Aguas Caleintes - (Machupicchu Pueblo)
Also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, this town lies in a deep gorge below the ruins. A virtual island, it’s cut off from all roads and enclosed by stone cliffs, towering cloud forest, and two rushing rivers. Despite its gorgeous location, Aguas Calientes has the feel of a gold rush town, with a large itinerant population, slack services that count on one-time customers and an architectural tradition of rebar and unfinished cement. With merchants pushing the hard sell, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. Your best bet is to go without expectations.
Yet spending the night offers one distinct advantage: early access to Machu Picchu, which turns out to be a pretty good reason to stay.
Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu pueblo, was founded in 1901 during the construction of the railroad between Cuzco and Santa Ana. Approximately 68 miles from Cuzco, it was initially a railroad camp that went by the name of Maquinachayoq.
This camp became a headquarters for the railroad's machinery and heavy equipment operations and many of the workers based there ended up settling in the town permanently with their families. It was in 1928 when the railroad first reached Maquinachayoq on its way to its final destination at Chaullay Station, enabling regular passenger and cargo train service between Cuzco and Santa Ana.
Note that the footpath from the train station to the Machu Picchu bus stop is stepped. Wheelchairs should be directed across the small bridge to Sinchi Roca and through the center of town.
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