Thrillingly positioned in the jungle-clad mountain region of the Eastern Cordillera in south Peru, Machu Picchu is, at 2,430m high, one of the seven wonders of the modern world.
However many photos, programmes or promotions you have seen, nothing quite prepares you for the magnificence of its setting, with its wedding-cake stack of giant terracing.
It’s a genuine highlight on anyone’s trip to Latin America, but this extraordinary 15th century Inca site is seriously in need of protection. Despite its remote location at the end of the Sacred Valley – travellers can only access the site by foot (Inca Trail), or rail (PeruRail) – the number of tourists has grown from 100,000 a year in the 1980s to over 1.5 million a year today.
This phenomenal increase has potentially devastating consequences.
In order to safeguard its future the local authorities, charged with addressing a sustainable programme of development, have had to step in with a new mandate for visitors. This has happened in many other destinations suffering from over-tourism, as highlighted in previous blogs of mine focusing on travel industry changes i.e. ‘One Billion Tourists’ – ‘Tourism Availability’ – ‘Tourism Changes’.
The new set of regulations limits visitor numbers and keeps them to time slots of maximum four hours, in a bid to keep the guest experience as magical as possible without burdening the site with too many tourists at one time.
For further details please do see our website link, which highlights our ground supplier’s 28 page document explaining the up-to-date entry regulations: times (max 4 hours); schedules (10 different options); differing circuits (1, 2 or 3); Do’s & Don’ts (no selfie sticks or drones); Huayna Picchu (pre-bookable time slots); FAQs; and kit suggestions.
We welcome this change, on the understanding that it will allow Machu Picchu to remain high on the list of any well-to-do traveller. At Nomadic Thoughts we have delighted in sending clients to this UNESCO World Heritage site for over three decades.
This most historic of Inca citadels, and its flora and fauna, should hugely benefit from the protection of these new regulations, and remain as impressive and rich in delights in the future as it has been over the centuries.
As highlighted in a previous blog of mine ‘The Orchids of Macha Picchu’, you are in for a host of surprises.