Machu Picchu reopens to tourists


Cédrick Martineau

Machu Picchu reopened on February 15th after anti-government protesters led the authorities to evacuate the site.

They reopened Machu Picchu, after almost a month of closure, it came after an agreement between tourist businesses, authorities and community leaders to make sure that the historical site and the transport services were secure. The timing of the reopening was perfect for people of Argentina on their summer vacation. “We had it all organized,” said a woman on the site, who did not want to give her name. “We were really worried that we wouldn’t be able to come. We arrived in Cusco on February 13, and they opened on February 15. It was a nice surprise.”

In December, about 400 tourists were stuck in Machu Picchu, because the train that traveled to the historical site was suspended. The local and international governments worked to evacuate the tourist from Machu Picchu, some were even evacuated by helicopters, because PeruRail, the company that operates the train to Machu Picchu, said that protesters had blocked and damaged the railroad.

The unexpected closure of Machu Picchu created a huge loss of money for Peru. “The significance of this reopening cannot be overstated—tourism industry losses are expected to exceed $400 million according to the latest government data, with Lima, Cusco, Puno and Arequipa among the most impacted regions,” says Fernando Rodriguez, general manager for global adventure outfit Intrepid Travel.