Aguas Calientes: The Town at the Base of Machu Picchu

Aguas Calientes Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 12 › view all entries
On September 16th I woke up too ill from the sinus infection, influenza and dysentery to walk around the block, let alone do a 3 day high altitude hike.  So, sadly, I had to bow out of my beloved Inca Trail trek and spend the next two days doing nothing but sleeping.  Then I hopped on the train on September 18th to travel to Aguas Calientes, the town located at the base of Machu Picchu whose sole purpose is to provide food, lodging and entertainment for tourists taking the bus to Machu Picchu.  Not how I envisioned entering the fabled city, but at this point I had to do whatever it took to get there (and then come back in the near future and do it the right way).
Aguas Calientes.
  The train ride took 4 hours, not because the train had great distance to go, but because the first two hours were spent switchbacking it's way up the mountains.  The scenery through the small Andean villages and amongst the rugged mountains and Incan ruins was quite pretty and had some great photo moments.

Upon arriving in Aguas Calientes, I checked into my hotel and then decided to go exploring.  I had been either bedridden or sitting on a bus for the last week, and since I was on the mend I was antsy to go out and get some exploring in.  I decided to do the 1.5 hour hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu which climbs about 2,500 feet in 1.5 hours by taking a long set of stairs straight up the mountain.  It is a really beautiful hike that lets you get out into the forest of the mountain.  Lots of people do this short hike and it is very safe.   To do the hike head out on the road where the buses go to reach Machu Picchu follow the signs to Machu Picchu for abut 20 minutes, then you will come across a fork on the road, the left side goes to a small museum and the right heads to stairs that climb all the way up to Machu Picchu.  There is a sign pointing you this direction that says Machu Picchu.  It's really easy to find and you will come across plenty of people using this route.
alyssa_ob says:
I didn't know you could hike from Aguas Calientes. Maybe we'll hike instead of take the bus when we go.
Posted on: Oct 29, 2008
aerynn says:
Thanks for the tip on hiking up rather than bus...i'll be staying 2 nights in Aguas next week.
Posted on: Oct 02, 2008
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Aguas Calientes.
Aguas Calientes.
Jon. Aguas Calientes.
Jon. Aguas Calientes.
Jon. Aguas Calientes.
Jon. Aguas Calientes.
Kristi and I. Aguas Calientes.
Kristi and I. Aguas Calientes.
Aguas Calientes.
Aguas Calientes.
Aguas Calientes
photo by: Vikram