(also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo), at 6,700 feet above sea level.
Travel to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo)
This tourist town lies in a deep valley a thousand feet below Machu Picchu
(7,874 feet elevation).
The surroundings are a complete change from Cusco, with green rainforest, birds, and animals.
With nearly two thousand daily visitors who travel to this famous area, the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) is almost entirely made up of hotels, inns, B&Bs
, shops, and the homes of those who work in tourism.
Since the main source of access to the town is the railroad, there are
few motorized vehicles in town, giving a uniquely different feel to the
corridors of traffic lead through town.
First is the
supply of commerce along the railroad tracks; second, the
consumer row, a broad walkway which wends its way upwards between rows
of picturesque restaurants, shops, and lodging of every description.
The general feeling of the town is of a street fair, and the side
walkways provide many colorful scenes of local crafts and vendors.
Since the town is tourist oriented, you can generally find your way
around and easily get information on the buses up to Machu Picchu and
train schedules, etc.
What to See on Your Travel to Aguas Calientes Peru
A side trip we would
recommend is a hike down the railroad tracks
a mile to the turnaround. You will find few people and beautiful
When we took the hike in 2005, there was one local
family there that had some short hikes or walks that you could take
free of charge and an area of local and exotic tropical plants that was
open to anyone.
There is a small restaurant if you get there in time
for them to prepare a meal from scratch.
At this point, the Urubamba
a headwater of the mighty Amazon
a fast-flowing river that grows from a stream at
the beginning of the course that the train follows on your travel to
Aguas Calientes Peru,
where it becomes a small river
in this area). Later, it actually flows into a huge river and then
the Amazon far downstream).
As you walk along the tracks below the town, the clear blue waters
of the Vilcanota River provide a backdrop for the surrounding tropical
splendor where you may
be able to see several varieties of parrots as well many other birds.
Looking Down from Machu Picchu toward Aguas Calientes
There are two different
sets of trains
you might take to travel to Aguas
for tourists and one for local traffic. You might opt to take the local
train for more ambiance and cheaper prices.
History of Aguas Calientes Peru
Also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, Aguas Calientes was initially a work
during the construction of the railroad from Cusco a decade after the
"discovery" of Machu Picchu ruins in the early 1900s.
However, it was not until the 1970s and 80s that growth really
increased due to the regularity of train service and the increasing
popularity of Machu Picchu as a one of the wonders of the modern world.
For a time during those years, terrorism put a damper on travel to
Aguas Calientes and the tourist
business in general in Peru, but in recent years growth of tourism to
the area has been almost too fast to handle and
resources are somewhat strained at times.
The nearest report comes from Cusco
. When you are getting ready to travel to Aguas
Calientes, keep in mind that it is
4,500 feet below Cusco and can be considerably warmer. Dress