Endangered Machu Picchu

Endangered Machu Picchu

03 September 2018

The next time you scroll through the pictures of your friends in Machu Picchu, on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, and see beautiful views of the Inca city surrounded by mountains; know that in many cases, there are dozens of people behind that isolated photo waiting for their turn to obtain a photograph of that same place. The fame caused by Instagram and other platforms and social media has helped boost the popularity of many places around the world and helped to decide many people their next destination; in certain cases, without measuring the impact that this enormous amount of visits can cause in that place. 5,940 people can enter Machu Picchu every day. Available tickets allow you to choose to enter the morning or afternoon shift; since then, it can only remain for 4 hours inside the Inca city, which in 2.016 received 1.4 million visitors. Having said that, we recommend you to visit Machu Picchu in the afternoon shift, you will find many fewer people than in the morning shift. The new regulation of visits to Machu Picchu requires that all people enter accompanied by a guide, stay on the established routes and not exceed the allowed 4 hours within the national park.


Endangered Machu Picchu Ruins



Machu Picchu ruins survived the Spanish onslaught against the Inca Empire, but in the last few decades it has suffered more threats to its architectural integrity and pristine Andean environment than it did in nearly 500 years of existence. UNESCO recently threatened first to add Machu Picchu to its list of endangered World Heritage Sites and then withdraw that status unless stringent measures were taken by the Peruvian government to protect the landmark ruins.

In 2001, a film company shooting a TV ad for a Peruvian beer sneaked equipment into the site and irreparably damaged the stone Intihuatana atop the Machu Picchu ruins. Additionally, developers planned to build cable cars that would run from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu to facilitate access. The plan, endorsed by the government, would have quadrupled the number of visitors and created an eyesore among the majestic peaks that surround the ruins. Fortunately, those ill-conceived plans were finally scuttled. Responding to the pressure from UNESCO, foreign governments, and watchdog groups, the Peruvian government also introduced measures to clean up the historic Inca Trail and restrict access to it. In a unique debt-swap initiative, the government of Finland traded 25% of Peru´s outstanding debt (more than $6 million) for conservation programs.

The 2001 World Monuments Watch list of the 100 Most Endangered sites in the World included Machu Picchu ruins, but in 2002, the site was removed from the notorious list in recognition of the government´s more stringent regulations on the Inca Trail and the suspension of the cable-car plan.


6 other places in the world threatened by their popularity



But the Inca city of Machu Picchu in Cusco, is not the only place that needs to be protected, there are many other places in other cities of the world that simply are not prepared to face the irremediable increase of visitors.


  1. The famous Blue Lagoon, in Iceland, has suffered a dramatic increase in visitors in recent years. As in the Inca city of Machu Picchu the growth of visits was accelerated. It doubled from 566,000 to more than 1 million between 2011 and 2015, and in 2016, the number of Americans visiting the country outnumbered the Icelandic population.
  2. According to the Ministry of Tourism of Cuba, four million visitors went to Cuba in 2016, 13% more than the previous year. But this has had terrible consequences for Cuban residents. The New York Times reported in December 2016 that the increase in visitors has led to a shortage of staple foods, which in some cases have become completely inaccessible to locals, because hotel companies buy bulk supplies, raising prices and leaving limited amounts for residents.
  3. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing National Park, New Zealand, where more than half of the 125,000 walkers each year are foreign visitors. However, people who can camp and roam wherever they want, often do not respect the environment. On the other hand, the place does not have any infrastructure to deal with the huge amounts of garbage. Human waste is another issue that the New Zealand government needs to address "as soon as possible"; but it is not all, the scarcity of hotels, adequate parking places and public baths are also other urgent problems.
  4. It is inevitable that many Instagrammers and bloggers reach Tulum, Mexico. According to Newsweek, the city has struggled to keep up with its popularity, but you can still notice the enormous pollution of ecosystems and the discharge of wastewater into nearby rivers.
  5. Santorini in Greece, receives around 10,000 visitors in a single day during the peak of the high season in summer. Santorini is known all over the world, for its white houses on top of a hill overlooking the sea. But this beautiful location has become the ideal setting for Instagrammers and travel bloggers. In 2015, there was a record number of cruise ships there, with a maximum of 10,000 visitors in one day during the summer months. To try to protect the place, the authorities have put a limit of 8,000 visitors per day.
  6. A group of swimming pigs have populated a long island in the Bahamas, and have recently become a major tourist attraction; They are so popular that they are part of many of Donald Trump Jr.'s Instagram posts. However the dark side of this is that, the Humane Society of The Bahamas states that these swimming pigs have become so dependent on the appetizers of humans , that had completely altered their lifestyle.
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