Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes is the closest town to Machu Picchu. Staying here for a night or two will give you intimate access to this incredible Inca site.

Aguas Calientes Best Things to Do

Cultural tour to Machu Picchu, Peru
Cultural tour to Machu PicchuAguas Calientes

This tour introduces you to local history and some truly stunning views. On this educational tour, your guide will point out the agricultural, residential, and religious buildings. Because we have so few written records left behind by the Inca, historians have had to make educated guesses about what purpose some of the structures served and much of the site remains shrouded in mystery.

Guided Tours
Andean Wedding - Arac Masin, Peru
Andean Wedding - Arac MasinAguas Calientes

The Andean wedding is the symbolic Andean ceremony for couples those looking to express their love for each other or renew vows.

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1 - Aguas Calientes, Peru
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4 - Aguas Calientes, Peru

Area Guide

Aguas Calientes was once a poor and somewhat rundown town, but recent improvements in business and infrastructure have helped bring about a new vitality to the area. New hotels and restaurants are working their way into the limited space of this valley.

The small town spreads into the hillside above the Río Aguas Calientes, and hotels are beginning to populate the Orquideas neighborhood on the other side of the river. Aguas Calientes has a scattering of hotels and restaurants (pizzerias abound here), as well as a few sites that are worth visiting.

The town’s thermal baths offer travelers a place to soak and relax. They are cleanest in the morning, but can be fairly dirty by nighttime. A trail leads uphill past the baths to a few impressive waterfalls—these are good places to swim and take photographs. There are a few other waterfalls in this area that can be visited as well.

On the road to Machu Picchu, you’ll find a new museum dedicated to the famous Inca site. The museum is small but modern, and has a number of good exhibits dedicated to the culture, history, and geography of Machu Picchu. The museum also has a botanical garden.

Putukusi is a forested rock dome above Aguas Calientes. It’s a good half-day hike to get here, and travelers are rewarded with wonderful views of Machu Picchu. During the hike you’ll pass through cloud forests and have the opportunity to spot a range of tropical birds. Do note, however, that you’ll have to ascend a 600-foot (200-m) wooden ladder along a cliff face to reach the final lookout.

Aguas Calientes is the end of the line for the train that runs between Cusco and Machu Picchu. There are frequent bus shuttles to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes, and you can also hike through the forest to reach the ancient site.

Feedback From Travelers

Lunch was amazing after the hard work of the trek. :)

- LAURA R, SEP 2019

Really liked this town! It was so walkable, and there were no cars!

- AMY P, JUL 2019

I was pleasantly surprised by this small tourist town that is surrounded by tall jungle covered mountains. Though, touristy, it is has a quaint and comfortable feel. It has a beautiful river flowing through the middle of the town. I recommend a hotel with a river view so you can ( I did...) sleep with the window open and listen to the flowing waters until sound asleep.

- ADAM C, JUL 2019