Category Archives: Andes

Lanslides near Machu Picchu

Severe rainfall has caused landslides along the railway tracks to Machu Picchu, making it impossible for trains to reach or depart Aguas Calientes.

As the bad weather continues, rehabilitation of the railway tracks can`t be currently done, so Peru Rail, the Cuzco local government, the federal government, the US embassy and Peru Rail have provided helicopters (a total of 10) to take passengers from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo, so that they can be then transferred to Cuzco. Climate conditions are still not good enough for the helicopter operations to operate at full capacity, so the evacuation of passengers is not happening at a quick pace.

Our associates in Peru have 3 representatives in Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) who are assisting our passengers. We do not expect the railway system to be operational at least before mid next week – if weather conditions allow. Full evacuation of passengers can take a couple more days, although this is hard to predict as it really depends on the weather. Machu Picchu’s geographical conditions make it very hard for helicopters to land during bad weather.

For those passengers already in Peru we are offering alternative destinations. For those that are arriving to Peru in the very short term (at least between now and February 8th), our recommendation is to cancel the trip to Machu Picchu. For those passengers arriving after February 8th, our suggestion would be to wait a couple of days to allow for the railway operator and authorities to asses the damages and provide an estimated date for the train service to be operational again.

Please be assured that we are 100% on top of this situation. Right now are main concern are the passengers that need to be evacuated from Machu Picchu and those already in Peru that will not be able to visit the ruins.

New Hotel Tax in Quito

The Municipal Council of Quito has implemented (as of April 1) a new hotel tax for all registered hotels in the city. The tax will be as follows:

3 star hotels = $1 US per night per room
4 & 5 star hotels = $2 US per night per room

Some hotels will be collecting the tax directly from their guests and some hotels will be passing that responsibility on to the booking agents.

Peru – Inca Trail Permits

If you are planning on hiking the Inca Trail, it’s best to secure your trail permits at least 3 months in advance. If you are not able to do that, there are quite a few other trekking options in the Cusco area that you should consider. Check out Gate of the Sun for more information.

Quito, Ecuador – Mindalae Museum

Mindalae Museum Offers Glimpse of Ecuador’s Rich Artistic Tradition Funded by the government of Belgium, the municipal government of Quito, the new Mindalae Museum opened its doors to the public in late 2006 in Quito’s Mariscal district. The word “Mindalae” comes from the word Mindala, a term used for merchants in pre-Colombian civilizations in the Americas. In this spirit, the Mindalae Museum is a place which highlights the diverse and stunning artwork and handicrafts of Ecuador’s many indigenous artisans.

The new museum consists of five floors, with a large collection of archaeological artifacts, tools, and handicrafts from indigenous highland, Amazonian, Afro-Ecuadorian, and coastal cultures. The museum also hosts a number of musical and dance performances as well. Visitors can also choose from a variety of souvenirs at the free trade gift shop which promotes the nation’s thriving artisan sector and the beautiful handmade goods they are responsible for creating. For more information, please visit