BBC News

Peru opens Machu Picchu for single tourist stranded by Covid

Published
image copyrightReuters
image captionJesse Katayama was originally due to visit Machu Picchu in March

Peru has opened the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu for a single Japanese tourist who had waited almost seven months to visit the world heritage site.

Jesse Katayama was due to visit Machu Picchu in March but it closed because of coronavirus.

Culture Minister Alejandro Neyra said Mr Katayama was granted access after submitting a special request.

The ancient Inca citadel - Peru's top tourist attraction - is expected to re-open at reduced capacity next month.

No exact date has been given.

Mr Katayama planned to spend only a few days in Peru, but became stranded in the town of Aguas Calientes, near Machu Picchu, in mid-March because of coronavirus travel regulations.

  • How Peru locked down early but still got badly hit
  • The backpacking towns left empty by coronavirus

"He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter," Mr Neyra said in a virtual press conference on Monday.

image copyrightScience Photo Library
image captionMachu Picchu has been closed to tourists since March

Mr Katayama was permitted to enter the ruins on Saturday with the head of the park "so that he can do this before returning to his country", Mr Neyra said.

In a video recorded on top of Machu Picchu mountain, the tourist celebrated the long-awaited trip.

"This tour is truly amazing, thank you," said Mr Katayama.

Peru has reported more than 849,000 coronavirus cases and 33,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

Related Topics

  • Peru
  • Japan
  • Tourism

More on this story

  • How backpacking towns are coping after being left empty by coronavirus