The hot springs of Cocalmayo also known as the 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 craving for some relaxation and rest.
Location. - The town of Santa Teresa is located in the valley of the Urubamba River, in the district of the same name, province of La Convención, department of Cusco. It is located approximately 14 kilometers from Machu Picchu town and 220 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
Climate. - The thermal-medicinal baths of Santa Teresa are located in the middle of a beautiful sub-tropical jungle landscape, with an average annual temperature of 21°. The rainy season, as in the entire department of Cusco, begins between the months of November and December and usually ends in April and is characterized by torrential rains that can in some cases cause landslides and road blockages. During the summer season - or winter - the weather is normally dry and during the nights the temperature can drop to 11°. This season is between the months of May and October, being these the best months to travel.
Elevation and population. - The district of Santa Teresa is located at an altitude of 1511 m.a.s.l. and has a population of 5972 inhabitants according to the last population and housing census of 2017.
History. - Created on October 11, 1957, the district of Santa Teresa is one of the thirteen districts of the province of La Convención, being known regionally and nationally for the production of fruit, coffee, coca leaf and many other products that grow abundantly in this place thanks to the temperate and humid climate.
In 1998, this town was devastated by an immense landslide of rocks, mud and trees from the Aobamba River that almost completely destroyed both the town center and the thermal baths, and the town was relocated 50 kilometers upstream.
How to get to Cocalmayo. - There are several alternatives to reach this paradisiacal place, which depend on the traveler's budget as well as his physical condition and willingness to hike. The following is a list of options:
Getting to Cocalmayo by bus from Cusco. - You have to take a bus in the bus stop 'Almudena' located in the district of Santiago in Cusco and after approximately 5 hours of travel by road you will reach the town of Santa Maria. From here you must take a bus or cab to Santa Teresa, the trip takes about an hour on a dirt road to finally arrive at this picturesque village. The heated swimming pools are approximately 10 minutes by car from Santa Teresa or 1 hour walking (4 kilometers).
The cost varies depending on the type of transportation chosen (bus, private cab service, minivan) but usually getting to Santa Teresa from Cusco by land costs between S/.70 and S/.100, one way.
Getting to Cocalmayo from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu). - The medicinal baths of Cocalmayo, as we have already mentioned, are located only 14 kilometers 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 on 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 very hot, once here you must walk another hour to finally reach the heated pools; the second alternative is to arrive by train to the station referred to above, 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 USD31 for foreign visitors.
Hotels in Cocalmayo. - In the town of Santa Teresa you can find from cheap hostels, with prices 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 no 5 star hotels, but in Machu Picchu town you can find a wide variety of offers regarding five star hotels.
Cocalmayo hot springs price. - The entrance fee for foreign visitors is S/.10 soles, while the cost for national visitors is S/5. The opening hours are from 5:00 to 22:00 hours.
Characteristics of the medicinal waters of Cocalmayo. - It consists of three large pools with crystalline and transparent waters coming from the subsoil, the water temperature varies between 38° and 45° Celsius degrees. The complex has changing rooms for both men and women, showers, camping areas, soccer fields, restaurants, bars, bathing suit rentals, and parking lots. These medicinal waters are attributed with curative properties for skin problems, rheumatism or joint pain and are also a natural source of hydromassage and relaxation. If what you want is to cool your body, you can easily access the waterfalls of icy waters 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 come out at this time, creating an environment full of noises of cicadas and many other unusual sounds that create a very special atmosphere that invites you to relax and enjoy the hot water and forget about everything else. An important tip for those travelers who have decided to come and 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.
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