The hot springs of Cocalmayo also known as thermal baths of Santa Teresa are the ideal place to relax after an exciting adventure in the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu that will most likely leave your body tired and wanting some relaxation and rest.
The town of Santa Teresa is located in the Urubamba river valley, in the district of the same name, province of la Convention, department of Cusco. It is located approximately 14 kilometers from Machu Picchu town and 220 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
The thermo-medicinal baths of Santa Teresa are in the middle of a beautiful landscape of sub-tropical jungle, with an average annual temperature of 21 °. The rainy season, as well as in the entire department of Cusco, begins between the months of November and December ending usually in April and is characterized by torrential rains that can, in some cases, cause landslides and roadblocks. During the winter (summer in the north hemisphere) the weather is normally dry and at night the temperature can drop to 11 °. This season is between the months of May and October, these being the best months to travel.
Altitude and population
The district of Santa Teresa is located at an altitude of 1 511 m.s.n.m and has a population of 5 972 inhabitants according to the last population and housing census of 2017.
Created on October 11, 1957, the district of Santa Teresa is one of the thirteen districts of the province of La Convention, being known regionally and nationally for the production of fruit, coffee, coca leaf and many other products that They grow abundantly in this place thanks to the mild and humid climate.
In 1998 this town was razed by an immense slip of stones, mud and trees from the Aobamba river that almost completely destroyed both the town center and the thermal baths, then the town was relocated 50 kilometers upriver.
How to get to Cocalmayo
There are several alternatives to reach this heavenly place, which depend both on the budget of the traveler and their physical condition and willingness to take walks. Next, we list the options:
From Cusco by bus
You have to take a bus at the ‘Almudena’ bus station located in the Santiago district in Cusco and after approximately 5 hours of road travel you will reach the town of Santa María. From here you must take a bus or taxi to Santa Teresa, the trip takes about an hour on a dirt trail to finally arrive at this picturesque town. The heated pools are approximately 10 minutes by car from Santa Teresa or 1 hour walk (4 kilometers).
The cost varies depending on the type of transport taken (bus, private taxi service, minivan) but usually getting to Santa Teresa from Cusco by land costs between S/.70.00 and S/. 100.00, one way.
From Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu)
The medicinal baths of Cocalmayo, as we had already mentioned, are only 14 kilometers away from the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. There are two alternatives to reach Cocalmayo from Aguas Calientes, the first is a walk of approximately 3 hours over the train tracks from the station known as 'Hidroeléctrica' to the town of Santa Teresa, in the middle of a lush tropical landscape, with abundant vegetation and a lot of heat, once there you must walk another hour to finally reach the hot springs; The second alternative is to arrive by train to the aforementioned station, this section will take approximately 20 minutes. Once here you can continue walking or by car.
The cost of the train transfer for this short 14 km route is S/.5.00 for Peruvians and USD 31.00 for foreign visitors.
Hotels in Cocalmayo
In the town of Santa Teresa you can find cheap hostels, with prices starting at around S/.50.00 to Lodges that offer more luxurious services whose prices can reach S/. 200.00. It is important to mention that in Santa Teresa there are none 5-star hotels, but in Machu Picchu town you can find a wide variety of 4 or 5 stars hotels
The entrance cost for foreign visitors is S/. 10.00, while the cost for national visitors is S/0 5.00. The customer service hours are from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
It consists of three large-sized pools with crystal clear and transparent waters coming from the subsoil, the water temperature varies between 38 °C and 45 °C. The complex has changing rooms for both men and women, showers, camping areas, soccer fields, restaurants, bars, bathrooms and car rental stands. These medicinal waters are attributed healing properties for skin problems, rheumatism or joint pain while being a natural source of hydromassage and relaxation. If what you want is to cool off your body, you can easily access the waterfalls of icy waters coming from the Uripata lagoon, located next to the hot pools.
Cocalmayo at night
Entering the thermal baths of Cocalmayo at night is an unforgettable experience because you have to take into account that most of the animals and insects that live in the jungle leave at this time, creating an environment full of cicada noises and many other little sounds that create a very special atmosphere, which invites you to relax and enjoy the hot water and forget everything else. An important fact for those travelers who have decided to come to explore this beautiful place, is to bring mosquito repellent, because as you can imagine, the place is a jungle eyebrow with abundant presence of insects.