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Machu Picchu via Santa Teresa

Home > Peru Destination Guide > Machu Picchu via Santa Teresa

Machu Picchu Essentials

Introduction

Train to Machu Picchu

Hotels in Machu Picchu

Aguas Calientes

Brief history of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Photos

Treks to Machu Picchu

Tour Operators

  

Machu Picchu via Santa Teresa / Backdoor Machu Picchu / Machu Picchu by Bike!

 

This new route to Machu Picchu is often referred to as the "backdoor to Machu Picchu" and offers a cheap alternative to adventurous, cash-strapped backpackers.

 

 

At the end of March 2007 a new bridge near the town of Santa Teresa was inaugurated. The 80m long Carilluchayoc Bridge crosses the Vilcanota River and allows access to small mini-buses and cars right up to the hydro-electric power plant (known locally as Hidro-electrica) which is only 15km away from the town of Aguas Calientes.  This has opened up a new route to the ancient Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu and allows backpackers on a tight budget to avoid the pricey train tickets offered by Peru Rail.

 

The new route is definitely for the adventurous and involves a 5-hour bus ride from Cusco to the jungle town of Santa Maria (cost approximately 15 soles). The dirt road is narrow and winding, bordered by deep precipices.

 

In Santa Maria you have to change to a smaller mini-bus for another 1 hour 30 minute ride high up the valley side to the town of Santa Teresa (cost approximately 6 soles in minibus or 10 soles in shared taxi). There are a number of small basic hostals and restaurants in Santa Teresa so you may decide to spend the night here and enjoy the hot thermal springs nearby.

 

There are frequent cars and mini-buses running between Santa Teresa and Hidro-electrica, the hydro-electric power station which is at the end of the road (cost approximately 6 soles) . The journey takes about 25 minutes.

 

From Hidro-electrica you then have to walk the 15km along the railway tracks to Aguas Calientes. If you are really lucky you may be able to get on one of the daily trains that run to Aguas Calientes but locals are usually given priority on this service rather than tourists.

 

There are several transport companies in Cusco offering a tourist minibus service from Cusco - Santa Maria - Santa Teresa - Hidroelectrica for around 80 soles per person each way. This service can be booked through many travel agencies around the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. Often these agencies will also offer a complete package tour including round-trip transport, accommodation in Aguas Calientes, bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, entrance to Machu Picchu and a guided tour. Some of these packages can cost as little as US$150 per person but be very very careful. You will find that there aren't many (if any) quality companies offering this trip so make sure you have a receipt and a complete list of everything that is included in the tour before you start.

 

BEWARE: The road between Ollantaytambo and Santa Teresa is unpaved, narrow, bordered by deep precipices, with over a hundred dangerous curves!! During good weather it can be very exciting but during the rainy season (Dec-Mar) it can be downright suicidal!!! Delays can be expected during any time of the year but landslides during the wet season can close the roads for several days at a time. Don't be tempted to cross the avalanche zones on foot to get to a waiting bus, this can be extremely dangerous. You have been warned, this route is still only for the adventurous.

 

Machu Picchu by Bike

 

There are now several companies offering part of this route by mountain bike. Clients are taken by bus from Cusco to the high mountain pass at Abra Malaga. From here its a 3312m adrenalin-filled vertical decent on a combination of asphalt and dirt roads to the jungle town of Santa Maria. Transport by bus is then arranged to take the group to Santa Teresa where people can decide to whether they want to continue on to Machu Picchu by foot.

Although several biking companies offer this incredible trip it is very important to book with a reputable company that keeps high-quality, well-maintained bikes with professional guides and support vehicle. We recommend visiting the Gravity Peru website www.gravityperu.com for more information on this trip.

  

 

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Home *About Us * Peru Highlights * Volunteer Work & Community Projects * Travel Info * Photo Gallery * Ecotourism Guide * Travel Stories * Language Schools * Books * Handicrafts * Links * Search * Contact Us

Tour Operators in Peru * Overseas Tour Operators * Mountain Biking * Rafting * Climbing * Birdwatching

TREKKING IN PERU: Classic Inca Trail / Short Inca Trail / Salkantay / Ausangate / Lares / Choquequirao / Vilcabamba / Huaraz 

DESTINATION GUIDE: Lima / Cusco / Machu Picchu / Sacred Valley  / Arequipa / Puno / Huaraz / Nazca / Iquitos / Manu / Tambopata

RECOMMENDED HOTELS: Lima / Cusco / Machu Picchu / Sacred Valley / Arequipa / Puno / Huaraz / Nazca / Iquitos / Jungle Lodges

  

  

Andean Travel Web Guide to Peru. Office Address: La Casa Cultural, Avenida Pardo 540, Cusco, Peru (just 2 minutes walk from the Koricancha Inca Temple of the Sun). If you are coming to Cusco please bring a couple of second hand clothes, toys, school equipment and drop them off in our office. We will help distribute the items to people who really need them in small village schools and communities in the Andes. For more details visit our web page www.andeantravelweb.com/peru/projects  A map of our office can be found by clicking here.  Copyright Andean Travel Web Guide to Peru 2000-2009. All material used within this web site is original work and is subject to international copyright law. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited without prior permission from the editor. This web page was last updated in September 2009. Website designed by AndeanVisionWebDesignStudio