Multiple thousands of tourists have ended up stranded out in Peru because of the escalating and ongoing political protests sweeping across the South American country, as explained by the mayor of the area.
The tourists have been stuck in Cusco, a popular prime stop used on the route to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu, a highly popular destination for tourists, as explained by Darwin Baca, the current mayor of Machu Picchu. The situation for the tourists takes place just as Peru has been forced to struggle through a series of violent protests due to the forced removal of leftist former President Pedro Castillo after he attempted to dissolve Congress.
“There are 5,000 tourists stranded in the city of Cusco, they are in their hotels waiting for flights to restart,” stated Baca.
To go along with the cast number trapped in Cusco, a number of tourists have been stranded in Machu Picchu proper, which sits up high in the Andes mountains. “We have asked the government to help us and establish helicopter flights in order to evacuate the tourists,” stated Baca.
This past week, PeruRail put a hard stop on its trips out to the ancient city because of the extreme violence, though it claimed it would try to reach to and assist those stuck in an effort to get them to safety. “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,” stated the company.
Various other tourists throughout the country, including both the elderly and young children, have been left stuck as well, with many reportedly getting a large number of violent threats from the angry protesters. A group of roughly 60 tourists that have been trying to make their way through Bolivia has been trapped in the mountain town of Checacupe.
Wilmaris Villarroel, a Costa Rican-Venezuelan alpinist, stated to Reuters that his group had been threatened by the violent protestors. “They said if we tried to pass they would burn us alive,” he stated. “We’re not to blame for what’s happening in the country,” he claimed. “It is a beautiful nation and we just want to continue our journey.”
The group with Villarroels consists of people from Argentina, Chile, France, Japan, England, and the U.S.
Machu Picchu was first brought to the public eye by explorer and future Connecticut Republican Senator Hiram Bingham III, who is marked as discovering the ancient ruins while traveling with some local farmers while carrying out his Yale Peruvian Expedition from 1911 to 1915.