Stranded at the foot of the Inca City

Stranded at the foot of the Inca City

Dhe dream of visiting the world famous Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru has turned into a nightmare for many tourists in recent weeks. Reason: You are traveling to the region but do not have a ticket to visit the 15th-century citadel. The tickets for the coming weeks are already sold out – and nobody will be allowed up without a ticket. The tourists’ disappointment turns to frustration. There have been repeated protests in recent weeks, including in the past few days, when the rush was particularly great because of two public holidays in Peru on Thursday and Friday.

In the small town of Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu, visitors spent the night on the streets and in front of the office of the Directorate of Culture on Monday to get tickets. Dozens of tourists of different ages and backgrounds took to the streets to protest. On Wednesday, an angry group even blocked the railway line that runs from the city of Cusco to Machu Picchu. The Independence Day celebrations had to be canceled in the district because of the protests.

No last minute destination

Many tourists arrive without tickets. Others report scams: they were sold or promised tickets. Upon arrival in Cusco or Aguas Calientes, you will be made aware that there is no reservation or other way to get a ticket. Local authorities report that several hundred tourists arrive daily without tickets. Cusco tourism agencies point out that Machu Picchu is not a last-minute destination and must be well organized. Tourists without tickets should not arrive.

In order to protect the Inca ruins, which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, only a limited number of visitors are admitted each day. Tickets are usually fully booked weeks in advance, especially in high season when many tourists arrive from Europe. According to the Ministry of Culture, the entries are currently fully booked until mid-August. In view of the extraordinary rush during the holiday week and the recent protests, the authorities have now increased the number of visitors allowed from a good 4,000 to 5,000 per day “exceptionally”. The number of visitors allowed had already been increased by a thousand people per day in mid-July.

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