Spending A Night In Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu
The chances are that youve spent much time, money, and effort getting to the ancient Incan City of Machu Picchu, so why would you spend only a few hours exploring it?
Whether youve opted for the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, or youre hiking the Inca Trail , youll want to get the most out of your visit to this spectacular ancient site.
After all, it might be a once in a lifetime experience!
Hotel With The Best Restaurant: Sumaq
If youre looking for more of a traditional 5-star hotel, then Sumaq is an excellent choice. Its well located along the river, but further away form the train station to avoid any noise. Where Sumaq really shines above its competition is the phenomenal restaurant: its the best meal in Aguas Calientes.
See Machu Picchu A Second Time
Staying in Aguas Calientes will allow you the opportunity to enjoy Machu Picchu a second time if you want to. Because we stayed there one night, we were able to do this. It was perfect because we never felt rushed- The first day we had a guided tour, so we learned everything about it we may have never known, and the second day, we explored on our own and did the Hyauna Picchu hike early in the morning.
This is especially ideal during the rainy season, since sometimes the weather can be foggy, which can often obscure the iconic view. Imagine going all that way to not really see Machu Picchu! That would be the worst! At least going back a second time gives you another chance to let the fog clear.
Tip: If you stay in Aguas Calientes, you can also be one of the first to enter Machu Picchu in the morning. It typically opens around 6 am, and you need to be at the bus stop at 5 am at the latest to get on one of the first buses. I think its absolutely worth getting up early to be one of the only people in Machu Picchu!
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Aguas Calientes To Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is 5.5 miles up the mountain from Aguas Calientes. There are only two ways of getting from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu: by bus or on foot.
Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
A fleet of buses operated by Consettur Machupicchu takes passengers between Aguas Calientes and the main entrance of the ruins. The route it takes is up a steep switchback road called Carretera Hiram Bingham. Buses run from the bus stop on Av. Hermanos Ayar in Aguas Calientes from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and depart as soon as a bus is full or every 15 minutes. In total, the bus trip takes 20-minutes to go up. The last bus back from the ruins to town is at 5:30 p.m.
All of our Machu Picchu tour packages include this roundtrip bus fare. You can also purchase tickets online at the Consettur website or in person at offices in Cusco, Aguas Calientes and up at the main entrance to Machu Picchu.
Walk from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
Its a steep climb from the river up to the entrance of Machu Picchu. You can walk along the dirt 4.5-mile road or take the steeper stepped footpath. However, if you intend to get a taste of Andean hiking, there are better, more scenic trails within Machu Picchu.
After touring Machu Picchu, visitors wait for the shuttle bus to take them down the mountain to Aguas Calientes. Photo by Peru For Less.
Experience The Vibe Of Aguas Calientes
Everyone comes here to experience the magic of Machu Picchu. Most have been waiting their whole lives to see it.
In the morning you can feel the excitement wafting through the air like humidity before a storm. The day they can check it off their bucket list has finally arrived!
You know the feeing you get after you accomplish something youve always wanted to do? After people return from exploring Machu Picchu, the vibe walking around Aguas Calientes feels exactly like this. I remember it being unlike anything I have ever felt. Although everyone was sore, wet, and hungry, the positivity that radiated through this town made me so happy.
Aguas Calientes is often seen strictly as a tourist trap. Although it does have some of that feeling, I found it extremely quaint and charming. Im really glad I didnt listen to the advice of others. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring its cobblestone streets and brightly colored shops. It has a whole different vibe than the rest of Peru, and for these reasons alone, I highly recommend spending some time there.
This is a once in-a-lifetime kind of trip. So take your time and enjoy every second of one of the most memorable moments of your life!
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Best Small Boutique: Casa Del Sol
For those who prefer a smaller, boutique-style hotel, Casa Del Sol is the place for you. Book a suite with the private, in-room Jacuzzi facing the river. The views of the river and surrounding cloud forest make it a wonderful place for a relaxing bath after your Inca Trail hike or day of exploring Machu Picchu.
Geography And Seasonal Info
The Sacred Valley winds through the eastern slopes of the Andes down to tropical mountain forests bordering the . Here, 70 miles east of Cusco, the Inca Empire constructed Machu Picchu on a high saddleback ridge formed between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. Far below, the Urubamba River flows past Aguas Calientes along the valley floor.
Weather in Aguas Calientes
The lower elevation and cloud forest environment cause the weather in Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes to be much different from Cusco. For starters, there is not a strict separation between the rainy season and the dry season . On the one hand, rain is possible at any time of the year around Machu Picchu. On the other hand, even in the rainy season, clear blue skies are not uncommon after a rainstorm.
In general, days in Aguas Calientes are humid and pleasant. Temperatures average between 68°F to 80°F . Nights in the region are colder, though usually warmer than Cusco. Evening temperatures in the rainy season are warmer.
Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu
The best time to visit Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes depends on your preferences about the weather, crowds and what trek you may want to do.
Aerial view of the Inca citadel from the Machu Picchu Mountain hike. Photo by Lizzie Thomas of Peru For Less.
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Taking The Train To Aguas Calientes
We left Cusco early morning on the PeruRail VistaDome train to Aguas Calientes. After dumping our luggage at our hotel where we were spending the night in Aguas Calientes, and having a bite to eat, we went straight up to Machu Picchu for the rest of the afternoon. We were fortunate to have great weather and I was very pleased to be there for the golden hour of sunlight just before sunset. In addition I was able to scout out where I should plant myself on the following morning to photograph Machu Picchu at sunrise.
On the next morning, we were, again blessed with perfect weather. From our reconnaissance the day before, we knew where to go and set up my tripod for that iconic shot of Machu Picchu. Granted, we could also have opted for a guide as many travelers do, but we prefer to wander around, on our own time, with our guidebooks.
We even had time to rest on the grass in the central plaza, munch on some granola bars for energy, and play with the llamas.
Inca Trail To Machu Picchu
The Inca Trail is the most famous hike in South America. Although the total distance is only about 39km, the ancient trail laid by the Incas from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu winds its way up and down and around the mountains, snaking over three high Andean passes en route, which have collectively led to the route being dubbed the Inca Trail. The views of snowy mountain peaks, distant rivers and ranges, and cloud forests flush with orchids are stupendous and walking from one cliff-hugging pre-Columbian ruin to the next is a mystical and unforgettable experience.
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How To Get To Aguas Calientes
Whether youre coming or going from Perus famous attraction, you need to pass through town at some point along your journey. The mountainous geography limits access to this isolated region of Peru so much so that your only options for getting to Machu Picchu are taking the train or trekking. There are no paved roads from the Sacred Valley or Cusco, so you cannot hire a taxi, drive your car, or take a bus to Aguas Calientes.
Getting On The First Bus Was Great
Getting on the first bus was great. Although I imagine getting the 2nd or 3rd would have been pretty similar too so don’t stress too much. We had tickets for the mountain too which meant we lost the option of a tour guide after as it’s a one way system and trekking up the mountain took hours and was very intense. I recommend deciding on doing either a guided tour of Machu pichu or climbing one of the mountains – there isn’t really time for both.
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Is Cusco Peru Safe
Cusco is a safe city, but like any other city, it is necessary to take precautions when it is nighttime and after 6:00 pm it is dark. Taking a taxi is affordable since most rides in Cusco cost around 4-6 soles. However, there are, different types of taxis in Cusco and some are not registered official taxis.
What You Can Do In Aguas Calientes
You will have to make a long queue to get bus tickets, with route from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. Buses depart every 14 minutes, from 5:30 a.m. If you want we can take care of all the tickets you will need on your trip, to avoid inconvenience.
What can I eat and drink?
There are a variety of restaurants, where you can eat: grilled chicken, baked chicken, fried trout, among others, the best of Peruvian food. In addition to Italian, Chinese and Spanish restaurants where they are fused with Peruvian ingredients. You must not forget that Peru is the best culinary destination in the world.
If you want a drink, there are bars all over town. Just choose the one closest to you, and dont forget to try our pisco sour, a famous Peruvian drink. The perfection of this drink is achieved thanks to the mixture of lemon acid, egg white, sweet gum syrup and the character of our pisco.
In case you do not want a drink with alcohol, you can enjoy another delight, purple girl, is a drink typical of this country of South America, famous for its gastronomy. It is prepared with a special type of intense, almost black purple corn. This vegetable is grown in large proportions in the Andean Cordillera.
To be calm and relax
Having visited Machu Picchu, and more if you climbed Huayna Picchu your body will be very tired. And you will need to relax, it is recommended to visit the Aguas Termales.
You come with children and family
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What Should You Not Wear In Peru
Shorts and T-shirts are acceptable in Lima, but most locals prefer loose-fitting long pants and buttoned shirts that can be adjusted throughout the day. Women will be comfortable in sundresses or pants and blouses but might opt not to wear very revealing skirts or tops so as to avoid unwanted attention.
Where To Stay In Huacachina
Huacachina is located 4 hours south of Lima and close to the city of Ica. There you will find South Americas ONLY natural desert oasis and in addition to that the biggest sand dunes on the continent that are perfect for sandboarding!
Featuring an outdoor pool, a sun terrace, an a la carte restaurant, and a bar area with pool view. The guest house is right next to the scenic Huacachina oasis and provides nice and clean rooms.
The hostel has a brilliant location on the main boulevard that surrounds the Huacachina oasis. It is completely new, with comfortable mattresses and spacious rooms.
This is a lovely and green accommodation with a pool, a bar, and a garden with hammocks.
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Where To Stay In Aguas Calientes
You’ll be wanting to stay in Aguas Calientes if you’re visiting the once called ceremonial centers of the Incas-Machu Picchu. Famous for its diversity, Cuzco is one of the cities you can land nearing Machu Picchu with tons of tourist sites and natural or reserved parks.
However, it is rather convenient for travelers to seek accommodation in Aguas Calientes. Not just it is perfect for all kinds of travelers. Still, it also has tons of nearby attractions worthy of consideration.
This article nevertheless will not talk about all kinds of things and stuff you’ll see in town but will cover the best places to stay in Aguas Calientes. You can learn more about the cost, cons and pros, and best features of luxury hotels, mid-range hotels to party hostels and relax vibe hostels – wide option of Machu Picchu accommodations.
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Getting To Machu Picchu From Cusco With An Overnight In Aguas Calientes
Pros: After taking the train to Aguas Calientes the day before, your Machu Picchu days travel will be easy! Just had to a bus station to book the same-day passage for a ride up to the Machu Picchu entry.
Cons: Aguas Calientes is a new city, constructed for the purpose of housing, entertaining, feeding, tourists. Frankly, it is an eyesore, and although there are some nice hotels, having passed through it, its not a destination I would choose to stay overnight.
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Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel
This is a charming lodge that is an approximately 30-minute walk to Machu Picchu. The hotel comprises of incredible rooms with exposed beams, fireplaces, warm lighting, and tartan fabrics. If you want a place where you can taste Peruvian wines and regional dishes, then Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is the place to be. This hotel sits on a 12-acre piece of land featuring breathtaking natural beauty, including 214 bird species. This hotel is 110 km from Cusco. It has the first-class restaurant that faces the Vilcanota River where you can enjoy the Peruvian cuisine
Getting To Machu Picchu From Cusco With An Overnight In Ollaytaytambo
Pros: Ollaytaytambo is, itself, a fantastic destination worthy of a full day or two. It can be reached from Cusco by train or you can get from Cusco to Machu Picchu via colectivo. From Ollaytaytambo, a 90-minutes ride on a morning train can take you to Aguas Calientes and return you to Ollaytaytambo after your Machu Picchu assent. Ollaytaytambo lodging is a little bit less expensive than lodging in Aguas Calientes or the expensive lodges just outside the Machu Picchu entrance.
Cons: Staying in Ollaytaytambo does require just a bit of extra maneuvering on Machu Picchu day getting from Ollaytaytambo to Machu Picchu will require a train ride, then a bus ride, and then a train and bus ride to get back to Ollaytaytambo at the end of the day.
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Getting To Aguas Calientes Peru
It is hard to over-emphasize the remoteness of this village. It is not connected by any paved roads to the rest of Peru, sitting almost like an island nestled in the deep Urubamba River gorge. You cannot even see the famous archaeological site from here , instead you are surround by imposing cliffs, a rain forest, and two beautiful rushing rivers.
Local villages can travel back and forth on foot and with donkeys or horses along age-old trails that follow the Urubamba as it twists through the Choquequirao Conservation Region, much like the Incas did hundreds of years ago. For the tourist traveling to Aguas Calientes however, you basically have two choices: the hard way or the easy way. My wife and I opted for the hard way: via the Inca Trail.
The classic Inca Trail Trek begins at mile 50 on a road near the town of Piskacucho, just outside of Ollantaytambo, at an altitude of 8,923 feet. The first day, you are expected to hike almost nine miles to the initial campsite, called Ayapata, climbing to an altitude of 10,829 feet on the way. The next day, which is known to people who have completed the trail as the worst day of your life, you hike almost straight uphill to the cheerfully named Dead Womans Pass at 13,779 feet, and then back down to 11,700 feet, where you have lunch. Thats right, lunch. The day is only halfway over.
Most people however opt to get to Aguas Calientes the easy way: a comfortable and scenic ride on Peru Rail.
More Incans Ruins For Less Money
Ollaytaytambo sits in a valley between two mountains. Walking the quiet, narrow streets of Ollaytaytambo, one only has to look up in two directions! to get stunning views of Incan ruins. Additionally, both mountainside ruins are easily accessed one side offers completely free access to anyone willing to take the short but steep hike, while a close inspection of the ruins on the other mountainside charges a small admission fee as it is part of the Ollaytaytambo Archological Park .
Essentially, youll get more Incan ruins for your buck by staying in Ollaytaytambo, and youll be able to explore these ruins without the crush of the constant crowd at Machu Picchu.
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