Located 15 km west of the Machu Picchu citadel (20 minutes drive), the town of Machu Picchu, also known as Aguas Calientes, sprung up as a result of the number of visitors going to see the nearby citadel. The town’s name derives from the hot springs located in a nearby gully. Every evening having hiked the Inca Trail, many travelers gather to relax in the spring’s warm waters.
Originally, the town was merely a long “street”, today known as today Av. Imperio de Los Incas, running along both sides of the railroad tracks. Over the years, the town has continued to grow in a disorderly fashion, extending up the gully in which the hot springs are found. Today, the town features a Main Square on which a small church and the town hall are located.
The main street, Av. Pachacutec is a bustling street that winds uphill toward the thermal baths in the upper reaches of the gully. The main restaurants and hotels are to be found along this avenue.
The hot springs have been enclosed in a concrete swimming pool and several smaller surrounding pools. The spot also includes dressing rooms, bathrooms, showers and a drink concession. Swimsuits and towels can be rented, although visitors are recommended to bring their own. The baths can be crowded, particularly on weekends, so visitors should keep an eye on their belongings. The entry fee is us$ 2.50 for foreigners and S/.3 for Peruvians.