How do you end up in Aguas Calientes, Peru? You’ve either come there to spend the night so that you can visit Machu Picchu, which is only a 15 minute switch-back ride up the mountain on the west side of the city, or perhaps you’ve just trekked the Inca Trail and are looking for a cold beer to celebrate – either way (and there are several other reasons to come to this little town), Aguas Calientes retains a homey-yet-transient feel. Prices are steep here – food, drink, and hotel – and tourists willingly pay them as they stroll through the city’s largely pedestrianized streets, buying various souvenirs or tucking in at the city’s varied restaurants, which have a little something for everyone. There are only two ATMs in the city, and it’s a 50-50 chance that they might work, so bring cash, especially if you’re coming from Cusco. Glug down over-priced bottles of Cuzquena beer as you roam from groovy little eateries to tourist traps, but even a Coke will be of a higher cost then elsewhere in the Andes. Check out “El Mapi,” a bizarre and beautiful little spot for a good breakfast buffet or a super-swanky downstairs bar designed to look like a library. You can hike to the Thermal Baths (go in the morning before all the Inca Trail porters have, um, “used” them – it’s not unhygienic but these guys are sore and in need of rest and peace!), hike all the way to Ollaytaytambo (stay off the tracks!), or chance the view from Putukusi, a nearby peak that affords some decent views of Machu Picchu. Check out the massive market or stare down at the Urumbamba River as you roam around this ramshackle little town; stay out late enough and you can see how the town gets their goods AND disposes of their trash – hint: watch the train tracks in the town center. Large Inca statues and beautiful little plazas make Aguas Calientes, aside from their happy hour beer mark-up, a great spot to visit.
Filed under: Latin America, South America | Tagged: Aguas Calientes, ATMS, beer, Cuzquena beer, El Mapi Restaurant, foods, happy hour mark up, Inca statues, Machu Picchu, market, Peru, plazas, Putukusi, shops, South America, souveniers, thermal baths, train tracks | Leave a Comment »