Machu Picchu Dr: "All Tourists Need A Health Check Before Hiking Wayna Picchu"
On March 4, 2022, a 50 year old American tourist died after experiencing health problems while hiking up the famous Huayna Picchu Mountain inside the Machu Picchu national park.
A team of security guards and the national police were dispatched to provide first aid and coordinate the rescue. Dr. Sajjad Haider, was carried out on a stretcher and transported to Machu Picchu Puerblo. Health professionals from a local clinic in the village of Aguas Calientes administered medical care but were not able revive Dr.Haider, and sadly he passed away. (one of his co-workers contacted me to provide the correct title and spelling of his name)
Dr. Donato Amado, in charge of the Headquarters of the National Archaeological Park of Machupicchu made the following recommendation.
"All tourists who wish to go to the upper parts of the Machu Picchu Archaeological Park must first consult their doctor and undergo a health check."
I've hiked Huayna Picchu many times. It's an exhilerating experience. It's got a modest altitude of 8,923 ft, when compared to Cusco which tops out around 11,000 ft / 3430 m, Machu Picchu is much lower at 7970ft / 2430m. The trail doesn't lend itself to a fast pace due to the steep terrain and the fact that hikers must share the same narrow path going up and down. It has steep stone steps, tight switchbacks, drop offs and cables to hang on to. I think the fact that there aren't more accidents and adverse health events, indicates that people do pay attention and use their common sense when hiking Huayna Picchu. But unlike the permits for the Inca Trail hikes which require travelers to go through a licensed tour operator, and presumably some form of screening, anyone can buy tickets to hike Huayna Picchu online. There is no screening whatsoever.
Will there be changes for entry to Machu Picchu? Just because the doctor in Machu Picchu used the word "must," doesn't indicate a change in policy. It appears he was imploring people to use caution when exploring the higher regions of Machu Picchu National Park. When you buy your tickets you are asked to confirm that you understand the terms of the agreement for entry. This includes the documents needed, payment, refunds etc. There is mention that people in the late stages of pregnancy, and those who are "delicate and inadequate," may be restricted from entry. Currently, there's no mention of showing health documents in order to enter Machu Picchu or hike Huayna Picchu.
What else do you need to know about traveling to Machu Picchu? Oh, there's more! If you want to see my "big fat list of covid stuff about Peru," here's the link.
Check back as I'll update with more information if it becomes available. And if any regluations change, I always report on that too.