To get into this subject, we have to understand that Aguas Calientes is a little town encaged just below Machu Picchu park, and every Machu Picchu visitor spends a little while strolling around this very charming town before or after visiting Machu Picchu. But which are the things to do in Aguas Calientes? For that, we are going to list the things to do in and around Aguas Calientes and describe them to give you some clues; then, you decide whether you do them or not do them. Let’s get started right away.

01 Hike To Mandor Waterfall

A peaceful quiet walk, most recommended if you stayed a night in Aguas Calientes and your return train departs the afternoon of the next day. If there is enough time, you can combine a quick check to Manuel Chavez Ballon museum and continue down to Mandor waterfalls or simply Jardines de mandor because there is a garden too besides only a waterfall. Try to listen to nature, the flow of the stream, and birds chirping around; it is an outdoor activity for the mind, body, and soul as you walk through the grounds and the jungle. Butterflies dancing erratically and oh, it may be possible to spot some Gallito de las Rocas famous for being the national birds.

How to get there?

Though it is easy to get here, the only thing kind of bad is that this is going to take a minimum half-day outdoor hike. If it still sounds ok, you shouldn´t miss this. So start in Aguas Calientes town, then head down to puente Ruinas following the tourist buses and from Puente Ruinas find the train line and continue walking until the Mandor signboard at the entry point.mandor waterfall

02 Get in the Butterfly House Or  Mariposario

There is place a called Pillpi Wasi, which stands for butterfly pavilion or Mariposario. This is where the many species of Butterflies found in Machu Pichu serve to study and interpret all about their peculiar behaviors and reproduction. Here, most certainly, you will see the process of butterfly metamorphosis, how they change from caterpillar to adult butterflies, and things like that. Entry permits cost around 10 soles, and there is going to be a guide.

How to get there?

From the bus station in Aguas Calientes, follow the dirt road, walk down twenty minutes and look for the wooden carved sign; it says Welcome to the world of the butterfly house, there it is.


03 Relax in the Aguas Calientes Hotsprings

Aguas Calientes, the name given to this village, stands for Hot springs, which is kind of the name behind its foundation back in the early 1900es; but due to its proximity to the Inca city, it is also called Machu Picchu Pueblo.

The thing is that there is a set of pools for taking a dip for whenever you have walked over mountains through the Inca trail or spent a long day in Machu Picchu. If you feel sore, you get the pools to soak in the hot waters and relax for a while. Temperature is around 38 to 42 C°. Peruvian tourists pay 5 soles, and non-Peruvians pay double. It is a ten-minute walk from the main plaza of Aguas Calientes, which is easy to get there.

aguas calientes hotspring

04 Hike To Aguas Calientes Waterfalls

There is another waterfall much closer to Aguas Calientes town. Until recently, this hidden little treasure was not known to the public. It wasn’t until Covid Hit tourism and as a response to tourism re-start Machu Picchu district officials launched it into tourism in 2020.

How to get there?

It essentially departs from the Aguas Calientes Hot springs, it takes a jungle stroll for about ten more minutes, and you will be in front of what is called Aguas Calientes Waterfalls. It might be a little tough; however, the prize is a wonderful little waterfall with tumbling water amid ferns and orchids, that is right.

aguas calientes waterfall

05 Get To Know Manuel Chavez Ballon Machu Picchu Museum

 Manuel Chavez Ballon was a renowned archeologist from Cusco, and as Hiram Bingham, he too directed excavations in Machu Picchu. It is a little museum that shows interesting artifacts found in Machu Picchu and a brief story of how Hiram Binham made all the way to Machu Picchu. It also hots the old photos and original editions of National Geographic magazines, plus short video clips and animation. Explanations are both in English and Spanish, though. It really provides a better understanding of Machu Picchu with what you have learned from the tour guides. You may be wondering, what if I don´t visit it? Does this impact my Machu Picchu experience? Not at all. You may want to stop off at other museums in Cusco And Lima.

How to get there?

It’s quiet and out of the way. Just follow the dirt road and the shuttle busses going up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary. It is estimated to be a 30-minute walk from Aguas Calientes main plaza and a 30-minute to move around the exhibitions and ceramics. That is more than enough. Also, the surrounding areas are elegant; orchids and flowers planted the which in the rainy season come into blossom, plus there is a great chance to see wildlife and torrent duck in the Urubamba river.

How much is the entry

If you know you are going to visit the little museum, ask the museum option included for your Machu Picchu Ticket. Yes! do that, and the only thing to do next is going to be to present it to the receptionist of the museum.  If it is not the case, get to the entry of the Museum and pay 22 soles as a foreigner and 11 soles as Peruvian. Make the experience of the day at Macchu Picchu deeper and interesting by visiting this little museum. Here is the link for a virtual free guide to the museum. Check out!

cahvez ballon museum

.06 Do some shopping at Handicraft Artisanal Market

Inevitably, every tourist will pass through the middle of artisanal crafts ’stalls when getting out from the train station in Aguas Calientes. Piles of sweaters and others hanging from the wall, the little whistles and cups with beautiful designs on them, jewels and silver, all those things, stall after stall create a colorful scene. However, we have to admit that the pricing of the different items here is higher than in any other part of Cusco. Although bargaining still works as in Cusco or Sacred Valley. Shopping time sometimes is while waiting for the train departure, and it is almost as if the market had been installed in the backyard of the train station, then it is easy.      

aguas calientes market                                         

07 Take a stroll around Plaza Manco Capac

This plaza takes the name of the founder of the Inca empire, the legendary Manco Capac. Indeed there is a statue in the center of the square, resembling Manco Capac, a tall statue made out of iron with his golden wedge, facing Machu Picchu.  A nighttime stroll in the plaza, near the reflected water fountains spitting water up the air in the pools, is great to see as it is great to see the narrow streets with buildings resembling the real Inca walls, with trapezoidal windows. No car is moving around, no taxi, everyone goes on foot and yes people going in and going out from restaurants. It is a busy town in a warm climate or sometimes under heavy downpours.

aguas calientes main square

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