Aguas Calientes in Machu Picchu
Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Sacred Valley of the Incas - Cusco - Sierra Sur - Peru - South America
Aguas Calientes in Machu Picchu "Wonder of the World" is a small village at the bottom of the valley immediately to Aguas Calientes in Machu Picchu and is the main point of access to the site. Despite its magnificent atmosphere, it is not the most charming city, due to the substantial and sustained increase of the same towards Machu Picchu, being the beginning of the formation of the center to prevent the enormous influx of tourists. Unless you are on an excursion from Cusco to the hostel in Machu Picchu.
In the 80's the town of Aguas Calientes began to have a rapid transformation, due to three fundamental axes that were the drivers of the support of the district: The Tren Cusco, The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, The Hydroelectric Power Plant of Machu Picchu.
How to get to Aguas Calientes:
The only ways to get to the town of Aguas Calientes are by train or on foot.
1.- By train:
The trains depart from Ollantaytambo with several daily departures, which vary greatly in price. To get to Ollantaytambo, take a bus in Cusco. They start early, around 3am, and leave every half hour. Ollantaytambo is a beautiful city with ruins of its own, so it is a good idea to take the bus, spend one night in Ollantaytambo, then take the train to Aguas Calientes the next morning.
It is also possible to take the train to the outskirts of Cusco. The scenic train ride through the Sacred Valley takes approximately 1 hour 45 minutes as well. Tickets must be purchased in advance online or at the Peru Rail office in Cusco's Plaza de Armas. Try to book several days in advance if possible, especially in the high season. It is not possible to choose your own seats online, so if you have a preference, buy them at the station. "Vistadome" cars are mid-range cars, with more comfortable chairs and meals served. If you prefer to travel in style, opt for the "Hiram Bingham", with gourmet meals and an observation car.
2.- On foot:
If you are on a budget or just adventurous, it is possible to walk down the river along the train tracks of Ollantaytambo or the city at km 82, where the Inca Trail begins to Machu Picchu, it is a trek or trekking seven hours.
It is also possible to walk upstream along the train tracks of Santa Teresa (4 hours) or Hydroelectric (2 hours). You can take a minibus directly to Hydroelectrica from Cusco or take the trip by public transport: to get to Santa Teresa, take a bus to Quillabamba to Cusco and get off at Santa Maria. The bus leaves from Cusco at 8 (from the bus station of Santiago) and passes through Ollantaytambo, Urubumba and Santa Maria. It is a 7 hour trip from Cusco to Santa Maria. You can also take a Minivan (Collective), which leaves next to the buses (4 hours). In Santa Maria, take a bus that connects to Santa Teresa (1.5 hours) or a taxi (1 hour). Walk or trekkings for 2 hours or take a bus to the hydroelectric plant (hydroelectric plant). From there it is a two hour trek to Aguas Calientes from here, but it is also possible to take a train to Machu Picchu Pueblo, possibly much cheaper if you are Peruvian. As the tracks are still in use, be careful, especially when crossing the bridges and in the tunnels.
There are also trails that come from Mollepata, Cachora and Huanicapa for the extremely adventurous. You will need to get your hands on some topographic maps in advance, Hiking and Treking around Cusco and have details on the routes you can take.
You can also see the Salkantay trek that ends, either in Santa Teresa or, more recommended, in Hidroeléctrica.
Get around Aguas Calientes
The city Aguas Calientes is compact and manageable, and there are no vehicles, apart from the buses to Machu Picchu and a few working vehicles inside the village of hot springs.
Machu Picchu "Wonder of the world". This is what most people come to see. The bus from the town of Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu by way and person. You can walk to the ruins for free, but it is steep uphill and lasts about an hour and a half. You have to buy your ticket to enter the ruins, at the Cultural Center in Aguas Calientes (if you are not making the entire tour from Cusco, tickets are available at the Peru Rail office per person (includes entrance to Huayna Picchu) And is valid for 1 entry for a period of 3 days (so if you only have one night in Aguas Calientes, you are on a budget and arrive with the backpacker train at approximately 11:30 am to decide if you want to climb to Machu Picchu in the afternoon Or early the next morning.) Take a look at the article about Machu Picchu for the other types of tickets.Note that the office will not sell tickets the same day after 2:30 pm and that the last entry in Machu Picchu is at 4 pm, with visitors driven by 5:00 pm Also note that the office will ask for your official passport in the purchase of tickets and not a photocopy, although the agents may be flexible. And unpleasant, so if you can stay in Ollantaytambo and get the first train at 06:10, it is much better. You will arrive 8 in the morning, still long before the big tourist buses (10am - 2pm). Remember to take water and snacks with you as the appetizers available at the ruins are terribly expensive. They even take water with you to Aguas Calientes, since the stores do not charge double
It is forbidden to hike on the train tracks, although it seems to be the only way to reach certain destinations. In the city;
Thermal Baths.- Soak your tired muscles from the Inca Trail walk. Smoothies in one of the hot springs for which the town was initially named (after taking a full shower, of course). The bathrooms are located at the foot of the hill in the city. These are not bad, but the feel is very similar to a public pool and it can be crowded, as everyone wants to get into the hot pools. Towards the end of the day, most of the pools are not so hot anymore and they can be quite dirty. It is probably the best to visit in the morning. You can rent towels and bathing suits before you go if you need to.
Massage.- Dozens of massage houses abound in the city (all reliable, although of varying quality). For a one hour massage.
Internet.- Internet cafes charge by the hour and there are also CD and DVD recorders in the premises to store your photos.
Putucusi (Putukusi), (13 ° 09'26 S 72 ° 32'10 W). (Highly recommended!) Quechua for "Happy Mountain". Putucusi is on the same side of the river as Machu Picchu Pueblo. Follow the train tracks a short distance from the city in the direction of Santa Teresa and Machu Picchu (downhill from the city). You will soon find a map on the right in an upwards direction. (If you come to a train tunnel, you have gone too far.) This road leads to the summit, about 2,370 meters above sea level. It is the mountain adjacent to Machu Picchu. The road is steep, with a good number of almost vertical wooden stairs (easier than it looks). The slope is about 300 meters from Machu Picchu Pueblo. The summit offers breathtaking views of Machu Picchu if it is a clear day. Part of the tour was damaged in mud but as of July 2013 has been set. Always ask about the condition at the tourist information office in Aguas Calientes before you go. Leave about an hour out and make sure it will be out before dark. Wear long pants to avoid insect bites and get some water.
Butterfly House.- Its close to the camping area, if you get to the bridge it has gone too far.
Machu Picchu Museum and Botanical Garden.- Across the bridge on the opposite side of the city at the bottom of the path leading to Machu Picchu is a path leading to the Machu Picchu museum and botanical garden, also worth Worth visiting if you have the time.
Ecological Center.- In addition along the tracks near the bridge to Machu Picchu you will reach an ecological center with walks through the jungle, which will consume about an hour of your time. You can get there following the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, to avoid walking through the railway tunnel. There is a staircase leading to the train tracks near the Machu Picchu bridge. edit
Jardines de Mandor.- If you follow the longest of the tracks towards the Hydropower of 114.5 km you reach the gardens and the waterfall of Mandor, which is privately owned and requires foreigners to pay for entry. It is a nice walk with many orchids and some tropical forests and paths to a waterfall. Going upstream to Ollantaytambo;
Following the tracks of the train above Machu Picchu Pueblo towards Ollantaytambo you will see some other ruins and a waterfall. The prices of most things are relatively high, if you are on a very tight budget, bring some snacks and water from Cusco. If you intend to use a credit card for the hotel or purchases, keep in mind that most sites only accept Visa. However, prices in the basics such as snacks and water are not much higher than Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Machu Picchu. There is a large market on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, and a large handicraft market in front of the train station.
Some stores sell hand painted huacos, handicrafts, fabrics with natural colors of the area.
The town is full of pizza restaurants, which are a safe option. Menu Today or today as Avocado Stuffed (Avocado fillings) Soup Main dish (usually trout, beef or chicken) Tea, coffee, fruit juice, wine or pisco sour. Alpaca is definitely worth a try if you get the chance, in my opinion, it tastes better than beef or lamb.
The smaller restaurants on the hill often offer twice as much food at half the price of larger establishments, and the quality is usually the same.
Supply Market. Upstairs, in the food market you can buy a variety of inexpensive restaurants not to mention juices. Great for breakfast, take an egg roll and juice around. There are many sleeping options in Aguas Calientes. There is a very expensive hotel right next to the Machu Picchu entrance.