Aguas Calientes Tourist Attractions
Aguas Calientes is the closest town to Machu Picchu and the stopping point for the train to Machu Picchu. Although the town is not much to speak of, the setting here is magnificent. Aguas Calientes lies in the valley below Machu Picchu and is situated along the roaring Rio Urubamba where it intersects with the Rio Aguas Calientes. Being at a much lower altitude than Cusco and the Sacred Valley, this area is very lush and tropical with green mountains surrounding the town.The architecture in Aguas Calientes is relatively modern and consists of drab, brick buildings rather than colonial architecture. The train track runs through the middle of one of the main streets but considering there are only a few trains a day, it's not a problem. There are numerous places to stay and eat in Aguas Calientes and the town is used to catering to tourists. Although most people come to Machu Picchu on a day trip, it is well worth taking the time to spend the night in Aguas Calientes. Besides getting up to Machu Pichu early in the day before the crowds come, an overnight in Aguas Calientes also allows time to see the newly opened Site Museum (Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón), and enjoy the hot springs that gave the town its name.
Just a short walk up from the town of Aguas Calientes are the natural thermal springs which the town is named after.The hot springs are located in a spectacular setting in a narrow valley between two mountains and next to the Rio Aguas Calientes, which cascades down the hillside. The hot springs complex consists of several sand bottom pools of varying temperatures, change rooms, and a small outdoor lounge. The lounge overlooks the pools and is a good option for those who just want to be spectators rather than get wet.Just outside and below the hot springs complex is a larger swimming pool at the side of the river where local children come to have fun and play games but it is not part of the hot springs.