(CNN) – About 300 tourists from around the world have been stranded in the ancient city of Machu Picchu, according to the mayor, as Peru was plunged into a state of emergency following the ouster of the country’s president.
Darwin Baca, the mayor of Machu Picchu, said Peruvians, South Americans, Americans and Europeans are among the stranded travelers.
“We have asked the government to help us and set up helicopter flights to evacuate tourists,” said Baca. The only way in and out of the city is by train and these services have been suspended until further notice, he said.
“PeruRail said they are still looking into the situation,” Baca explained.
Lack of food in Machu Picchu
The mayor also warned that Machu Picchu is already suffering from food shortages due to the protests and the local economy relies 100% on tourism.
Baca called on the government, led by new president Dina Boluarte, to establish a dialogue with the local population to end the social unrest as soon as possible.
PeruRail has said it would assist affected passengers in changing their travel dates.
“We regret the inconvenience these announcements create for our passengers; however, they are due to situations beyond our company’s control and are intended to prioritize passenger and employee safety,” the company said in a statement.
Tourists are stranded elsewhere in Peru
Travelers wait outside the airport in Cuzco on Friday after it was closed due to protests.
LATAM Airlines Peru said operations to and from Alfredo Rodriguez Ballon International Airport in Arequipa and Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cuzco, 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Machu Picchu, had been temporarily suspended.
“LATAM maintains continuous monitoring of the political situation in Peru to provide relevant information as to how it may affect our air operations,” the airline said in a statement.
“We await the response of the relevant authorities, who must take corrective measures to ensure safety for the development of air operations.”
He added: “We regret the inconvenience this situation beyond our control has caused our passengers and we reinforce our commitment to air safety and connectivity in the country.”
Warnings from the US and the UK
The US State Department has issued a travel advisory for citizens traveling to Peru, which it has listed as a level three “travel reconsideration” destination.
“Demonstrations can cause the closure of local roads, trains and major highways, often without advance notice or estimated timelines for reopening. Road closures can significantly reduce access to public transport and airports and can disrupt travel within and between cities, ” he warns.
The United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has also warned its citizens about the situation.
He also said travelers arriving in the capital Lima were unable to travel to or from many regional areas — including Cusco and Arequipa — and that more disruptions were possible.
British nationals were also warned to respect the imposed Peruvian curfews and to monitor local news and social media for more information.
Tourists run out of medicine
American tourist Kathryn Martucci spoke to CNN about getting stuck in Machu Picchu, Peru.
Courtesy Kathryn Martucci
An American tourist stuck in Machu Picchu has run out of medication and isn’t sure when she’ll be able to leave the small town and get more, she tells CNN.
Florida resident Kathryn Martucci, 71, was on a group trip with 13 other Americans when Peru entered the state of emergency, she said.
According to Martucci, her travel group was unable to catch the last train out of the small town before the railroad was suspended.
Her son Michael Martucci, who lives in the United States, also spoke to CNN and has been trying to help his mother find a way out.
“They’ve been there since Monday, and now she and the other people she’s with are running out of the medicine they need,” Martucci said. “There’s nothing in the small town they’re stuck in. They’re safe and have food thankfully, but there’s no way to get more medicine.”
Martucci said her group was scheduled to stay at Machu Picchu for two days, so they were told to pack little and bring only a two-day supply of medicine.
On Friday morning, Martucci said her guide took her group to city hall to be medically evaluated in hopes that local officials would understand their situation and help them find a way out.
“There were about 100 tourists in line and we waited two hours before seeing the doctor,” said Martucci. “They told me I was a priority and that they would try to get me by helicopter from Machu Picchu in the next two days.”
However, Martucci isn’t sure if that will happen, she told CNN.
“There are some people who need help and a helicopter can only carry 10 people. We don’t know what’s going on.”