Heavy Rains Strand Tourists En Route To Machu Picchu

Approximately 200 tourists who were heading to Peru’s ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu were stranded due to heavy rains, newspaper El Comercio reported Tuesday.

The tourists were stuck in the Colcamayo zone, in the district of Santa Teresa, on an alternative road to Machu Picchu, the daily said.

Some of the tourists, including approximately 80 Chileans, decided to continue on foot, although they had to return to their vehicles due to the difficulty of the conditions. Peru’s national civil defense institute said that the road conditions are not expected to improve for at least three days.

Also on Tuesday, train operator PeruRail said that it has suspended the train service between the stations of Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu due to a landslide that covered parts of the track. It said that railway line concessionaire Ferrocarril Transandino began work on removing the land, mud and rocks from the tracks, and expected to complete the work by early Wednesday.

“The reprogramming of services will occur when the weather conditions permit it,” PeruRail said in a release.

Heavy rains have battered much of Peru over the last several days, setting off land slides and flooding rivers that have washed away bridges, roads and damaged buildings and hundreds of hectares of crops.

In January 2010, the train service to Machu Picchu was cut off after the Vilcanota River overran its banks, wiping out the rail line and stranding thousands of tourists for days until they were airlifted out by helicopter. The Inca Citadel, Peru’s biggest tourist attraction, was closed for two months.

A few months later, Peru’s Congress voted unanimously to build an alternative access road to Machu Picchu.

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