A village near Peru's famed Machu Picchu ruins has built a bridge over the turbulent Vilcanota River, opening a cheap backdoor route for cash strapped backbackers.
The bridge was inaugurated this week in the village of Santa Theresa despite the objections of government cultural experts, who fear increased tourism could threaten the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The site, a complex of stone buildings built by the Incan empire that controlled the area when the Spanish arrived in 1532, has been accessible only by train from the town of Cuzco.
The new route involves an eight-hour bus ride through avananche country, along narrow, twisting dirt roads bordering deep precipices. From Santa Theresa, travelers cross the bridge to catch rides on trucks to a hydro electric plant, then hike 11 km, or 7 miles, along railroad tracks to reach Aguas Calientes, down the mountain from Machu Picchu. Total Cost: Less than $10.00. (AP)
Lhbrown. Thank you very much for the post. We are interested in Machu Picchu. Don't know how this will affect our ideas. The new route sounds a little scary though and I don't think we would consider the journey. I really want to do the Orient Express Trip. Hope it comes back on LL.
You are right, this new route is obviously intended for the younger, more energetic, backpacking student crowd. It promisses plenty of adventure for the young at heart.... but I think I am with you, I too would opt for the Orient Express trip. I posted the info just to let people know that there is an alternative route at this point.