After we visited the incredible citadel of Machu Pichu, we took a very leisurely walk along the Hidroelectrica train tracks, leading to Santa Teresa. I was nervous about this part of the trip, because we didn’t really know what we were talking into, as there wasn’t much information on the internet about the trail. It turned out to be one of our FAVORITE parts of the entire trip!
To access the trail from Aguas Calientes, you have to walk out of the town, following the river, towards the trail that will take you up to Machu Pichu. You will come to a bridge that the buses carrying passengers up to MP cross and instead of crossing the bridge, you go slightly to the right and keep following the trail down. You will see many people coming from that direction. After that, it’s pretty much a straight walk. There is a well established foot path alongside the tracks for walkers.
We started the walk around 2 pm and we arrived at Hidroelectrica around 5 pm, with a 30 min stop for lunch. Total time : 3 hours
There are numerous places along the trail where you can stop to eat. Locals have set up stands where you can purchase waters, drinks, food, fruits etc. We stopped at Mama Angelica , part of Los Jardines de Mandor, and had a meal for 15 soles ( about $5) per person. You will undoubtedly find more inexpensive options along the way, but we wanted to stop at this historic site and were not disappointed!
After lunch, we continued walking a long the path, breathing in the forest and springs coming down the mountain. It’s a flat walk and very enjoyable. There are parts where the pedestrian path merges with the railroad tracks but it is not as issue, because the trains goes by every 30 mins or so and you can hear the whistle before they get close.
My favorite part about this trail were the streams. Praise to the Spirits of this forest.
The river too, was a being of immense force
The trail is very well marked near the exit and you follow the signs to the Hidroelectrica Station. You cross over the tracks, go down a hill and reach a clearing where there are shop stalls and taxis waiting. From hidroelectrica we took a shared taxi to town. It was 20 soles for 2 people for a 15 min ride, which we thought was very expensive but it was 5pm and we were tired so we did not negotiate. (The prices for taxis in Santa Teresa were higher than anywhere else during our travel, perhaps due to limited supply and monopoly.)
Taxi took us to EcoQuechua Lodge, another incredible place of beauty. Cost for one night was $58 USD for a private bed and bathroom, including FRESH, MADE TO ORDER ORGANIC BREAKFAST! Well worth it. The lodge restaurant also serves a dinner until 8 pm, which is recommended over going into town at night. We did not do that and Joseph had more excitement than he bargained for, though we had a good meal. If you do go into town at night, take a flashlight ( and maybe pocket knife) as there are stray dogs and it’s a bit of a dodgy walk before you get to the town center. We slept listening to the river.
We woke up in the morning in what felt like paradise.
Rain soaked green foliage, a river running strong, clouds wafting through the green mountains…una experiencia inolvidable ! From the lodge, we took a collectivo in the morning that took us to Santa Maria and from there another collectivo to Ollantaytambo. Along with a breathtaking view this road is windy , and had huge drops but being from Colorado, it really didn’t bother us. Plus there were waterfalls coming down to the road which was delightful!
And once we crossed over the valley, the views and scenery were truly out of this world.
A very memorable trip for sure!
and some good advice…