South America

Exploring Aguas Calientes, the Machu Picchu Pueblo

We spent the night in Machu Picchu Pueblo, also known as Aguas Calientes, and we had heavy rain during all night, but really heavy rain! After all, it was the end of the rainy season, so not that surprising for us…, but still, heavy rain… Probably it was due the weather that the next morning we had no water, therefore, no shower which we had the night before, so no big deal about it, but we had to brush our teeth with bottled water…, not so fun but part of our experience in Peru.

After that, we had a nice continental breakfast, or at least that’s what they call it, the problem here were the toasts that weren’t toasted…, strange but ok, we were hungry and we had a long morning ahead. Again, following a recommendation of the book we had, we did a small trekking to a waterfall, which we didn’t see because it was already too late and we had to pay to get in.

According to the book, the highlight there wasn’t even the waterfall, but the butterfly and birds sanctuary, and the best time to see them is during the first hours of the day…, that we spent sleeping… However, while at the entrance I saw my first Hummingbird! And also some huge and amazing butterflies, I really wonder what we’ve missed… I also broke the 1000 photos barrier that morning…, and this was just the seventh day.

After that, lunch time! A family size pizza for each one of us! And for a starter, a special coffee to Tajana…, the way they served the coffee was already strange, hot water apart from highly concentrated coffee, she had to mix it. While she was pouring the concentrated coffee, I saw something strange with the solution but that no one else saw, so I thought maybe it was my imagination… However, she didn’t drink it immediately, and while we were talking I saw something really strange with the infusion, I saw like “particles” moving, and I told her to stir the coffee and see what it was. A butterfly inside it! BONUS! Obviously, she didn’t drink it.

Urubamba River, also known as Sacred River
Urubamba River, also known as Sacred River

Regarding Aguas Calientes, it is quite americanized now. According to some locals, they are trying to change the pueblo itself to get tourists to stay longer, because nowadays there isn’t much to do there, and even the small trekking don’t have any information how to follow the path, we got to know about it through the awesome book Tajana has. If you eat out, don’t get surprised by the prices, by Peruvian standards it is quite overpriced and the bills already include servicio which means the tip. Unlikely anywhere else, you don’t have the option to give or not the tip, it is already included.

We went for a small walk, through the markets and we went to the train station for a coffee before our return to Poroy. In my notes I have a line saying that Tajana and Ramón were stressed with the boarding, and I actually reckon that something happened at Aguas Calientes train station, not sure if it was with the coffee or what, I really should have had written this post months ago…

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Our return tickets were just to Poroy, if I am not mistaken the reason was that according to the railway website the section between Poroy and Cusco was closed under maintenance, but…, we were lucky! Inside the train, we got to know that the section after Ollantaytambo was also closed, so we got a bracelet that would allow us to go to Cusco!

Even that train trip was surprising, at some point we stopped for a while next to an old house, I guess that’s not that uncommon since the people living there were already waiting for us. Some people threw food overboard to the people living there, so did we.

Exploring Aguas Calientes, the Machu Picchu Pueblo
Exploring Aguas Calientes, the Machu Picchu Pueblo

Arriving in Cusco, tired like hell and under some rain, we then got the taxi to the same hostel and we got the same rooms…, even though we asked to changed, but it was just one night anyway. We had a light dinner, and back to bed!

By Gil Sousa

Portuguese expat in Cork, traveler and food enthusiastic.

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