Here we present our tips and advices you must take into account if planning to do things in Aguas Calientes, considering some of you will spend time around before or after visiting the wonder.
Traditionally known as Aguas Calientes, but currently named Machu Picchu pueblo (town), this represent the last stop and last settlement before entering the Machu Picchu sanctuary, and maybe for that reason is that most of its attractions are normally overshadowed, but pay attention because there are great things to do, and some others that will require of your consideration.
Los jardines de Mandor (Mandor Gardens)
A beautiful private piece of land, family owned and defined by its simplicity but also its great charm. Looking to preserve the natural richness of the cloudforest, the Alangóns opened its gates to casual visitors and guests as well, with basic but original options including an organic restaurant. Swim at the base of a waterfall after hiking, birdwatching or simply after enjoying the surrounding nature thanks to the immense variety of flowers and butterflies as many others creatures hidden among the lush vegetation. Expect to give it a full day.
A small but well represented gallery of artifacts from excavations at Machu Picchu. Named after a dedicated local archaeologist, the collection comprehends ceramic, lithic, textile and anthropological samples obtained by researchers at the site. A small botanic garden is also part of the museum where you can take it easy and contemplate. Expect to give it half a day.
Tickets can be purchased on-line
A very well organized initiative, locally managed and scientifically runned by a committed staff that will lead you to discover the world of this beautiful and important insects. Participate in its activities and spend from few hours to half a day talking in mind it has a convenient cafe. More information here.
As most markets of its type it holds a great variety of knick knackery or sort of articles. To spend time at this place is only recommended if you are looking to have an opportunistic but very colorful distraction, and just maybe, you will find something worth paying. Consider to bargain because prices are overinflated as expected.
Oh boy, this is an option I would personally recommend only if you manage to go off peak hours (and that is the tricky part). On the contrary, if you are not so picky and enjoy the camaraderie with tourists and locals as well, this is for you.
You might hear about this place but truth is we don’t recommend it as it is not a safe option to try on your own. To clear all doubts we want to describe it for you to have an idea. This is a mountain trail that leads towards a natural lookout at about 2500 m (after a 500 m climb), with a high level of difficulty, mainly due to a section of sketchy set of reinforcing bars and ladders in what it looks like an almost 90 degrees arrangement over the rock wall. The thing is, although many people seem to climb without security measures, we really think some level of harnessing is required, supervised of course, by accredited people. The view from the top will certainly give you an eye level perspective of Machu Picchu from the distance (across the river) and a bird eye view of the town.
But to calm any discontent we finally have a couple of pretty sweet alternatives for you to do while in Aguas Calientes, and these are our favorite restaurants in town:
Jr. Huanacaure 105
Open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Phone (084) 435849
Cell 931263516 / 987580169 / 987117198
Serving peruvian, international, contemporary and of course fusion, it is a place worth looking for ‘cause the surprise will be great.
Jr. Lloque Yupanqui 103
Phone (084) 211090 / 211320
A French-Peruvian fusion with a bit more of everything else.
If your desire is to visit Machu Picchu as part of your travel itinerary along Cuzco or Peru, let us know filling this short questionnaire or write us at english @ responsibletravelperu.com, and we will be willing to help you out.