The town is known officially as Machu Picchu Pueblo and colloquially as Aguas Calientes sprung up as a base for visitors to Machu Picchu Archeological Complex. It’s a vibrant and colourful one-street town firmly ensconced on the ‘Gringo Trail’ and set in an overwhelmingly beautiful natural environment. Despite its desirable location, its a tiny town prompting many to wonder just what there is to do there.
Well, if you have extra time before or after your visit to the ruins of Machu Picchu, there are several things you can do in order to take advantage of that. After all, this is part of the protected area known as Machu Picchu Sanctuary, whose high-altitude rainforest boasts hundreds of exotic bird, butterfly, and orchid species in Cusco Region | Below we
Manuel Chavez Ballon Museum:
You’ll find the small, often-overlooked, but excellent Manuel Chávez Ballón Site Museum at the base of the footpath that to leads to
The museum also boasts its own Botanical Garden; a great stop for Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary protects not just the Inca ruins, but also a high Andean rainforest whose plant life includes more than 90 classes and 200 species of orchids as well as native trees such as the
The protected area known as Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary also boasts more than a hundred distinct butterflies. At the Butterfly House, just a 15 minute walk along the footpath from town that leads to Machu Picchu, you can examine some of these striking species up close during a 15 to 20 minute guided visit that costs S/.15.00 (soles). Currently the tour is only available in Spanish.
Mandor Gardens & Waterfalls :
There’s also a small waterfall and a few small ruins but the paths do not lead to the ruins. If you’re not up for the walk, you might be able to catch a cab to Mandor. On the other hand,
The handicraft Market:
To the right of the train station to MachuPicchu you can find the handicraft market of Aguas Calientes; Here you can find handicrafts and all kinds of art typical of the region; However, as you must imagine, the fact of being the final point before entering the Inca city of Machu Picchu, makes the prices are high; But if you se something you want at all costs, try to bargain.
Hot Springs (baños termales)
One popular spot, and the reason why the town became known as Aguas
Putucusi (Happy Mountain)
After occasional periods of being out of commission due to rainy season damage, the trail to climb Putucusi (Happy Mountain) is open again. If the series of vertical ladders (and the steel rope, which was installed to replace a missing ladder) doesn’t deter you, you can win a view overlooking Machu Picchu Citadel before you even get there.
Want to learn more about this awesome place in between the jungle and the Andes, check out with our guides from the free walking tour in Cusco