Can you Hike Machu Picchu Without a Guide

can you hike machu picchu without a guide

Can you hike Machu Picchu without a guide? This is one question that visitors didn’t find the answer to before visiting Machu Pichu. But today I will clear this confusion once and for all for you. 

Can you hike Machu Picchu without a guide?

Yes, you can hike Machu Picchu without a guide if you choose the Salkantay trek. However, According to the new rules implemented on 1 July 2017 by the organization you can not hike Machu Picchu without a guide via the Inca trail as the guide is mandatory in Inca city to maintain discipline and to protect the sites.

Moreover, you do not need to hire a guide to Machu Picchu for alternative treks or routes like Huayna Picchu mountain and Machu Picchu mountain

Hike to Machu Pichu via Inca trail with a guide

If you are planning to hike the classic Inca trail then you have to hire a guide as he has the license and authority to get the permit. This became mandatory to protect the Archeological sites in Inca city. 

  • If you want to hike to Machu Picchu via the Inca trail, then you should book your guide in advance, as it’s hard to find the guide during May-August due to the rush. The ticket to hire a guide for Machu Picchu will cost you around $10 to $30 Or 30 sol. 
  • The only way to book or pay for a guide is online because of high demand no physical transactions are made. Similarly, you should book your ticket for the Inca Trail online in advance.
  • As guides can speak three languages like – English, Portuguese, and French, you can hire a private guide from a licensed agency that speaks your comfortable language. 
  • Hire a guide from the agency which is authorized by the UGM (Management Unit of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu)

The reason why the Inca trail is popular is that Along the way, you can also see other Inca archaeological sites such as Llactapata, Runkuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, and Wiñayhuayna.

Hike to Machu Pichu via Salkantay trek without a guide

If you are wishing to hike the Machu Picchu then it is mandatory to have a guide if you choose the Inca trail but not if you choose the Salkantay trek

If you choose to hike Machu Picchu via this route then you can carry your own food and tent. However, you can also stay at the guest house during your journey.

Both routes are unique in their own way and offer breathtaking views throughout the journey. But there is some difference between both the routes and if you are a serious hiker then you will be interested to know these. 

  • Inca trail offers different permits for different routes. However, most people choose the 4-day option which means you have to hike for 45 kilometers in total. There is also a 1 day Inca trail permit or also called 2 day Inca trail route. 
  • If you are a daring and rough hiker then you are going to choose the Salkantay trek as it is more incline, decent, rough, and you have to climb up more during this hike. This trek is 73 kilometers long and it takes 5 days to complete. 
  • The best thing about choosing a Salkantay trek is that there is no limit to permits and you don’t have to hire a guide to hike to Machu Picchu via this route. 

How much does it cost to Machu Picchu without a guide? 

If you are planning to hike a Machu Picchu without a guide via Salkantay trek then, you have to pay an entry ticket which is $500 per person in 2022.

  • The price includes the entrance to Machu Picchu, bus, train, food, guide, cooks, porters (carry luggage), and camping equipment. 
  • If you want better service then you have to pay extra for it.
  • The only way to buy an entrance ticket for Machu Picchu is online.
  • To buy an entrance ticket, search for authorized travel agencies online.


Salkantay trek tour 5 days

  • Ticket price: $500/person
  • $475 for college students below 25 years(Valid university card required)
  • $65 Huayna Picchu mountain entrance ticket per person
  • Additional charges for gear(tent – $25   , sleeping bag – $18 , poles – $8 , ) This may vary from agency to agency.
  • You can also book a guide for the Salkantay trek if you want to. 

How much does it cost to hike to Machu Picchu with a guide?

If you choose to hike to Machu Pichu then you can take any route from various routes i.e – Inca trail, short Inca trail, Salkantay trek.

Inca trail 4 days 

*Prices may vary according to time and agency

  • $620 Entrance fees 
  • $595 for college students below 25 years(Valid university card required)

Short Inca Trail (2 days)

  • $500 Entrance fees 
  • $475 for college students below 25 years(Valid university card required)

If you want to visit Huayna Picchu after Machu Picchu then add  $ 65 per person additional cost.

Cost to Hire a guide

Hiring a guide can cost you from $10 dollars to $30 dollars, depending on the size of the group. The maximum number of members one group can have is up to 16. The guided tour for one group can be between $50 to $110. The amount will be split between group members.

You also have to pay the guide tip at the end of your hike. It depends on you how much you want to tip a guide. A good guide can be worth up to $20 while a bad guide can get up to $3 or $2. A tip is mandatory to pay at the end.

–Here is A complete guide and journey to Machu Picchu – Hike to Machu Picchu–

Important things to carry when visiting Machu Picchu

Important documents that you need while visiting Machu Picchu. You can be asked to show these at different checkpoints.

  • Original passport is required 
  • ISIC international student card

Things you should not take to Machu Picchu 

  • Selfie stick – yes selfie stick is prohibited in Machu Picchu because according to the authorities they cause disruption to other visitors. However, you can take selfies with your hand on your mobile. 
  • Pets – do you hike with your pets? If yes, then you should know that bringing pets to Inca city is prohibited. If you do bring them with you, then you can leave them in the hotel. 
  • Plastic containers or bottles- plastic bottles or containers are also prohibited in this wonder as it is harmful to the environment. 
  • Smoking- you can not smoke while you are in this wonder. 

Following rules and regulations are very important when you are in Machu as one may get expelled or can get a life ban from this wonder. If any person breaks the rules or hurts the sentiments of the place and other people then this can also lead to legal actions.

There are security and cameras everywhere in this wonder, and one must follow the rules. You can enjoy and freely explore the place by obeying and respecting the rules. 

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Is it better to hike without a guide? 

It depends from person to person, some people like hiking with a guide as you get a lot of time and knowledge to gain from. However, this is not for all, as some people don’t have time or money to pay extra for the guide. So, it’s one’s personal preference, choose whatever suits you. 

Can you hike Machu Picchu in one day? 

Yes, it is possible to hike Machu Picchu in one day via a one-day Inca trail trek, which is a 13-kilometer hike and can be conquered in one day. However, there are limited permits that are issued to visitors every day i.e 250. The highlights of this hike will be sun gate, Wiñay Wayna Inca ruins, Inca city, and Machu Picchu.

On the other hand, to reach Machu Picchu via the classic Inca Trail, which is 45 kilometers long, takes 4 days and 3 nights

Besides that, there are other easy and quick ways to reach Machu Picchu. However, these are best if you only wish to see the end destination instead of hiking your way up. 

The first is to take a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes( it is a village at the base of Machu Picchu). If you want to enjoy the view of the sacred valleys of Inca in a limited time, then book your train ticket online in advance. 

Book your ticket on Inca rail Or Peru rail websites. These are the only two valid ways to book your train ticket to Machu Picchu. It’s best to book your ticket as early as possible as they remain high in demand. 

After taking the train from Cusco station, the train will leave you at Aguas, from where you have to take a bus to take Machu Picchu. It hardly takes 30 minutes to reach there. 

If you wish to hike, then avoid the bus and hike to Machu Picchu. The alternative is to take the bus and hike back down when your return.