If you’re planning a visit to the iconic Machu Picchu, one of the most popular routes to reach this ancient citadel is from Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, is a charming town nestled in the lush valleys beneath the towering peaks of the Andes Mountains. In this article, we’ll guide you through the scenic journey from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, providing essential information and tips to make your experience unforgettable.

Getting to Aguas Calientes

Before embarking on the final leg of your journey to Machu Picchu, you’ll need to first make your way to Aguas Calientes. The most common method is to take a train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. Trains operate daily, offering different classes and amenities to suit various budgets and preferences. The train ride itself is a magnificent experience, as you’ll witness the breathtaking landscapes of the Sacred Valley and the Urubamba River along the way.

The Bus Ride to Machu Picchu

Upon reaching Aguas Calientes, you’ll find the base station for the shuttle buses that will transport you to the entrance of Machu Picchu. The buses depart regularly and provide a comfortable and convenient option for the ascent up the winding road to the citadel. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes, and during this time, you’ll be treated to mesmerizing views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Hiking to Machu Picchu

For the more adventurous souls, another option is to hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. The most famous trail is the “Inca Trail,” a multi-day trek that requires advance booking and a permit. This challenging but rewarding hike takes you through diverse landscapes, including lush cloud forests, ancient Inca ruins, and breathtaking mountain vistas. The Inca Trail culminates at the Sun Gate, where you’ll be greeted by an awe-inspiring panoramic view of Machu Picchu.

If you prefer a shorter hike, you can take the “Machu Picchu Mountain Hike” or the “Huayna Picchu Hike.” These hikes offer stunning viewpoints and allow you to explore different perspectives of the ancient city.

Exploring Machu Picchu

Once you arrive at Machu Picchu, it’s time to immerse yourself in its mystical aura and explore its ancient wonders. You have the option to explore the site independently or hire a knowledgeable guide who can provide valuable insights into the history and significance of each structure. Some key highlights to visit within Machu Picchu include:

  1. The Intihuatana: A unique carved stone believed to have served as a solar clock by the Incas.
  2. The Temple of the Sun: An impressive structure dedicated to Inti, the Incan sun god.
  3. The Temple of the Three Windows: A fascinating example of Incan stone masonry and architecture.
  4. The Royal Tomb: A burial site that provides insight into Incan burial customs and rituals.
  5. The Agricultural Terraces: Ingenious terraces used for farming and showcasing the Incas’ agricultural prowess.

Remember to take your time, soak in the atmosphere, and capture the breathtaking vistas with your camera. Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage site and rightly considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.


The journey from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is a remarkable adventure that combines natural beauty, cultural heritage, and archaeological marvels. Whether you choose to take the scenic bus ride or embark on a thrilling hike, the destination promises to leave you in awe. As you step foot into the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, prepare to be transported back in time and marvel at the ingenuity of the Inca civilization.

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