A Japanese tourist has become the first person in seven months to visit Machu Picchu in Peru.
Jesse Katayama of Osaka arrived in Peru in March to visit the World Heritage site. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 500-year-old site was closed.
Katayama had only planned to stay in the country for a few days, but had to stay in the small town of Aguas Calientes, which is about a 9-kilometer hike from Machu Picchu, for seven months.
As the months passed, he began to run out of money, and his dream of visiting the site looked like it would never happen.
“I thought I would never make it to Machu Picchu as I was expecting it [wouldn’t] open within this year, but I was OK with it because I had a great time here,” Katayama told CNN.
However, the Peruvian government allowed him to enter after he made a special request.
Peru’s Minister of Culture, Alejandro Neyra, said: “He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter. The Japanese citizen has entered together with our head of the park so that he can do this before returning to his country.”
Neyra said Machu Picchu would open to tourists again in November, but only 30% of the normal 675 visitors per day would be allowed.
Peru has one of the worst coronavirus death rates in the world. It has had more than 853,000 cases and over 33,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. According to Worldometer, 33 million people live in the country.