Everybody wants to go to Machu Picchu once in their life, right?
Martin and I traveled there last year and to get to Machu Picchu we traveled by train from Cusco, probably one of the most common ways, a trainride that takes around 3-4 hours. We just headed for Machu Picchu over the day but it is possible to stay in the nearby village where the train arrives, Aguas Calientes, ”Hot Springs” in Spanish.
When I say village, I mean village. Basically it is just a number of houses caught inbetween the Andes a 20 minuter busride from Machu Picchu. This village is also where the buses leave from heading for Machu Picchu.
Here you can:
- Buy your entrence- tickets for Machu Picchu (today price april 2015, 126 sol including the top that has a regulated number of visitors per day, Huayna Picchu, 150 sol)
- Buy the bus tickets for the 20 minute ride from the village to Machu Picchu (around 10 dollars, only found price in dollars)
- Stay over night, eat, shop handicraft and more (a bit more expensive than the rest of Peru)
Arriving by train you come to Aguas Calientes through the Andean jungle. The trainride over the Andes itself is a real experience and something I want to experience another time over. When in the village you get of the train at a small train station directly connected to a fairly large Peruvian handicraft – market, where you can buy all the necessary souvenirs if you want to. The markets have exactly the same souvenirs and garments all over Peru, either you are in Lima, Cusco or here in Aguas Calientes. My experience though is that it was cheaper in Lima but less concentrated and spread over larger areas.
Matin and I didn´t explore Aguas Calientes that much by foot but rather experienced it unwillingly when trying to find the ticket- office for Machu Picchu. A bit stressed and nervous not to get tickets we wondered the streets until we finally found it on a street somewhere, according to guides the main road of Aguas Calientes. The whole experience took us about 10 – 20 minutes but felt like forever when not knowing if we would get access.
The view from the village is amazing. It feels like being caught inbetween the mountains and feels like you are in a jungle village.
Fairly close to the trainstation the buses for Machu Picchu leaves. They are hard to miss. Surrounding this little square you have restaurants, shops and hostels to stay over night. The prices are fairly high and some travelguides recommend that you bring water and some snacks from Cusco, probably right if you are just aiming to stay the day as Martin and I did and don´t have time to look for it.
The bus takes as said before 20 minutes on a serpentine road. The view from the bus is both scary and beautiful. Some people walked this distance, don´t know why, but probably because of the expensive bus of around 10 dollars to get forth and back.
Back in the village me and Martin was super hungry and had dinner at the restaurant on the photo below (bar restaurant pizzeria).
Back on the train we where severely happy to have experienced Machu Picchu, but in away regret no staying a night in this cute little ”backpackers” town. I remember Martin saying that, ”We should come here again and stay here in the village” and I thinking ”Will you ever experience something like this twice?!”
To read what I have written about Machu Picchu before, see my guestpost at Resia or just look at Machu Picchu in photos. I am aiming to do a comprehensive and full guide on Machu Picchu, forth and back later on.
The photos where shot with My Canon 5D Mark iii with Canon 24-105 F/4 L series lens.