Tag: Aguas calientes

Family Trip to Peru: 8 things to do in Aguas Calientes with Kids

Aguas Calientes (aka “Machu Picchu Village”) has so much more to offer than you think. It is the closest town with access to Machu Picchu. It’s located 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) away or about a 1.5 hours walk from Machu Picchu itself. Yes, many people walk! Urumbamba is a stunning place with natural hot baths that gave its Spanish name. It lies at the Vilcanota River and the only way to get here safely is by train.

You can take the train from Poroy, Urubamaba or Ollantaytambo and If you want to find updated information on how to get to Machu Picchu from Cusco click here or to find the cost of the train you can go to www.perurail.com.

Aguas Calientes has a rustic style mixed with the modern. Thanks to Peru’s growing economy, the rustic feeling of this town is changing. You may well stay there to get early to Machu Picchu, so I will give you some ideas of what to do with family or just yourself.

 

We decided take the train form Ollantaytambo – glad the kids still love trains! The view is gorgeous. Once we arrived at Machu Picchu Station (located at the town of “Machu Picchu Village” and not at the citadel) and checked into our hotel, we started exploring. Among the things we did and recommend are:

1.Check out the Mercado Artesanal: This is right at the exit of the train station, so you couldn’t miss it even if you wanted to (keep in mind that tourism is the main activity in this town) and prices are about the same than in other areas in Cusco. If you looking to save some money don’t buy at the first kiosk you come to – ask around.

2.Walk by the Aguas Calientes Bridge: bring a padlock and make a wish. Apparently this is a new tradition in this town that is happening in many cities in the world.

Not many padlocks yet but curious of how is going to be in few years!

3. Eat:  We were super hungry when we arrived in Aguas Calientes so we went straight to find a restaurant.  Indio Feliz was our choice after reading the reviews but it was hard to find with two hungry and tired kids. So we decided to eat at the nearest place with good reviews and a little view of the river. Can’t complain, everyone was happy with the food. Most restaurants in Aguas Calientes are of decent quality now that online reviews have become so important. Tip: don’t hesitate to check the reviews before you go in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Gelato: after a good meal we walked around and got a great gelato at Incontri del Pueblo Viejo located in Av. Pachacuteq 6° Cuadra S/N, Aguas Calientes, it is a pizzeria that sells terrific gelato at the front of the restaurant.

5.Walk around Plaza Manco Capac and twon  Our kids were very happy to be able to run around the little Plaza and we checked out the cute little church.

6. Hike to Putukusy: After gelato we tried to find the entrance to Putucusy to show it to our family. The entrance is a short walk from town down the train tracks, and walking along train tracks is always an adventure. To get up to Putucusy you need to hike for miles and climb a series of pretty steep ladders but the view of Machu Picchu is amazing. However, the trail was closed due to slides, although the sign indicated it would be re-opened someday.

We hiked to PutuKusi before kids and we were looking forward to take the kids as far as we could
It was a crazy hike!
Our kids at the same spot were we were more than 10 years before. Putukusi was close for repair. Kids were excited and ready for a crazy hike
Our first time hiking to Ptukusi. More than 10 years ago and without kids

 

My husband was very bummed we couldn’t go farther

 

 

 

Although we couldn’t climb so far this time. This is the view to star. There are way more buildings

YOU CAN WATCH OUR GALERY OF OUR FIRST HIKE TO PUTUKUSI HERE!

7.Jardines de Mandor: this is another thing to do if you have time. Unfortunately we didn’t. This is an amazing botanical garden. It’s a one hour walk to the entrance gate, and access is 10 Peruvian soles. The walk itself is a nice adventure since you walk along the railway into the humid forest. You can see a waterfall at the end of a walk full with flowers and birds.

8.Thermal Baths: This may have medicinal properties due to its sulphurous waters coming up from the rocky subsoil. The Hot bath were destroyed by floods several years ago, but have been rebuilt and they are quite modern now. In order to provide a better service, it has facilities such as dressing rooms, restrooms and a cafeteria. This is an easy thing to do with kids but make sure they don’t want to swim there. It is not a pool and don’t forget to add swimming suit to your packing list.

Honestly we didn’t do it because we were there for just two days but if you have more time to stay go ahead and enjoy it.

We did need to get to bed early for our next day adventure. I hope this help yours!!

Family Trip to Machu Picchu – A Peruvian adventure

This past summer, we finally took the boys to Machu Picchu…what an adventure!  We defied all those scary notions that the trip would be too much for the for kids…that it’s too hard for the little ones. That is hard to travel and also to walk along the high cliffs (they might fall!), etc. Well, our kids are 6 and 8 and we’re very glad we did it now as a family – and I’ll tell you why.

Being Peruvian, I have been to Machu Picchu about seven times before I had kids, twice with my husband. Yeah, it sounds like too much, but I just got addicted to the energy of the place.  It recharges me, I don’t know why. I can tell you that it is way better than a perfect day at the beach…and I am a total beach addict!

I haven’t come back there since our wedding, more than 10 years ago. Last time we were there we went with all our wedding guests that flew in from the USA (and Australia – love you, Bruce!) for our wedding. We had tons of fun as tour guides for the gringos…but that’s another story. Back to the kids traveling with us to Machu Picchu…

Over the past decade, Peru has had tremendous economic growth. It’s great for the Peruvian people, and as a tourist you’ll find a lot more comforts than in the past.  But now you will face different challenges, especially traveling with kids.

The great thing is that the Machu Picchu ruins look better preserved, and you and your family will be blown away – safely. 🙂  No more fungus that erodes the ancient stones, yay! What has changed is that now you’re not free to explore the sanctuary as long as you please.  There are two openings each day for visitors (morning and afternoon), and you must follow an established circuit, moving forward only.

Once you visit an area inside the ruins, they don’t want you to go backwards.  That is challenging for little ones that like to explore. Don’t worry, they’ll be fine since there is so much to see ahead. It has changed so much and there are so many more people than when we last visited in 2006.

There is so much information to give you about how to get there with Kids – and I’ll write more about that later, but let’s start with this.

 

Getting to Machu Picchu

Once in Cusco, to get to Machu Picchu you need to get tickets for the train, bus tickets (to get you from the “Machu Picchu Village” (formerly known as Aguas Calientes to the sanctuary), and get your entrance tickets to get into the ruins. You will probably end up taking the train from Ollantaytambo or Cusco.  There are many tour operators who will book a complete package for you, including tours of the Sacred Valley for a family adventure.

If you go all the way to Machu Picchu, I say, go all the way.  That means getting there at dawn to see the sun rise and burn away the clouds, gradually reviewing the grandeur of the sanctuary. Many people and families do the afternoon opening but you will miss a truly spectacular show.

Get On the Bus

To make sure we were there bright and early, we got in line for the bus at 3:00 A.M – but we had a little help.  The night before, we found a couple of Peruvian women at the bus stop and asked them if this is where we line up.  They said yes, and in fact, they were already in line.  They couldn’t afford a hotel that night, so they were just going to sit there, all night long.

We made a little deal with them, since the hotels were all full:  we bought them some blankets and a few snacks, and asked them to hold a place for us.  Six hours later, I went to get in line at 3:00 A.M.  I left the kids asleep in the hotel with my husband, and then they came around 5:30 because the first bus leaves at 6:00 AM sharp.

That’s the tricky part, since kids are cold and basically asleep – even though they got 8 hours of sleep, getting them up at 5:00 in the cold and dark is tough!  Make sure you bring a bunch of stuff for them to feel warm and some fruit or something to wake them up. Keep enough free space in your backpacks for their stuff (hats, jackets) so that climbing and visiting will be easier for them so they’ll better enjoy your family adventure.

Along the way up, you’ll see all the hardcore backpackers who make the trek on foot from the village to the sanctuary.  They have guards at the bottom of the road to make sure nobody sets off before 4:00 AM – a fast hiker can make it up to the top in 90 minutes, but most people will need two hours or more to make the climb.  Even though we were on the first bus of the day, about 50-60 hikers made it there before us and were already in line by the time we arrived.

I have to tell you the bus route still scares me – it hasn’t changed, it’s still the same road hugging a cliff barely wide enough for two cars.  You can’t see it at 6 am but on your way back in the afternoon it can make your heart stop for a second as the driver navigates dozens of hairpin turns. But, don’t worry – I’m told no Peruvians or foreign tourists have fallen off the cliff.

MACCHU PICCHU INCA CITADEL FOR THE KIDS

The kids slept in our arms on the bus on the way up. Once we got there, they started walking like zombies…they moaned and complained like the undead, believe me!  When dawn broke, we were expecting the clouds to fade away and show Machu Picchu in all its glory…but unfortunately it was a very foggy morning, so the clouds didn’t burn off until 11 A.M. or so, by which time the place was overrun with tourists.

Once the kids were awake they started running and playing around the ruins and went ga-ga over it all, even though they’re well past the goo-goo ga-ga stage of life.  🙂  It was a magical family adventure, and it’s one that kids will never forget.  They keep saying that they climbed mountains. I won’t forget it either.

If you want to learn the cost of our trip get it here. Or if you have any question don’t hesitate to ask in the comments 😉 I would be happy to share what I know.

Rocio

How to do Machu Picchu with kids
Machu Picchu with kid
Machu Picchu with kids
Great adventure, Machu Picchu with kids
How to do Machu Picchu with kids
an amazing family adventure