Travelblog for Tom and Julia's two-month long trip of South America. Photos, thoughts, and ponies.
Aguas Calientes is a little village close to Machu Picchu. I wasn’t really expecting much when we got here - the Lonely Planet entry on it is absolutely scathing. But it’s a lot of fun, and we’ve been having a great time. The whole economy of the town relies on tourism - and, well, we’re tourists. There are lots of little markets selling woven things (but there are cheaper markets back in Cusco selling the same stuff), and restaurants where you can get 4-for-1 cocktails during “Happy Hour” (which seems to go on for most of the night), and “local delicacies” like alpaca (tastes a bit like goat) and guinea pig (tastes a bit like rabbit). Tom manfully finished off most of his roast guinea pig, but couldn’t deal with eating the head. I’m not judging, I don’t like my food to have a face either.
The town itself is quite pretty. It’s built on the side of the mountain, right at the bottom of a valley. It’s rained on and off since we got here, which seems to be fairly normal. The streets are too narrow for cars, and the drainage system to get rid of rainwater run-off has been turned into a series of fountains all the way down the main streets.
We took the train from Cusco to get here, rather than hiking the Inca Trail. I have better things to do than spend four days walking in the rain and not showering. The train was very comfortable, and they even gave us coffee.
These few days have probably been the most expensive part of the whole trip. Here’s a bit of a price break-down:
Perurail train tickets: $224
Two nights at the Machu Picchu Green Nature (cheapest one we could find, but most expensive hotel of the trip so far): $135
Entry for two to Machu Picchu itself: $92
Return bus fare to Machu Picchu: $31
Meals, etc have also cost considerably more than in Cusco; however it’s important to note that this is still much cheaper than a similar attraction in Australia would be, and I’ve been having a lot of fun here. This has definitely been worth the splurge.