Aguas Calientes, Peru, draws in countless visitors throughout the year as it is the home of one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu. This ruined Incan temple holds thousands of years of stories, myths, and legends which you’ll need a whole vacation to tap into! Hike up to the ruins and wander through the Temple of the Sun. Plus, make sure you set aside plenty of time to explore Aguas Calientes itself. This destination is steeped in Incan history and bursting with rich colors from the vibrant plants native to the area. You will also find delicious places to eat, peaceful places to sit and rest, and majestic views to stare at for hours. Keep reading to explore the best things to do in Aguas Calientes, Peru.
1. See the native flora at Los Jardines de Mandor
Find a sense of solitude, peace, and rejuvenation while wandering through the colorful scenery at Los Jardines de Mandor, Aguas Calientes’ local botanical garden. They even provide lodging opportunities if you seek to extend your time there overnight, or if you desire a relaxing respite after a busy day of hiking the countryside. You will come in contact with various plants and flowers, as well as trees and shrubs native to the area. You will even have the chance to attend a bird watching tour. Keep your eyes peeled for a rainbow over the Mandor Gardens - the damp climate of the rainforest provides the perfect atmosphere for it.
Los Jardines de Mandor
Address: Aguas Calientes 08680, Peru
Website: Los Jardines de Mandor
Opening hours: 7am - 6pm (daily)
2. Travel to the top of Putucusi Mountain
Putucusi Mountain reaches 2,600 meters (8,400 feet) above sea level and offers absolutely stunning views of Machu Picchu and the Urubamba River Valley from the peak. The mountain is easily identifiable, as its shape is rather more rounded than its neighboring peaks. This trail is not for the faint of heart, however. Be sure to pack proper gear, and maybe even a rope to navigate the steeper sides of Putucusi - but once you successfully reach the top, you’ll surely feel a sense of accomplishment as you gaze over the stunning rainforest views.
Address: Peru, Cusco Region, Andes, Cordillera Blanca Mountain Range
With this amazing tour, you can explore “The Lost City of the Incas” at Machu Picchu, wandering through the ruins with a bird’s eye view of the countryside in the valleys below. You’ll be able to show yourself around the ruins, including a visit into the Temple of the Sun, moving at your own pace and spending as much time as you like steeped in ancient history. Make sure to take lots of pictures, for you’ll want to remember your time walking in the footsteps of the mysterious Incas.
Machu Picchu Lost Citadel Official Ticket
Duration: 4 hour
4. Gaze at the Machu Picchu Town Statue
In the center of the town, you will find the Machu Picchu Town Statue, a depiction of a man standing with his arms outstretched, welcoming you into the land which was once his to rule. He is Pachacuti, the ninth Sapa Inca (Incan ruler) of the Kingdom of Cusco, for whom the estate of Machu Picchu was built. As you walk through the city, be sure to stop and gaze at the power this statue exudes. This icon was built in commemoration of a ruler without whose influence Machu Picchu would hold little significance.
Machu Picchu Town Statue
Address: Plaza Manco Capac, Praca, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Peru
Set aside four days of your trip to take this truly remarkable Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! Although challenging, you will find it a thrilling way to not only see Machu Picchu but to experience the country in a very personal way. On this tour, which provides meals and lodging in the form of comfortable tents, you will spend your days hiking through the countryside, from Piscacucho and the Valley of Huayllabamba to the Phuyupatamarca Mountain pass. You will see the natural wildlife of the area, stunning views of the Andean mountains, and finally, Machu Picchu itself.
Inca Trail: Machu Picchu from Cusco 4-Day Trek
Duration: 4 days
6. Dine at Mapacho Craft Beer & Peruvian Cuisine
Mapacho boasts a huge menu with everything from vegetarian options to pizza and burgers, along with a variety of smoothies and, of course, their drinks of the day. Choose from the chef’s pick for a delicious entree, be it the gourmet Peruvian trilogy with Causa Lima, Ceviche and Boliyucas a la Huancaína, or the unique Burger Chacarera made with alpaca meat! Pair it with one of their rich craft beers for a Peruvian meal you won’t soon forget.
Mapacho Craft Beer & Peruvian Cuisine
Address: Q'ori Wakanki 701, Aguas Calientes 08681, Peru
Opening hours: 10am - 10pm (daily)
7. Stroll through Plaza Manco Capac
Plaza Manco Capac sits in the center of the city and is hard to miss if you’re on your way to or from Machu Picchu. The plaza provides the perfect place to sit and people watch if you need to catch a breath after a full day of sightseeing. Many different shops and restaurants line the streets, offering chances to sample the local foods or purchase a souvenir or two. You will find many picture-worthy spots throughout this area, such as the Machu Picchu Town Statue.
Plaza Manco Capac
Address: Praca, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Peru
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
8. Hike to Allcamayo Falls
Alcamayo Falls offers the perfect activity for a morning hike. Stroll through some of the beautiful gardens, taking in the tropical vegetation of the area, and see a few of the waterfalls characterizing the landscape. Upon entering the forested area, you’ll come upon a little cottage where you have to pay a small admission fee, but once you reach the falls, you’ll have the chance to wade into the cool water or - for the daring at heart - jump into the pond from the falls itself!
Allcamayo Falls (Cascadas Allcamayo)
Address: Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Peru
Price: 3 USD
9. Rest in the quiet of Virgen del Carmen Church
Located in the main square, Virgen del Carmen Church is a Catholic Church still in use, with a glimmering golden sanctuary decorated with various religious statues and simple stone architecture throughout. Visitors find the church a peaceful place in which to spend a few minutes of their day, wandering through to gaze at the artwork or simply sitting in one of the pews for a moment of silence away from the crowds. You will surely appreciate the serenity found within these walls.
Virgen del Carmen Church
Address: Plaza Manco Capac, Aguas Calientes 08681, Peru
10. Admire the butterflies at Mariposario of Machu Picchu
The stunning butterfly garden of Machu Picchu, Mariposario of Machu Picchu, allows visitors to encounter butterflies in all stages of their lives in an enclosed environment. Wonder what kind of caterpillar the larvae you see on a leaf will become, see a caterpillar as it wraps itself within seconds to a frozen cocoon, and watch as a newly transformed butterfly emerges and stretches its damp wings for the first time. Because the butterflies fly so freely throughout the space, you might be able to reach out your hand and wait patiently for one to flutter down and rest. No matter your age, everyone will be enchanted by the colorful magic of these artistic creatures.
Mariposario of Machu Picchu
Address: Avenida Hermanos Ayar, 08680, Peru
Website: Mariposario of Machu Picchu
11. Soak in the Baños Termales
Baños termales del Pueblo de Machu PicchuPosted by Pueblo de Aguas Calientes, Machupicchu on Friday, 19 July 2019
Nothing feels better than a nice, soothing soak in bubbling hot water after a long day of tromping through the jungle or climbing those Incan ruins. Baños Termales, for just a small entrance fee, offers you the chance to unwind in one of their natural hot spring pools located close to Machu Picchu. All you need to bring is a suit and a towel, and you can slip into one of the pools and enjoy the sights and sounds of the surrounding jungle as you unwind!
Baños Termales (Machu Picchu)
Address: Avenida Hermanos Ayar, Aguas Calientes 08681, Peru
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 5am - 7:30pm; Sun: 8am - 6pm
12. Taste some rich delicacies at La Boulangerie de Paris
Get a touch of Parisian delicacies mixed with Peruvian spice at La Boulangerie de Paris. You will want to take your time gazing at the exquisite, handcrafted cakes, muffins, and cookies behind the glass countertop before you choose one (or more!) to try. Pair it with a rich cup of coffee for the perfect afternoon treat. Or, beat that jungle heat with a sampling of their smooth ice cream in countless different flavors. This is one bakery you will come back to again and again.
La Boulangerie de Paris
Address: Sinchi Roca, Aguas Calientes 08681, Peru
Website: La Boulangerie de Paris
Opening hours: 4am - 10pm (daily)
Machu Picchu and much, much more
Machu Picchu may draw you into Aguas Calientes, but its beautiful surrounding city, rich history, and luscious jungle will keep you there for days! Whether you want to hike around, relax, take simple tours, or eat your way around, Aguas Calientes has it all!
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