Outbound Collective logo

Machu Picchu reopens...for a single tourist

By: Kyle Frost + Save to a List

Traveler Jesse Katayama arrived in Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu on March 14. Most people will arrive here from Ollantaytambo via train and stay a few nights, using their pre-purchased entry ticket to access Machu Picchu one day while they are there. Katayama didn't know it yet, but he would be here for 7 months.

The Peruvian government closed the UNESCOHeritage site on March 16 (the day of Katayama's ticket), but rather than leave, he opted to continue renting a room in the small Peruvian town. He has made the most of this unique experience by exploring other local adventures like Putucusi Mountain and the Calientes Waterfalls. He even taught boxing classes to some of the local kids.

But, money runs out, and after seven months "traveling", it seemed as if he would have to return to Japan without ever having visited Machu Picchu. However a local tour company decided to intervene. With help from the national Ministry of Culture, Katayama was given special permission to enter Machu Picchu -- and to have it nearly all to himself. The experience was documented by photographers, and he got a personal tour from the site director at Machu Picchu,Jose Bastante.

Katayama plans to leave Peru and return to Japan on October 16, but it'll be an emotional departure. "I will definitely cry," he says, "These seven months have been very special to me. I have discovered a new part of me."

Unfortunately for the rest of us, while Peru's Ministry of Culture says there are plans to re-open at 30%capacity, there are no dates currently set for when that will happen.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


Overnighter on the Sonoma Coast

Benjamin Canevari

10 Things you need to do in Baja

wyld honeys

Journey to Wyoming’s premier snowmobiling destination: Togwotee Mountain Lodge

Samuel Brockway

Hiking in comfort: a review of Danner Mountain 600 Evo boots

Meghan White