Visiting Machu Picchu is a bucket list experience for many travelers.
This ancient Incan citadel built in the 15th century is the most-visited destination in Peru, and for good reasons. It’s incredibly well-preserved, and its dramatic location surrounded by mist-shrouded mountains makes for an unforgettable experience.
But Machu Picchu made headlines earlier this year after the famous site was closed indefinitely due to ongoing protests and civil unrest in the region.
After closing on January 21, Machu Picchu reopened on February 15 – a closure of just over three weeks.
However, understandably, many travelers were apprehensive about visiting shortly after Machu Picchu’s reopening, concerned about lingering unrest that may impact their trips.
I just visited Machu Picchu in mid-March, just one month after the site reopened.
Here’s what travelers need to know about visiting Machu Picchu right now:
Tourism In Cusco Is Back To Normal
If you are worried about visiting Machu Picchu right now, there’s no need to be concerned. As of mid-March, tourism operations are entirely back to normal.
Cusco, the tourism epicenter of the Sacred Valley and the jumping-off point for visiting Machu Picchu, is fully back to normal, with hotels, restaurants, and tour agencies open and operating as usual.
If you wish to complete the Inca Trail trek or another trek to reach Machu Picchu, tour companies are running treks as usual, but you may encounter smaller group sizes if you travel within the next couple of months since many people have canceled or postponed their trips.
If you’re like me and prefer to take the train to Machu Picchu, it is also running as usual again. The train to Aguas Calientes (the town just outside Machu Picchu) was closed by the Peruvian government due to damage on the tracks caused by protestors in December.
However, service has now been restored on this route. Just note that the full route from Cusco to Aguas Calientes is not running – only the service from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes.
What Is It Like At Machu Picchu Right Now?
In mid-March, when I visited, Machu Picchu was not too crowded.
This could be due to both the lower crowds caused by many people canceling and rescheduling their trips and the fact that March is always the off-season for Machu Picchu.
During the high season for Machu Picchu, which occurs from June until September, crowds can be very heavy, and that is likely to hold true for 2023 as people who may have postponed their trips earlier in the year reschedule for later in the year.
When I visited Machu Picchu this month, it was also very rainy, cloudy, and misty. This is typical because March is still part of the rainy season in Peru.
If you want a better chance of clear weather, it’s a good idea to visit Machu Picchu in the dry season from May until September.
What About The Rest Of Peru?
In addition to visiting Machu Picchu, I spent several weeks traveling through Peru in March. The northern part of the country (where the capital Lima is located) is completely safe, and most of the protests and civil unrest of the past few months were limited to the southern part of the country.
In the south, Cusco is completely back to normal. However, I would not recommend traveling the route from Cusco to Puno, a southern Peruvian city on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
I experienced a blockade in the middle of the night traveling this route by bus, so if you are visiting Peru soon, I would not plan on making Puno or Lake Titicaca part of your itinerary just yet.
However, the rest of the country is perfectly fine.
If you were on the fence about planning a trip to Peru this year due to the current situation, you can rest assured knowing that travel in Peru is mostly back to normal, and this beautiful country is waiting for you.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com