Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Pueblo?

  • Machu Picchu Pueblo is the new name of Aguas Calientes
  • Aguas Calientes translates into Warm Waters and refers to the local thermal springs
  • The town can only be accessed on foot or by train

It is here that the trains to Machu Picchu arrive and the buses depart * Aguas Calientes has a large variety of hotels and restaurants

Aguas Calientes is the old name of the town that is located in the valley down from the famous Inca site of Machu Picchu. The new name is Machu Picchu Pueblo or Machu Picchu Town in English but the new name does not seem to get traction and most people keep referring to Aguas Calientes. The name Aguas Calientes (Warm Waters) comes from the thermal baths that can be found close to the town. The town itself feels and is quite improvised and is constantly battling the lack of space. Located on the confluence of the Vilcanote River and a smaller mountain river, Aguas Calientes is perched between towering granite mountains limiting Aguas Calientes on one side and on the other side the thundering water of the Vilcanote River. Aguas Calientes in one of the few towns where one cannot get by car. There are no roads running to Aguas Calientes and one can only get there by train or on foot. This means that everything you see, touch or need in Aguas Calientes gets there by train. The Train station and tracks are actually the center of town as these run straight through town and there is no hotel from where you will not hear the sound of trains passing through the village. Aguas Calientes is small and everything can be done on foot. The town square is surrounded by a couple of blocks to each direction till you hit the mountain walls and space runs out. Aguas Calientes’ sole reason for existence is Machu Picchu. The whole town lives and operates in the function of tourism and the visitors that this World Wonder attracts.

All hotels, except for the Sanctuary Lodge, located at the entrance of the site, are located in Aguas Calientes. You can find anything from a unique luxury 5* lodge to a bunk bed in a 15 people dorm. The same goes for restaurants; there are several good restaurants in town but it must be said that a large portion of these are very much so-so. Being a tourist town with limited access, one can imagine that prices for almost anything here will be higher than the rest of Peru.

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