“Hiram Bingham, Please Pick Up a White Paging Telephone . . . “

Photo by Bates Littlehales


A new airport will soon be in the works in Chinchero, Peru.  The plan is part of an effort to boost tourism to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, according to Peru’s President Ollanta Humala.  The current airport, which is located near Cusco, only has the capacity to handle a small number of flights, and travelers who arrive by plane must then travel another 70 miles to reach the famous citadel.

Advocates for the new facility say that it will improve access and allow for a greater number of visitors.  The ruins are Peru’s most popular tourist attraction and President Humala is touting the benefits of new jobs and tourist dollars as a way to combat poverty in the region.

But questions have been raised about how much more traffic the ruins can accommodate.  Machu Picchu is a world heritage site, built in the 1400s and rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911.  Right now, only 2,500 visitors are allowed per day due to environmental concerns and worries about wear and tear on the structure.

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Alyson Foster works in the National Geographic Library where she purchases books for the Library’s collection and assists NG staff with finding research materials.