Tourists stranded in Machu Picchu amid protests in Peru

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(CNN) — About 300 tourists from around the world have been stranded in the ancient city of Machu Picchu, according to the mayor, after Peru was plunged into a state of emergency following the ousting of the country’s president.

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

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

“We asked the government to help us and establish helicopter flights to evacuate tourists,” Baca said. The only way to get in and out of the city is by train, and those services are suspended until further notice, he said.

Trains to and from Machu Picchu, the main way to access the UNESCO World Heritage Site, were halted on Tuesday, according to a statement from PeruRail, the Peruvian rail operator in the southern and southern regions. southeast of the country.

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

The mayor also warned that Machu Picchu is already suffering from food shortages due to the protests and that the local economy relies 100% on tourism.

Baca called on the government, led by new president Dina Boluarte, to establish a dialogue with the local population 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 for our passengers; however, they are due to situations beyond the control of our company and seek to prioritize the safety of passengers and workers,” the company said in a statement. communicated.

Tourists stranded elsewhere in Peru

LATAM Airlines Peru said 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, had been temporarily suspended. suspended.

“LATAM maintains constant monitoring of the political situation in Peru to provide relevant information based on its impact on our flight operations,” the airline said in a statement. “We are awaiting the response from the competent authorities, who must take corrective measures to ensure safety for the development of flight operations.”

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

The US State Department has issued a travel advisory for citizens traveling to Peru, which it has classified as a Tier Three “reconsider travel” destination.

“Protests can lead to the closure of local roads, trains and major highways, often without notice or estimated reopening times. Road closures can significantly reduce access to public transport and airports and can disrupt travel within and between cities,” he warns.

Top: Tourists queuing at Machu Picchu station. Image via Getty.

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