For my last full weekend in Peru, I went to Machu Picchu and saw the infamous Inca ruins in all of their glory. It was amazing of course, and the views from the mountains made all the difficulties absolutely worth it. Might I say, it was a wild ride (literally, financially, and emotionally) getting there and back.
One thing I have learned through this experience is that Machu Picchu is a relatively new tourist destination and the services/facilities to accommodate 2,000-5,000 visitors per day are not quite caught up to the enormous influx of people. The negative effects of tourism can be felt here, and more than anything, it makes me sad to think that just by visiting this beautiful place we are also collectively destroying it. As we speak, roads, towns, stations, and bathrooms are being constructed to accommodate tourists and the more we visit the more toilet flushes there will be. I feel extremely lucky to have visited such an immensely beautiful and powerful place during my lifetime, but I can’t help but feel guilty too.