Aguas Calientes: Visiting Machu Picchu Pueblo

Nestled amidst the lush mountains of the Peruvian Andes lies Aguas Calientes, a charming town also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo. Serving as the gateway to the iconic Machu Picchu archaeological site, Aguas Calientes offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern amenities. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Aguas Calientes and making the most of your time in this enchanting mountain town.

Arrival and Transportation

Most visitors to Aguas Calientes arrive by train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo, with the journey offering stunning views of the Andean landscape along the way. Alternatively, adventurous travelers can opt for the multi-day trek along the Inca Trail, culminating in a triumphant arrival at Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival, visitors can explore the town on foot, as it is compact and easily navigable.

Hot Springs

Aguas Calientes owes its name, which translates to “hot waters,” to the natural thermal springs located on the outskirts of town. After a day of exploring Machu Picchu or trekking in the surrounding mountains, soaking in the soothing waters of the hot springs is the perfect way to relax and unwind. Several establishments offer access to the hot springs, allowing visitors to enjoy the healing properties of the mineral-rich waters amidst breathtaking mountain scenery.

Accommodation and Dining

Despite its small size, Aguas Calientes boasts a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference, from cozy hostels and boutique hotels to luxury resorts with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Similarly, the town offers a diverse array of dining options, with restaurants serving up traditional Peruvian cuisine, international fare, and delicious street food specialties. Be sure to try local delicacies like ceviche, lomo saltado, and quinoa soup.

Local Culture and Handicrafts

Aguas Calientes is home to a vibrant community of artisans and craftsmen, who showcase their talents in the town’s many markets and shops. Visitors can browse a wide selection of handmade textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and other souvenirs, all crafted using traditional techniques passed down through generations. Supporting local artisans is not only a great way to take home a piece of Peruvian culture but also helps sustain the local economy.

Gateway to Machu Picchu

Of course, the main attraction of Aguas Calientes is its proximity to Machu Picchu, the legendary Inca citadel perched high atop a mountain ridge. Visitors can catch a bus from Aguas Calientes to the entrance of Machu Picchu, where they can explore the ancient ruins and marvel at the awe-inspiring architecture and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Guided tours are available for those who wish to learn more about the history and significance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sustainable Tourism

As the popularity of Machu Picchu continues to grow, so too does the importance of responsible and sustainable tourism in Aguas Calientes. Visitors are encouraged to respect the natural environment, support local businesses, and follow guidelines for preserving the cultural heritage of the region. By traveling responsibly, visitors can help ensure that Aguas Calientes remains a vibrant and welcoming destination for generations to come.

Here are some tips for visiting Aguas Calientes:

  • Book your accommodation well in advance, especially if you are traveling during the peak season.
  • Be prepared for crowds, especially in the town center and at the entrance to Machu Picchu.
  • Allow plenty of time to explore Machu Picchu, as it is a large site with a lot to see.
  • Bring comfortable shoes, as you will be doing a lot of walking.
  • Be sure to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, as the sun can be strong at high altitudes.
  • Drink plenty of water, as the altitude can cause dehydration.
  • If you are feeling altitude sickness, there are a number of medications that can help.

Here are some of the things you can do in Aguas Calientes:

  • Visit Machu Picchu: The main reason people visit Aguas Calientes is to see Machu Picchu. The ruins are located about a 20-minute bus ride from the town.
  • Visit the hot springs: The hot springs are located a short walk from the town center. They are a great place to relax after a long day of exploring.
  • Go hiking: There are a number of hiking trails in the area, including the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
  • Go biking: There are a number of bike trails in the area, including the Vilcabamba Valley Bike Trail.
  • Go whitewater rafting: The Urubamba River is a popular spot for whitewater rafting.

Here are some of the places you can eat in Aguas Calientes:

  • Indio Feliz: This restaurant serves traditional Peruvian food.
  • Limo Restaurant: This restaurant serves international cuisine.
  • El Albergue: This restaurant serves pizza and pasta.
  • Chullpi Restaurant: This restaurant serves vegetarian food.

Here are some of the places you can stay in Aguas Calientes:

  • Belmond Sanctuary Lodge: This hotel is located inside Machu Picchu National Park. S
  • JW Marriott El Convento Cusco: This hotel is located in the Sacred Valley.
  • Tierra Viva Machu Picchu: This hotel is located in Aguas Calientes.
  • Vicuña Wasi Hostel: This hostel is located in Aguas Calientes.


Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, offers visitors a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern amenities. Whether soaking in the hot springs, exploring the local markets, or embarking on an adventure to Machu Picchu, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this enchanting mountain town. As the gateway to one of the world’s most iconic archaeological sites, Aguas Calientes invites travelers to embark on a journey of discovery and exploration amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the Peruvian Andes.

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