a stone ruins on Machu Picchu

There’s nothing quite like it. From the mystique of how it was possibly built to the awe inspiring beauty found from its summits, Machu Picchu is a wonder of the world with good reason.

With growing unrest in Peru, officials in the country made the difficult decision to close the ever popular tourism attraction in mid January, throwing plans into major disarray, while stranding tourists in the process. As of February 15th, the majestic site is open again, but there are a few things worth considering.

If you’ve got a trip on the books, or are in the planning phase, here’s what you need to know today about Machu Picchu’s reopening and the situation in Peru more broadly.

a stone ruins on Machu Picchu

Peru Reopens Machu Picchu And Inca Trail

As GSTP can attest, the Inca Trail is almost as rewarding as summiting Machu Picchu. Sadly, both were closed in recent weeks, with particular caution urged for any visitors.

Officials are now confident that the Citadel of Machu Picchu can remain open and rail links through the Inca Trail will also stay in tact and have fully reopened the area to all tourists. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the situation of political unrest hasn’t gone away, it’s just shifted.

Amid growing political unrest in the country over a recently ousted leader, protests have turned violent in the country and though they’ve now largely withdrawn from the Andes and Machu Picchu, there’s significant turmoil in Lima. For most visitors arriving from abroad, Lima would be the first point of entry.

If you don’t mind navigating your way out of Lima through political instability and unrest, it’s entirely possible to visit Machu Picchu again, but whether that’s a good or safe idea remains a significant question.

Which brings the next question: when will things return to normal?

How Long Will Unrest In Peru Last?

Unrest kicked off into violence last month when Peru’s previous left wing leader was arrested and jailed, accused of attempts against the state. Members of the public want the previous leader reinstalled and the current leader, Dina Boluarte, out.

Recent protests have lead to damaged train tracks and unsafe conditions for visitors who may get caught between clashes between authorities and protestors. Protestors have called for fresh elections, which don’t seem all that likely to happen at present.

If no changes are made, it’s incredibly hard to put a finger on when trip planning would make concrete sense. Protests in Hong Kong prior to 2020 initially seemed like a quick flash but ended up lasting many months. Thus far, many other cities in Peru are largely normal but no one wants to be caught in a rapidly changing situation.

For travelers already inside the country, the bests protocol is always to keep in touch with communications from the government which issued your passport, or from which you hold citizenship or residency. The US Embassy site for Peru can be found here.

When Things Stabilize, You Should Totally Go

Once you’ve been, Peru will always hold a special place in your heart. Lima is home to more of the world’s most celebrated restaurants than almost any other city and that trend is now carrying onto cocktails too.

And yes, the nature — wow. GSTP has an amazing guide to planning the perfect trip into the country and you just might want to wait a little bit for things to stabilize before you put it to use.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I cancelled an early may trip to peru last week because of the rioting. The key takeway I think should be considered by tourists is that this sustained rioting has generated alot of social unrest. Combined with the fact a huge percentage of peru are the have nots and the country has huge income inequality, there has been alot of economic desperation boiling over. That is not the time to be an obvious tourist, who the locals can spot and know that person is likely carrying money. Even after the riots end it will take many months for it to be considered safe for tourists imo.

    The main conclusion I had was why risk it when there are so many other places in the world that you can visit that do not carry this type of risk right now?

    1. Agreed, am cancelling my early June trip, still time to go to option B. Any money lost is a small price to pay for safety.

  2. Have a trip planned in April to MP & Galapagos. Looks like it’s not going to happen. Gutted but it’s not about us.

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