Free Admission to Machu Picchu? Here are the Facts

As we enter week 9 of Peru’s state of emergency, there finally does appear to be some end in sight.  The most recent quarantine extension will last through May 24th and it is expected to be lifted this time in a phased approach. 

While there has not been any communication about what the phased approach will look like, President Vizcarra did pass a legislative decree on May 11th stating that entrance to Machu Picchu and 54 other national parks and landmarks will be open to the public again beginning July 1, 2020.   The decree also stated that from July 1 to December 31, 2020, there will be free admission to all of those sites for children (under 18), senior citizens (over 60), and any public servants.  The free admission applies to both Peruvians and foreigners.

If you’re able to get down to Peru this year or the quarantine has forced you to stay here until after July 1st, this would be a great opportunity for you and your family to take advantage of the free admission.  Here is a list of all the sites included:

1Chavín Archaeological SiteAncash
2Nazca lines and geoglyphsIca
3National Museum of Peruvian CultureLima
4Royal Tombs of Sipán MuseumLambayeque
5Bruning National Archaeological MuseumLambayeque
6National Museum of SicánLambayeque
7Huaca Ventarrón Archaeological MonumentLambayeque
8Chan Chan archaeological complexLa Libertad
9Huacas del Sol y Luna Archaeological Complex – MocheLa Libertad
10Huaca el Brujo Archaeological ComplexLa Libertad
11Exhibition Hall “Gilberto Tenorio Ruiz”Amazonas
12Kuélap Archaeological MonumentAmazonas
13Ancash Archaeological Museum “Augusto Soriano Infante”Ancash
14Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and Natural History of Ranrairca – YungayAncash
15Anthropological Archaeological Museum of ApurímacApurímac
16Regional Historical Museum “Hipólito Unanue”Ayacucho
17Quinoa Site MuseumAyacucho
18Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum of the Monumental Ensemble of BelénCajamarca
19Regional Museum “Daniel Hernández Murillo”Huancavelica
twentyArchaeological Museum and Inka Palace “Samuel Humberto Espinoza Lozano de Huaytara”Huancavelica
twenty-oneRegional Museum of Ica “Adolfo Bermudez Jenkins”Ica
22Julio C. Tello de Paracas Site MuseumIca
2. 3Junín Regional Museum (Chupaca)Junin
24Loreto Amazon MuseumLoreto
25Gold Room of the Municipal Museum of VicúsPiura
26Sillustani Archaeological MonumentPuno
27Juli “Our Lady of Asunción” Temple MuseumPuno
28Departmental Museum of San MartínSan Martin
29Tacna Regional Historical MuseumTacna
30Site Museum of Las PeañasTacna
31Archaeological Zone and Site Museum Jiménez BorjaLima
32Cumbe Mayo Archaeological MonumentCajamarca
33Huallamarca Archaeological Complex and Site MuseumLima
3. 4Kotosh Monumental Archaeological Zone: Hands Crossed Temple, Temple of the Nichitos, White TempleHuánuco
35Pachacámac Archaeological Monument and Site MuseumLima
36Mateo Salado Archaeological ComplexLima
37Caral-Supe Archaeological Monument, World HeritageLima
38Aspero Archaeological MonumentLima
39Vichama Archaeological MonumentLima
40Wari Archaeological Site and Site MuseumAyacucho
41Huaca Rajada Archaeological MonumentLambayeque
42Túcume Archaeological Monument Route A and BLambayeque
43Chotuna Archaeological Monument – ChornancapLambayeque
44Tipon Archaeological ParkCUSCO
Four. FivePikillacta Archaeological ParkCUSCO
46Ollantaytambo Archaeological ParkCUSCO
47Pisaq Archaeological ParkCUSCO
48Chinchero Archaeological ParkCUSCO
49Moray Archaeological ParkCUSCO
fiftySaqsayhuaman Archaeological ParkCUSCO
51Qenqo Archaeological SiteCUSCO
52Puka Pukara Archaeological SiteCUSCO
53Tambomachay Archaeological SiteCUSCO
54Regional Site MuseumCUSCO
55Machupicchu Archaeological Park, Inka Trail network and Machu Picchu “Manuel Chávez Ballón” Site Museum CUSCOCUSCO

Please contact us to help with any arrangements when we’re able to start making plans again.  Our staff is ready and willing to take you anywhere you want to go!

Closed Borders in Peru – What’s Happening?

So do you all remember that blog post I wrote in early March saying the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t hit South America and it was really nothing to worry about…..


On March 15th, with only 70 known cases of COVID-19 in the whole country, President Martin Vizcarra went on TV at 8pm and declared that a State of Emergency would be going into effect at 11:59pm the next day (27 hours later..).  We didn’t realize it at the moment he was speaking, but this State of Emergency meant Peru would be closing not only all restaurants, stores, and tourist attractions, but also all domestic and international land, sea, and air borders.  Wherever you found yourself at 11:59pm on March 16th was where you were going to stay for the next 15 days.

Thousands of Americans and citizens of other countries could not get home.  Thousands of Peruvians both inside Peru and in other countries around the world could not get home.  With very little warning, President Vizcarra trapped us all in an effort to try and keep us safe from this growing pandemic.  And when the first 15 days didn’t have the desired effect, he extended the quarantine for 2 more weeks – through April 12th

For right now, things are very strict, but overall it’s not horrible.  I know there are definitely exceptions, but in general, there still seems to be plenty of food and water in most locations and the locals are friendly enough to try to help as much as they can.  The USA and other countries were able to bring in repatriation flights and get a lot of people home to their families.  For the rest of us, we

  • Can only shop at grocery stores and pharmacies;
  • Cannot leave our homes without a mask and gloves;
  • Can only send one family member to the store at a time;
  • Must stagger our shopping trips – only men are allowed out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; only women are allowed out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  No one leaves the house on Sundays;
  • Cannot be outside the house between 6pm and 5am;
  • Have very limited access to local transportation – you must have a government issued permit to drive a car or take a taxi or the public bus.

It’s not an ideal situation here right now, but at First Step Expeditions, our hope is that people will not allow this to taint the image of Peru going forward.  While many of us don’t like the circumstances, the fact is that it’s working.  Peru may still have just over 2000 positive COVID cases and close to 100 deaths at this point, but with a population of 32 million people, imagine what that number would be if they hadn’t taken these steps.  This is a country with far less medical infrastructure than the US or the EU, so things could be much, much worse.

If you had to cancel your travel plans as a result of this situation, please know we will do everything we can to transfer your tickets and reservations to another date between now and 2022.  We’re committed to restoring the image of Peru and making people feel comfortable coming here again to have the amazing experiences we have been showing other tourists for years.  For the safety of our staff and customers, we’ve stopped selling trips until June 15th, but feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions about your current reservations or any reservations you want to potentially make in the future. 

We’re doing our best to keep the wanderlust alive and hope you stay safe and healthy enough to join us in the future.

Impact of Coronavirus on Your Trip to Peru

Just like the rest of the world, we have been keeping a close eye on the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the short answer to this question is: it shouldn’t.

With a lot of luck, South America as a whole has been largely unimpacted by the spread of the disease.  Currently there has only been one positive case discovered in Peru (knock on wood) and only a few in the following countries as of March 6, 2020:

  • Peru – 1
  • Brazil – 8
  • Argentina – 2
  • Chile – 5
  • Ecuador – 13
  • French Guiana – 5
  • All other countries in SA – 0

How to Stay Safe from COVID-19 (in General)

So far, ZERO of the confirmed cases in South America have resulted in death, but please frequently check the PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) and WHO (World Health Organization) websites for up to date travel and safety information and follow their guidelines.  They currently recommend:

  • Frequently washing hands with soap and water or using antibacterial hand sanitizer;
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing;
  • Maintaining at least 1 meter (3 feet) of distance between yourself and anyone else coughing or sneezing;
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • Seeking medical attention early if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

What to expect when you get to Peru:

  • Plan to spend a little extra time at airports both in Peru and in your home country.  You may get asked a few more questions at the border than you would normally expect about where you’ve been traveling and how you are feeling;
  • Don’t be alarmed if you see people walking around with medical masks or if officials come up to you and ask you questions about where you’ve been or your general health;
  • If you are traveling to Machu Picchu, please be aware that officials may perform a wellness check at the Ollantaytambo train station before boarding;
  • If you do feel a fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing, please let your guide or an official know right away so they can direct you to a designated health care location where you can be tested and treated.

Overall, there shouldn’t be a significant concern for those of you planning to travel to South America in the near future.  With the limited number of reported cases of COVID-19 and the precautions the countries are taking to help prevent the spread of the disease in South America and throughout the world, you should feel comfortable taking your trip here as planned.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult with your health care provider, and regularly check the WHO and PAHO websites and/or the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website for more information.