For the first time in decades, Machu Picchu will be closed for maintenance.
Peruvian officials have announced that in April 2016, part of the famous Machu Picchu and neighboring mountain, Husyna Picchu, will be closed to tourists for about two weeks.
Both regions will undergo maintenance and restoration work, however, the citadel, which is the main tourist attraction, along with several other sections, will remain open to the public.
Fernando Astete, head of the National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu, said that while crews do an excellent job of regular maintenance, the estimated 5,000 visitors per day to the delicate historical site makes it nearly impossible to keep Machu Picchu intact.
“In April 2016 we will do comprehensive maintenance, for that we have ordered the suspension of visitors to the mountain Huayna Picchu from April 1-15, and the mountain of Machu Picchu from April 16-30 of the same year,” Astete said.
“There has been a thorough technical assessment of the condition of the stairs, walls, enclosures and platforms, reaching the conclusion that a comprehensive maintenance is needed,” Ricardo Ruiz Caro, the director of the Department of Culture of Cusco.
The announcement comes three months into a four-year plan that will see additional structures open to the public as part of the vast complex located in the southern province of Cusco.
“Only Machu Picchu and part of the network of the Inca Trail has been used [for tourism],” said José Carlos Nieto, the site’s director. “But we have evaluated the potential and will set up other archaeological sites such as 50 Gradas, Intipunku, Incaraccay, Wiñayhuayna, the mountain of Machu Picchu, the Temple of the Moon,” he added.
Visitors who have booked trips to the site during these times will have adjustments made by their tour companies. For now, hikers to the area are allowed access to only one of the six Inca roads.