Hotel Review: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
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Machu Picchu Peru is the ultimate travel goal for most visitors to Peru. And while there are some incredible hotels in Aguas Calientes, the town closest to the ruins, I think we’ve found the perfect Machu Picchu hotel for families. The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel has consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in South America. Recently, it was also voted in the top 20 best hotels in the world in by Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards. As it is also a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the world, I was not surprised at these accolades. But what nagged in my mind was the cost of the hotel.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel for Kids
There seemed to be several nice hotels in Machu Picchu Pueblo but none offered the breadth of kid-friendly experiences that could be had at Inkaterra. Our initial impression when looking for hotels in Aguas Calientes was the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (You can check their pricing and availability here.). It’s proximity to Machu Picchu made it a very popular choice. But as we were looking at booking our hotel, Inkaterra Machu Picchu hotel consistently rated as a great hotel for Peru family travel. As we try and incorporate as much hands-on education in our trips as possible, we decided to give Inkaterra a try. It was the right choice!
The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is in Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly known as Aguas Calientes). It is only a 10-minute walk from the train station. To get to the hotel, we crossed a stone bridge. The Inkaterra and its hotel buildings were beautifully camouflaged by jungle flora. It is supposed to only be a 10-minute walk to get to the reception building but the boys kept stopping to look at the beautiful waterfalls scattered throughout the grounds that it took us a lot longer. Their amazement at the beauty of the grounds was made even more surprising by the fact that we had been exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo that day. We were exhausted!
Check-in at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu was very efficient and friendly. The front desk was well-staffed and we were lucky enough to be checking-in when nobody else was. At the front desk, we were also met by the manager who remembered that I was interested in participating in a lot of the Inkaterra Machu Picchu activities being offered. As a compulsive planner, I always email the hotel we are staying at ahead of time to make sure what I have read on their website is accurate. After a quick chat about the activities, we were led to our room. Our luggage was already waiting for us as they had been picked up by hotel porters at the train station on our arrival.
The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Peru has 83 adobe casitas spread out among 5 hectares of mountainside property. Rooms range from superior to your very own Villa complete with a private plunge pool. We had a junior suite which was in a two-level open concept room. The boys stayed on the main floor where they each had their own double bed. Kevin and I took the upstairs double bed. There was also a wood burning fireplace and extra electric heater provided.
The bathroom had a large rockface protruding into it from the surrounding mountainside. The boys both thought it was very cool! I really appreciated the natural insect repellant that was provided. We didn’t stay in the room very long though as the boys were anxious to try out the spring-fed swimming pools.
Our reservations at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel came with a free drink from the bar that could be redeemed at our convenience. For the boys, there were fresh juice and soda options. Our reservation also included access to the daily breakfast buffet and the a la carte menu at the onsite restaurant. The selection at the daily buffet breakfast buffet consisted of ample fruit, various types of bread, cheeses, and hot and cold meats. Additionally, it was possible to order hot items like eggs benedict and pancakes at no extra charge. The boys’ favorite was definitely starting the day off with Peruvian sweets paired with freshly squeezed fruit juice.
For dinner, we had a choice between two seatings. We chose the late seating as the boys wanted to spend some time exploring the grounds and the relaxing in the pool. Unfortunately, we were not seated until almost 30 minutes after our set time. By the time we entered the dining room D had already fallen asleep. C soon followed after ordering his soup. I had a delicious grilled trout but Kevin found the cuy (guinea pig) a tad greasy. Both boys stayed asleep through dinner and were extremely disappointed when we showed them pictures of our scrumptious dessert the next day.
Hot springs and Spa
Besides the hot spring pools, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu also has an on-site spa. We wish we could have used the Uno Spa for some foot therapy after hiking nearby Machu Picchu with kids. But alas, we were not able to fit it into our schedule as we wanted to explore as much of the family-friendly experiences as possible.
You can check the prices and availability of the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel here.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel Excursions
There are numerous in-house excursions available at no extra cost which makes Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel an excellent choice for family travel in Peru. We have summarized these in the table below. To sign up for activities you must go the Eco Centre which has a large chalkboard outside indicating which experiences will be running the next day. The lodge also a great selection of books that can be borrowed. The boys could have spent all day staring at the various specimens on display at the Inkaterra Eco Center.
Included In-House Excursions at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
|Birds||2 hrs||Level 1||Birds and Photography|
|Nature Walk*||2 hrs||Level 1||Tea, Birds, Medicinal Plants, Butterflies, and Insects|
|Orchid Trail*||2 hrs||Level 1||Orchids and Photography|
|Tea House*||2 hrs||Level 1||Medicinal plants, tea, and photography|
|Twilight Walk||2 hrs||Level 2||Medicinal plants, and photography|
|Native Farm*||½ day||Level 1||Birds, insects, medicinal plants, native skills, and photography|
*Recommended for children.
Tea Making Experience
Right after breakfast, we headed over to the activities lodge to meet with our guide for the Tea Making Experience. We donned aprons and slung a canvas bag over our shoulders before heading to the tea fields. The walk to the tea field was only a few minutes but along the way, we saw countless orchids and many birds such as hummingbirds.
Harvesting in the field
The first step in our tea making experience was learning which leaves we should harvest for our tea. I was surprised at how many tea leaves were needed to make a single tea bag. The boys really enjoyed carefully picking off the leaves from the plants. We learned about the various medicinal plants that could be found on site from our guide while picking the leaves. We learned that this was just one of several Inkaterra gardens. And that most of the vegetables and fruit uses in the restaurants came directly from their own gardens.
Over to the tea house
Once we had filled our bags we headed over to the tea house. We sat around a large, flat, circular stone where we rolled the fresh leaves until they had broken down into tiny pieces. The pieces would then undergo a drying process. But since we didn’t have time to wait for our leaves to dry we were provided with some pre-dried pieces. We put these through a hand sifter to separate the smaller pieces from the larger ones. Next, we placed a few spoonfuls of the small dried to our very own hand-made tea bags. With our tea bags in hand, we headed over to one of the seating areas in the lodge. Our tea tasted delicious! Speaking with our guide over tea and cookies was definitely a great ending to our wonderful tea making experience.
Additional Cost Excursions at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel also offers excursions to the surrounding attractions of Aguas Calientes. These include guided visits to Machu Picchu, Wayna Picchu, and Apu Machu Picchu. Also, you can visit the market in Machu Picchu Pueblo or take a guided walk to Mandor, a waterfall just outside of town. In addition, the hotel also offers a couple of in-house excursions at an additional cost: Those excursions include the Treasure Hunt and the Spectacled Bear Project.
The Treasure Hunt is a specialized activity that combines parts of the Bird Walk, Orchid Walk, and Twilight Walk in a way that is exciting and educational for children. With over 5 km of walking trails snaking their way through various areas of hotel’s spacious grounds, there are certainly many areas to explore. To keep the children’s attention, the Inkaterra naturalist creates games and challenges along the route to encourage children to learn and remember facts about the flora and fauna surrounding them. Armed with binoculars and magnifying glasses, we embarked on the 2.5-hour exploration of the cloud forest on the Inkaterra treasure hunt.
Although we did not get to see the Peruvian national bird, the Cock of the Rock during our Bird Walk in Peru, the boys saw many of the 18 different types of hummingbird species that are resident to the cloud forest surrounding the Inkaterra lodge. We also saw jays and toucans. Not surprising as there are 192 species of wild birds that have been sighted in the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel gardens.
The gardens at Inkaterra Macchu Pichhu are home to 372 species of orchids. The highlight of our Orchid Walk was the seeing the largest orchid in the world, the Phragmipedium caudatum. Also, we definitely needed the magnifying glass to see the details in the micro orchids. These were barely visible to us. Our experienced guide needed to point them out.
About an hour into our walk we passed by some beautiful waterfalls. Next, we paused to look at some ancient and sacred pre-Inca pictographs on the side of a cliff face. The sacred drawing looked like a coiled snake and the kids listened with fascination about the importance of the condor, snake and puma in Inca culture.
After learning about birds, orchids, ferns, medicinal plants and Incan culture we headed back towards the Eco Center. The naturalists set a game up across from the activities hut. The objective of the game was to get all the puzzle pieces. The naturalist asked a question about something we learned on our walk. Depending on the question, the boys either answered verbally or by drawing a picture. Both C and D each had complete a puzzle.
It was a race! Team C versus Team D. Each correct answer earns them a piece of the puzzle. The first person to finish saw a map that marked in x the location of the buried treasure. So, the first person to finish the puzzle got a head start at looking for the prize. C finished first! But it took teamwork to find the Inkaterra treasure chest. So they had to split the loot which was 100 pieces of scrumptious Peruvian chocolate. As you can see from their smiles, it’s the best treasure for kids for sure.
Spectacled Bear Preservation Project
The second excursion that we paid for was the Spectacled Bear Project. The Andean Bear is famously found in children’s books Paddington Bear. The Inkaterra Association works with the Protected Natural Areas National Service. And all fees are donations which go fully towards the rehabilitation project. At the time of our visit, there were two bears at the site. The excursion is more of an observation and a chance to learn about Andean Bears from the on-site biologist. The bears are not made to perform. There are no photo-ops or timed feedings. In fact, we were not able to fully see one of the two bears as she was quietly relaxing in her “house”. Spectacled Bears brought to the site have previously been mistreated by humans (e.g., pets and circus animals). Therefore, the end goal of the Andean Bear rehabilitation program is to release them back into the wild.
Do We Recommend InkaTerra Machu Picchu Pueblo for Family Travel to Machu Picchu?
The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is an outstanding hotel for those visiting Machu Picchu with kids. The hotel absolutely catered to making the hotel experience extraordinary. The comfortable accommodation, great food, extremely helpful staff, amazing guides, and one-of-a-kind on-site excursions make the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel a destination of itself. I truly feel like it is the best choice for family travelers in Machu Picchu if not all of Peru. Have you had a similar experience? Tell us about your extraordinary hotel experience in the comments below.
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