Peru is beginning work on new alternative routes to Machu Picchu this year, in an effort to diversify tourism in the area and give visitors more opportunities to immerse themselves in local Peruvian culture and communities.
The Machu Picchu Council has approved a budget of nearly US$1.2 million for new projects at the Unesco World Heritage site. After years of heavy and damaging rains, a sizeable portion of the budget will go towards maintenance work like renewing footpaths and building new lookouts, information centres, rest areas and waste stations, as well as funding a large-scale planting campaign – which will see one million native plants and trees grown along the pathways.
The rest of the budget will be spent on delivering new access routes to Machu Picchu, routes should hopefully ease some of the pressure on the main trails. One of the new corridors is called the Amazon Access Route, which will connect the Intihuatana community with the areas of San Miguel, Inkarakay, Mandor, Puente Ruinas up to Machu Picchu Town. The second corridor will connect Choquellusca –located on the border with Piscacucho, in Ollantaytambo district – with San Antonio de Torontoy, on the way to Machu Picchu.
According to the Machu Picchu Council, the projects are intended to highlight the natural, cultural, and social heritage of the region, while diversifying tourist attractions and boosting the local economy.
There are already a number of ways in which visitors can access Machu Picchu; the most popular is the classic Inca Trail and others include the Lares Valley Track, the Salkantay Trek and the Inca Jungle Trail.