Pedro Gamboa, head of Sernanp, clarified that only 200 out the 500 people are foreign tourists, while the rest are baggage carriers who guide visitors through their trek to Machu Picchu.
“These people carry food, tents and relief supplies. They do not reach the citadel and therefore tourists have to continue on their own on the last day of the journey,” he said.
Gamboa noted the wide range of age groups among tourists taking the Inca Trail despite the physical condition required by this 4-day trek through the Urubamba Valley, whose entrance fee is US$50 per person.
“You have to pass through two defiles (narrow passages between mountains). It seems that the Incas were quite tall because steps are huge,” he pointed out.
Gamboa also revealed that Sernanp has been working in coordination with Cusco’s Culture Decentralized Administration (DDCC) on the possibility to open two other visiting areas in order to reduce the number of visitors to the Incan citadel.
Sernanp’s head said greater pressure is exerted during national holidays due to the school break.
Machu Picchu has two access points, one is the railway line, and the other is the alternative route through Santa Teresa road.
He said protection rules have to be laid down for such road so that the protected natural area of Machu Picchu is not affected.
“We are convinced that access and maintenance of the place will be under control by the end of the year, which implies signaling and maintenance of the road. This will include environmentally friendly sanitary facilities equipped with state-of-the-art technology in the area,” he underlined.