The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu reopened to tourists on Wednesday, February 15, after entry was suspended in December and January amid social unrest in Peru.
“This decision reflects the joint commitment of the institutions that make up the Machu Picchu Management Unit, the municipal authorities of Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo, directors of the Chamber of Commerce and leaders of social organizations, to ensure the safety of the monument and transport services so that visitors can enjoy their visit,” the culture ministry said in a statement.
The ministry added that 38 domestic tourists and 45 foreigners were the first to enter and that at least 700 visitors went into the sanctuary over the course of the day.
Protests broke out around Peru in December when the country’s president, Pedro Castillo, was ousted and replaced by then-vice president Dina Boluarte.
In December, some 300 international tourists were stranded at Machu Picchu, the country’s most popular tourist site, when the train that services the area was suspended. Local and international governments worked to evacuate foreign tourists from Machu Picchu, in some cases by helicopter.
PeruRail, which operates the tourist train, said protesters had blocked and damaged the tracks.
Travelers must obtain a permit to visit Machu Picchu, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Some of the first people to enter Machu Picchu on Wednesday were tourists who had canceled visits in January.
The Decentralized Culture Directorate and Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary Directorate, which sells and manages the entry passes, said it would allow refunds to travelers whose permits had been issued for January 21 or later.
Top: Tourists at Machu Picchu on February 15, 2023. Photo by Carolina Paucar / AFP
CNN’s Claudia Rebaza and Hira Humayun contributed reporting.