LIMA – Authorities in Peru are mulling to enhance visitor access to one of the world’s most revered and photographed attractions, according to TravelPulse.
The Inca citadel at Machu Picchu – a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates from 15th century and originated as an estate for the Incan emperor Pachacuti – may now be visited twice daily. Visitors can enter the historic sanctuary during two visiting hour periods: from 6 a.m. to noon and from noon to 5:30 p.m.
Machu Picchu attracted 1,301,856 international visitors in 2017, receiving more than 100,000 in eight of 12 months. U.S. visitors accounted for 242,000 of the tickets sold at the historic mountaintop attraction: a three percent increase over 2016.
To decongest the crowds, the government has enacted several rules that it will test out and tweak through next July. For instance, visitors can no longer linger at the citadel from sunup to sundown but must choose one of two entry periods – 6 am to noon or noon to 5:30 pm – and depart at the stated time. However, if they wish to visit for the whole day, they can purchase a morning and afternoon ticket for $US70 ($A89) each.
Meanwhile, adventurers who bought a combo ticket for Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountain or Machu Picchu mountain can enter between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. or 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. They must complete the trek in four hours or less.
As per the resolution, tourists must be accompanied by a certified guide, who can lead no more than 16 participants. (Guests returning in the afternoon or the following day do not need an escort as long as they possess a ticket stub from their first guided visit.)
The changes will also ensure Machu Picchu “does not make the list as an endangered UNESCO site,” said officials of PromPeru, a government organization responsible for promoting travel to Peru internationally, in a late January statement.
Mach Picchu, located along what is Peru’s Urubamba Valley, is popularly known as the “Sacred Valley.”
Following arrival in Cusco, visitors can take a luxury train to the Aguas Calientes district, from where it’s a short bus ride to the foot of the mountain and up the spiraling road to the Machu Picchu site. Generations of hiking and adventure enthusiasts have opted to journey to the site via following the Inca Trail, which roams along the lush hills of the picturesque Urubamba Valley.