With the new Machu Picchu time slot regulations, most guests will now be spending at least one night in Aguas Calientes, the little town located below the Machu Picchu citadel. For those with some extra time, wanting to explore Aguas Calientes a bit more, here is a short list of 5 things to do in Aguas Calientes that DON’T include Machu Picchu:
1) Visit The Machu Picchu Museum (El Museo del Sitio)
The actual citadel of Machu Picchu does not haev any signage or placards explaining what you are seeing or any of the history of the site. So, for those travelers who have not done their homewrok before arriving, a visit to this humble museum is a great crash-course in what you are about to experience.
The museum is situated close to Machu Picchu. Follow the river to the bridge that is the entrance for the Machu Picchu ruins in the morning. Cross it and go to the right, pass the stairs leading you up to the ruins and you will get to the museum.
It is open from 9 AM to 5 PM and costs S./22.
2) Visit the Botanical Gardens
Located on the property of the Machu Picchu Museum, the botanical gardens are a tranquil way to relax and take in some of the stunning local fauna, including numerous orchids. The museum ticket includes entrance to the botanical gardens.
3) Visit the Aguas Calientes Hot Springs
Aguas Calientes (“Hot Waters” in Spanish) received its name from its local hot springs. Travelers arriving in Aguas Calientes after long treks or just wanting to relax in the thermal waters can walk ten minutes outside of town to arrive at the hot springs. The baths are open from 5 AM to 8:30 PM and the entrance is S./10.
4) Walk Along the Urubamba River
Thundering through the center of town is the mighty Urubamba River, a scared river to the Inca. If you want to get out of the touristy village, just walk a bit along the river to be in nature. Admire the mountains high above you and the verdant cloud forest.
5) Get a Massage
With the abundance of weary trekkers arriving in Aguas Calientes, there are numerous spas and massage parlors where trekkers and non-trekkers alike can take a load off and receive a variety of different styles of massages.
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