Peru trips cancelled amid political turmoil

Tours to Peru have been cancelled or amended amid escalating political protests, which have forced the closure of airports and Unesco World Heritage site Machu Picchu.

The famous site has been closed, along with the Inca hiking trail leading up to it, to protect tourists and citizens.

G Adventures said that the political unrest means that parts of Peru are seeing protests, road blockages and closures “which are making it impossible to run many trips as planned”.

It added that the state of emergency has been extended across the country.

“As a result, and in the interests of traveller safety, we will be cancelling all trips starting in Peru up to, and including, 5 February, 2023,” said G Adventures.

“We are currently in the process of advising travellers on affected departures of the situation in Peru.

“We understand how disappointing this news will be, so we will be working with them to book their next adventure, and are offering either a full refund or future travel credit for fully paid passengers.

“All travellers currently on the ground in Peru are safe, and we are working to re-route itineraries as needed to avoid areas of protest until we can get them safely home.

“We are in communication with all travellers currently in Peru to ensure their onward travels are as smooth as possible.”

More: Tourists evacuated as Machu Picchu is shut

Intrepid Travel has also cancelled trips in Peru until February 5 due to the political instability. The operator has one group of three customers in Peru, who have been safety evacuated to hotel accommodation in Cusco.

Gary Cohen, Intrepid’s managing director for Latin America, said: “Our thoughts are with the people of Peru at this difficult moment, particularly all of our team and their families, who have been impacted by recent events and the closure of the tourist sites.

“We hope for a peaceful resolution and look forward to sharing the wonders of Peru with our customers again soon.”

Intrepid customers who are affected have been told about the cancellations and offered the option of either a refund (minus unrecoverable costs) or credit to use towards future travel.

The operator is contacting all agents who have customers book to travel to Peru with Intrepid in the coming weeks.

Martin Johnson, co-founder and director of Latin Routes, said: “We are monitoring the situation in Peru very closely and hope that the people of Peru can find an amicable resolution to the current difficult and complex political situation.

“Despite the protests, it has been possible for clients to continue their travels in Peru, because the protests are normally in particular locations and scheduled in advance. This means we can ensure our clients avoid the hotspots, with some flexibility needed to adjust their itinerary at times.

“For upcoming departures in February, we are talking to clients about any potential implications to their travels and offering a free-of-charge option to defer their trips, where we feel there will be a significant impact to their plans.

“Despite this, a number of clients are still choosing to travel and take advantage of seeing Peru’s amazing sites, at this much quieter time of year.

“We are coming into a key time for bookings to Peru for this summer, and initial indications are that enquiries are about 25% down on normal volumes.

“However, overall demand for wider Latin America continues to be very strong, with enquiries up 70% year-on-year indicating that any clients who’ve been put-off by the current protests in Peru, are enquiring about other destinations across Latin America.”

Danny Callaghan, chief executive of the Latin American Travel Association, commented: “The ongoing situation in Peru is proving very challenging for the tourism industry, as it recovers from the two-year Covid shutdown.

“Although the news coming from Peru is concerning, it is important to remember that this is a large country, with protests confined to certain areas, so tourism through much of the country is still perfectly normal.

“When protests are taking place, they are always planned in advance, so any tourist who is prepared to be a little flexible and is travelling through an operator will still be able to have their holiday and see most, if not all, of the sights.

“Whilst there have been temporary closures of airports, and areas such as Machu Picchu, these have been pre-emptive, rather than as a direct result of problems.

“For context, let’s remember that, for example, Lima is nearly twice the size of Greater London, and protests in Westminster wouldn’t render the whole of London a no-go area.

“On Friday we held a Peru Update webinar, with operators who are on the ground there, and Lata members can view that on the Data website”

Machu Picchu picture: David Lonut/