Aguas Calientes

Also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, this town lies in the deep valley below the ancient Inca ruins and enclosed by high walls of stone and cloud forest. Unplanned tourist development and perpetual construction makes this one of the ugliest, most exploitative towns you'll run across anywhere in Peru. However, all travelers to and from Machu Picchu must pass through here. There's only one good reason to stay overnight, though: to avoid being engulfed by the hordes of day-trippers arriving from Cuzco by train each morning. Only those who sleep here get to catch the first morning bus up the mountain to Machu Picchu and stay at the ruins until late afternoon, when the tour crowds magically vanish.

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