A Japanese tourist who was stranded in Peru for nearly seven months due to the coronavirus pandemic was finally able to visit the famous ruins of Machu Picchu, which was only open for him, according to reports.
Jesse Katayama, 26, was eager to visit the 15th-century Inca citadel that stood on a 7,970-foot mountain ridge when he arrived in the Andean country in March, but the deadly insect had other plans, the Guardian reported.
“He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter,” Culture Minister Alejandro Neyra said at a virtual press conference on Monday, the news agency reported.
“The Japanese citizen walked in with our park chief so he can do it before returning to his country,”
Peru, which has reported 33,305 coronavirus-related deaths so far, has the highest per capita death rate from disease of any country in the world, according to the report.
International flights have recently resumed, but only to seven Latin American countries.
“It’s so amazing! Thanks!” a euphoric Katayama, a native of Osaka, said in a video recorded on the top of Machu Picchu mountain after entering the ancient site on Saturday.
Neyra announced that the UNESCO World Heritage Site will reopen to all in November, although she hasn’t specified a date. In line with safety protocols, the site will allow 30% of its usual capacity of 675 people per day.
“We are still in the midst of a pandemic,” Neyra noted. “It will be done with all the necessary care.”
Katayama, a boxing instructor, told CNN that he spent his considerable free time exploring local attractions like Mount Putucusi and Calientes Falls.
He also taught boxing to local kids and practiced his moves because he plans to open a boxing gym when he finally gets home on Friday.
“I go for a run every morning and I could see Machu Picchu in the distance,” Katayama told CNN. “I thought I would never get to Machu Picchu because I expected it would not be open this year. But it was fine with me because I had a great time here.”
In a celebratory post on Instagram, Katayama wrote: “Peruvians are really nice. Thanks a lot! “