Foreign tourists are showing way too much skin at Peru’s most iconic cultural heritage site, and the government wants it to stop.
A video of two tourists streaking across the ruins of Machu Picchu, the 15th century Inca site, prompted an angry response by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture, the Huffington Post reported.
However the culprits, Australian tourist Sydney Rudevies Liam Timothy, 18, and New Zealander Topp Mathew Jared, 30, aren’t the only ones who have felt the urge to strip during their archaeological excursion.
In fact, the increasing popularity of “birthday suit tourism” may have been sparked by Israeli Amichay Rab, founder of the website mynakedtrip.com.
Hailing from the Netanya suburb of Tzoran, Rab captured a series of self-portraits in the nude during his travels post-IDF (where he served as an officer in the Givati Brigade) in South America in 2007, including at Machu Picchu. According to his site, Rab was forced to strip down to his dreadlocks because “some places were really hot and I had to do something about it…”
David Goldsmith, a British immigrant to Israel, met Rab in Buenos Aires while on a tour of the Estadio Alberto J. Armando Stadium, or “La Bombonera,” home to Boca Juniors — one of Argentina’s most successful soccer teams. At the end of the tour, which lasted no more than half an hour, Rab told Goldsmith he had a confession to make.
“Amichay explained to me, ‘I am taking naked photos of myself in famous places around South America,’” Goldsmith told Times of Israel. “‘Would you mind using my camera to take a shot of me here?’”
Goldsmith agreed, and Rab proceeded to undress on the spot.
Thoughtfully, Rab’s photos never expose his “member of the tribe,” but that has not reduced the outcry by the Peruvian government, which is dealing with a growing number of apparently Rab-inspired copycats.
Many in Peru have accused streakers of disrespecting the country’s cultural heritage, but Rab insists he didn’t mean to offend.
“I did it while no one was around and with the clarity that this is a sacred place for Peruvians, before all, with much respect,” Rab told BBC Mundo on Tuesday.
In light of the incidents, Peruvian authorities said they will crack down on stripping at Machu Picchu.