Machu Picchu Town: A destination to discover
- Published on Sep 05, 2016 Destinations
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It was formerly known as Aguas Calientes because of its hot springs, and today it is called Machu Picchu Pueblo (Machu Picchu Town). It is surrounded by dense vegetation, high mountains, and colorful markets. The Machu Picchu Station, the last train stop to start the journey to the impressive Inca Citadel, is right there in the town.
Machu Picchu Town is located at 2 040 m.a.s.l. in the Province of Urubamba, in the lowest part of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is located about 112 kilometers northeast of the City of Cusco. You will find a great variety of hotels, restaurants, hot springs, and basic services the local and international tourists can access to.
How to get to Machu Picchu Town?
To get to Machu Picchu Station (located in Machu Picchu Town) you can go by train from Poroy Station (estimated time of 3 hours and 30 minutes). This stop is one of the closest to the city of Cusco, about only 20 minutes from such city. In addition, the Poroy Station offers a variety of train services and timetables to depart for Machu Picchu. However, if you are in the Sacred Valley, you can start from the Ollantaytambo Station (arriving in approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes) or from the Urubamba Station (arriving in approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes).
Due to the geography of the road, the speed limits for this trip are between 30 to 40 kilometers per hour.
History of Machu Picchu Town
This place was inhabited by farmer families until 1901. It is believed that it was also a human settlement which eventually became a railway workers’ camp called “Mauquinachayoq”. In 1931, the construction of the railway was concluded.
Machu Picchu Town’s rugged terrain renders it into a non-urbanized zone, in other words, there are no taxis or public transportation, roads or airports but there are a train station and a minibus stop which will take you to the Inca Citadel.
What to do in Machu Picchu Town?
There are around 3500 inhabitants and most of them walk to get to places. Many tourists reach this point to ascend the impressive Machu Picchu but also they may enjoy other tourist attractions there.
Places to visit in Machu Picchu Town
Jardines de Mandor (Garden of Mandor):
It is located at 3.5 km on the bottom of the mountain Huayna Picchu, about 3 hours away. This place offers you the quietness, peace, and rest every traveler needs. This natural habitat introduces a great variety of native plants and animals and you can also enjoy the natural waterfalls in this zone. Do not forget to take comfortable shoes for trekking, sun block to protect your face, repellent to prevent mosquito bites, a cap, comfortable and waterproof clothes.
These hot springs with healing qualities are located at 800 meters from Machu Picchu Town. Physical resistance is required to get there as it is not easy to have access to it. Its sulfurous water comes from the rocky subsoil. The amazing hot springs are very appealing to tourists; besides, dressing rooms, baths, and coffee shops have been established so tourists may have a more pleasant stay and experience.
Here, you may find a great variety of hand-made products such as handicraft, textiles, pottery, silverware, jewelry, alpaca or vicuña clothing, etc. This market is inside the train station so it is a must-stop for the tourists.
Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón (Site Museum Manuel Chávez Ballón):
It is located around 30 minutes from Machu Picchu Town and 10 minutes from bridge Ruinas (Ruins). This place consists of 7 phases which emphasize beauty and cultural history. In this art exhibition, there are metal works from the time of the Inca Empire as well as other contents including infographics, boards, maps, videos and collections of pottery, sculpture among others.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this wonderful town filled with nature and native handicraft that will captivate everyone! Machu Picchu Town and all its ancient history await you.
Sources: Portal Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu Perú info, Cusco Perú, Go 2 Perú.