Tourists stranded at Machu Picchu amid Peru protests

Tourists stranded at Machu Picchu amid Peru protests

Around 800 tourists are currently stuck at the Peruvian archaeological site of Machu Picchu, after political protest in the country cause train services to be suspended.

The political unrest, which started last week after president Castillo was ousted, has caused the sole, 70-mile train link between the city of Cusco and Machu Picchu’s nearest station, Aguas Calientes, to be halted.

Some of the stranded visitors are thought to be British citizens.

Local operator PeruRail released a statement on Tuesday (13 December) saying the rail link had been paused.

“We regret the inconvenience that these announcements generate for our passengers; however, they are due to situations beyond the control of our company and seek to prioritize the safety of passengers and workers,” it read.

Meanwhile, some tourists in the Aguas Calientes area told The Telegraph that they were stuck, with some hotels starting to ration out supplies.

“Our hotel informed us that they’re going to cut back on food supplies and offer just eggs and coffee until supplies come to town because the markets are running low,” one visitor, Diane Thao, told reporters.

“I’m with my kids. For me, it’s a problem,” Israeli tourist Gale Dut told the newspaper.

A Belgian tourist named Walter told reporters it was “not clear” how he would get back to Cusco to catch a flight back to the capital of Lima.

The Foreign Office confirmed that it is providing consular assistance to some holidaymakers currently in Peru.

On Wednesday, Peru’s new government declared a 30-day state of emergency, limiting freedom of movement in the country, and yesterday imposed overnight curfews on 15 provinces, including Cusco, for a period of five days.

Adventure tour operator Intrepid confirmed it has cancelled all tours to Peru until 7 January 2023.

“Intrepid Travel has cancelled all its trips in Peru until 7 January 2023 due to the ongoing political instability and protests in the country,” it said in a statement.

“This decision was made with the safety and security of customers and tour leaders in mind, as there have been instances of violent protests as well as widespread disruption to services.

“Intrepid operates trips in a number of destinations in Peru, including Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, which are both currently closed.

“The company is supporting all customers who are currently in Peru to travel onwards to their next destination as soon as possible.”

It said customers who are due to travel in the coming days have been advised of the cancellation and have been offered the option of either a full refund or credit to use towards future travel.

A spokesperson for South America specialist Journey Latin America told The Independent: “Following Peru’s recent protests caused by the ousting of former President Pedro Castillo, Journey Latin America is in touch with all their clients who are due to travel to Peru imminently and can confirm that we have no passengers at Machu Picchu.

“We hope that the five-day curfew imposed in eight provinces including Cusco today will settle the situation and enable transport services, of which some have been temporarily suspended, to resume as normal.

“The situation in Peru is fast evolving and we are closely monitoring developments as well as the FCDO’s advice.”

Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan citadel reached by a rigorous trekking route, is served by trains from the Peruvian city of Cusco. Once at Aguas Calientes, visitors can choose to take a bus or hike up to the popular site.

The Independent has approached the Foreign Office and Peru Tourism for further comment.