Machu Picchu Is Officially Reopening to Visitors This Week

The famed ruins will be welcoming tourists again after closing for several weeks starting last month.

Protests and unrest in Peru that grew in December 2022 and continued to escalate into the new year have prompted the nation to enter a state of emergency. In January, amid continued protests, a rising death toll, and aggression from police that has drawn the concern of various human rights groups, Peru's Culture Ministry abruptly announced it would be closing Machu Picchu to tourists.

Now, after several weeks of closure, the famed ruins are officially reopening to the public. Starting February 15, people will be allowed to visit the citadel again, which still holds a capacity of 2,500 visitors per day. According to Wanderlust, limited-capacity trains directed to the Inca landmark had already started operating last week. 

The sudden closure and reopening of Machu Picchu is heavily impacted by the current political climate. Protesters have been calling for the elected president, Pedro Castillo, to be reinstated to his position. Castillo, the first rural Andean and leftist president of Peru, was impeached and then imprisoned by the Peruvian military after he called for the nation's largely conservative Congress to be dissolved.

After his ousting, vice president Dina Boluarte took over the presidency. Protesters support Castillo and his vision for the country. (He was, after all, democratically elected into office.) Cusco, the city where Machu Picchu is located, has been a center point of the protests. In response to the growing number of protests, Peruvian police officers have escalated their response, including arresting demonstrators and invading university campuses, including the University of Lima.

Despite the famous site's reopening, broader tourism warnings to the area persist. If you are planning on traveling to Peru, note that the United States Department of State currently recommends reconsidering your trip and, in certain regions, advises no travel at all.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.

Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.