Peru opens Machu Picchu for a single Japanese tourist who has been waiting since March

The historic site has not yet reopened to the general public because of coronavirus though is expected to do so in November.

Machu Picchu has been closed for the general public since March
Machu Picchu has been closed for the general public since March

Peru has opened its best-known tourist site, Machu Picchu for the first time in seven months  - but for just one visitor.

The 15th-century Inca site, which has been closed because of the coronavirus, was specially opened for Jesse Takayama, a Japanese tourist who has been stranded in Peru ever since the pandemic struck.

“The first person on Earth who went to Machu Picchu since the lockdown is meeeeeee,” posted Jesse Takayama on his Instagram account. 

“This is truly amazing! Thank you,” said Takayama in a video, he recorded on the top of Machu Picchu mountain.  

Stranded in the country since mid-March, Jesse Takayama, a 26-year-old Japanese boxing instructor, was waiting in the town of Aguas Calientes, on the slopes of the mountains near the site, reported Reuters.  

Peru’s Minister of Culture Alejandro Neyra on Monday said: “He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter.”  He added that Takayama visited the Inca site with Machu Picchu’s “head of the park”.

The country’s historic sanctuary has not yet opened for the general public. It is expected to open in November, but the culture minister has so far not confirmed the date.  

"There is not an exact date (for the reopening) yet. We are holding meetings with ministers and, next week, there will be an important launch in the tourism sector to announce the reopening of tourism activities in safe destinations," Neyra told the country’s news agency, Andina on 9 October.

In a normal year, Machu Picchu receives around 2,500 visitors every day.

Due to the pandemic, only 675 people a day will be allowed to visit Machu Picchu, that is, 30% of its total capacity, said the minister.  The visitors are expected to maintain social distancing. 

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