We walked up a million stairs from our hotel, and then another steep trek from the gates to reach the hot springs. Aguas Calientes name was derived from the Hot Springs..... They are small, but it was well worth to soak for awhile and enjoy the scenery. I think it was about $1.50 to get in and open from 5:00 a.m til 8:30 p.m. You can rent swim suits and towels before the entry or right at the hot springs.
It is interesting to watch daily life activities in a town like this. A street at the bottom of the hill was open to vehicles, but from there it was all hand labor. Groceries came to the little market on the corner on a hand truck, 6 crates at a time. Garbage collection and recycling is a guy with a handcart. Children coast down the street on riding toys because it is safe.
A group of men carried rebar to a construction site, one piece at a time—one guy on each end—with folded cardboard cushioning their shoulders. A whole procession of them went by, dropped it off, and went back to get another.
I figured it wouldn't be a big deal, I had time so lets do the 1 hr 15 minutes ascent of this hill/mountain.
Started out easy enough, strenuous but not hard, then came to a 'ladder' made of thick wood with about 20 rungs. Not bad....kept walking up and up and up. The wood was slightly damp, and that made it slippery.
I took the photo of AC on the front page from here. Then I got to the BIG ladders. I stopped. These were practically straight up, and had about 100 rungs on it. Someone about then started coming down the ladder, it took him about 8 minutes to get down. He told us there were 4 more after this one. That ended my day. I took a photo, and walked back down. Nice hike though.
Aguas Calientes is a very small town and mainly was found to support the tourists that come here to see Machu Picchu, but the town is quite quaint and deserves a walk through if you are staying here overnight. We spent some time in the main square just taking pics and people watching which was fun. We were in Aguas Calientes during Easter weekend so the square felt really lively and filled with excitement with the upcoming holiday. In Aguas Calientes there is a humble but beautiful church in the main square and a wonderful sculpture of Manco Capac, the man who was thought to have founded the Incan Empire with his sister. There are also hot springs which is how the town got its name but we didn't get a chance to visit them. Also there are some beautiful pics to be had of the surrounding Andes Mountains and the rolling Rio Aquas Calientes.