Peru is full of pretty interesting destinations all dispersed throughout 3 regions, various towns and cities to visit, however there is one town called Aguas Calientes (the hot springs), which was mainly set up to have a place for tourist to get some rest before finally heading over to Machu Picchu. Originally this was just a train station for the railway company that transports tourists, but slowly Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu town) began to grow.
So what is Aguas Calientes?
Well, Aguas Calientes is where you will most likely spend at least one night; many travelers get to this town after taking a long trek like the Inca trail, Salkantay trek or after taking tours in and around Cusco. A night of rest comes in very handy at this point, remember that the following day you should head over to Machu Picchu early enough to try to catch the sun rising over the Andes.
This place is actually pretty interesting; you will probably meet several other tourists from many different parts of the globe since this is where everyone arrives before going to Machu Picchu. Now Aguas Calientes looks like a half finished town and having a rail station in the middle of it adds to its Wild West type of feel. Here you will find various hotels to sleep and restaurants to get a meal as well as a few bars in case you really want to relax. There are also stores where you can buy supplies such as bug repellent, water, food and drug stores in case you need band aids or something along those lines.
The following morning you can wake up early and head over to the hidden city for your Machu Picchu tour; having bug repellent for this leg of your trip is very advisable. Depending on the month that you travel to the citadel it can be overrun with mosquitoes and itchy bug bites can be kind of annoying when trying to concentrate on your tour.
Once you actually get there you can hire a tour guide in case you don’t already have one but it’s always better when your Peru travel planner has already arranged for one to be there for you or to meet you at Aguas Calientes. In some cases you can just stand next to a group and listen in on their guide but it’s always better to have a one of your own, there is a lot to learn and do once in Machu Picchu.
It is called Aguas Calientes because of the hot springs (translation for “aguas calientes”) that were originally here. A few years ago they were destroyed due to landslides and flooding, but since then have been rebuilt.