Whatsapp
Inca Trail Machu
Enjoy the best Inca Trails to Machu Picchu
+51 997 434 941

What to do in Aguas Calientes and how to go up to Machu Picchu

Home / Travel Blog / What to do in Aguas Calientes and how to go up to Machu Picchu

Aguas Calientes, sometimes called the City or Town of Machu Picchu is the obligatory passage to reach the famous Machu Picchu, whether one goes by train or on foot.

 

Here, travelers should not expect to find a typical small town, as it is a tourist town. There are many restaurants and hotels, but they generally offer a very poor quality / price ratio.

 

While it is true that this is somewhat daunting, the journey to get to the place is truly magnificent and once in the place, there is nothing else to do but marvel at the imposing mountains that surround it.

 

Also, if you are patient, you will find many activities to do in Aguas Calientes that will make a slight detour worthwhile, which are little known since everyone goes directly to Machu Picchu.

 

Without further ado, here are the best things to do in Aguas Calientes + my selection of the best hotels based on your budget.

 

Where is Aguas Calientes?

  • Aguas Calientes is the small cosmopolitan city located just below Machu Picchu. It is located 2,040 meters above sea level (6,692 ft).
  • It is known as Machu Picchu town due to its proximity to the Inca City.
  • Aguas Calientes is a magical town: there are no vehicles except the buses that go up to Machu Picchu. The immense mountains and rivers that surround this town provide a unique landscape.
  • You can do many things in Aguas Calientes: climb the Putucusi mountain, take a walk through the Mándor gardens or relax in the thermal baths. However, the biggest tourist attraction is undoubtedly Machu Picchu.

Interesting facts about Machu Picchu town

  • The origins of Aguas Calientes go back to 1901 when the workers who built a railway line settled there.
  • The Japanese citizen Oscar Yokichi Nouchi was the first mayor of Aguas Calientes. Before that, Yokichi had been hired to build the railway line.
  • With the discovery of Machu Picchu in 1911, the place began to be populated little by little.
  • Today it is the town with the largest influx of tourists in Peru. It is estimated that more than 1 million tourists visit Machu Picchu each year.
  • In Aguas Calientes, the construction of a cable car that would replace the bus trip from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is being discussed.

In Aguas Calientes you are offered official guides to visit Machu Picchu in case you want to hire one. To distinguish the official guides, mind you. They are the ones who wear the blue strip with their name hanging to identify themselves.

 

What is special about the town of Aguas Calientes?

  • Aguas Calientes looks like an island. It is separated from roads (it can only be reached by train). Surrounded by mountains, cliffs, rivers and an imposing cloud forest.
  • Aguas Calientes is 100% dedicated to tourism. There are no taxis because its streets are narrow and the town is small. There are hotels, restaurants, bars, etc.
  • The only bus in Aguas Calientes is the one that connects the town with the entrance gate to Machu Picchu. This trip takes approximately 30 minutes.
  • Many tourists visit Aguas Calientes because it is a mandatory stop before visiting Machu Picchu. Most are fascinated by the beauty of this peculiar town.
  • In Aguas Calientes there are also various tourist attractions such as thermal baths, Mándor waterfalls, the Putucusi mountain hike and more.

What to do in Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu town?

 

Aguas Calientes offers a variety of tourist services such as restaurants and hotels. There are also natural attractions such as the thermal baths, the butterfly farm, the Putucusi mountain and more.

 

Restaurants

  • El Indio feliz - One of the most famous restaurants in town. It offers French, Peruvian and more food. The decoration is very striking and comfortable.
  • Incontri del Pueblo Viejo - Restaurant that offers Italian, South American, contemporary and Peruvian food. The place is nice. The delicious food.
  • Tinkuy Buffet at Sanctuary Lodge - An exclusive restaurant located next to Machu Picchu. It offers Peruvian and international food. The food is of great quality.
  • La Boulangerie de Paris - This bakery, pastry shop and cafe offers French-style breakfast and brunch types. Their desserts are delicious.
  • El Mapi Restaurant - This restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. The restaurant belongs to the Inkaterra hotel chain.

Pubs

  • Mapacho Craft Beer & Peruvian Cuisine - This restaurant - bar offers Latin food and pizzas. It also offers craft beers. The service is excellent.
  • El Mapi hotel bar - The decoration of the bar is striking. It has a bar where you can enjoy a variety of cocktails. The music is good.
  • Inti House - A well decorated place with a good view. It offers pizzas, Latin American food and a variety of cocktails, wines and beers.

The thermal baths

  • The thermal baths of the Aguas Calientes town are a good option to relax your legs after visiting Machu Picchu.
  • These waters from mountain springs are attributed curative properties for rheumatic diseases.
  • The place also has a bar.
  • It is located on Avenida Hermanos Ayar s / n. (in the highest part of the avenue).
  • Office hours are 5 a.m. at 7.30 p.m.
  • The cost for adults from abroad is 20 Peruvian soles (6 US dollars, approximately).

Butterfly farm

  • The butterfly farm of Machu Picchu is one of the best places to visit with the family.
  • It is located on the Hiram Bingham road (15 minutes walk from the town).
  • This museum houses several species of butterflies. Some of them can only be seen in Machu Picchu.
  • It is a good option, especially if you come with children.
  • There you can see hundreds of butterflies flying freely.
  • The butterfly farm opened its doors in 2006. Today it fulfills a research and alternative function for visitors who have free time in Machu Picchu.
  • Office hours are Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. until 6 pm.
  • The ticket price is 20 Peruvian soles.

Machu Picchu Site Museum

  • The Machu Picchu Site Museum exhibits some pieces that were discovered in the Inca City during excavations.
  • It also offers interactive exhibits that explain the process of excavation and conservation work in Machu Picchu.
  • The Site Museum is located on the Hiram Bingham road (next to the so-called ‘Puente Ruinas’).
  • Office hours are Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. at 4 p.m.
  • The cost of entry for foreign adults is 22 Peruvian soles (7 US dollars, approximately). The entrance in the afternoon shift (from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.) is free for all the public.

Putucusi mountain hike

  • The Putucusi mountain is one of the peaks that surround Machu Picchu.
  • From its top you can see the Inca City of Machu Picchu in the distance.
  • Climbing to the top is not easy. Steep and slippery trails must be walked.
  • The road starts from the town of Aguas Calientes. Then you follow the train track until you start the ascent of the mountain.
  • To get there, you must climb a vertical ladder with many steps. This adventure has no cost but it is risky and requires a lot of physical effort.

The waterfalls of Mándor

  • The Mándor waterfalls are a natural tourist attraction located 1 hour's walk from the town of Aguas Calientes.
  • The place is also known as the ‘Jardines de Mándor’ due to the abundant vegetation that surrounds the falls.
  • There you can also see a great diversity of birds and butterflies. Despite tourism, the place is still inhabited by various wild animals.
  • The place is not very frequented by tourists so it is still possible to appreciate it without much public around.
  • The cost of admission is 10 Peruvian soles (3 US dollars, approximately).

How is the train route to get there?

 

By the Ollantaytambo train route:

  • To get to Aguas Calientes you will have to first get to the city of Cusco.
  • From there you will board a minivan car to the train station in Ollantaytambo.
  • There you must travel by train until you finally arrive at the train station in the town of Aguas Calientes.

By the alternative Hydroelectric route:

  • To get to Aguas Calientes by this alternative route, you will first have to take a bus from the city of Cusco to the town of Santa María.
  • Then you must take a collective taxi to the town of Santa Teresa.

How to take the buses from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

  • The main reason for the influx of tourists in Aguas Calientes is because buses are boarded there to get to Machu Picchu.
  • The bus station is on Hermanos Ayar avenue, a few meters from the train station.
  • Buses leave every 10 minutes. The ticket office is next to the bus station.
  • To get there it is not necessary to take a taxi. It is enough to find the exit to the artisan market (train station).
  • The bus trip from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu takes approximately 30 minutes.

How to get from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu?

You can buy the tickets to go up to Machu Picchu in a wooden hut that is just under the first bridge. They sell them daily until 9.30 at night.

  • If you prefer to take it already reserved or you see that you will not have time to buy the ticket, you can do it here online. It is somewhat more expensive than in Aguas Calientes, but you ensure availability, especially in high season.
  • To buy bus tickets to go up to Machu Picchu you need a passport or an identity document that identifies you (DNI). You will also need to get on the bus, showing it along with the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.
  • The price of the bus was USD12 (one way), and USD24 up and down. You can pay with any card, except Visa, which has a 4.5% surcharge. There is no international student discount.

How to get from Aguas Calientes to Cusco?

If you are planning your trip to Machu Picchu, you will already know that the fastest and most comfortable way to travel the distance between Aguas Calientes and Cusco is the train. Every day, dozens of trains leave from the Aguas Calientes station to Ollantaytambo as a destination. The train ride takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Remember that the price varies according to the schedule and type of train.

 

Then you must take a tourist transport bus back to Cusco. You can do it privately or shared. The trip lasts between 1 hour to 1 hour and a half

 

Where is the Aguas Calientes train station located?

Located on Avenida Imperio de los Incas, in the lowest part of town and near the Plaza de Armas.

In Santa Teresa you must take a collective taxi again to the Hydroelectric station.

At Hidroeléctrica, you can choose to get to Aguas Calientes by train or on foot.

 

Hotel in Aguas Calientes Peru

 

Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel

Modern hotel located in front of the Vilcanota river and the mountains. It offers the tourist a luxurious experience as well as learning of the various Andean customs such as: gastronomy, customs and relaxation. Includes: breakfast, conference room, hot tub, spa, concierge, private balcony, mini bar and more.

  • Address: Av. Pachacutec 808, (Machu Picchu town, Cusco - Peru).
  • Approximate price for a double room: $ 369 per night.
  • Category: 5 stars.

Belmond Hotel Sanctuary Lodge

The only hotel located next to Machu Picchu. It has luxurious facilities with views of the mountains that surround the Inca city. Rooms include desks, coffee machines, TVs, black out curtains, free Wi-Fi, safes, and more. It also offers: buffet breakfast and lunch, bar, dining room, gardens and more.

  • Address: Carretera Hiram Bingham Km. 7.5. (Machu Picchu town, Cusco - Peru).
  • Approximate price for double room: $ 1,055 per night.
  • Category: 5 stars.

Living Land Machu Picchu

Modern hotel located in front of the Vilcanota river. At the door of the hotel you can board the buses that lead to Machu Picchu. Its facilities have artistic decorations. Its rooms include suites, private balcony, free wiki, TV, safe, air conditioning. Includes: breakfast, laundry service, business room and more.

  • Address: Carretera Puente Ruinas Mz. 4, (Machu Picchu town, Cusco - Peru).
  • Approximate price for double room: $ 123 per night.
  • Category: 4 stars.

Hotel El Mapi by Inkaterra

Hotel with a naturalistic design away from the town and surrounded by trees. It has suites and rooms that include a mini bar, safe, refrigerator, TV and windows with good views. The hotel also offers free internet, free wifi, free breakfast, excursions, laundry service, lounge bar, restaurant and more.

  • Address: Av. Pachacutec 109, (Machu Picchu town, Cusco - Peru).
  • Approximate price for double room: $ 197 per night.
  • Category: 4 stars.

Taypikala Hotel Machu Picchu

Modern hotel located in the highest part of the town of Aguas Calientes. It has comfortable rooms with beautiful views of the town and the mountains. They offer suites, bathtub-shower, TV, telephone and hairdryer. Facilities also include: free internet, buffet breakfast, lounge bar, laundry service and more.

  • Address: Av. Pachacutec 808, (Machu Picchu town, Cusco - Peru).
  • Approximate price for double room: $ 135 per night.
  • Category: 4 stars.

Andean House Standard Machu Picchu

Modern hotel located between the train tracks and the Vilcanota River. Its facilities are spacious and welcoming. They have suites, safe, TV, cleaning service. The hotel offers: free internet, restaurant, free breakfast, ironing service and more. The service is diligent and friendly.

  • Address: Extension avenue Imperio de los Incas E-34 (Machu Picchu town, Cusco - Peru).
  • Approximate price for double room: 116 $ per night.
  • Category: 4 stars.

House of the Sun Machu Picchu

Comfortable hotel located in the forests of Aguas Calientes. It is characterized by harmonious facilities such as: spa service, whirlpool tub, laundry service, free breakfast and free internet. The rooms and suites are spacious and have: mini bar, air conditioning, TV, safe and more.

  • Address: Av. Imperio de los Incas Nº 608 (Machu Picchu town, Cusco - Peru).
  • Approximate price for a double room: $ 194 per night.
  • Category: 4 stars.

Waman Hotel Machu Picchu

Modern hotel characterized by good service and clean facilities. The hotel offers free breakfast, lounge bar, laundry service, free internet, suites. The rooms include telephone, TV, bathtub - shower as well as alarm clock service. It is located in the town of Aguas Calientes, close to all services.

  • Address: Calle Wiracocha No. 202 (Machu Picchu town, Cusco - Peru).
  • Approximate price for a double room: $ 126 per night.
  • Category: 4 stars.

Hotel Ferre Machu Picchu

Tall, modern hotel nestled between the mountainous bushes and the Vilcanota River. It has several rooms and suites that include: cleaning service, mini bar, safe, TV and beautiful views. The hotel offers breakfast, luggage storage, laundry, free Wi-Fi, a spa and an elevator to move around all its floors.

  • Address: Av. Imperio de los Incas Nº 634 (Machu Picchu town, Cusco - Peru).
  • Approximate price for double room: $ 70 per night.
  • Category: 3 stars.

Best Tours to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Day Tour

2 Day Train Tour to Machu Picchu

Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu 2 Day Tour

Sacred Valley Inca Trail

 

Best Hikes to Machu Picchu

2 Day Inca Trail Tour

2 Day Inca Trail with Camping

3 Day Inca Trail Hike

Classic Inca Trail Tour (4 Days/3 Nights)

5 Day Inca Trail

Salkantay Trek 4 Days

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Request information



Date of travel:

Number of people:
How did you hear about us:


responsible people foundationThe Responsible People Foundation is registered under Peru not-for- Profit Organization Act. With an annual contribution from Inca Trail Machu to support our operating costs as well as a significant portion of project development costs. If you would like to help us. You can bring clothes for the cold or school supplies and you can win a Rainbow Mountain free or other tour in Cusco. Do not worry if your gift is not new. Only help us to help the children and families.
Most Popular Trips
Home

Peru Destinations

Activities & Travel Styles

Responsible Travel

Before You Go

Travel Blog

Contact us

Why Inca Trail Machu?

Inca Trail Machu Booking Online

ERROR 404: Page not found

Write a review

Write a review

in Tripadvisor


Inca Trail Camping

Inca Trail Small Groups

Salkantay Trek Peru

facebook-classicincatrailmachu youtube-classicincatrailmachu
incatrailmachu youtube-incatrailmachu
inca trail machu pinterest inca trail machu flickr
inca trail machu travel blog
socios