Play with stray dogs
There's a few stray dogs that run around Aguas Calientes. They are very cute if you are a sucker for mangey looking dogs. They are very quiet and polite and don't encroach in your space in any way. There was one that I called "Tour Dog" because he would run a few feet in front of you and look back to see if you were following, as if he as giving you a tour of the town and you were lagging behind. He was cute, despite being very un-neutered. His girlfriend was another mangey looking dog with very very saggy nipples. Can I say that on VT?
We went to MP in the early morning and got back to the entrance of MP before noon. Who should be waiting for us but Tour Dog and his girlfriend, who had treked all the way up the hill to greet us.
I didn't get a picture of the Aguas Calientes dogs, but here is a picture of a cute stray at Pachacamac near Lima. Same idea, different ruins.
Gawk at the (Other) Tourists
Yes, Aguas Calientes is uber touristy, but make the best of it and people watch!
Some things we saw while sipping our sangrias in the square:
-- Hefty American sitting on a bench with tiny Peruvian man like ethnic-mismatched-Laruel-and-Hardy
-- Cute Japanese couple wearing nothing but souvenirs (Lima hat, Peru shirt, Cusco scarf, etc, etc) playing with the local children
-- Idiot sleazebag Gringo whistling at girls and trying to get the local men to join in, to no avail
-- The guy from above said Japanese couple running through the square, followed by a long line of Peruvian children who now won't stop following him ("Where... is your mama?")
-- My friend JP trying to attract the attention of some cute British boys by writing "Free Sangrias for los Gringos" on a giant napkin... which obviously didn't work
Happy hour is eternal in Aguas Calientes. There's restaurant/bars all over the place selling XX-for-the-price-of-1 drinks. First we saw 2-for-1, then 3-for-1, 4-for-1 and I think one place had 6-for-1. Of course, it's all marketing as they are all very small drinks and pretty much equal 1 or 2 big drinks. That said, it still makes for some pretty awesome pictures of your friends with 18 different glasses in front of them, and 4 straws in their mouths at the same time.
Cheap Tip: At 10PM, the restaurant we were at slashed its entire menu price in half, and then kept bargaining with us further when we said we weren't that hungry. We finally walked away with some huge $3 dishes that we couldn't eat and fed the leftovers to the cute stray dogs.
Relax and Eat by the Train Tracks
The best area to eat in Aguas Calientes is by the train tracks. There's stairs leading down near the area where you enter the town. The area is a bit hidden as it is lower than the rest of the town, so you get a much different vibe than the uber-touristy areas on the hill.
There's no street, just the tracks and dusty road around it. Across the tracks, some Incan ladies chatted while manning their snack stands. The locals waved and talked to each other. Every once in a while, the train whisked by, super close to our seats.
We relaxed for hours at a nice little restuarant, waiting for our train. The food was excellent and cheap, but I still spent way too much because we kept ordering more stuff that sounded so good. I had a stuffed avocado salad, fresh fish, coffee, and we finished with a round of Peruvian desserts. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant because the food was great, the lady was very nice, and there was a private bathroom in the back that was better than the one at the hostel.
Hit the Hotsprings ... in a Rental??
There's a hotsprings at the top of the hill (you can't miss it, just keep walking up). The entrance fee is cheap, but my friend JP, a hottubbing enthusiast, reported the quality as rather underwhelming.
Atousa and I chose to wait for outside for JP by gawking at the bathing suit rentals. Yikes! I hope they douse those in bleach!
Listen to the Condor
The Peruvian music has been advertised aggressively by numerous bands (they all look like the same bunch of people to me) all over North America and Europe. It does not appear to be a small business enterprise. Rather the big bucks of the big boys seem to be the only inspiration on earth for an endeavour on such a scale. All this is very nice but the music reaches this high overindulged note where the listener has a need of a break. Exactly at this moment he happens to realise his lifetime dream of visiting the Andes and the natural outcome is to be carried away by the whistle of pipes on their own turf; does not look as if this is the moment to fall in love once and for all.
Similar preconception is doomed once the musically inclined explorer sets foot on the Machu escarpment, looks at the beyond-your-imagination scenery and suddenly comes this familiar tune as if whispered by God himself; the Condor pasa! Chances are that Goosebumps are going to engulf your frail body and whenever you remember of this location again you will be in the same situation: Eros (not Ramazzoti) piercing you with an arrow straight in your heart (it is a bloodless operation).
hot springs @ aguas calientes
r&r is a good thing and you will get it at the hot springs. its location is secluded, nestled between mountains. the pools get progressively warmer as the first one is quite cold. there is also a bar where you can get drinky drinks if you would like. check out the photographs.....
- Budget Travel
- Spa and Resort
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
see the inca bridge
From Machu Picchu you can do a small walk to the inca bridge. The walk itself is very beautifull. And the at the site of the inca bridge aren't too many people, which was nice because at noon there are many people at Machu Picchu.
You can't get on the bridge anymore. If you see it you probably don't want to anyway.
Climb the wayna picchu
the big hill behind the ruins is called Wayna Picchu. It's possible to climb this one. You have to sign in at the beginning of the stairs and then get going.
The stairs are very rough on this altitude. Bring a bit of water.
The view on top is worth it though. Keep in mind that everything is pretty clouded early in the day. When we reached the top it was still cloudy and we didn't see anything (quite frustrating), but after waiting a while it cleared.
- Hiking and Walking
This magical place on top of a hill is the place where inca priests did the ceremony of "tying the sun". Every year the sunny hours of the day became shorter (as the winter was approaching) and, by this ceremony, they "held" the sun here in earth so it wouldn't keep disappearing... After this ceremony, the days were slowly longer and longer, beacuse the sun was "tied" by the priests...
It seems religions have always played with people ignorance, since the very beginning...
It is nowadays considered an "energy source" and many believers come here to touch the stone and "recharge" their souls or something like that...
- Historical Travel
Entrance to Machu Picchu
This is the main entrance to Machu Picchu. As it opens later than you arrive if you do the Inca Trail, you might have to wait a bit here in that case. But if you come by train, it will be already open when you come.
It costs 26 USD for foreigners to enter for a day. You may get a stamp in your passport at the entrance in case you want. I did :-)))
This is the place where you have to take the bus back to Aguas Calientes too.
- Historical Travel
First Glimpse of MP
I arrived to Machu Picchu from the mountains above, as I did the Inca Trail, trekking for 4 days along the old trail of the Incas.
So, the 4th day you go down the mountain and you start seeing glimpses of the site, till you reach the Sanctuary and see the whole thing.
- Mountain Climbing
- National/State Park
You should go and take a thermal bath in the city. Aguas Calientes is spanish for "Hot Water", and for a small entrance fee you can relax in the natural thermal baths which Aguas Calientes is known for.
- Budget Travel
- Spa and Resort
- Study Abroad
Machu Picchu !!! Machu Picchu !!!
Aguas Calientes, as you have to know it, is the closest city to the Machu Picchu site. You can go to the site by walking (you will hate the stairs, after that) or by bus (but you will arrive later than those making the Inca Trail as the first bus to leave is at 6.30 AM). Ask your way before going there...
Aguas Calientes, vous devez le savoir, est la ville la plus proche du site du Machu Picchu. Vous pouvez le rejoindre en marchant (vous detesterez les escaliers, par la suite) ou par bus (mais vous arriverez plus tard que ceux qui font l'Inca Trail, le premier bus partant a 6.30 du mat'). N'oubliez pas de demander votre chemin avant de partir.
Machu Picchu....straight up the hill ;-)
ok, others who come directly to Machu Picchu without doing the Inca trail pass by Aguas Calientes as well...and this is what makes Aguas Calientes so interesting: MACHU PICCHU!!!! of course!! For more info have a look on all the interesting M.P. pages here in VT
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel