Aguas Calientes is a small and peculiar town located on the banks of the Urubamba River and is the closest point to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. The distance between both places is approximately 9 kilometers. It is also known by the name of ‘Machu Picchu Pueblo’.
To get to Aguas Calientes you can take the train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo, in any of the two companies that operate the service and can also be reached by bus or private car transportation to a nearby point.
Once installed in Aguas Calientes there are basically two alternatives to access the Inca citadel:
How to get to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes by bus
You can take a bus in the town of Aguas Calientes to climb to the top of the mountain and finally reach Machu Picchu. A single company operates this service that has an average duration of 25 minutes the outbound journey and 12 to 15 minutes the journey down, the name of this company is CONSETUR, which is managed by the people of Machu Picchu town.
How to buy bus tickets
They can be bought in two ways:
- The first is through Internet, filling out a form with your personal data and then making the reservation payment with your credit or debit card.
- The second way to buy is in person, by presenting your national identity document (DNI) or your passport. The places of sale in the city of Cusco are the following:
- Av. Infancia 433 - Opening Hours from 08:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm from Monday to Friday.
- Av. El Sol 380 Interbank Bank from 09:00 to 18:00 hours.
Also, you can buy tickets or bus tickets in person in the town of Aguas Calientes, the office is located at Av. Hermanos Ayar S/N, before the ruins bridge and the opening hours are from 05:00 to 9:00 p.m.
These tickets do not need to be booked in advance and can be purchased the same day you plan to go up to the citadel.
Where to take the bus to get to Machu Picchu
The starting point of the route from Aguas Calientes uphill to the citadel of Machu Picchu is at the CONSSETTUR offices, located at Av. Hermanos Ayar S/N. From here buses leave every ten minutes with destination to the Inca citadel and in the same way, the buses that go down return at this station.
What is the cost of the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
The price of bus tickets to get to Machu Picchu vary depending on the nationality, age and condition of the traveler. The average cost is USD 15.00.
How is the bus trip to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes
From the town of Aguas Calientes, the bus leaves for the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, located in the upper part of a mountain covered with vegetation. The route is characterized by a steep climb, full of curves and after approximately 25 minutes it arrives at the entrance to the citadel.
The descent section is easier and only takes 12 to 15 minutes to get back to the station of Av. Hermanos Ayar in Aguas Calientes.
How to get to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes by foot
The trek begins in Machu Picchu town, following the same path that buses travel to the bridge that crosses the Urubamba River. At this point we will find a control booth of the INC (National Institute of Culture of Peru) where we will be asked for our Machu Picchu ticket. Once we have crossed the bridge, we can see the path that the buses follow that goes to the left and the beginning of the stairs up the hill, which is our path.
How is the way up to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes on foot
The ascent takes about an hour and a half to two hours and requires a regular physical state, as the stairs that are counted by tens added to the sub-tropical heat can completely deplete the traveler.
On the way up, you will most likely meet other domestic and foreign travelers who make the same route, some of them will make the way up much faster than you, while there will be others who fall behind.
The climate is subtropical which means the abundant presence of leafy green trees, flowers, orchids, vines or vines, ants and many other rare and amazing insects.
Recommendations to climb Machu Picchu by foot
The following aspects should be taken into account when deciding whether the climb to Machu Picchu by foot is convenient:
- The uphill climb distance is approximately 400 meters.
- The terrain is wet and covered with vegetation at many points. The climb is done by the Inca steps made of stone and the sections between steps can be quite long.
- The climb on foot has no cost, you just have to present the Machu Picchu ticket at the entrance control.
- The rainy season in this area is between November and April, months during which there is an abundant presence of rainfall.
- These are essential elements to wear when climbing to Machu Picchu: hat or hat with a wide brim, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, poncho or rain cap, sunglasses, boots with rubber sole (preferably not new) , at least 2 liters of water per person and especially much enthusiasm and energy.
- The entrance to Machu Picchu with packages of more than 10 kilos, as well as the entrance with food, animals, sticks for selfies and other items is prohibited.