Machu Picchu reopens for single tourist stranded in Peru for seven months

Peru has opened the ruins of Machu Picchu for a single Japanese tourist who waited seven months to see the famous site while stranded in the country.

Jesse Katayama, 26, had planned to visit the top attraction in March but it closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

He only planned to spend a few days in Peru but became trapped in the town of Aguas Calientes when lockdown hit.

Culture Minister Alejandro Neyra said Mr Katayama was granted access to see the famous Inca ruins after submitting a special request.

‘He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter,’ Mr Neyra said in a virtual press conference on Monday.

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The ancient Inca citadel is expected to re-open at reduced capacity next month.

Mr Neyra said Mr Katayama was permitted to enter the ruins on Saturday with the head of the park ‘so that he can do this before returning to his country’.

Katayamana, a boxing instructor from Osaka, thanked the Peruvian authorities for granting his wishes.

‘The first person on Earth who went to Machu Picchu since the lockdown is meeeeeee,’ he posted on his Instagram account alongside pictures of himself at in the deserted mountain.

‘This is truly amazing! Thank you,’ he added in a video posted on the Facebook pages of the local tourism authority in Cusco.

Katayamana had clung onto his ticket to the UNESCO world heritage site after buying it in March.

He said he made the best of his experience in Peru by exploring local attractions and teaching boxing classes to young people in the area.

However he resigned to never see Machu Picchu after he started to run out of money and decided to return home.

He later told CNN: ‘I go to run every morning and I could see Machu Picchu afar in distance.

‘I thought I would never make it to Machu Picchu as I was expecting it won’t open within this year. but I was OK with it because I had a great time here.’

 Machu Picchu is the most visited tourist destination in Peru.

Neyra said that in November the stone ruins will be reopened for national and foreign tourists, without specifying the date. The site will permit 30% of its normal capacity of 675 people a day.

Peru has recorded more than 850,000 cases and 33,000 deaths, according to the John Hopkins University tracker.

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