As rebuilding efforts are currently in place, an estimated date has been announced for a return to normal tourist operations. Perurail has temporarily suspended rail services to Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Caliente) – the town below the citadel. Although many local residents and business owners have been severely affected, with the aid of the Peruvian government and the private sector, work is in progress to rebuild damaged areas. It is estimated that normal tourist operations to Machu Picchu should resume by the beginning of April.
Plans to travel to the affected areas in April should not be disrupted.
The areas of Cuzco and the Sacred Valley have not been affected. There is far more to Cuzco and the Sacred Valley than Machu Picchu. Any plans to visit the area that do not include a visit to Machu Picchu should not be disrupted at all.
The following is an official statement regarding travel to Machu Picchu, Cuzco and the Sacred Valley:
February 3, 2010
Peru’s government announced a 60-day state of emergency in the Cusco department last week as heavy rainfall and mudslides battered the country’s southern Andean region. The storms flooded the Vilcanota River, which blocked the railway between Cusco and Machu Picchu, Peru’s sacred Inca citadel and top tourist attraction. The town of Aguas Caliente has been temporarily isolated. Some bridges have fallen and most crops have been lost. Furthermore, many rural houses built on the river banks or near the river have been inundated and some are a total loss.
British-owned Perurail has temporarily suspended services to Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Caliente) – the town below the citadel - stranding some 2,000 tourists. Peru’s government sent police and military helicopters to evacuate the tourists and local residents.
The main tourist attractions of the Sacred Valley, such as Pisaq, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Maras and Moray; areas south of Cuzco: Tipon, Pikillaqta, Andahuaylillas and the citadel of Machu Picchu did not suffer damages. Nevertheless, it will not be possible to access Machu Picchu by train for up to seven weeks. We are confident that by early April all the tourist activity will be reestablished to Machu Picchu.
Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Martín Pérez, said Tuesday that Peru’s top tourist attraction, Machu Picchu, was not damaged following torrential rains, mudslides and floods that washed out roads and railroad tracks leading to the 15th-century sacred Inca citadel. Pérez expects repairs of the railway to be finished in eight weeks (from February 3rd).
“The citadel (of Machu Picchu), which I visited on Saturday (January 30th) after the tourists had been evacuated, was in perfect condition.” said Pérez. “The Inca knew not only how to build the drainage system, the hydraulic system is absolutely amazing. We went on Saturday and it was completely dry. We expect it will take eight weeks to repair the railroad tracks and (Machu Picchu) will be able to receive tourists again,” Pérez told Radio Programas Peru.
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