For people who have always dreamed of traveling to Machu Picchu, what should you do now? When should people begin planning their trips? Is it feasible to even think about traveling to Machu Picchu in 2020? Contact our experts in our US office to discuss your timing and strategy. I am in constant touch with our teams in South America and I frequently post news and videos on our social media pages. You'll find a link to all our social media at the bottom of every page on our website. 

The coronavirus has changed the travel community forever. How long should we wait before traveling? Where should we go? Is there anyone who shouldn't travel for a while? There is no guidebook with step by step instructions on what to do next. I've listed several resources, and a strategy to inspire travelers to keep planning their big dream trips. 

Traveling around Peru with a local tour operator in small private groups has many advantages:

  • avoid larger crowds of people on tours and activities
  • use our private drivers and vehicles which are sanitized after every group
  • accompanied by a private local guide who uses his/her knowledge to minimize your exposure to other travelers
  • flexibility to make last minute changes as needed to reduce exposure to crowded situations and maintain the continuity of your experience

Here's a list of potential resources to get information on the state of travel in Peru. Available to most people online:

  • your government embassy and official state department websites usually have travel alerts.
  • your country's health advisories and restrictions for international travelers
  • also check information from nearby countries (US citizens and Canadians)
  • research flight availability from your home airport to your destination
  • availability of hotels, tickets, transportation in your destination

Is it wise to set up a trip now to travel to South America in 2021?

  • There's no harm in using your downtime while sheltering at home to research the flights, hotels and activities. Keep in mind that airlines might not show complete schedules at this time. Countries in South America are at various stages of reopening their borders. 
  • You can set up a day to day itinerary without making reservations or commitments to anything. It can always be changed later when it comes time to make reservations.

When the time comes to actually make reservations, (Hooray!) what is the best strategy to protect your investment?

  • Do not book international flights unless you have confirmed that the destination you're planning to visit is actually open. And most importantly, has availability.
  • For the most flexibility, buy refundable flights. Discounted tickets may not be non-refundable, even in a pandemic. Read up on the rules for airline cancellation and refunds policies.
  • Book directly with the airline if you can. Going through an OTA (online travel agency) can add a layer of complexity when trying to sort out problems. 
  • Book your ground activities with local tour operators who offer Free Cancellation. Adios Adventure Travel is offering no-risk cancellation for trips to Machu Picchu.
  • Buy CFAR (cancel for any reason) travel insurance. These policies have deadlines to buy and they typically reimburse 50-75% of the claim. Read the fine print to see if they cover refunds for quarantine expenses, not to mention trip cancellation due to pandemics. 

When will Peru reopen to citizens from the US, Europe and Asia?

  • On Oct 5, the first international flights from 7 countries adjoining Peru resumed. On Ocober 23, it was announced that 10 more countries including the United States and Canada would begin flights to Peru in November. (check the website of the Delta, American and United airlines in the US for flight details)
  • On October 19, the outdoor archaeological sites around Cusco outskirts reopened to local tourism
  • The Peru government released limited free entry tickets to Machu Picchu for local tourists on October 19 for entry from Nov 1-14.. All tickets sold out in 3 days.
  • It makes sense that reopening Machu Picchu must be synchronized with the reopening of the international borders. Details and strategies are unfolding on the fly. This is one case, were being patient and flexible will be necessary.

Let's face it, there has always been at least some risk in traveling. And now we have the extra bonus of the aftermath of covid19. How will it affect travel in the future? No one knows for sure. But Machu Picchu has survived hundreds of years of wars, diseases and exposure to the elements. If there is one tiny flake of silver in all this, no one needs to worry about excessive crowds or overtourism at Machu Picchu for a while.