the afternoon light. But if you want to enjoy a dreamy sunrise, then the morning may be the best time for you. Take advantage of every minute!