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Machu Picchu to close for seven weeks!


marazul

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doggie girl - would love to know whether you made your Ecuador-Lima connections from Quito or Guayaquil. Any info as to flights, etc would be appreciated (use the Xpedition board if you prefer)

 

If you are particularly interested in textiles, Chinchero is more interesting that Pisac (so I'm told).

 

xcountry - I do hope I get to MP before you do.

 

Here are the news from today's newspaper:

 

The paper calls the promises to reopen the link to MP "politician promises" not different from promises made during the elections. An inspection was carried out in the past couple of days which show that the reality is that only a couple of segments between Piscacucho (km 82) and Aguas Calientes are being worked on. There are segments from km 94 to 101 where the lines and the road bed have been completely washed out and are not being worked on yet. The paper thinks that the April 1 deadline is wildly optimistic. They fear more mudslides if this weeks's rains are as strong as forecast.

 

The government is now promising that the contract to rebuild the Santa Teresa road will be awarded tomorrow. And that delays are for "technical reasons."

 

More realistic news from the tourism industry indicate that business may start getting back to normal in May.

 

The Peru Rail website (in Spanish) has not posted news updates since Feb 1 when it said the Cusco-Puno route would reopen by yesterday (Feb 21). The Orient express website hasn't posted anything since the beginning of Feb.

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Thanks, doggie girl.

 

Not much in today's paper. The provisional bridge to Pisac should be finished in less than a month.

 

On Peru Rail, the Andean Explorer between Cusco and Puno is running again.

Hi and Bye to you all:)

We leave in around 2 hours for the airport to start the long trip to Lima via London and Madrid from the North West of England. The rain will be home from home for us as has not stopped raining/snowing here since Christmas!

Hope to let you all know in due course whether our alternative itinerary woeked out ok.

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1. The train company insists that the rail from Piscacucho to aguas Calientes will be completely repaired by April 1.

2. No work has been done at all on the road from Ollantaytambo to Piscacucho that is supposed to be used for the bus link to the train.

3. An old Inca road from about km 82 to MP that runs along the river will be rehabilitated as an alternative to the Inca trail. In the future it could be used as a return loop from MP to give trekkers a more varied experience.

4. About 2000 residents from MP and Santa Teresa are starting on a march to Cusco to demand speedier help and restoration of roads and trains. Right now, the old Inca road mentioned above is being used to carry provisions (on foot) to Aguas Calientes.

 

And, janmc, bon voyage and post when you can. First hand reports are best.

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I'm glad to see that work is progressing to open up MP again. We're visiting there in December this year before we fly onto Quito and out to the Galapagos Islands for a cruise - we can't wait !!!

 

I'd appreciate it if someone who has been to these parts before can tell me about the local arts and crafts as I like to support local people if I can. I'm wondering what sort of goods are for sale and what's available in local markets?

 

Thanks in advance.

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Do you know anything about a new train service just starting up at Ollantaytambo? I noticed on our hotel's website a link has been added but not working yet.

 

http://www.machupicchutrain.com/index_main.htm

 

Not a thing, but I don't know on which tracks it's going to run since they have been washed away. There are no other train tracks, so they would have to get a concession to use the same. Also, I doubt that the Orient-Express/government consortium would allow competition... But what do I know? (BTW, which is your hotel?)

 

Greatam - if you are lurking, have you heard anything about this?

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Not a thing, but I don't know on which tracks it's going to run since they have been washed away. There are no other train tracks, so they would have to get a concession to use the same. Also, I doubt that the Orient-Express/government consortium would allow competition... But what do I know? (BTW, which is your hotel?)

 

Greatam - if you are lurking, have you heard anything about this?

 

ANOTHER travel agency in Cusco BS'ing the unsuspecting. As you pointed out, the tracks are the tracks and O/E paid a handsome penny for PeruRail, the Sanctuary and Monasterio as well as their interests in Puno. There is no room to run a second set of tracks and I am sure OE is not going to let their investment go bye-bye.

 

From another Peruvian site boasting about their new, "improved" Inca trail treks:

 

contact - Official Site of Machu Picchu Train | PERU

Machu Picchu Travel Center. Angélica Moscoso. Phone: (51) 84-221199. Address: Av. Sol 576 Cuzco. Email: reservations@machupicchutrain.com

 

In another quip, I found NEW SERVICE, NEW OPERATOR going to the same website. Pure BS per Solana, my friend and translator (Quecha).

 

I found this interesting regarding the domain name:

http://whois.domaintools.com/machupicchutrain.com

 

Domain name appears to have been registered in 2005 by someone in Lima, expiration 2010. Someone has paid a price to have the domain name during all the turmoil.

 

It is really a shame that Cusco is getting so many scam artists. I always believed Cusco travel agents/tour operators were straight shooters for the most part (other than hiding the fact that those 3 day quickie tours were a good way to get AMS and sleeping in a completely oxygenated hotel was an even better way to get AMS). Oh, what a tangled web when there is a disaster and people think they can make a quick buck.

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The residents of MP and Santa Teresa continue their demonstrations in Cusco and refuse to leave until the government delivers the heavy equipment required to rebuild the roads, etc.

 

The Sanctuary Lodge staff is cooking for the workers who are cleaning up the road up to the ruins and for the policemen brought in to provide security in Aguas Calientes.

 

And that's that for today.

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When we were in Peru in April '09, several people mentioned that there is another company that is trying to run a service to MP using Peru Rail's tracks. The train cars, we were told, had already arrived, but the permits were tied up in a morass of red tape. The consensus seemed to be that while the competition is much needed, the chances of the service actually starting was very, very small.

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When we were in Peru in April '09, several people mentioned that there is another company that is trying to run a service to MP using Peru Rail's tracks. The train cars, we were told, had already arrived, but the permits were tied up in a morass of red tape. The consensus seemed to be that while the competition is much needed, the chances of the service actually starting was very, very small.

 

They have been talking about a "new train" since before O/E bought a large percentage of PeruRail. As you can see, the fighting between the people, the government and O/E is typical Peruvian.

 

JMHO, unless they had a lot of "overnight" people using a "new train", it would go broke very shortly. With a 3 hour trip each way, if you don't leave Cusco/Poroy by 9AM, you would miss most of MP unless you stayed overnight. There is a rule pushed by UNESCO about being on the road down from the ruins after 5PM to preserve the road, the buses and the employees. I really can't see how increased competition would benefit anyone-too many people on the mountain at one time, more crowded in Agua Calientes, more crowded in Cusco, especially in the summer when the college students worldwide INVADE the town to hike the Inca trail and MORE TRASH in the Urubamba river (dirtiest river I have ever seen). Pretty soon it would be like Disneyland with super huge crowds, a 2 hour wait to get the bus up the hill and not the special place it is today. UNESCO has taken MP off the "endangered" list BUT more traffic puts it right back at risk.

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:mad:The Peru Rail website is NOT selling tickets on the Ollanta-MP route until JUNE 1. I guess that tells us something of the real progress of reconstruction. BTW, the "official" press release reopening date is still April 1.

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:mad:The Peru Rail website is NOT selling tickets on the Ollanta-MP route until JUNE 1. I guess that tells us something of the real progress of reconstruction. BTW, the "official" press release reopening date is still April 1.

 

Do you have your tickets already?

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Do you have your tickets already?

I do, but I'm not concerned. PeruRail was really good about refunds before adn I also have trave insurance for this trip since we will be traveling for a month.

 

Of additional concern is the massive earthquake in Chile this morning. Tsunami warnings were just issued for the Galapagos.

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This was quick. The tsunami alert for the Galapagos was withdrawn. People were advised to return to their homes after an earlier evacuation.

 

Guayaquil newspaper story:

http://www.eluniverso.com/2010/02/27/1/1447/alerta-tsunami-islas-galapagos.html?p=1354&m=638

 

Of interest to greatam - Aerogal was acquired by Avianca. (Found it while looking for tsunami news.)

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Of interest to greatam - Aerogal was acquired by Avianca. (Found it while looking for tsunami news.)

 

It's not a done deal yet and has been in the works since 2008. It IS South America, after all. Things take a LOOOOONG time.

 

There are numerous USA governmental problems and to the best of my knowledge, one of the men that owns a large block of shares in the acquiring company (actually a family holding company owns the shares) was President/owner of Aero Continente, the Peruvian airline which was banned from the US and the owner indicted (although not convicted) of being a drug kingpin in the USA.

 

I am tired and cranky-still in the Middle East and the earthquake in Chile brought phone calls from my NYC office and from Del Monte's Santiago office about 11AM Kuwait time (I have been working from about 6PM to about 5AM, so I had just gotten to sleep). We have over 30 containers to be loaded for the USA this week. Del Monte is putting a stop on buying more fruit until the damage assessments and logistics moving the fruit can be worked out. Might be a bumper crop of cheap wine this year if they can't get the grapes and other fruit shipped.

 

I hope to get back to the USA sometime this week. Darn, I am tired. This old lady is just too old to be pulling 24 hour days anymore. Got to get back to work-we have a convoy leaving for Iraq in a few hours and almost all the trailers have perishable food in them (my little kingdom).

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dougo, check this site for the traditional textiles center in Cusco:

http://textilescusco.org/cttc/eng/index.html

 

BTW, I love your picture from Lavender Bay.

M

 

Thanks very much marazul, that's what I was after plus some small silver items if they make them / are available in Cuzco.

 

Glad you like the pic- it's not one that I've taken tho' - lol

 

Thanks again

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Glad you like the pic- it's not one that I've taken tho' - lol

Didn't think so, but I love it just the same. It was where I used to take my morning walks. Loved it there!

 

greatam - stay safe, get some sleep, keep posting. And I'm looking forward to the cheap wine . . .

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Today's paper reports an increase in tourism to Cusco and the construction of a new JW Marriott in Cusco. The long-term forecast signals the end of the rainy season by mid-March.

 

From my Cusco friends I hear that that access to MP will definitely be restored by April, maybe not April 1, but not too far off.

 

I'll keep posting on this column when any significant news show up, maybe not every day.

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Well, the weathermen got it wrong again! Torrential rains Sunday night caused huge landslides on the road from Cusco to Pisac. Other portions of the road were washed away. A nearby town (Taray) got flooded. On the better news, the Vilcanota river did not reach flood levels at Pisac, so presumably, rail and road repairs to MP were not affected, but nothing concrete on that.

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In today's paper:

 

1. The regional government announced that MP will reopen on March 15 using traditional inka roads from the hydroelectric plant side. Starting on April 1 (and I'm sure no one on this board has missed the fact that this is April Fool's Day) a small train station will be operational at km. 82 where the Inka Trail begins and will serve trekkers.

 

2. In a paid announcement, CONSETTUR - a consortium of tourist enterprises in MP - says that the road from Aguas Calientes to the Puente Ruinas train stop (rail from the hydroelectric) is 95% finished.

 

3. The national meteorological service now warns of very heavy rains this week and warns of possible flooding of the Vilcanota river through the Sacred Valley, in Puno (Lake Titicaca) and of all the rivers in the Amazonian basin. Light rains in Arequipa. So if you are planning to be in Peru this coming week, you'll get very wet.

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