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 the two places is approximately 9 kilometers. It is also known as 'Machu Picchu Pueblo'.
To get to Aguas Calientes you can take the train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo, in either of the two companies that operate the service and can also be reached by bus or private transport by car to a nearby point.
Once installed in Aguas Calientes, there are basically two alternatives to access the Inca citadel:
You can take a bus in the town of Aguas Calientes to climb to the top of the mountain and finally reach Machu Picchu. Only one company operates this service that has an average duration of 25 minutes one way and 12 to 15 minutes the way down, the name of this company is CONSSETUR, which is managed by the people of Machu Picchu village.
They can be purchased in two ways:
- Av. Infancia 433 - Opening hours from 08:00 am to 13:00 hours and from 15:00 to 18:00 hours from Monday to Friday.
-Av. El Sol 380 Banco Interbank 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 bridge ruins and the opening hours are from 05:00 to 21:00 hours.
These tickets do not need to be reserved in advance and can be purchased the same day you plan to climb the citadel.
The starting point of the tour from Aguas Calientes uphill to the citadel of Machu Picchu is at the CONSSETTUR offices, located at Hermanos Ayar Avenue S/N. From here, buses leave every ten minutes to the Inca citadel and in the same way, the buses that go downhill on the return trip end up at this station.
The cost of bus tickets to Machu Picchu varies depending on the nationality, age and condition of the traveler. The average cost is USD 15.
From the town of Aguas Calientes the bus departs to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, located on the top of a mountain covered with vegetation. The route is characterized by a steep climb, full of curves and counter curves and after approximately 25 minutes we arrive at the entrance control booth to the citadel.
The downhill section is easier and only takes 12 to 15 minutes to get back to the station at Av. Hermanos Ayar in Aguas Calientes.
The hike begins in Machu Picchu village, following the same road as the buses 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 will be able to see the road that the buses follow that goes to the left and the beginning of the stairs up the hill, which is our way.
The ascent takes approximately one and a half to two hours and requires a regular physical condition, as the stairs, which number in the dozens, added to the sub-tropical heat, can completely exhaust the traveler.
On the way up you will most likely meet other national and foreign travelers doing the same route, some of them will do the uphill route much faster than you, while there will be others who will lag behind.
The climate is sub-tropical which means an abundance of lush green trees, flowers, orchids, vines, ants and many other rare and amazing insects.
The following aspects should be taken into consideration when deciding if the ascent to Machu Picchu on foot is convenient:
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