Posted by: travelrat | May 19, 2019

Machu Picchu Airport? No, Thanks!

Machu Picchu 3

Abraham Lincoln … or it may have been Mark Twain … once said ‘Never believe everything you read on the Internet’.

An item recently appeared on social media that I sincerely hoped was ‘fake news’. According to the first source I saw, it was proposed to build an international airport AT Machu Picchu. That, of course, would never happen. From what I saw of the place, you’d be hard put to clear a space to put even the smallest ‘puddle-jumper’ down. But, more reliable reports said the proposed airport would be at Chinchero, about 40 miles from Machu Picchu. So, passengers would still have to walk, or take the train from Ollantaytambo.

The objections to this are many-fold. At present, visitors fly in via Lima to the airport at Cuzco, which is too small to accept any but domestic flights. But, even so, in 2018, the site received twice as many visitors as UNESCO recommends. The new airport would make for even more. Restrictions are going to have to be applied, if they aren’t already … even now, numbers walking the Inca Trail are limited.

And, Chinchero is within the bounds of the Sacred Valley, a place of several important Inca sites, which is why the opposition is, at the moment, led by Peruvian archaeologists. I believe, also, that there are still people who regard the Sacred Valley as ‘sacred’.

I thought back to the lady from the Peruvian National Tourist Office, who interviewed us at Lima Airport a couple of years ago. She said the purpose of her survey was to inform visitors that ‘… there’s more to Peru than Cuzco and Machu Picchu’. I’d suggest that the proposed new airport would send a completely opposite message.

The Sacred Valley

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