Bad news for any tourists currently in Cusco with plans of visiting Machu Picchu, due to heavy rains the world famous sanctuary and tourist attraction has been closed for the next three days. Rain isn't an uncommon occurrence in Cusco especially during this time of the year where Cusco receives its highest percentage of rainfall (January and February receive the most rainfall). The "rainy season" (which typically lasts from October to March) as it is referred to by most Cusqueñans has always been hard on tourism with the department usually seeing a significant decrease in tourists during this time.
Machu Picchu was closed this week by local government officials in response to several landslides that have occurred in the region. The landslides caused by the massive amounts of rain caused the damage of several bridges in and around the surrounding areas as well as making the roads unsafe for travel. The roads that lead up to Machu Picchu have also been affected by the torrential downpour as land and rock slides have left them damaged. It is estimated that it will take about 3 to 5 days to repair. The government and local authorities realizing the danger the weather posed to people and tourists in Aguas Calientes conducted emergency evacuations. In fact, the weather and rain has been so bad that the authorities in Cusco as well as Apurímac have declared a state of emergency in response which will be in effect for a total of 60 days.
Here are just a few videos from various sources that show the reality of the situation in Cusco.
At the moment it is estimated that some 40% of the population in Cusco are without drinkable water. While it is certainly unfortuante for the thousands of tourists currently in Cusco, it is just as unfortunate if not more for the citizens and residents of both Cusco and Apurímac.
When I had traveled to Cusco this last December with my family I recall it raining nearly everyday and the rain would literally pour, it reminded me alot of Portland, a city which also sees lots of rain yearly. The worst it got during my trip was during our last day in Aguas Calientes. It had rained twice that day, once around noon when my brother and I were climbing down this small mountain called Putucusi (2,500 mts.) and the second was around 2pm will my brother and I were trekking along the railroad returning from a nearby waterfall. It was the second downpour that was the worst.