Update on security issues on the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu route.
As reported in the Peruvian media, a group of tourists encountered terrorists on the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek mid August 2011. The encounter was peaceful, with the group asked to give up their tents, medicines, food and money or as the media reported, “things that could serve us for the revolution.”
What has created greater alarm was media reporting of the incident – the tourists being reported as “attacked” at Choquequirao. To clarify – the tourists were peacefully robbed at least 2 days walk from the Choquequirao archaeological complex at the small village of Yanama.
For locals, the main concern is for a return of the days of the Shining Path who carried out terrorist activities in the Vilcabamba region into the 1990s. The heavily armed group of approximately 12 very young men, said that they were not Shining Path but from the Communist Party of Peru.
Apus Peru works with a number of muleteer families in Yanama and the muleteers said that the “terrorists” called a meeting and lectured on their ideology but there was no violence or threats. The muleteers say these men “have done nothing wrong” but are significantly more worried about a drop in tourist numbers due to the media’s alarmist reporting.
It´s believed that the group was on the run from police into the deeper Vilcabamba and that the meeting with the group of tourists was not intentional, and that the “terrorists” acted opportunistically when encountering the tourists. Apus Peru had two groups in the region at the time but had completely normal treks.
The Ministry of the Interior says it has sent police to the area concerned and will establish a police post. Apus Peru continues to monitor the situation as closely as possible.
For clients with Choquequirao bookings, you have a number of options
- Continue as planned, especially those booked on the Classic 4 day Choquequirao route
- Continue as planned on the longer Choquequirao to Machu Picchu route we are still operating as normal, but if you no longer want to do the trek
- Use your non refundable deposit as an advance on another route. For the Choquequirao to Machu picchu reservations we will waive the $100 per person route change fee.
- If your trek is on Trekkers Wanted, we would appreciate any changes as soon as you can so we can update Trekkers Wanted. Also you should be familiar of Trekkers Wanted “Conditions of Operation” which states: as our prices operate on a sliding scale, the final price of your tour depends on the number of people that depart on the trek day, not the numbers of people who have reserved (and then cancel). This means that the final price that you pay will be determined at the briefing, and is based on the final number of trekkers in the group.
Thank you for your time, we want you to be informed so you can make a decision to do this trek or not.
We thank you for your understanding
The Apus Peru team
28th August 2011
The source of our information has been conversations with muleteers, and guides.