The Mandor Gardens are one of the least known tourist destinations in Cusco. They are located near the town of Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. To visit this place you must do a short walk of approximately 1 hour. Once there you will enjoy the landscape of abundant vegetation crowned by a 30-meter waterfall. Few people visit this tourist attraction. For many, it is one of the best secrets on the trip to Machupicchu.
All about the Mandor Gardens
What are the Mandor gardens?
The Mandor Gardens is a tourist attraction in the town of Aguas Calientes, which has areas of abundant vegetation, fauna and flora characteristic of Machu Picchu. It offers a pleasant short walk as well as a 30 meter high waterfall, the most famous point in the gardens. Despite being a very beautiful place, few tourists visit it.
The Mandor Gardens are located almost 2 kilometers from the town of Aguas Calientes in Cusco, Peru. It could also be said that it is located at the foot of Machu Picchu, on one side of the Vilcanota River and within a tropical forest with abundant flora and fauna.
How to get?
To get to the Mandor gardens, you must follow the train tracks in the direction of the Hydroelectric station. Almost 2 kilometers from the route, a sign announcing the entrance to Mandorpampa will be seen on one side of the road. You just have to follow the path that leads to the ticket office. After paying the entrance ticket, you follow a path surrounded by trees to finally arrive at the falls, the central point of the Mandor gardens.
Map to get to the Mandor gardens
What is the route like?
The route that leads to the Mandor gardens is a very attractive adventure for visitors. It starts in the town of Aguas Calientes, located 2 kilometers from the tourist attraction. The walk follows the same route as the train rails in the direction of the Hydroelectric station (alternative route to Machu Picchu). After a 30-minute walk, at kilometer 114 of the train route, a sign points to the turnoff that leads to Mandor Falls.
Once at the detour, you must follow a path full of vegetation that leads to the Mandor gardens. A booth indicates that you have arrived. To enter you must buy a ticket, which includes the camping right (optional). Finally, once in the gardens, you must follow another route of approximately 30 minutes to reach the falls, the greatest attraction of the place.
There is another alternative way to get to the Mandor gardens. You only have to follow the Hiram Bingham road on foot, which leads to Machu Picchu. However, after 20 minutes of walking (before crossing the ‘Ruined Bridge’), there are some stairs that must be climbed to reach the train rails. A short distance away is the sign that announces the detour to the Mandor gardens.
What to see
Short hiking route – The Mandor Gardens offer a short walk where the landscapes full of vegetation and beautiful landscapes with mountains, rivers, flowers, butterfly and more stand out. In total, from the town of Aguas Calientes, approximately 2 kilometers are traveled. The roads are simple and pleasant.
Botanical Garden – The Mandor Gardens feature a wide variety of plants and trees, which bear their name. Thus, the place is a kind of botanical garden that captures the attention of botany lovers. Among all the species, the orchids stand out and their more than 200 species present in Machu Picchu.
Mandor Falls – The Mandor Falls are the biggest attraction of the gardens. It is a waterfall up to 30 meters high. Some tourists dare to bathe in these waters. The place is one of the best landscapes that Aguas Calientes offers. As few visitors go there, tourists will be almost alone in this magical place.
Flora and fauna
Orchids – Orchids are abundant in Mandor’s gardens, flowers characterized by their bilateral symmetry and their beautiful and diverse colors. In the entire Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu there are more than 400 types of species, where the ‘Wiñayhuayna’, the ‘Waqanki’ and others stand out.
Cedar – Cedar is a tree native to the Andes. This leafy tree with a strong trunk is abundant in the Mandor sector as well as in Machu Picchu. The branches prevent the filtration of the sun during the walk. Therefore, it is advisable to wear a jacket or sweater to reduce the cold.
Butterflies – The proliferation of plants and flowers attract various species of butterflies, famous for their beautiful and peculiar colors. It is estimated that in the entire Historic Sanctuary of Machupicchu there are more than 500 species of butterflies, some are native to this part of Peru. Even near the town of Aguas Calientes there is a place called ‘The butterfly house’ where you can appreciate the diversity of these insects.
Sachacabra – One of the smallest species of deer in the world, it prowls the forests of Machu Picchu and the gardens of Mandor. It is the Sachacabra, also known as the rabbit deer or small pudu. It measures a maximum of 70 centimeters (that between 3 to 6 kilos). Currently, this species is in a vulnerable situation.
Cock-of-the-Rock – This species of bird is one of the most beautiful in South America. In Peru it is considered its national bird. Its habitat is tropical forests such as Machu Picchu or the Mandor gardens. Males have deep orange and black plumage. The Incas also had great appreciation for this bird native to South America.
Hummingbirds – The thick vegetation of the Mandor Gardens attracts diverse species of hummingbirds such as giant hummingbirds, chestnut-breasted hummingbirds, white-bellied hummingbirds, the mountain watchmaker hummingbird and more. The entire environment of Machu Picchu is considered a paradise for bird watching. The song of these birds makes the visit more incredible.
- Foreign tourists: 10 Peruvian soles (3 US dollars, approximately).
- Peruvian tourists: 5 Peruvian soles (2 Peruvian dollars, approximately).
Hours of Operation
Mandor Gardens welcome tourists every day of the year from 6.30 in the morning to 4.30 in the afternoon. At night, tourists can camp on the spot.
What should i bring?
- Comfortable clothes for walks.
- Shirts with long sleeves.
- Pants (no shorts).
- Hiking shoes.
- Cap or hat.
- Mosquito repellent.
- Photographic camera.
- Sleeping bag (if you will spend the night in the place).
It is dangerous?
The Mandor gardens do not represent any danger for the visitor. Of course, take repellent against mosquitoes, whose bites are uncomfortable for tourists.
Photos of the Mandor gardens
Mandor Gardens also offer various tourist services such as restaurant and lodging (single and double beds). The great advantage of spending the night there is that you will enjoy the sound of nature, like nowhere else in the town of Aguas Calientes.
If you want to spend the night in the camping area, you must add the amount of 10 Peruvian soles (3 Peruvian dollars approximately). Includes a tent for up to 3 people. Does not include sleeping bags. If you already have a tent, you only have to add the amount of 5 Peruvian soles (2 US dollars).
Tips for your visit
The best time of year to visit the Mandor Gardens is during the dry season (from April to October). On those days the rains are not frequent so the roads are more stable. In the rainy season (from November to March) the roads are usually more slippery.
To visit the Mandor gardens, in addition to the visit to Machu Picchu, you will need more than 1 day. Therefore, you can choose to spend a night in one of the hotels or lodgings in Aguas Calientes. The other option is to spend the night in the Mandor gardens. Whatever your choice, it is worth knowing more about the beautiful surroundings of Machupicchu.