Machu Picchu's town History
Known as Aguas Calientes too, it's a town located at 1900 meters of altitude, close to the Urubamba river, on the province of the same name. It's encircled of mountains, full of thick vegetation.
The railway that goes through the town is a feature of the obligatory step that represents this town, before the arrival to Machu Picchu.
Aguas Calientes, as its railway, was built in 1911, after the re-discovery of Machu Picchu to connect Cusco with this inca's wonder.
The city of Aguas Calientes is a tourist place very crowded (more than 1500 people visit it every day) and that's why it has grown in a disordered and exponential way. The cost of the products they offer there is very high, because it's the only place nearby where you can obtain them. We recommend to spend one night there, to start the ascent of Machu Picchu early in the morning, as soon as possible.
Weather in Aguas Calientes
It can be temperate, dry or warm, depending on the season. Temperatures are around 16° C. In January, February and March, rains are stronger. In April, November and December the weather is nice, but the temperatures are a little bit cold. May and October offer a cool weather, that I'm sure you'll enjoy. June, July, August and September are the best months to visit Machu Picchu, since there is no rain and the days are sunny, but cool.
Even if the main attraction, close to Aguas Calientes is Machu Picchu, there are some other tourist places that you shouldn't miss.
Location: in between Aguas Calientes and Puente Ruinas.
Entrance: S./ 20
In this centre of observation and interpretation of butterflies, you'll appreciate a big diversity of them, because in Peru you there are more than 4400 species.
The inca city is the pre-Columbian place the most amazing in Latine America, for its legacy and monumental beauty. The visit to this emblematic place, protected by the UNESCO and declared wonder of the world, is restricted to 2500 people a day.
In summer time you have to make a reservation of your entrance.
To get into Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes you have 2 options:
- By foot (1h30 of trekking, climbing 1716 steps).
- By bus (the first bus leaves at 5:30 a.m.). Try to get there soon to make the line and you'll take one of the first buses.
Once in Machu Picchu you'll be able to look at the wonderful landscape and visit the ruins. To understand all the secrets Machu Picchu hides, we recommend you to take a guide, that you can also reserve in advance if you buy a tour all included.
The bravest (with excellent physical conditions) and luckiest people (only 400 people can climb per day) will climb the Wayna Picchu to have a unique sight of the Machu Picchu. Even though you can climb also the Machu Picchu mountain located on the opposed side.
Site Museum Manuel Chávez Ballón
Location: close to Puente Ruinas, at the beginning of the way to get to Machu Picchu.
It's a museum where you can find the building methods incas people used in a teaching way; in addition, the museum explains how the archaeological excavation was made.
Location: At 700 metres from the town, take the Pachacutec avenue and go up (7 min).
Hours: open everyday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Price: S/. 10
Thermal fountains are sulfurous waters, so don't you get scared about the colour and smell of the water, it's normal. Nothing better than a relaxing thermal bath after an exhausting trekking; and much better if the waters are considered medicinal. The temperature of the water is between 38° and 46°. The place has toilet, locker room and a snack bar. We recommend to bring a towel and a bathing suit.
Lots of restaurants have, in general, a bad quality and high prices (most of them collect 15% of taxes and services that are not mentioned on the menu). However, as the competition is strong, you can always negociate the dish price. In the list below we recommend some of the best restaurants, so that your stay in Machu Picchu is as pleasant as possible.
La Boulangerie de Paris
Location: Jr. Sinchi Roca
Phone number: (084)7 97798
Hours: everyday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Just perfect to take a coffee when you're back from Machu Picchu. You can taste a delicious croissant, desserts, and snacks such as quiche, lasagne or pasty.
Location: Pachacutec 156
Phone number: (084) 211006
Hours: everyday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
This restaurant offers pizzas, soups, and mexican and peruvian food. They have an interesting assortment.
Location: Lloque Yupanqui, lote 4 M, close to Pachacutec.
Phone number: (084) 211090
Hours: everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Cost: menu around s/. 55
This restaurant is expensive, but you'll find special dishes you have nowhere else. We recommend trout with mango and for dessert chocolate mousse with orange cake, a delicacy!
Location: Huanacaure, 105
Phone number: +51 84 435849
Cost: 27 to 83 US dollars
Fusion food, Latin American and local food. It's the most appropriate for a romantic dinner! The flavors are mixed and dishes are just right: guinea pig with peanut sauce; raviolis of quinoa with chimmichurri sauce are some of the delicious samples of creativity of their chefs, just succulent!
Location: Las Orquideas 23
Price: s/. 10 - 15 the single room, s/. 80 double room
It's one of the cheapest places of the town.
Location: Av. Hermanos Ayar
Phone number: +51 984425016
Price: double room without breakfast s/. 50; bed and breakfast, s/. 70
Pirwa Hostel Machu Picchu
Location: Tupac Yupanqui 103
Phone number: (084) 244315
Price: double room from s/. 35; with private bathroom s/. 100. Hot water and breakfast are included.
Rumi Llaqta Hostal
Location: Av. Willku, Puente Pantigoso
Phone number: +51 984201094
Price: double room without breakfast s/. 60 to s/. 70
Rooms are clean, very nice and have private bathroom.
Location: Jiron Colla Raimi
Phone number: 984820715
Price: double room $70 to $150, american breakfast included.
The hotel has a swimming pool in the terrace on the californian style.
Rupa Wasi Lodge
Location: Jr Huanacaure 180
Phone number: (084) 211101
Price: double room $86 to $158, american breakfast included.
They offer additional services such peruvian cooking classes and massages.
Date: June the 24th
The Inti Raymi is the most important feast of the Imperial City. People from Cusco pay tribute to the Sun in Sacsayhuamán fortress in honour of the Inca Empire; they dance with traditional costumes and they represent the inca appearance, up in a bunk bed.
Aguas Calientes does not stand out for having a night life very active, but local restaurants offer you 4 drinks for the price of 1, on the Happy Hour time.
Location: Lloque Yupanqui
Wasicha is the only night club in Aguas Calientes; there you can have a drink and enjoy the latest hits untill early morning.
Once you are in Cusco, you will have 4 options to get to the dreamy Machu Picchu: by foot, by the inca trail, by train or by bus. As there are no direct highways from Cusco to the Ciudad Sagrada (the "Sacred City"), those are the most practical ways to get to Aguas Calientes, the closest town-city to Machu Picchu.
+info: Aguas Calientes is located on the North-West of Cusco. It's a city tourists have to go through to visit Machu Picchu, since it's Machu Picchu entrance door.
Steps to follow:
- Take a bus in Cusco untill Ollantaytambo. Once you are in this little but lovely town, you have to take the train from Poroy station, or from Ollantaytambo station, that will take you to Aguas Calientes.
- Make the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, starting on the 82 kilometer of the railway Cusco - Machu Picchu.
- Make the tour via Santa Teresa / Hidroeléctrica by bus and from there you can either walk or take the train to Aguas Calientes (we could say it's a kind of "alternative Inca trail").
Once in Aguas Calientes you'll start the last stretch till Machu Picchu citadel. To do it, you can choose between making a trek of one to two hours or take one of the touristic buses that bring you to the real Machu Picchu entrance.
You can make a reservation of your seat in our website of the buses that take you to the Hidroeléctrica (2 to 3 hours of trekking for the alternative Inca trail).