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Machu Picchu, the fascinating structure created by the Inca Empire in Peru, South America, attracts travelers from all over the world.
This Inca citadel was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and is one of the most iconic monuments in South America. Nevertheless, travelers should carefully study the local rules before visiting.
A few months ago, the Peruvian authorities reopened access to tourists without any restrictions related to COVID-19, but with a daily limit on the number of tourists still in place since 2019.
The The Peruvian Ministry of Culture comes announcement the increase in the number of visitors per day because tickets until mid-August were already sold out. The number rose from 4,044 visitors per day to 5,044.
The visitor limit had already been increased just a few days ago, on July 17, from 3,044 to 4,044. But that was not enough for the current demand. The decision for a second expansion this month was made after more than 800 tourists were denied access at Machu Picchu and about 1,000 tourists and locals protested.
According to local authorities, this expansion should not affect the preservation of the Peruvian Historic Sanctuary and they shared a statement on Facebook: “This decision has taken into consideration the conservation of the property to avoid irreparable damage that compromises its outstanding universal value, following to the recommendations that UNESCO addresses to the Peruvian State.
Entry limit to Machu Picchu
The decision to adopt an admission capacity was made to protect the environment and historic structures.
The “Lost City of the Incas”, as Machu Picchu is also known, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2007 and its popularity has only increased in recent years. Local authorities are concerned about damage caused by visitors and over-tourism.
In 2019, when the new entry limit measure started, the daily limit was 2,500 tourists. The number has continued to increase since to adapt to the needs of visitors.
Yet tourists have snuck past security or damaged structures — as a few Argentine, Brazilian, Chilean and French tourists have done in 2020 — and even been kicked out of Peru.
During the pandemic, fewer travelers visited Machu Picchu, but now that travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels, The Peruvian authorities must negotiate and satisfy the request while protecting their sanctuary.
Concerns about overtourism have been reported around the world. Other destinations like Venice in Italy and natural landmarks like the Diamond Head State Monument in Hawaii are also restricting entry for tourists.
What travelers need to know
Those interested in visiting Machu Picchu should take precautions and consider local rules and conditions. Here are some recommendations and relevant information for travelers:
- Book your ticket online as soon as possible. Be careful, there are fraudulent pages, opt for the official site.
- Each basic adult ticket costs 152 soles, or approximately US$38 (prices change depending on tour options selected and currency fluctuations). Children and students pay less.
- Watch out for altitude sickness. Machu Picchu is located at 7,970 feet, on a high mountain. Travelers can get sick if they don’t ascend gradually. The CDC has relevant official information for travelers to read.
- Plan your route. Transportation is limited, there are three main ways to access the Inca Citadel: the Inca Trail, train, and hydro. Travelers should take into account their physical conditions, especially for the Inca Trail and the hydroelectric alternative, and also prepare their luggage accordingly.
- Consider the best times to travel. According to traveler recommendations, the best time to visit Machu Picchu is from April to October, when it is generally dry and clear, although crowded in July and August. In January and February, it usually rains and travelers may not be allowed to visit the shrine.
- Bring appropriate clothing and water. The best strategy is to bring light layers and also a rain jacket, even if it looks sunny, the weather changes frequently. Sun protection is also highly recommended.
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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions may change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes to travel conditions before travelling. Travel Off Path does not approve travel against government advice
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