Police in Peru say they have airlifted the last of the tourists stranded near the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu after floods destroyed road and rail links. Nearly 1,300 travellers were flown out by helicopters on Friday, a local policeman told the Associated Press. A total of nearly 4,000 tourists and local residents have now left the area following last Sunday's heavy flooding. --BBC
I was amazed, when I went poking around for information about the Machu Picchu floods, at the number of posts from cranky travelers who felt like they'd been screwed out of their chance to see Machu Picchu. They were angry at the tour companies -- who surely would have liked to take their money -- at the lack of good information available -- natural disaster, people, calm down -- and frustrated by any number of things that impeded their having the perfect travel experience. Luckily that wasn't all I found -- I also found real information for travelers heading towards Cusco, and a story of travelers pitching in to help because they were there and could.
Besides the desperate situation in Machu Picchu, houses and farmland in the Sacred Valley were severely damaged by the flooding. The rains have caused damage to the Sacsayhuaman archeological ruins near Cusco as well. I´m anxiously awaiting news on the state of the community of Chaullaqocha. I suspect that the heavy rains have caused runoff due to its high, sloping location in the mountians. The road in progress that leads to the community, however, will likely be washed out in many places and will need to be rebuilt during the dry season. The setback to the new road erases hopes that it may be completed by the end of the dry season this year.-- Kelsey's Blog
So we arrived in Cuzco to find that Machu Picchu is closed down, thousands of tourists were trapped there by floods and had to be evacuated in helicopters, and tens of thousands of Cuzqueños have lost everything in the rains. Every day we hear helicopters overhead constantly, I assume they’re evacuating tourists to Cuzco, which is safe and sound.--Eliza Jane Curtis
The bad news, for foreign visitors, is that opening up the road/rail access to Machu Picchu is estimated to take two months, and the consensus reached last nite with the Minister in regards to opening access to the site by air/helicopter, is that this alternative should not be made available during those same months, primarily because: all resources need to be devoted to the reconstruction efforts and the re-establishing of the road/rail access; February and March are rainy months in the Andes and flying is advisable only for emergency cases. The official announcement from the Peruvian Government will be made public later today: MACHU PICCHU VISITS WILL NOT BE POSSIBLE DURING FEBRUARY AND MARCH.-- PanAmerican Tours
The little stream through the village had leapt over the walls becoming a raging torrent in the main street resulting in half the village being simply flattened & even now the people were in a stunned daze still. Here was just the saddest scene ever, with a family sifting through the mud with their bare hands trying to salvage anything, only managing to recover just a few plates & cups. Their son was clutching onto a single muddy toy, all he had managed to get out his room before it collapsed. The mother had in her hand a cherished mud covered photo, but there honestly looked like there was nothing else to be found.--En Peru
Just in case you think your not yet started trip is ruined, consider that there's a whole country beyond Machu Picchu and they'd like to see you. You can help by going to visit some of the other wonders of the Andes.
One of the very sad things I find about the situation is the fact that Peru is such a fantastic country and has tons of stuff to offer. The sad part is that not many people know about much in Peru other than Machu Picchu. If you are planning a trip to Peru in the near future and are unable to change it, I recommend doing a bit of research and going off the beaten path and you will discover that Peru is really a very interesting country with a little bit of everything.-- Ali in Peru
Pam blogs about travel and other adventures at Nerd's Eye View.
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