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Having recently returned from a week in Peru (Cuzco / Sacred Valley), I am reporting on a few things that I encountered while I was there. This one regards a government strike / huelga that took place while I was there. (tl;dr; – it wasn’t that bad)
Email from the hotel about an upcoming government strike
I was a bit surprised to get an email from the Tambo del Inka hotel a few days before we left for Peru indicating that there was going to be a strike in the Sacred Valley for 2 days while we were going to be there.
I tried to find out what that might mean but there was not a lot of information. My only experiences with huelgas had been when I was a missionary in the Dominican Republic 20 years ago, and all I really remember is people burning tires.
I talked to some friends from India or who had experiences with government strikes. They said that normally it was not a big deal but advised me to try and stay out of the way and that the only time there was really trouble was when people or businesses tried to
My experiences with a government strike / huelga
Since I could not find any information on what a government strike / huelga in Peru actually was like, or reports from people (especially Americans / foreigners / tourists) that had lived through one, I thought I would share our report on what it was like living through the government strike / huelga.
We arrived into Cusco (CUZ) on Monday the 29th – the day before the government strike was scheduled to start. Our plans were to leave Cusco immediately and go into the Sacred Valley – we stayed at the Tambo del Inka hotel in Urubamba. We did have to modify our plans a little bit on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the uncertainty – we ended up staying in Urubamba and the surrounding cities rather than driving anywhere else. On Tuesday, my hotel reported that the strike was mostly in the higher areas of Cusco and Chincheros. On Wednesday, there was concern that it might come into the lower areas of the Sacred Valley (Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, etc) but we never really saw anything at all in Urubamba and I felt perfectly safe walking around even at night.
The only real action of the government strike / huelga that we saw at all was briefly on our way out of Cusco on Monday morning. Even though it was the day before the strike, we did see people marching and there were a few roads that were closed – we detoured around them. We stopped at an overlook on our way out of Cusco, and you can’t really see it, but we were able to see people marching in Cusco’s Plaza de Armas (open area in the middle of the picture)
I understand why these strikes happen frequently in Peru and in South America, though it’s a bit frustrating as a tourist since there’s nothing you can really do about it. My best advice is to try and avoid the affected areas.
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