Why Go To Santa Teresa – Journey In Peru

Why would you go all the way to Santa Teresa along a treacherous road in Peru? For some reason it called to me and I subconsciously ignored the part about the treacherous road. In this seemingly sleepy jungle town, nature’s wonders were alive and busy. The hummingbird (Picaflor/Colibri) certainly was the most stunning of these. My encounter with this ‘flying jewel’ was fresh in my mind.

Humming Bird copyright Johnlric dreamtime.com

Humming Bird copyright Johnlric dreamtime.com

Walking along the narrow sandy paths to my left and right I set my eyes for the first time upon coffee beans growing in their perfectly natural source. Further along near the small town itself a large area of bare ground had been set aside for the drying of the beans. There they lay, roasting in the midday sun oblivious to cities and cafes and paper cups.

Santa Teresa Peru

Santa Teresa Peru

If you follow the river you will eventually discover the main attraction. At least for Peruvian people this is so. Cocalmayo is the name given to the outdoor hot bath known locally as ‘Aguas Calientes’. It is idyllic in its surrounds and clearly a hit with Peruvian people continuing their Independence Day celebrations.

Hot Bath Cocalmayo Santa Teresa Peru

Hot Bath Cocalmayo Santa Teresa Peru

I got there early in the morning as the sun appeared across the lid of the mountain and infused the air with it warming rays. I waded in the warm blue green waters staying close to rocky perimeter gazing at the waterfall which provided a natural shower for the bathers.

Even at this hour there were many people, despite this a hushed quiet prevailed. No rush, until however, sounds of splashing followed by some shrieks broke the silence. Many people, mostly young girls were scrambling to exit the bath. An attendant appeared with a large hooped net. It took some time to capture the creature as it managed to hop itself free from the net many times. It had fallen from the rock face at the far side of the pool. I understood that they believed it to be poisonous frog. I watched from a safe distance. Eventually calm was restored and the basking resumed.

Cocalmayo Santa Teresa, Peru

Cocalmayo Santa Teresa, Peru

Later, I sat in a village market watching a local woman making the most amazing concoction using only a liquidiser (batidora). She piled everything into it. Peppers, soft cheese, crackers and spices, I lost track of the variety. It was explained to me that she was making a sauce to accompany a potato dish for the workers in her community.

Many people visit this town in order to start their trek to Machu Picchu. It can be reached in a matter of hours on foot in the direction of Hidro-Electria power plant. They call it the low-budget route and back door to Machu Picchu. I had already arrived there through its front door the year before. It is splendid. My trip to Santa Teresa was a spur of the moment plan. I didn’t want any of my visits to Machu Picchu to be so haphazardly arranged. Going there was something I wanted to have the opportunity to look forward to, no matter if it would be my hundredth time to visit.

Urubamba River (Vilcanota) Peru

Urubamba River (Vilcanota) Peru

Have you been to Santa Teresa and what were the highlights of your visit? If you enjoyed my story please share and I invite you to follow my journey in Peru.

The reference to the ‘flying jewel’ is credited to artist and blogger Janet Weight Reed for this beautiful metaphor of the Humming Bird which features in her art.

©Caroline Cunningham – Author of Wild Star Landing


7 thoughts on “Why Go To Santa Teresa – Journey In Peru

  1. Leah

    Hi, thanks for the post!

    Where did you stay in Santa Teresa? Would it be easy to just show up and find cheap accommodation? Everything advertised online is so expensive!


    1. Wild Star Landing Post author

      Leah I stayed in Eco Quechua Lodge…I mention it in one of my posts. Id say it is likely you would find a place but best to get a recommendation and Yes you are likely to get a better deal at the door than online. Don’t forget to go to Ollantaytambo and tell my friends there I said hello.

  2. Wild Star Landing Post author

    Hi ‘Do More’ that sounds like an exciting adventure. The route I took on my first visit reached many of the great tourist sites. Lima down the Pan Am Highway towards Ica (Winery) and nearby Huacachina Oasis (Sand boarding the dunes) the Ballestos Islands is a nature reserve along this coast way. Nazca Lines are a must see (do visit the Planetarium in Nazca town they provide an excellent tour). The journey is long, from Lima, a few days getting to Arequipa which is stunning with its volcanoes and buildings. There is an interesting secluded resort on the coast further down from Ica called Porto Inca (some stone cottage style rooms by the mighty ocean..they serve great fish dishes).
    Puno and the Lake Titicaca are stunning and the if you are lucky you might get the opportunity to visit the Uros people on their floating islands…Im not sure how you book this …there is some limitation Im told. There is a very high road between Puno and Cuzco. Do read up on the altitude sickness signs. Puno is a test for many people….you need to heed the warning symptoms very carefully and follow the guidelines in order to prevent serious sickness. Coca leaves are good for helping with this but there is no way of knowing who will be affected by it. Some people take a medication in advance…it is not something I have done.
    Cuzco city is fabulous…lots of attractions..you can book your tickets to Machu Picchu from here (Ave Del Sol is where i booked mine) they also book the train…but best to check this out on line before you go if you can so as to check availability of the dates you are aiming for.
    I would especially encourage you to stay more than one night in the little town of Ollantaytambo. It is quite unique…it is known as a Living Inca Museum…a world heritage site…has Inca Ruins as splendid as Machu Picchu and is steeped in history..it lies in the Sacred Valley and there are many cultural and sporting interests in the area….Choco Museo have opened there too and Misha Wasi is an interesting agricultural museum.
    I can recommend a hotel called Casa Del Abuelo there or a more budget type basic accomodation of Qusi Qoller as I stayed both these places with lovely people. Coffee Tree and Cafe Del Mundo are friends of mine and if you go please let know so I may tell your the names of my friends……………say Hi from Caroline in Ireland….I hope you have a fantastic trip….

  3. Do More Than Exist

    Our family is on our way to Lima and then we are passing through the country in our truck on our way to Ixiamas, Bolivia. I would really appreciate any tips, trips, or advice about traveling. Thanks in Advance!


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