Machu Picchu Town: beyond the Machu Picchu llaqta

Machu Picchu is the most visited archaeological site in Peru. Few people know that it is located in the eyebrow of the jungle and also about 100 kilometers from Cusco. In addition, before ascending you can reach a small district, entirely touristy. This town is called Machu Picchu Town, although some prefer to call it Aguas Calientes. It receives this name because of the presence of the river that crosses the entire population and is also part of the hot springs. In this blog, we want to talk about the activities that can be done in this district before or after visiting the llaqta of Machu Picchu.

Manco Capac Square of Aguas Calientes
Manco Capac Square of Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Town

Machu Picchu Town
Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Town

Machu Picchu Town is one of the districts that receive more tourists daily. Since its founding in 1941, it has been growing and receiving many more people. The main reason why many people arrive is the presence of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. For this reason, a whole population dedicated to the sale of handicrafts and other businesses related to tourism found their home in this small town.

Over the years, everyone began to call it Aguas Calientes, due to the presence of the river and the thermal baths that have that name. In addition, it is a way to differentiate it from the archaeological site. Since then, many people prefer to call it Aguas Calientes. Many websites call it that way.

In Machu Picchu Town or Aguas Calientes, you can find different activities to do. Even if you like good restaurants and luxury hotels, you can also find them. Likewise, you can find some more economical services ideal for long stays in this beautiful place.

What is the climate like in Machu Picchu Town? The climate in this place is semi-tropical. Likewise, the temperatures of the place will not exceed 25° C in the hottest days. Likewise, the climate can only go down to 12° C.

In this sense, temperatures are not very high and it is not very cold. In this sense, we can mention that it has a temperate – warm climate because the heat and cold are not extreme. Many times it is enough to have a long-sleeved sweater to have a comfortable ride.

Regarding sporadic rainfall
The rains in Machu Picchu Town, usually fall without warning. This is because it is located in a semi-tropical geographical area. In this sense, people must have a waterproof poncho at hand. Waterproof ponchos do not hinder mobility and at the same time protect even the backpack in a better way. It is recommended to always carry it because even in the dry season, it rains the most.

Location of Machu Picchu Town

Machu Picchu Town is located in the province of Urubamba, one of the 13 provinces of Cusco. If we start from Cusco the approximate travel time is 5 hours. Normally the trip is made by train, but some decide to do it on foot. For them, the time to get there will be more.

Machu Picchu Town is located at 2,040 meters above sea level. So it has a very pleasant climate. For many people it is ideal and they decide to stay a couple of extra days doing walking tours to the different points or attractions that Machu Picchu Town has.

How to get to Machu Picchu Town?

Getting there is quite simple, you just have to take a train. Trains can be boarded in Cusco, Poroy, and Ollantaytambo. All of them will arrive at the train station of Machu Picchu Town. It is evident that the trips that are made to Machu Picchu Town, are to visit the wonder of the world. So in the tourist train services you can find small congregations of parts of the world.

Those who decide to take the hiking trails will also be able to reach this destination. Any of the variations will have to take them to this district. Due to this high congregation of people from all over the world, various services can be found throughout this district, such as hotels, banks, restaurants, bars, and much more.

Main activities to do in Machu Picchu Town

Eculptures in Aguas Calientes
One of the stone sculptures in Aguas Calientes

Beyond the services that can be found in this small cosmopolitan town, which has everything you need to spend several days in total comfort. Also, you can find different activities that will take you at least a few hours to do or visit.

  • Appreciate the stone sculptures

    One of the activities that may be done without much attention or even without wanting to, is to appreciate the stone sculptures. These sculptures are found along the streets of Machu Picchu Town.

    The great majority of these have details typical of the mythology and the Andean paradigm. In some of these, you can also find the presence of animals and Andean deities. All the sculptures have a large size and some of them even have a real scale.

    As a curious fact, there are about 37 stone sculptures throughout Machu Picchu Town. All of them can be visited it will be possible to make this tour before returning to Cusco. The time to visit and see all the sculptures can take about 2 hours approximately.

  • Refresh yourself in the hot springs

    The thermal baths are located 15 minutes walk from the Plaza de Armas of Machu Picchu Town. The entrance fee is 5 PEN. Among its services, you can find changing rooms, showers, and several pools of heated and cold water.

    This destination is ideal for those who want to relax, but it is more recommended for people who have done the Inca Trail or any hiking route. This is because its waters have properties that help relax the muscles and even help to improve some mild indigestion.

  • Ascend Putucusi Mountain

    The Putucusi mountain is the mountain that we can all appreciate when we arrive at Machu Picchu. It is a very particular batholith because of its steep shape. Likewise, it has a route to its summit, from where Machu Picchu can be seen from another perspective.

    Putucusi mountain is one of the smallest mountains that can be found, but it offers a quite demanding route. One of the most recommended activities is to climb to the top. Although it is important to have the presence of an expert guide on the route. If you are looking for adrenaline this route can be an excellent option.

  • Visit the Machu Picchu Site Museum

    The Machu Picchu Site Museum is located near the area of ascent on foot to Machu Picchu. That is, from the point where the bridge is located to begin the ascent of the mountain. The site museum is located about 100 meters from the bridge.

    To get to the bridge you only have to follow the path that the ecological buses follow to get to Machu Picchu. During the hike you can find the butterfly farm of Machu Picchu Town and also the camping area provided by the district municipality of Machu Picchu Town.

    In the Site Museum, you can find some of the equipment used by Hiram Bingham, at the time of reaching Machu Picchu. You can also appreciate the influence of the Amazonian area on the Inca culture. Likewise, there are pieces of pottery and also the presence of the evolution of the Inca culture within the Amazonian territories.

  • Visit the handicraft market

    In Machu Picchu Town, before starting the return trip, you can take a brief tour of the Handicraft Market. This market is located near the train station of Machu Picchu Town. So it is quite easy to get there.

    Within what is offered, will highlight the handmade pieces, decorative and a variety of souvenirs. You can make the payment of these pieces with cash payments, digital wallet payments, and also payment by credit or debit card.

    It is also important to note that some gold and silver pieces are sold. However, it is possible to find some imitations that are sold as real. Discretion is recommended when acquiring these pieces.

Frequently asked questions about Machu Picchu Town

Below, we answer some of the questions that different tourists ask about this district and the activities that can be done in Machu Picchu Town.

  • Are there camping areas in Machu Picchu Town?

    Yes, the District Municipality of Machu Picchu Town has a space dedicated to camping. The price is quite comfortable and can be renewed every night. It is ideal because it also allows the campsites to be stored and an extra cleaning service for the tents.

  • Is it possible to travel to Machu Picchu all year round?

    Yes, travel to Machu Picchu is possible every day of the year. Except for exceptions by the Peruvian government or for reasons of force majeure. This applies to train travel, however, the Inca Trail trekking route to Machu Picchu is closed during February.

  • Are there any restrictions to arrive or stay more days in Machu Picchu Town?

    The visit to the archaeological site is only possible for a couple of hours and at the designated time of the entrance ticket or reservation. In case that time elapses or because of some problem you cannot enter, unfortunately, you will lose your ticket. It is important to keep to the visiting hours due to the large number of people.

  • What natural destinations can be visited in Machu Picchu Town?

    In Machu Picchu Town you can visit natural destinations such as waterfalls. Near this district, you can find some very colorful and nearby waterfalls. Also, you can find the thermal baths and the gardens of Mandor. All these places can only be reached on foot.

  • Is it true that there are no cabs in Machu Picchu Town?

    The truth is that you can only find motorized transport to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. These vehicles arrived dismantled and already in Machu Picchu they were assembled. Other types of vehicles cannot be found in Machu Picchu Town. It is for this reason that all destinations in the district must be reached on foot.


By Imachupicchu – Last updated, May 4, 2024

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