Travel: Do Not Disturb

INKATERRA Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Whitewashed luxe eco-Andean village in the jungle


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If you’re thinking of doing one of those day trips from Cusco to Machu Picchu and back again, stop right now. Take your time. Enjoy the day and stay over in Machu Picchu town (note, not at the base of MP as that is swarmed by tourists); otherwise it’s a very, very long day.

INKATERRA Machu Picchu is an eco-jungle oasis in the Andean town of Machu Picchu Pueblo. Tucked off the main streets, away from the crowds, it’s 12 acres of jungle, with 83 whitewashed casitas, a bar, restaurant, shop, and spa, with over 214 different birds and 372 different kinds of orchids. This truly feels like a jungle book hideaway, 30 minutes from the base of Machu Picchu.

The Hotel
After you make it across the bridge, just next to the train tracks along the Vilcanota River, you’ll be pointed in the direction of the reception house to check in. You’d never know there was a hotel here, but pass the very small, discreet sign (blink and you’d miss it), climb up the stairs and you’ll be in a green wildlife oasis, with waterfalls, casitas, and buildings that are semi-open with eucalyptus beams. The main building – lobby, bar, restaurant – acts as a meeting point for travellers coming back from their day trips, and there are always suitcases floating through, being transported by hotel staff from train to rooms, which is extremely helpful.

The Vibe
This feels like an international refuge for travellers who have come to make the pilgrimage to Machu Picchu – and want to do it right. It’s early to bed, early to rise, and the surrounding jungle makes things feel calm and seriously special. Birds chirp, water sloshes around in streams, and in the wet season, rain pelts down in the afternoons, adding to the cosy atmosphere. This truly does feel like a tropical home away from home for the days you’re there.

The Rooms
Casitas have wrought iron beds, armoires to hide your suitcases, fireplaces, armchairs, and use local fabrics from Chinchero for things like pillows and blankets. Curtains are billowy white cotton, and there are multiple skylights in most rooms; this is amazing in the day, but bring an eye mask for the early morning. Suites have chaise longues, stone outdoor showers, and hot water plunge pools. TVs are thankfully tucked away, and in the bathroom, there are natural products and hot towel racks – perfect for drying wet hiking gear. These rooms are made to lounge and recover in, so if you don’t want to leave, don’t. This is where you finally might have time to crack that book.

The bar here – a sunken whitewashed bar with a small selection of wines and spirits – is just perfect. The restaurant has white tablecloths and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the river. Sit outside to take it all in. The menu has a mixture of local and comfort dishes and dinner is included in most room prices.

The spa here is called UNU (meaning water in Quechua, the Incan language), and offers treatments including one that uses “cat’s claws extract gel” (it’s a thing…) and is perfect for tired legs.

The property is right beside the river and also the train station – which means you can hear trains coming in all day and night. There’s something magical about that whistle announcing full trainloads of people arriving and leaving.

The team can help you organise anything: one-day Inca Trail hikes, a guide, tickets, transportation, your luggage – all of which is extremely helpful and takes the stress out of sorting. As we mentioned, the rooms are outstanding in a natural, chic way – and when you’re having long days exploring, coming back to a cosy home makes all the difference.

Anything Else
You’re close to hot springs (hence the previous name of the town, Aguas Calientes), and a three-hour hike that you can do yourself. You’re also essentially in the middle of a local market, so shop around. The town itself is great in a hectic touristy kind of way, so embrace it (for a day); sit on a terrace, have a local drink, and watch travellers flow in and out. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime stay, so make the most of it.

INKATERRA Machu Picchu Pueblo is approx an 1.30 minute train from Ollantaytambo.


Originally published on
22nd February 2024


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