I guess we got to Machu Picchu in the nick of time: Machu Picchu Sold Out
Our visit certainly prompted a lot of questions. How seriously is UNESCO taking preservation of its World Heritage Sites? How can the Peruvian economy turn people away from their biggest tourist draw when tourism is really all they have? What will happen to other larger, less accessible Incan sites if Peru develops them as they intend to? To what lengths will tourists go to ensure their ‘rights’ to see particular sights?
We had a tremendous time in Machu Picchu and thoroughly loved our four-day hike along one of the original Incan trails to get there. But how do the thousands of people who trek on this trail a day impact the environment? Is perpetuation of the required porter system really helping the local people when so many porters end up writhing in pain with back problems that will probably never be addressed? Is it really ok that hundreds of people line up at the bus stop to Machu Picchu two hours before the first bus of the day begins operations vying for a coveted spot at the gates?