Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu
Named for the hot springs where you can soak after a long trek, Aguas Calientes
is the service town for Machu Picchu
. There are a large range of hotels, and restaurants catering for most tastes. The average restaurant is probably considerably more expensive than Cusco due to the proximity to Machu Picchu, but there is a fun village style atmosphere and it’s a good place to hang out. There is internet access (though more expensive than other place). It is also the terminus for trains from Cusco, with the tracks running through the main street. However, now there is a train station where the trains leave from. Please note that you must buy your ticket to Machu Picchu
in the main plaza of Aguas Calientes BEFORE you go to the ruins.
The Aguas Calientes
are about 800 east of the centre, where there are hot sulphurous waters of 38 ºC a 46 ºC that emerge from the rocky subsoil. The pools in this place provide a basic infrastructure for using the hot waters. They appear quite dirty but this is actually an effect of the sulphurous waters and the highly recommend a soak in the hot springs after a long hike! Bring your thongs, bathers and a towel!
There are a few ATMs in Aguas Calientes and you can also pay at many restaurant and hotels with visa (for a surcharge). You can also change money, although the rates arenīt as good as in Cusco.
Things to do around Aguas Calientes
Many people chose to spend a second day at Machu Picchu
to fully appreciate its’ grandeur – others like to hang out in Aguas Calientes. You can hike to a ridge that is between Inti Punku and the caretakers house, or you can visit Huayna Picchu
. Other people like to make a trip to Mandor Pampa. Ask when you are in Aguas Calientes for things to do.
Buses to Machu Picchu ruins
There is a bus that goes from Aguas Calientes to the ruins; the price is $12 return or $6 one way. You have to pay in dollars. Some people like the climb up, others prefer to take the bus up and walk down. Others like to walk both ways, it takes around 1.5 hours to walk up – its quite a climb, but then you appreciate the tenaciousness of the Inca people even more!.