Tourists stranded in Machu Picchu amid Peru protests

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(CNN) – According to the mayor, about 300 tourists from different countries of the world were stranded in the ancient city of Machu Picchu after a state of emergency was declared in Peru after the overthrow of the country’s president.

Former President Pedro Castillo was impeached and later arrested after announcing his plan to dissolve Congress in early December. The unrest sparked by his arrest has prompted international travel warnings to Peru.

Machu Picchu Mayor Darwin Baca said travelers stranded include Peruvians, South Americans, Americans and Europeans.

“We asked the government to help us and organize helicopter flights to evacuate tourists,” Baca said. He said the only way to get in and out of the city was by train, and those services had been suspended until further notice.

Trains to and from Machu Picchu, the main gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, were suspended on Tuesday, PeruRail, the operator of Peru’s railways in the country’s south and southeast, said in a statement.

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

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

“We are providing all necessary consular assistance and are closely monitoring the situation. Due to privacy and security considerations, we will not provide additional information on the number of US citizens contacted,” the spokesperson added.

The U.S. Embassy in Peru said in a statement early Friday that the Peruvian government is organizing the evacuation of foreigners from the city of Aguas Calientes, which serves as the main entry point to Machu Picchu.

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“We will issue a message with instructions as soon as the relief plan is confirmed. Travelers located in the village of Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu should follow the instructions of local authorities whether they choose to remain on the ground for travel assistance to Cusco. Travelers who may choose to travel on foot,” the statement added. was done.

Food shortages in Machu Picchu

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

Baca called on the government led by the new president Dina Boluarte to establish a dialogue with the local population in order to end the social unrest as soon as possible.

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

“We regret the inconvenience these announcements cause our passengers; however, they are related to circumstances beyond our company’s control and we strive to prioritize the safety of our passengers and employees,” the company said.

Tourists are stranded elsewhere in Peru

Travelers wait outside Cuzco's airport after it was closed due to protests.

Travelers wait outside Cuzco’s airport after it was closed due to protests.

Paul Gambin/Reuters

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

“LATAM is constantly monitoring the political situation in Peru to provide relevant information on how it may affect our air operations,” the airline said in a statement.

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

He added: “We regret the inconvenience this situation beyond our control has caused our passengers and we are strengthening our commitment to air safety and connectivity across the country.”

Alerts from the US, UK and Canada

The US State Department has issued a travel advisory for citizens traveling to Peru, listing it as a level three “reconsider travel” destination.

“Demonstrations can lead to the closure of local roads, trains and major highways, often without advance notice or an estimated reopening timetable.

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

The State Department is asking travelers to Peru to sign up for a STEP alert at the U.S. Embassy if they haven’t already signed up.

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has also warned its citizens about the situation.

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

He also said travelers arriving in the capital city of Lima were unable to travel to or from many regional areas, including Cusco and Arequipa, and that more disruptions were possible.

British citizens have been warned to respect the curfews in force in Peru and to monitor local news and social media for further information.

Canada’s Department of Global Affairs has warned its citizens to exercise “a high degree of caution” in Peru and to avoid non-essential travel to multiple regions. Canada’s Global News spoke with a Canadian stuck in the small town of Ica in southern Peru, who says he is now far from civil unrest, but was robbed in a taxi.

Tourists are running out of medicine

American tourist Kathryn Martucci told CNN about being stuck in Machu Picchu, Peru.

American tourist Kathryn Martucci told CNN about being stuck in Machu Picchu, Peru.

Courtesy Kathryn Martucci

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

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Florida resident Kathryn Martucci, 71, was on a group trip with 13 other Americans when Peru entered a state of emergency.

According to Martucci, his tour group missed the last train out of the small town before the railroad was shut down.

Her son, Michael Martucci, who lives in the United States, 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 that they need,” Martucci said. “There’s nothing in the little town they’re stuck in. They’re safe and thankfully have food, but no way to get more medicine.”

Martucci said his group planned to stay at Machu Picchu for two days, so he told them to pack light and bring only a two-day supply of medicine.

On Friday morning, Martucci said his guide took his group to city hall for a medical examination, hoping local officials would understand their situation and help find a way out.

“There were about 100 tourists in line and we waited two hours before we saw the doctor,” Martucci said. “They told me I was a priority and they were going to try to get me out of Machu Picchu by helicopter in the next two days.”

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

“A few people need help and one helicopter can only carry 10 people. We don’t know what happened.”

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