April 01, 2010
After two months of remaining closed to the public, a much awaited event did take place on April 1st: the reopening of the legendary and world famous Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, one of the Wonders of the World; Peru’s top travel destination and one of South America’s main tourism highlights… As planned by the Peruvian authorities, on April 1st, a combination of road and train segments, did allow for visitors to arrive again into the mythical place.
Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon was the guest celebrity who enhanced with her presence the great moment. Accompanied by Peru’s Minister of Commerce and Tourism, Martin Perez, they led the ceremonies to reopen the way into the renowned location, which had become isolated in late January due to torrential rains which generated floods, land and mudslides that destroyed many segments of the equally famous Cusco-Machu Picchu Railway, the main way to reach the Citadel.
The reopening was the occasion to celebrate several Inca rituals to receive “blessings from the Pacha Mama”, (Mother Earth), and other rites such as the “Inca Welcome”, performed by the joyous sound of a local and unique trumpet-like instrument, the “pututo”. The Hollywood actress together with Peru’s Minister of Commerce and Tourism visited the main highlights of the Grand Citadel and the surrounding zones of the Archaeological Sanctuary. The local authorities saluted Sarandon’s presence and thanked her with flower arrangements and solemn medals of merit.
The Mayor of Machu Picchu, Edgar Miranda presented the actress with the “Command Stick”, known in Quechua, the Inca’s lingua franca, as the “Varayoc”; as a symbol of respect and consideration. The actress participated of cheerful photo sessions with local children, wearing typical and colorful local costumes and sipped on a “mate de coca”, an infusion made with coca leaves to prevent the adverse effects of high altitude, as Machu Picchu is located at near 9000 feet above sea level.
The Vice Minister of Tourism of Peru, Mara Seminario, said that just on the initial three hours of the reopening, more than 600 hundred foreign visitors had entered the Machu Picchu area to admire the wonders of the remarkable Inca culture and architecture. Before the natural disaster, an average of 2000 tourists visited the location every day. The day had started with some rainfall but then it turned into a brilliant and sunny morning which enhanced the magnificence of the place, for the delight of the first visitors to return after the forced closure of the Citadel. Reports also indicated that the equally legendary “Inca Trail” was open and beginning to receive tourists, eager to live a unique travel and exploration experience.
In an effort to reinforce the promotion of the legendary location and in general of tourism into all of Peru’s varied attractions and tourist sites, the national authorities have planed to invite several celebrities to visit Machu Picchu and other symbolic areas of Peru, throughout 2010. The full range of the Cusco-Machu Picchu Railway is expected to be completely restored in a couple of months. Meanwhile, visitors can still reach Machu Picchu, safely, by using the road and train combination currently provided.
We salute these excellent news for Peru and South American travel and, as usual, with our years of experience and expertise, will be ready to arrange for you the tour of your dreams to one of the most significant tourism highlights of South America.