My journey to Aguas Callientes began by boarding the Vistadome train from Poroy train station near to Cuzco, Peru. The train leaves at 6am – prebook your seats because they fill up fast! There are many ways to do this; you can book them in Cuzco at one of the many tourist offices or just do it online like I did. Simple!
The Vistadome is a charming experience made by the staff who are extremely friendly and helpful. Breakfast is served once the train has set off and includes fruits, bread and local Peruvian treats, a mode of travel that I highly recommend for exploration. This 4 hour train ride is filled with Andean music, extremely comfortable seating and incredible views as you travel through the sacred valley. The mountains are vast and surround you, making you feel small in comparison.
Arriving in Aguas Calientes is an absolute treat! I was met at the train station by one of the receptionists from the hotel where I was staying; La Cabaña which of course made the process of checking in very smooth (no hunting for hostels needed!). There are no cars here only tiny cobbled streets, welcoming locals and a variety of stalls selling local handicrafts. The air is crisp and the light touches the mountains in a way that is positively enchanting!
We chose La Cabaña hotel as they help to protect the mountainous environment by recycling their waste products, something that was also evidently popular in this small town from many of the businesses too. Dotted along the streets are recycling points with bins labelled; plastic, organic and inorganic. I also noticed at the bottom of the town is a recycling centre where I spotted lorries taking masses of plastic bottles away to be recycled. If they can get it right all the way up here, we’ve got no excuse back in the UK.
I recommend booking yourself somewhere comfortable to stay whilst you are in Aguas Calientes. After a long day (or 2) trekking up and down Machu Picchu you will welcome a hot shower and comfy bed with open arms!
The vast majority of tourists only visit Machu Picchu on day trips from Cuzco which means getting up a 2am, a few hours at the historical site and not returning until late that night. Don’t rush your trip to Machu Picchu. Slow it down, stay in Aguas Calientes for a few days and soak up the glorious Andean treasures!