Aguas Calientes 5 articles
Things to do in Aguas Calientes
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Machu Picchu What to do in Aguas Calientes?

In Aguas Calientes you will feel so close to Machu Picchu that you can feel a special energy. This town is located at the foot of the mountain where the Incas built the Inca City. There you can visit the Putucusi mountain, the thermal baths, the gardens of Mándor and more.

Aguas Calientes had its origins in 1901 (10 years before the discovery of Machu Picchu) when the railroad workers connecting Cusco with the towns of La Convencion decided to create a camp, which would become a district.

Where is Aguas Calientes?

  • Aguas Calientes is the small cosmopolitan city located just below Machu Picchu. It is located 2,040 meters above sea level (6,692 ft).
  • It is known as Machu Picchu town due to its proximity to the Inca City.
  • Aguas Calientes is a magical town: there are no vehicles except buses that go up to Machu Picchu. The immense mountains and rivers that surround this town provide a unique landscape.
  • You can do many things in Aguas Calientes: climb the Putucusi mountain, take a walk through the gardens of Mándor or relax in the thermal baths. However, the biggest tourist attraction is undoubtedly Machu Picchu.
Aguas Calientes
Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town)

What to do in Aguas Calientes?

Here are the main tourist attractions of Aguas Calientes:

Inca City of Machu Picchu

  • Machu Picchu is the biggest tourist attraction of Aguas Calientes, Cusco and Peru.
  • Approximately 1.5 million tourists visit Machu Picchu every year.
  • All tourists who visit Machu Picchu also visit Aguas Calientes since this town became a highly tourist place.
  • In Machu Picchu the tourist can also choose to ascend the mountains Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. The latter is considered one of the best short walks on the planet.
  • To get to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes, you must take a rising bus whose journey takes approximately 30 minutes. The other option is to climb on foot (the journey takes approximately 2 hours).

Putucusi Mountain

  • If you like outdoor walks, Putucusi Mountain is the favorite activity for adventurous people in Aguas Calientes.
  • This mountain is 2,560 meters high (8,398 ft).
  • This route is one of the most difficult short walks in Aguas Calientes. It crosses a poorly marked path as well as extreme vertical stairs. The journey takes approximately 2 hours.
  • The top of this mountain will allow you to take amazing views of the Inca City of Machu Picchu from a little known angle.
  • It takes a good physical condition to ascend this mountain. Wear hiking shoes and carry lots of water with you.

Gardens of Mándor

  • Mándor gardens are an ecological reserve full of lush ecology. It is located a few kilometers from Aguas Calientes (1 hour walk).
  • The road from Aguas Calientes to the gardens of Mándor is full of vegetation where: orchids, ferns, begonias, fungi and more.
  • During the walk through the gardens of Mándor it is also possible to hear the singing of several birds as well as to appreciate the flight of various species of butterflies.
  • At the end of the road are the ‘Waterfalls of Mándor’, a water fall several meters high.
  • The gardens of Mándor is a place to visit for people who enjoy ecology.

Thermal baths

  • The town of Aguas Calientes has small natural hot water pools known as the ‘thermal baths’.
  • The thermal baths will allow you to relax after your excursion through Machu Picchu. The temperature of its waters varies from 38º (100ºF). at 46 ° C. (114ºF).
  • These thermal springs of natural springs are attributed healing properties in the treatment of rheumatic diseases of all kinds.
  • The thermal baths are located in the highest part of town. It can be reached following the end of Hermanos Ayar de Aguas Calientes Avenue.
  • The entrance fees vary according to the nationality of the people: Peruvian visitors pay 5 soles (2 USD) and foreigners pay 10 soles (3 USD).

The handmade market of Aguas Calientes

  • One of the favorite places to visit by tourists is the artisan market of Aguas Calientes.
  • This market is located to the right of the train station. There the visitor can find a great diversity of handicrafts and utensils such as: alpaca clothes, paintings, wood sculptures, stone, musical instruments, masks, gold jewelry, silver and much more.
  • Most tourists choose to shop at the artisan market after visiting Machu Picchu and before boarding the train that will return them to the city of Cusco.
  • The fact of being the end point before entering the Inca city of Machu Picchu makes prices high.
  • If you find something you want at all costs, try to haggle (ask for a cheaper price).

Manuel Chávez Ballón Site Museum

  • The Machu Picchu site museum exhibits tools that were unearthed from the Inca City such as ceramics, stone utensils, textiles and more.
  • The museum is called ‘Manuel Chávez Ballón’ in tribute to the work done by this Peruvian archeology in the first years after the discovery of Machu Picchu.
  • The museum is located on the Hiram Bingham road that leads to Machu Picchu (at kilometer 112).
  • To get there you will have to walk around 20 minutes from the town of Aguas Calientes.
  • To enter you will need the ticket ‘Machu Picchu + Museum’, which includes admission to the Inca City of Machu Picchu.

Restaurants and bars in Aguas Calientes

  • In the town of Aguas Calientes there are a variety of restaurants, bars, discos and hotels.
  • The most famous restaurants are: the Happy Indian, the Chullpi, the Mapi and the Tinkuy Buffet.
  • The most economical option is the Aguas Calientes supply market. There the visitor can buy a lunch from 8 Peruvian soles (3 USD).
  • The most recognized bars are: the Mapacho, the Rock’n Roses Snack Bar, the Inkaterra bar and more.
  • The best hotels in Aguas Calientes are: the Sactuary Lodge, the Casa del Sol, the Casa Andina, the Sumaq Hotel and the Inkaterra.

Aguas Calientes is a must for tourists visiting Machu Picchu. Because of this, the majority of its population is dedicated to tourism. There are: hotels, restaurants, bars, discos and all kinds of tourist service.

Aguas Calientes Images

Information of Aguas Calientes in summary

Information about Aguas Calientes
LocationIn the jungle of Cusco. It belongs to the province of Urubamba.
Height2,040 masl.
Distance from Cusco103 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
Inhabitants4,525 inhabitants (2017).
WeatherTemperate – humid with temperatures from 24ºC. up to 8ºC.
RiversAt the intersection of the Vilcanota, Alcamayo and Aguas Calientes rivers.
MountainsSurrounded by the Machu Picchu and Putucusi mountains.
RestaurantsFrom cheap services to luxurious restaurants.
HotelsFrom cheap services to 5-star hotels.
TransportationIn the town there are no taxis or any means of transport. Only the bus that leads to Machu Picchu.
Tourist attractionsMachu Picchu, Putucusi mountain, Mandor gardens, Aguas Calientes thermal baths and the Machu Picchu site museum.
Other nearby tourist attractionsCocalmayo hot springs.

What else do you need to know about Aguas Calientes?

  • Aguas Calientes is a small town. It is estimated that there are almost 5,000 inhabitants there. However, due to the large influx of tourists, almost twice as many people travel their streets daily.
  • Tickets to Machu Picchu must be booked in advance, especially if you plan to reach the top of the Huayna Picchu mountain.
  • The entrance Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu must be reserved 6 months before.
  • Train tickets to Aguas Calientes must also be purchased in advance. Once there, the visitor can buy their bus tickets to Machu Picchu.
  • If the tourist makes a trip to Machu Picchu for only 1 day, he will have little opportunity to know Aguas Calientes. On the other hand, if you make a 2-day visit you will have the opportunity to spend 1 night in this peculiar town.

Frequently asked questions about tourist attractions in Aguas Calientes

  • 1) How far is Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes?

    Machu Picchu is located 10 kilometers from the town of Aguas Calientes through the Hiram Bingham highway. The route on foot is approximately 8 kilometers.

  • 2) How to visit the gardens of Mándor?

    The gardens of Mándor are a 1-hour walk from the town of Aguas Calientes. There you can camp and appreciate the variety of flora and fauna of Machu Picchu.

  • 3) Are there taxis in Aguas Calientes?

    No, the town of Aguas Calientes is so small that you can get everywhere on foot. There are no taxis touring the town.

  • 4) Are there hotels in Machu Picchu?

    Yes, the town of Aguas Calientes offers a wide variety of hotel services. From cheap shared services to luxurious 5-star hotels.

  • 5) Are the restaurants in Aguas Calientes good?

    Yes, the town of Aguas Calientes offers restaurants of various quality: from cheap services (3 dollars per menu) to high-quality gourmet services (20 dollars per plate).

  • 6) Does it rain a lot in Aguas Calientes?

    Aguas Calientes has a humid temperate climate. Rains can occur at any time of the day, especially in the mornings. The rainiest seasons are January, February and March.

  • 7) How much does it cost to visit the thermal baths of Aguas Calientes?

    The entrance to the thermal baths is 20 soles for foreigners, 10 soles for Peruvians and 5 soles for Cusco.

  • 8) How much does it cost to visit the gardens of Mándor?

    The entrance to the gardens of Mándor is 10 soles for foreigners and 5 soles for Peruvians. The price includes the right to camp on the spot.

  • 9) How much does it cost to visit the Manuel Chávez Ballón site museum?

    The entrance to the Machu Picchu Manuel Chávez Ballón site museum costs 22 soles for foreigners, 11 soles for university students and 8 soles for those under 18 years of age.

  • 10) How much does it cost to visit Putucusi Mountain?

    The entrance to Putucusi Mountain is free for everyone.

Advice from people who have been there

Aguas Calientes

Alonso M.By: Alonso M.

“Designed for the visitor“

“It is designed for and by the visitor, full of hotels, restaurants and craft stalls. Its geography is impressive, it is encased between mountains just below Machu Picchu, these give it a curious appearance; although someone should do something to improve the urban infrastructure of 'the streetless', so we said to Aguas Calientes. “


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, May 20, 2022