Every few years a news-story appears, outlining how Peruvian officials are going to change the rules for visitors to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. The officials have had to limit the number of visitors to the site, insist that only registered trekking companies be allowed to operate on the Inca Trail, and limit the number of Inca Trail hikers per day. Generally the changes are positive, and are meant to help preserve the site and the trail, and improve the visitor experience.
However, as the site becomes more popular, there are more and more people bending, or outright breaking, the rules. For example, there is a clearly defined circuit at Machu Picchu, and although not marked as such, most people go with the flow of traffic. Some guides take their groups against the flow. This causes delays and can really restrict the flow of traffic. The administrators at Machu Picchu Archaeological Park ask that group sizes be limited to 20 people, but some groups go in with 30 or 40 people. If you are a small group of 4 people waiting behind a group of 40, your experience is sadly not going to be as good as it could be.
A very recent example of some people really taking matters into their own hands involves two Canadians caught streaking through Machu Picchu in March, 2014. The pair were chased down, arrested and detained for a while, and later released. No harm done right?
*Read Globe and Mail news article
Wrong. It would seem that the streaking fad has been around for a while, and the Peruvian authorities can bare it no longer! The Ministry of Culture in Cusco have outlined new rules in a draft proposal that is currently being reviewed by Peruvian tourism organizations. The rules would control tourists’ movements and time at the site, force tourists to hire an official guide to enter the park, and (even more) officially limit the number of visitors to 20 per group. The steaking fad seems to have been the tipping point for the Peruvian officials, as the new rules are expected to be implemented within a few months.
Read Peruvian Times news article
The new rules, if they take effect at all, will probably take longer that a few months to be implemented. However, if these changes do come about, any Machu Picchu experience will be very different than it is right now. For travellers considering a trip to Machu Picchu in the next little while, we are advising travel agents to encourage them to book sooner than later, as we anticipate some travellers Machu Picchu plans will be affected by this very soon. And while it can sometimes be awkard, we’ve decided we better start recommending travellers keep their clothes on!