When you take the train from the Inca town of Cusco on your journey to Machu Picchu, you will arrive into Machu Picchu town, known to most as Aguas Calientes. Over the last 10 years, the town has grown in leaps and bounds to keep up with the rapidly increasing tourist number that want to see Machu Picchu. The town is still quaint and has the most incredible setting, surrounded by the Andes and with the raging Vilcanota River passing through the town, Machu Picchu town is a great place to spend a day.
Machu Picchu Town is located at 2040 meters near to Urubamba, in the lowest part of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is located about 112 kilometers northeast of the City of Cusco.
Taking the train is considered one of the best ways to get to Machu Picchu Station located in Machu Picchu Town you can go by train from Poroy Station a journey of around 3 hours and 30 minutes. Poroy is the closest to the city of Cusco, about only 20 minutes from the city. However, if you are in the Sacred Valley, you can start from the Ollantaytambo Station arriving in approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes or from the Urubamba Station arriving in approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Machu Picchu Town’s rugged terrain renders it into a non-urbanized zone, in other words, there are no taxis, roads or airports but there are a train station and a minibus stop, which will take you to Machu Picchu.
If you have some free time there are several different points of interest in Machu Picchu town. Why not hike to the Jardines of Mandor, it is located at 3.5 km on the bottom of the mountain Huayna Picchu, about 3 hours hike from Machu Picchu town.. This place offers you the quietness, peace, and rest every traveler needs. This natural habitat introduces a great variety of native plants and animals and you can enjoy the natural waterfalls in this zone. Do not forget your comfortable shoes, sun block to protect your face, repellent to prevent mosquito bites, a cap, comfortable and waterproof clothes.
There are hot springs with healing qualities are located at 800 meters from Machu Picchu Town. Its sulfurous water comes from the rocky subsoil. The amazing hot springs are very appealing to tourists; the hot springs also have dressing rooms, baths and coffee shops to add to your experience.
While wandering around Machu Picchu town you will find a great variety of hand-made products such as handicraft, textiles, pottery, silverware, jewelry, alpaca or vicuña clothing, in the many markets located around the town and inside the train station.
When visiting Machu Picchu town there is a museum, which is located around 30 minutes from the town and 10 minutes from Ruins Bridge. In this museum exhibition, there are metal works from the time of the Inca Empire as well as other contents including infographics, boards, maps, videos and collections of pottery, sculpture among others.
There are many different types of hotels in Machu Picchu town to suit all budgets. There are wonderful five star hotels for the luxury traveler, four-star hotel for traveler who like comfort and also great three star hotels for the budget traveler to enjoy all situated minutes’ walk from the main plaza. Machu Picchu town is full of restaurants to have lunch or dinner and a few drinks to help relax.
If you have time visit the Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel, the garden is the most beautiful in the town, the garden features many orchid varieties and other plants that are native to the Andes and the area.
The five star Sumaq hotel has one of the best restaurants in the area to enjoy a delicious meal made from locally sourced produce. The chefs prepare the world famous Peruvian cuisine that will delight the taste buds.
There is plenty to learn before you take your journey to Machu Picchu, so here are some Machu Picchu facts that you may not have known
- Machu Picchu was discovered by Yale University professor Hiram Bingham in 1911 with the help of a local farm boy.
- When discovered the citadel was covered by jungle, but the terraces where in use by farmers.
- Machu Picchu was recently named one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
- No wheels were used to transport heavy rocks for the construction of the city.
- Structures were built with a technique called “ashlar.” Stones are cut to fit together without mortar. Remarkably, not even a needle can fit in between two stones.
- The citadel is divided in two parts: Hanan and Urin according with the Inca tradition.
- In the Quechua native language, “Machu Picchu” means “Old Peak” or “Old Mountain.”
- Many of the stones that were used to build the city weighed more than 50 tons.
Machu Picchu town is a great place to spend the day before your Machu Picchu adventure, book your Peruvian adventure today.