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Ultimate Aguas Calientes Guide

11 Feb
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Ultimate Aguas Calientes Guide

Tuesday February 11, 2020 - Posted by Inca Trail Team

Make the most out of Machu Picchu Town

Set around 400 meters below the historical site of Machu Picchu, the town of Aguas Calientes is the unavoidable stop-off point for all visitors to the famous Inca ruins. This is where the trains arrive, and from here the buses depart. Therefore, this Ultimate Aguas Calientes Guide is interesting for everyone visiting Machu Picchu.

Ultimate Aguas Calientes Guide

If you are on a one day Machu Picchu Tour from Cusco, won’t have much time in Aguas Calientes. But if you want to beat the crowds at Machu Picchu before sunrise, you better do an overnight trip and sleep n Aguas Calientes before heading up to the ruins early the next morning. In this case you will have some extra time here.

People who do a Machu Picchu trek other than the Inca Trail (e.g. the Salkantay Trek), will also arrive in Aguas Calientes before going up to visit the Inca citadel next morning.

Aguas Calientes Facts

Name: Aguas Calientes was renamed Machu Picchu Pueblo or
Machu Picchu Town a few years ago.
Altitude: 2,040 meters (6,692 ft) above sea level.
Striking: There are no vehicles at Aguas Calientes!
(except the busses that take you to Machu Picchu).
Setting: The Urubamba River surrounds the village
and impressive mountains that create a magical ambient.

Aguas Calientes Guide

Ten years before the discovery of Machu Picchu, in 1901, the history of Aguas Calientes begins with the establishment of a camping site by railroad workers. The village consists of only two main streets: the Avenida Imperio de Los Incas (the street with the old train tracks running through the village), and Avenida Pachacutec; this street extends up from the Plaza to the thermal springs. You’ll find most hotels and restaurants on these streets.

The location and setting of Aguas Calientes are amazing, at the feet of the mountain that carries Machu Picchu. People feel a mysterious but pleasurable ambient in the village and feel Machu Picchu’s energy, although you cannot see the ruins from here. Therefore, the Spanish couldn’t ever find Machu Picchu, due to the remote nature of the site and the town of Aguas Calientes.

While it won’t be the favorite place of your Peru trip, it certainly doesn’t mean it’ll be your worst. Read the Ultimate Aguas Calientes Guide make your stay as enjoyable as possible. In order to make the best out of your stay in this special little town, we outlined the highlights of this radiating village in our Ultimate Aguas Calientes Guide.

Things to do in Aguas Calientes

What to do in Agua Calientes? Fortunately, for those who are ‘stuck’ here for a couple of hours, there are some nice things to do in Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu town.

The ultimate Aguas Calientes Guide

1. Mandor GardensSpectacular gardens, excellent opportunity to observe the amazing flora and fauna with waterfalls from nearby.
Open: 6 am – 5 pm
Tel: (+51) 940 188 155
Address: Mandor Valley – Machupicchu, Km. 114. 3, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Peru
Distance from Aguas Calientes: +/- 11 km (30 minutes by train).
Price: 2019: S/ 5 for Peruvians, S/ 10 for foreigners.
2020: S/ 10 for Peruvians, S/ 20 for foreigners, Peruvian students: S/ 5, foreign students S/ 15.

2. The Butterfly HouseEndless species of extraordinary butterflies!
Open: 8:40 am – 6 pm, best hours to visit: 9:30 am – 3 pm.
E-mail: mariposasdemapi@gmail.com
Tel: (+51) 977 543 974
Address: Carretera Hiram Bingham s/n
Distance from Aguas Calientes: +/- 1,2 km (5 min by car).
Price: 2019: S/ 10 for Peruvians, S/ 15 for foreigners.
Children under the age of 6: free, above 6: S/ 5 (nationals and internationals).

3. Hot SpringsIndulge in these relaxing baths, consisting of warm water from volcanic source, with temperatures around 40° C. Bring your swim suit!
Open: 5 am – 8 pm
Address: Av. Pachacutec
Distance from Aguas Calientes: +/- 7 minutes walking from main square.
Price: Around 10 PEN per person.

4. Museo de Sitio Manuel Chavez BallonSmall but interesting Museum with detailed information about the Inca citadel.
Open: 9 am – 4:30 pm
E-mail: museodesitiomapi@drc-cusco.gob.pe
Address: Altura del Antiguo Puente Ruinas Km. 112 vía ferrea
Distance from Aguas Calientes: +/- 1,7 km (7 min by car).
Price: Adults: around 22 PEN, students: around PEN 11.

Putucusi Mountain

Ready for a special hiking adventure? Stepping endless ladders for almost three hours will take you high up the mountain for a fantastic view over Machu Picchu. The Putucusi mountain climb is free of charge. With the rain it becomes a bit more treacherous, so better keep an eye on the weather and do not go up in the rainy season (January – March).

We don’t recommend you do this tour on your own. It is better to go with a local guide who knows the route. The different trails and vegetation could make you lose. The descent back to Aguas Calientes will take around an hour. Make sure you have proper gear (hiking boots, anti-slip gloves, a rope); the Putucusi Mountain is a challenging adventure.

Best Hotels in Aguas Calientes

Where to stay in this small town? There are many hotels in Aguas Calientes, from affordable backpacker options to very luxurious hotels and lodges. Our selection of outstandingly rated hotels in different price ranges.

1. Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
Price range: High
This is the nearest hotel to Machu Picchu with panoramic views on the Inca citadel. A night at this lodge will make your Machu Picchu experience complete since you will be able to see the world wonder from your room directly. As explained on their website: “…you’ll be perfectly positioned to feel the heartbeat of this ancient wonder.” All luxury is offered, but obviously, such an exclusive position has its price. A double room can easily reach a price of $1500 per night. Since Machu Picchu was probably reserved for the Inca elite, you’ll sleep as an Inca emperor at this one.
Popular facilities: Free WiFi, Non-smoking rooms, Restaurants, Bar, Spa services, Garden.
Address: Carretera Hiram Bingham km 7.5, Machu Picchu
Tel: (+51) 984 816 956 / (+51) 610 83 00
E-mail: travelconcierge.mps@belmond.com

2. Hatun Inti Boutique Machupicchu
Price range: Middle/High
In front of the Urubamba River, and 7 kilometers from Machu Picchu, this luxury hotel offers sizable rooms with private baths and balconies.
Popular facilities: Free WiFi, Family rooms, Non-smoking rooms, 24-hours front desk.
Address: Av. Imperio de los Incas 606 Machu Picchu Pueblo
Tel: (+51) 084 234 312 / (+51) 084 211 365
E-mail: reservas@grupointi.com

3. Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel
Price range: High
Located at the Urubamba River, this elegant hotel offers everything that you need to calm down during your Andes trip and before heading to Machu Picchu. In 2018 it received the Travel + Leisure award for the best hotel in Machu Picchu!
Popular facilities: Free WiFi, Airport shuttle, Spa and Wellness Centre, Restaurant, Non-smoking rooms, Facilities for disabled guests, Bar.
Address: Av. Hermanos Ayar Mz 1 Lote 3, Machu Picchu
Tel: (+51) 084 211 059 / (+51) 084 211 081 / (+51) 991 687 230

4. Tierra Viva Machu Picchu
Price range: Middle/high
Amazing panoramic views and cosy ambient, just a 20-minute walk from the Inca citadel. Comfortable and silent rooms with air conditioning. The bus station is a 5-minute walk away and Cusco’s train station a 10-minute walk. The location is generally highly appreciated.
Popular facilities: Free WiFi, Family rooms, Restaurant, Non-smoking rooms, 24-hour front desk.
Address: Av. Hermanos Ayar 401, Machu Picchu
Tel: (+51) 511 445 36 13
E-mail: reservas@tierravivahoteles.com

5. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Price range: High
Part of the Unique Lodges list of National Geographic, this amazing hotel is built in colonial style and offers endless facilities, including massages and Andes-sauna, some rooms even include private swimming pools! The local restaurants serve typical Andes food with amazing panoramic views on the Vilcanota River. Obviously, not a cheap option, but it would be an experience that you will never forget!
Popular facilities: Free WiFi, Spa and wellness centre, Restaurant, Non-smoking rooms, 24-hour front desk, Bar.
Address: Pueblo de Machu Picchu, 084 Machu Picchu
Tel: (+51) 1 610 0400

6. Jaya Suite Machupicchu
Price range: Middle
With great reviews and a middle price range, the price/quality balance is excellent. The hotel is located in the village of Aguas Calientes. Some rooms even have a spa bath or a hot tub. The hotel is just 600 meters away from the hot springs.
Popular facilities: Free Wifi, Non-smoking rooms, 24-hour front desk.
Address: Los Artesanos 207, Machu Picchu
Tel: (+51) 084 211 252
E-mail: reservas@lacabanamachupicchu.com

7. Qhaqya
Price range: Middle
Located in the village of Aguas Calientes, at 800 meters from the hot springs. This hotel is even cheaper than Jaya Suite but rated almost equally well. The panoramic view is amazing!
Popular facilities: Free WiFi, Family rooms, Non-smoking rooms, 24-hour front desk.
Address: Av. Hermanos Ayar 503, Machu Picchu
Tel: (+51) 983 374 987

8. Panorama B&B
Prince range: Middle
Including a generous breakfast buffet, and located just 200 m from the community market, comfortable accommodation is offered. All rooms encompass a wardrobe, private bathroom, free toiletries, 24-hour hot water, flat-screen TV with cable channels, and an amazing mountain and river view. Some larger rooms include a private balcony. The front desk is permanently opened, currency exchange is available.
Popular facilities: Free WiFi, Non-Smoking rooms, 24-hour front desk.
Address: Av. Hermanos Ayar 305, Machu Picchu Pueblo, Machu Picchu
Tel: (+51) 842 111 92
E-mail: pms@mapipanorama.com

9. Hostel Machu Picchu Land B&B
Price range: Low
A great budget hotel in which all basic needs are included. Near Machu Picchu Hot Springs, bus stop and Wiñaywayna Park. Only 6 km away from Huayna Picchu, and 7 km from Machu Picchu. People really like the location of this hotel.
Popular facilities: Free WiFi, 24-hour front desk.
Address: Calle Wakanki 502, Machu Picchu
Tel: (+51) 084 211 050

10. Catari’s House
Price range: Low
Private bathroom with shower, free WiFi and television. It is only 700 m from the Machu Picchu Hot Spring, and 2,5 km distanced from the Machu Picchu historical Sanctuary. Huayna Picchu is at the near distance of 2,6 km. People appreciate the beautiful location!
Popular facilities: Free WiFi, Family rooms, Non-smoking rooms, 24-hour front desk.
Address: Calle Chaska Tikca 106, Machu Picchu
Tel: (+51) 940 110 150

Where to eat in Aguas Calientes

Thanks to the many tourists arriving in Aguas Calientes daily, there are quite a few restaurants, including a few nice ones. Because of the remote location of the village, you can expect the prices to be higher than in Cusco and elsewhere in Peru. Here is a list of restaurants in Agua Calientes for different tastes in different price categories.

The ultimate Aguas Calientes Guide

Best Restaurants in Aguas Calientes

1. Chef House Peruvian FoodTraditional Peruvian food with a contemporary twist!
Offer: Lunch, dinner, drinks and coffee
Type: Peruvian, Pizzeria, Steakhouse
Open: 10 am – 10 pm
Payment: Cash, VISA, American Express, Master Card, Discover Card
Tel: (+51) 952 796 550
E-mail: marketingchefhouse@gmail.com
Address: Av. Imperio de los Incas 616
Distance from Machu Picchu station: +/- 350 m (4 min walking).
Distance from Bus to Machu Picchu: +/- 110 m (1 min walking).

2. Incontri del pueblo ViejoItalian culinary elegance!
Offer: Lunch, Brunch, Dinner, Late Night
Type: Italian, Pizzeria, Vegetarian Friendly
Open: 11 am – 10 pm
Tel: (+51) 084 211 072
E-mail: veroitaliano.pe@gmail.com
Address: Av. Pachacuteq 6 Cuadra S/N
Distance from Machu Picchu station: +/- 300 m (4 min walking).
Distance from Bus to Machu Picchu: +/- 120 m (2 min walking).

3. Full House Peruvian CuisinePeruvian/European exquisite fusion!
Offer: Lunch, Dinner, Drinks
Type: Peruvian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free Options
Open: 9 am – 10 pm
Tel: (+51) 084 314 051
E-mail: info@fullhousemachupicchu.com.pe
Addres: Av. Imperio de los Incas 620
Distance from Machu Picchu station: +/- 350 m (5 min walking).
Distance from Bus to Machu Picchu: +/- 110 m (1 min walking).

4. Sama Restaurante CaféHarmonic selection of internationalized Peruvian cuisine!
Offer: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Drinks
Type: Peruvian, Fusion, International
Open: 5 am – 10 pm
Payment: VISA, Master Card, American Express, Diners Club International
Tel: (+51) 084 582 950
E-mail: centraldereservas@casa-andina.com
Address: Prolongacion Imperio de los Incas E – 34
Distance from Machu Picchu station: +/- 260 m (4 min walking).
Distance from Bus to Machu Picchu: +/- 250 m (3 min walking).

5. Alpakitay resto-barPeruvian food blessed by ingredients from the Sacred Valley!
Offer: Lunch, Dinner
Type: Peruvian, International, Vegetarian friendly
Open: 10 am – 10 pm
Payment: Western Union, VISA, Worldpay, Wirecard, PayPal, Discover, Diners Club
Tel: (+51) 084 612-107
E-mail: reservas@alpakitay.com
Address: Av. Imperio de los Incas # 618
Distance from Machu Picchu station: +/- 350 m (4 min walking).
Distance from Bus to Machu Picchu: +/- 110 m (1 min walking).

6. Julian RestaurantColorful Peruvian legacy!
Offer: Lunch, Dinner
Type: Peruvian, Vegetarian friendly, Vegan friendly
Open: 10 am – 10 pm
Tel: (+51) 973 688 084
E-mail: info@julianrestaurant.com
Address: Av. Pachacutec N_601
Distance from Machu Picchu station: +/- 280 m (4 min walking).
Distance from Bus to Machu Picchu: +/- 240 m (4 min walking).

7. Green House Organic ConceptPeruvian with focus on organic!
Offer: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Drinks
Type: Peruvian, Organic
Open: 10 am – 10 pm
Tel: (+51) 927 393 106
Address: Av. Pachacutec 105
Distance from Machu Picchu station: +/- 350 m (5 min walking).
Distance from Bus to Machu Picchu: +/- 400 m (6 min walking).

8. Mapacho Craft Beer RestaurantFusion accompanied by craft beer!
Offer: Lunch, Dinner
Type: Peruvian, Latin, Pizza, Beer
Open: around 10 am – 10 pm
E-mail: jose@mapachocraftbeer.com
Address: Calle Qori Wakanki 701
Distance from Machu Picchu station: +/- 120 m (1 min walking).
Distance from Bus to Machu Picchu: +/- 350 m (5 min walking).

9. Chullpi Machu Picchu RestaurantePeruvian food from an extraordinary perspective!
Offer: Lunch, Dinner
Type: Peruvian, Vegetarian friendly, Gluten Free Options
Open: around 11:30 am – 10 pm
Payment: VISA, American Express, Master Card, Discover
E-mail: chullpi@mesaperu.restaurant
Address: Av. Imperio de los Incas 140
Distance from Machu Picchu station: 400 m (6 min walking).
Distance from Bus to Machu Picchu: 150 m (2 min walking).

10. Fabrizzio’sGenuinely balanced Italian/Peruvian cuisine!
Offer: Lunch, Dinner
Type: Fusion, Vegetarian friendly
Open: around 9 am – 10 pm
Address: Av. Pachacutec 815 A
Distance from Machu Picchu station: 400 m (6 min walking).
Distance from Bus to Machu Picchu: 300 m (6 min walking).

Practical Information Aguas Calientes

Where to get the bus to Machu Picchu?

You can find the bus station at Av. Hermanos Ayar. Buses run between Machu Picchu Ruins and Aguas Calientes approximately every 15 minutes. The last bus to Agua Calientes departs at 5.30.

Where to buy bus tickets to Machu Picchu?

You can buy them at Av. Hermanos Ayar, nea the train station. A one way trip costs $ 12. You can also buy the bus tickets online or with a travel agency in Cusco. If you book a tour package, the bus tickets will be included.

Where can I find an ATM?

At Av. Imperio de los Incas, you can find BCP and Nation Bank ATM’s. At Calle Tusuq, there is an ATM from Caja Cusco. These ATM’s are all nearby the station of the bus to Machu Picchu.

The ultimate Aguas Calientes Guide

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