Peru’s famous Machu Picchu is an iconic destination in South America. Dubbed the ‘lost city of the Incas’, the 15th-century citadel was discovered by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The ruins allow a maximum of 3,800 visitors a day, but that’s set to change in the new year.
Local government officials recently announced that Machu Picchu will accept more visitors – up to 4,500 guests per day – from 1 January 2024. According to Peru’s Ministry of Culture, the site will welcome up to 5,600 visitors a day on some days.
The aim is to help revive Peruvian tourism after the pandemic. By way of comparison, before the pandemic, Peru was expected to receive 4.5 million visitors in 2020. By the end of 2023, the country is expected to have only 2.2 million visitors. (It should be noted that Peru experienced civil unrest earlier this year and authorities closed Machu Picchu. As of last month, the US State Department had a Level 2 advisory on the country).
According to officials, the preservation of the site remains a priority.
“The National Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is an integral part of Peru’s National System of Protected Areas and is protected by several layers of a comprehensive legal framework for both cultural and natural heritage,” UNESCO said in its description of Machu Picchu.
The Ministry of Culture also announced on social media that it would step up enforcement of proper entry times and other rules to protect the integrity of the historic sites. As part of the timed entry system, the tourism board recommends buying tickets in advance on the official website, which costs around $42.