PERU

Cusco

16 November 2020

Machu Picchu Again Welcoming Visitors

Peru has reopened several Inca sites including its most popular, Machu Picchu

MACHU PICCHU, Peru’s most popular tourist destination, reopened 1 November 2020 after an eight-month shutdown due to covid-19. Used to receiving 1.5 million visitors a year, it has had its capacity reduced by 70 per cent to accommodate physical-distancing rules, limiting the number of daily sightseers to just 675, and no groups larger than eight. Everyone must have their temperature taken before entering and wear a mask throughout their visit.

Peru resumed welcoming a very limited number of international flights the end of September from countries including Spain, Chile, Brazil, Panama and the United States. Arriving visitors don’t need to quarantine if they’ve had a molecular test for covid-19 not more than 72 hours before checking in for their flight.

The appetite for visiting Peru right now may remain low, however. The Economist says that the country has the world’s third-worst (as a share of population) covid-19 mortality—more than 35,000 deaths. It is also in the midst of political upheaval that has brought demonstrations and fatalities in Lima and government turmoil. On the bright side, the Associated Press says that “tour operators are offering packages costing $250 to visit Machu Picchu, which before the pandemic would have cost at least $750.”

Machu Picchu was built by the Inca in the 15th century as a religious centre and to supply coca and maize for Inca nobles and priests at Cusco. Its stunning location, in the mountains 2,492 metres above the Rio Urubamba, along with its beautiful stone architecture and the fact that it remained hidden from the outside world until 1911 (the site only opened to the public in 1946) all ensure that, in normal times, the site is thronged by visitors.

Peru has also reopened several other Inca sites including Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Tipon, as well as the pre-Inca site Pikillacta. All are reasonably close to Cusco and follow safety protocols similar to Machu Picchu’s.

Machu Picchu is 73 kilometres northwest of Cusco, although the road or rail route is much longer: 230 kilometres, taking about 3 1/2 hours.

 

ACCESS

For more information on Machu Picchu visit its website at www.machupicchu.gob.pe.

For more information on travel in Peru visit the Peru Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism website at www.peru.travel.