As the world navigates toward a new normal in all aspects of life, Peru is taking baby steps toward welcoming people back to one of its most famous and popular sites, the ancient city of Machu Picchu.
July 15 will see the gates reopen once again on the stunning Inca site, considered one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. However, with Covid-19 still a reality, a few additional policies and restrictions will be in place to ensure he health and safety of those travelers who can sit on their couch no longer.
Group sizes for tours of the site will be limited to 8, with a maximum capacity of 75 people per hour, a substantial reduction in capacity. Tickets to Machu Picchu will also be booked for the foreseeable future via an online system. A non-refundable deposit will also be required.
The buses that run from the valley floor town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town) and the ruins entrance will travel every 5 minutes with half of their seats empty. All visitors will have their temperatures taken on entry to the ruins, and masks will be mandatory, as will be keeping a 2 meter / 6 feet physical distance from others.
A number of sites within the Machu Picchu complex, including the Inca Bridge, Machu Picchu Mountain, Huayna Picchu, and the Sun Gate, are off limits for the foreseeable future as is the 4-day Traditional Inca Trail until the end of the 2020. The 2-day Baby Inca Trail will remain open as an alternative.
While the new conditions may seem harsh, they do offer visitors some substantial benefits besides keeping them safe. Visitors willing to accept restrictions will experience Machu Picchu in a way only a few have. Taking in the ruins without their usual crowds enhances the special – some would say spiritual – vibe felt at Machu Picchu.
For travellers who are comfortable adapting to the new normal, and foregoing a few of the traditional sights, Machu Picchu promises an unforgettable and safe travel experience accessible in the near future.