At the end of 2022, Peru was hit with a political crisis, when the then-president, Pedro Castillo, attempted to dissolve Congress before it could hold a vote on whether to impeach him. Congress defied the president and proceeded with his impeachment, removing Mr. Castillo from office and swearing in his vice-president, Dina Boluarte, as the country's new leader. violent protests erupted across Peru, triggering road, rail, and airport closures throughout the country. Machu Picchu reopened to tourists on the 12th of February after a temporary closure, but parts of the country remain in a state of emergency. If you have an upcoming trip or plan to book a holiday to Peru in the near future, here’s what you need to know.
Machu Picchu reopened to tourists on the 12th of February and rail and flight links (to Cusco) have also been restored. However, Peru Rail, which operates the Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu train began running their regular services on the 20th of February. The Unesco site was temporarily closed at the beginning of 2023 due to protests. It followed a series of violent protests at the end of 2022 that resulted in damage to train tracks and blocked roads. Today Machu Picchu has reopened and all train services are once again normal. The protests in Cusco, Peru are no longer happening as the government refused to back down from the protestors and followed the democratic process of instating the vice president in the absence of President Castillo.
As a result of the protests, there are a lot fewer visitors traveling to Peru due to the fear that their travel plans may be affected by the Peru demonstrations or they may become caught up in violent protests. Now that the protests have died down and the country is getting back to normal, this is actually the perfect time to travel to this remarkable country. The “wonder of the world” Machu Picchu is seeing a lot fewer visitors currently, meaning that you can have the Inca archaeological site, almost to yourself, or at least with a lot fewer tour groups. Now, how many people can say that? This also means that the best train times are also available and the hotels are offering special deals in Aguas Calientes for your stay.
It is a good idea to allow some free days in your itinerary should any protests occur. Protests must now be planned ahead of time, giving travel agents plenty of time to rearrange schedules and travel plans should it be deemed necessary. A few extra days in your itinerary will allow for these changes, and the worst-case scenario is that you will have additional days to spend in this incredible country!
Make sure that if you are booking a trip to Peru, you have comprehensive travel insurance, that covers you for any civil unrest that may affect your travel plans.
Also, check with your Travel Agency that they will assist you in the case of being able to take part in an activity as a result of the protests. Any respectable Travel Agency will do everything it can to rearrange your travel plans in the event that the protests in Cusco, Peru re-emerge.
Please remember that the Machu Picchu protests and protests in Peru, in general, were never directed at tourists specifically and that people were protesting against the government, by trying to disrupt tourism. In this way, they will generally be taken more seriously by the authorities.
It is important to remember that there have now not been any protests for over a month and the general current state of play is that things have returned to normal in the country.