|By Laurel Thompson, Kuoda Travel|
Tag Archive: Machupicchu
|By Rachel Parkinson, Kuoda Travel|
It has been announced that the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu will again be open to national and international tourism on April 1, 2010. The Peruvian Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Martin Perez said “We hope that from April 1st to begin receiving again the millions of tourists who have always come.”
Yesterday, February 23rd, FTSA (Ferrocarril Transandino S.A.) released information regarding the progress of the repairs on the railway. They stated that significant progress has already been made on the railway from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, and there are eight teams working simultaneously on all sections which have been damaged on the route. Among the repairs which are being made, there has been significant progress from Km 82 in Piscacucho and onwards to Aguas Calientes. The progress has been mainly in rebuilding the embankment from the railway to the river with fortified stone walls, and in many places the rail has been moved several feet towards the side of the hill to avoid damages in the future.
At this point there is a total of just 10 kilometers of rail which needs to be repaired and/or moved in the section between Piscacucho in the Sacred Valley, and Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu pueblo). Given the rate of current progress this stretch of rail will be completed before April 1st. With this route completed, tourists will be able to reach Machu Picchu by taking a bus or car from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Piscacucho, approximately 2 hours from Cusco, ½ hour from Ollantaytambo, and the regular train from there to Aguas Calientes. The route from the hydroelectric station (km 122) to Aguas Calientes (km 110) has already been completed and is currently under observation.
It should be noted that the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu itself has, in fact, not been affected by the extremely heavy rain fall this year, and is still in perfect condition thanks to the hydraulic ingenuity of the Incas. The other archaeological sites in Cusco have also not been damaged, including Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, Maras, Moray, Ollantaytambo, and many more. The Inca Trail as well has not suffered any major damages, but is closed annually in February for repairs and clean-up. The Inca Trail will re-open this year with Machu Picchu on April 1st.
Along with the progress which has been made on the Cusco-Machu Picchu route, repairs have been also been completed on the Cusco-Puno route, and regular tourist service resumed on Monday February 22nd. All repairs on both routes are being made as quickly as possible, with a focus on quality and more stringent safety standards.
Kuoda Travel will begin operating private tours to Machu Picchu on April 1st again as usual, and clients with trips booked in April and later this year should not be concerned about the status of their vacation. In a number of weeks Cusco will return to normal, again as one of the top destinations for archaeology and ecology in South America.