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. SEE MAP.
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 and take in consideration that your ticket to Machu Picchu will grant you access to the museum from 12 m. SEE MAP
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. SEE MAP
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. SEE MAP.
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. SEE MAP.
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. SEE MAP
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:
The Tree House – $$
Jr. Huanacaure 105
Open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Phone (084) 435849
Cell 931263516 / 987580169 / 987117198
Serving peruvian, international, contemporary and of course fusion, it is a place worth looking for ‘cause the surprise will be great.
El Indio Feliz – $$
A French-Peruvian fusion with a bit more of everything else.
If you’re only going to one restaurant in Aguas Calientes, this is the place to go. They offer a prix-fixe option for a little over $20 per person that includes an appetizer, main and dessert. There are lots of choices and they are all delicious with ample portions.
Calle Lloque Yupanqui 103
With the owner-chef being Italian, you can be assured of getting authentic cuisine here. The large open space has comfortable seating with a cozy fireplace, and the fair prices, especially on the Italian wines, make this a great value. Good for a light bite such as soups, salads or pizza as well as full meals, . Also has some of the best wines you’ll find in town. With luck, the dessert offerings will include the chef’s fabulous tiramisu.
Av. Pachacutec, 6th Block
Qunuc – $$$
This 5-star hotel’s restaurant would hold its own alongside the best places in Lima, let alone Machu Picchu.
Reservations are a good idea, especially if you want to opt for the six course degustation menu (US$118 per person), a true gastronomic delight.
Av. Hermanos Ayar Mz 1 Lote 3
As the owner actually is from Paris, the pastries here are a real treat. Sandwiches and other light fare make it a good stop for a quick snack. Great place to get a box lunch to take up to Machu Picchu (should be ordered the day before). Located just above where the buses leave for the archeological
Jr. Sinchi Roca
Surprisingly high quality cafe food, especially for a place located on the first floor of a backpacker hostel. Don’t
let that turn you off… the pizzas, salads and burgers are all first rate.
Calle Chaskatika 203
Chullpi specializes in modern takes on traditional fare, with excellent local ingredients. Dishes also offer creative
takes on local history, with great thought and care put into presentation.
Av Imperio de los Incas 140, Aguas