I'm about to book the Inca Trail (4 days, 3 nights) with either SAS or Llamapath for the end of November. A few posts on this site have mentioned it is worthwhile spending an extra night on in Aguas Calientes.
Could anyone recommend any hostels in this town?
Any other tips or advice regarding Aguas Calientes would be really appreciated!
After doing the 4-day Inka Trail hike, I enjoyed not having to immediately get on the train and return to Cusco. That said, I don't have a hostal recommendation (can't recall name of the place).
I was there about 6 weeks ago, and personally I can't say that I would want to spend more than one night there. It is pretty built for toursits, Restaurants and Internet cafes and hostels. the Hot Springs are just a series of small pools that were like warm baths, worth it to relax after the trek but not worth staying another night for really.
I went with SAS and cannot say enough good things about them. Very proffesional and never rushed us at all during the day. It seemed like some of the other companies just wanted to hurry everyone to camp. The food was incredible and there is tons of it. No need to bring any additional food unless there is something you cannot live without. A few things to bring: Flip flops for camp, extra socks, headlamp, gloves, and rain pants.. Just a few suggestions.. Aguas Calientes: I stayed there for one night in the hostel that SAS arranges for you to meet at. It was clean and quite and in a good location. As Kyebrown said it is worth only staying one night. Very nice to relax and not jump on a train to immediately. The town seems like it empties after the last train to Cusco so it is nice and relaxing.. Also there is a small day hike, takes about and 1- 1 1/2 hours depending how tired you are from the trail. It offers awesome views of Macchu Picchu and the trail is interesting and fun. There are some sections with 40 ft almost vertical ladders so if that scares you then I would not recommend it. The hike is worth it. To find the trail walk along the railroad tracks heading away from town. In about 5 minutes you will see a small sign on the right for the start of the trail. It is called Putucusi.
I stayed a night in Aguas Calientes after doing the trail and I have to say I was glad of it. After arriving back into Aguas Calientes everyone from my group went straight to the thermal baths and just soaked for hours. Most people went back to Cusco and had a long journey back on the train. I managed to walk around the little town for an hour or so, had some food and then just crashed into bed.
I would say if you aren't in a rush to be anywhere then stay a night and relax. But I wouldnt spend a valuable night there if you are going to need it for somewhere a bit more spectacular further along your trip.
Hope that helps!
Thanks for all your feedback, I appreciate it. We will definitely consider staying a night in Aguas Calientes.
Samsara2 - do you remember the name of the place you stayed at, would you recommend it?
They had an extremely original name as remember - Hostal Aguas Calientes
Yeah it was fine I suppose. They did try to put me in a room on the top floor that has no glass in the window! but the room I ended up in was comfortable. No hot water though, despite the misleading name! (Tip: In some of the hostels/hostals/hotels in Peru you need to look for a little switch at the top of the showerhead to gte hot water going! No-one tells you that. Of course, in some places there just is no hot water)
The main shopping street in Aguas Calientes has quite a few hostels on it, so you shouldnt have too much trouble finding a place, especially if you go in the low season.
Good luck on your trip!