Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu pueblo) is the nearest town to the famous Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. It is set along the Urubamba River, more than 2 kilometres above sea level.
The town owes its name to its thermal springs, but these are still a secondary reason for visiting Aguas Calientes. The town's thriving tourist industry is entirely due to nearby Machu Picchu, which is Peru's best known attraction.
For travellers hiking to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail, Aguas Calientes is the end point of the journey. After a strenuous multi-day hike, the thermal springs offer a great way to relax and bath.
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The Spanish never discovered Machu Picchu, so while they destroyed many other Inca sites, Machu Picchu remained untouched. It wasn't until the early 20th century that the first Westerner laid eyes on the ruins. Since then, the have gone on to become one of the most popular attractions in all of South America, even being named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
There are frequent buses from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, which cost around US$6 (S./20). Alternatively, you can hike there in about 2 hours.
The thermal springs are believed to have curative powers. They are located 15 minutes outside of town and can be easily reached by walking up the main street. Entry costs US$3 (S./10).
Local handicraft and handmade products can be purchased at the market.
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There are daily trains from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu):
Check the Peru Rail website to confirm the latest timetable and prices.
There is also a local train, but this is not available to tourists.
You can hike to Aguas Calientes along the Inca Trail, a multi-day hike along ancient Incan roads. There is a government-imposed cap on how many people can be on the trail on any day, so it is important to book well in advance, particularly if you are planning to do it in the high season between June and August.
Helicopter rides to Machu Picchu itself were discontinued in the 1970s due to the damage they did to the site, but Heli Cusco still does trips to Aguas Calientes.
There are frequent buses from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, which cost around US$6 (S./20).
Aguas Calientes is quite small, so getting around on foot is no problem. You can also hike to Machu Picchu from the town, which takes about 2 hours.
Aguas Calientes is a tourist town with plenty of accommodation options.
|Hostal Pakarina||Avenida Pachacuteq 803||GUESTHOUSE||72|
|Hotel Boutique La Cabana Machupicchu||Av Pachacutec Mz - 20 Lt. 3 Machu Picchu||HOTEL||-|
See also International Telephone Calls
Check the Serpost website, the national postal service (a private company), for more information about prices and options regarding the sending of postcards, letters and parcels. The post service is relatively efficient and post offices can be found in most cities and (larger) towns. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Saturday and some are open on Sundays from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Postcards are available from street vendors and shops at any touristy area, and stamps are generally available as well, though sometimes only at the post office itself. It takes at least 10 days to send a postcard to North America and prices start at S/5.5. To Europe it is S/7.8 and it takes even a bit longer, around 2 weeks. For little extra money, you can choose 'expresso' services. For large parcels and quantities, you can use both Serpost or a company like DHL which is faster and offers the same prices, though it is still relatively expensive. UPS for some reason is much more expensive in Peru!
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