After two years of preparation, the new master plan for Machu Picchu has been approved, and it portends a drastic makeover of the tourist experience at the Inca Citadel.
The plan proposes “changing the axis of the visitor experience” to perceive Machu Picchu as something conceptually larger than that iconic postcard image we all know so well.
The vast majority of travelers who come to Peru for the first time do so intending to tour the stone temples, fountains and dwellings perched on that craggy mountaintop, framed against the background of the majestic Huayna Picchu peak.
Machu Picchu is the sacred center point where huge landscape alignments of mountain deities and celestial bodies converge. Archaeological evidence shows that Machu Picchu was also the center of a vast and bustling complex that extended for miles around.
To impress that on visitors — and to control the flow of their ever-growing numbers — Peru’s Culture Ministry plans to relocate the checkpoint entrance into Machu Picchu from just outside the mountaintop ruins to a new visitor center to be built along the lower flanks of the mountain. There tourists will begin their visit with an “official scientific” video explaining Machu Picchu’s significance in that larger theoretical context.
Some major infrastructure changes are also in the works.
An additional exit ramp will be built so that visitors aren’t leaving the same way they came in. A new Help Center will be constructed, as well, and toilets will be installed within the ruins.
For a fuller description of the qualitative changes coming soon to Machu Picchu, read the article I’ve written for the Peruvian Times.