Tourists stranded at Machu Picchu amid Peruvian protests

Tourists stranded at Machu Picchu amid Peruvian protests
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(CNN) — After a state of emergency was declared in Peru following the overthrow of the president, about 300 tourists from around the world were stranded in the ancient city of Machu Picchu, according to the mayor.

Before President Pedro Castillo He was impeached and subsequently arrested in early December after announcing his plan to dissolve Congress. The unrest caused by his arrest prompted international warnings about travel to Peru.

Darwin Baca, mayor of Machu Picchu, said that among the stranded travelers were Peruvians, South Americans, Americans and Europeans.

“We asked the government to help us and set up helicopter flights to evacuate tourists,” Baca said. He said that the only way to enter and exit the town is by train and that these services are suspended until further notice.

Outbound and return trains Machu PicchuAccording to a statement from PeruRail, Peru’s rail operator in the southern and southeastern regions of the country, the main route of access to the UNESCO World Heritage Site is the .

“PeruRail said they are still reviewing the situation,” Baca said.

A State Department spokesperson told CNN on Friday that the United States is in contact with American citizens stranded in Peru.

“We are providing all appropriate consular assistance and are monitoring the situation closely. Due to privacy and security considerations, we will not go into further details on the number of US citizens who have reached us,” the spokesperson said.

The US embassy in Peru said earlier on Friday that the Peruvian government had organized the evacuation of foreigners from Aguas Calientes, a town that serves as the main access point to Machu Picchu.

“As soon as the assistance plan is approved, we will post a message with instructions. Travelers in Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu Village should follow the instructions of local authorities even if they want assistance in traveling to Cusco. Travelers who can choose to travel on foot” were added.

Food shortages in Machu Picchu

Mayor Baca also warned that Machu Picchu is already suffering from food shortages due to the protests and that the local economy is 100% based on tourism.

Baca urged the government led by the new President Dina Boluarte to establish dialogue with the local people to put an end to the social unrest as soon as possible.

PeruRail said it will help affected passengers change their travel dates.

“We regret the inconvenience these announcements have caused to our passengers, but these are due to circumstances beyond our company’s control and strive to prioritize the safety of passengers and employees,” the company said in a statement.

Tourists stranded in Peru

Passengers are waiting in front of the airport, which was closed due to protests in Cuzco.

Passengers are waiting in front of the airport, which was closed due to protests in Cuzco.

Paul Gambin/Reuters

LATAM Airlines Peru said it has temporarily suspended operations to and from Alfredo Rodríguez Ballón International Airport in Arequipa and Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cuzco, 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Machu Picchu.

“LATAM continually monitors the political situation in Peru to provide relevant information as to how it may affect our air operations,” the airline said in a statement.

“We await the response of the relevant authorities, who should take corrective measures to ensure safety for the development of air operations.”

“We regret the inconvenience caused to our passengers by this situation beyond our control, and we are reinforcing our commitment to air safety and connectivity in the country.”

Warnings from USA, UK and Canada

Demonstrators clashed with police during a protest in Lima on Thursday.

Demonstrators clashed with police during a protest in Lima on Thursday.

Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters

The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory for citizens traveling in Peru, which it has listed as a level three “re-evaluate travel” destination.

“Demonstrations can cause local roads, trains and major highways to be closed, often with no advance notice or estimated reopening timelines.

“Road closures can significantly reduce access to public transport and airports and disrupt travel both within and between cities,” he warns.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs asks travelers in Peru to register STEP alerts From the US Embassy if they haven’t already.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has also alerted its citizens to the situation.

“British citizens should take special care to avoid all areas of protests. If possible, you should stay in a safe place. … You should plan ahead for any serious disruption of any plans.” FCDO said on Friday evening on the website.

He also told passengers arriving in the capital, Lima, that commuting to many regional areas, including Cusco and Arequipa, is not possible and that further disruption is possible.

British citizens are also urged to abide by the curfews imposed in Peru and follow local news and social media for more information.

Canada’s Department of Global Affairs has warned its citizens to be “highly cautious” in Peru and avoid non-essential travel in many areas. Canada’s Global News interviewed a Canadian Stranded in Ica, a small town in southern Peru, he says he is now far from civil unrest, but is robbed in a taxi.

Tourists who run out of drugs

American tourist Kathryn Martucci told CNN she was stranded in Machu Picchu, Peru.

American tourist Kathryn Martucci told CNN she was stranded in Machu Picchu, Peru.

Courtesy of Kathryn Martucci

An American tourist stranded in Machu Picchu has run out of medication and isn’t sure when he’ll be able to leave the small town and get more, he told CNN.

Kathryn Martucci, 71, a Florida resident, was on a group tour with 13 Americans when the state of emergency was declared in Peru.

According to Martucci, the travel group was unable to catch the last train leaving the small town before the railroad was suspended.

His son Michael Martucci, who lives in the US, also spoke to CNN and is trying to help his mother find a way out.

“They’ve been there since Monday, and now he and the other people he’s with are running out of medication they need,” Martucci said. “There’s nothing they’re stuck with in the little town. Fortunately they’re safe and they have food, but there’s no way to get any more medicine.”

Martucci said his group would be staying at Machu Picchu for two days, so they were told to pack something light and bring only two days of medicine with them.

On Friday morning, Martucci said the tour guide took his group to city hall for medical evaluation, in the hopes that local officials would understand their situation and help them find a way out.

“There were about 100 tourists in line and we waited two hours to see the doctor,” Martucci said. said. “They told me I was a priority and that they would try to get me on a helicopter from Machu Picchu in the next two days.”

Still, Martucci isn’t sure if that will happen, he told CNN.

“There are a few people in need of help and a helicopter can only carry 10 people. We don’t know what’s going on.”

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