Category: Machu Picchu, Peru.

Stranded on Machu Picchu (video)

Long Island International Travel Examiner
Nance Carter

Torrential rains and up to 40 mudslides have obstructed the train route to Machu Picchu, stranding 1,954 tourists, among them approximately 500 Americans.

Train service was suspended Sunday amid three days of floods and mudslides, with tourists stuck in Pueblo Village at the site.

Tourists snap photos of police helicopter that brought them to Cuzco after evacuation

The route to Machu Picchu begins in Cusco, Peru, passes through the Pueblo Village, and can only be completed by train or a four-day hike through the mountains.

A state of emergency was declared on Monday, with the storms responsible for four deaths. Stone walls at other archaelogical sites near Cusco were damaged and the Urubamba River rose to its highest heights. The elderly and ailing were the first evacutees taken by helicopter, followed by other tourists. The rescue operation is still ongoing, with 10 helicopters now in service.

Reports state that many travelers feel they were taken advantage of during the crisis, as restaurants raised prices during the ordeal and hotels turned many away, forcing them to sleep in the train station and on the street. However, police and military helicopters were able to deliver water and food to the stranded tourists at Pueblo Village.

Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site visited by over one million tourists each year. Called the Lost City of the Incas, its construction began approx. 1430 AD, was abandoned 100 years later and rediscovered by American historian, Hiram Bingham, in 1911.

There are many theories for Machu Picchu’s existence but no definitive answer yet. Some believe it to be the estate of Inca emperor Pachacuti and the site chosen for its alignment with astronomical events. Others maintain it was an Incan settlement built to control the economy. Further theories pose that it could have been built as a prison, or even a crop testing area.

This week’s best airfare on Expedia from JFK International Airport to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in Cusco, Peru comes from American Airlines with a connection to LAN Peru Airlines in Lima for $976.

Category: Machu Picchu, Peru
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