Aguas Calientes - The Machu Picchu Town

Aguas Calientes is recently renamed as the town of Machu Picchu (called Machu Picchu Pueblo in Spanish). This is a town that is completely devoid any personal motor vehicles. Even if you want to, you cannot buy a car or motorcycle and ride it in this town. The only means of transportation to and from this town are trains and helicopters. State operated buses are available between Aguas Calientes and the Machu Picchu ruins. Aguas Calientes is deemed as a sanctuary and all the flora and fauna are preserved here. 

Above: A crowded hot springs pool in Machu Picchu Town.


Hot Springs:

Aguas Calientes means "Hot Springs" in Spanish.  True to its name, it has a very popular hot springs. However, don't let the name fool you.. we went expecting springing hot water from underground and nope..nothing springing from anywhere! You will find about 6 different  pools where there is varying degree of hot water.  It is just static water in pools and some pools are cold too.
  • Entrance fee for hot springs: 10 Peruvian sols (US $ 4). The pools can be dirty, smelly and crowded.
  • Rent towels for 1 sol in small shops before you enter hot springs. Inside, they are more expensive.
  • Rent shorts and ladies swimwear in nearby shops for for 3-5 soles; buy them for 15 soles. 

Above: Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge that is located at the entrance of the ruins.


Hotels in Machu Picchu Town: 

This town is loaded with hotels as this is the closest access point from the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. It is only a 30 minute bus ride  away from the entrance of the ever mysterious Machu Picchu ruins. The most popular choices for tourists are:

1. Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge: It is located right next to the ruins and has all the amenities. It is a good hotel and save you from going back and forth from the ruins and the town. But it is very EXPENSIVE. It costs from US $ 1000 - 2000 per night! 

2. Sumaq: This is one of the newly built hotels with all the latest amenities. Has an excellent restaurant and bar, and has gained tremendous popularity among Americans. Costs about US $ 300 per night.

3. Inkaterra (Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel): Costs about US 450$ per night, but located in an isolated area. Has a great view, close to the railway station and is perfect for nature lovers and bird watchers.

4. Rupa Wasi Eco Lodge: Costs only about US $ 50 per night. Cheap and offers tree house type of view. It is a good value for the money.

5. La Cabana: Has a decent room, breakfast and most amenities you can think of. Costs about US $ 100 per night, and is a good place to rest to get energized for the Machu Picchu trip. 


Below: Video shows the idyllic town of Machu Picchu, roaming dogs, and children on train tracks.

Other interesting facts about Machu Picchu Town:

1. The river Urubamba flows around the city.

2. Plenty of massage parlors are available here! Looks like it has become a hot business as the tourists come back with sore feet and aching bodies from Machu Picchu visit.

3. Plenty of free roaming dogs on the streets, but they are very friendly. Street dogs are a common sight all over Peru. Cusco, Lima and Nazca all have their share of street dogs as well.

4. There are plenty of restaurants in this town. The most popular one is Inka Wasi  and serves authentic Peruvian food

5. Plenty of shops selling knickknacks, souvenirs, alpaca sweaters & shawls, and a wide variety of items. Anything you need from shoes to hats can be bought here.


6. The train track bisects the town into two equal halves.

7. This town has been destroyed by flood and landslides many times, but has been rebuilt time and time again.

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