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HIKING TO MACHU PICCHU FROM AGUAS CALIENTES - STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
There are two ways to get to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes.
You can either take a bus or hike.
Here is your step-by-step guide to hiking to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes.
To begin with, Machu Picchu is approximatley 5 miles (8 km) from Aguas Calientes.
However, the elevation change is 1,279 feet (389 meters). Specifically, Machu Picchu is at the elevation of 7,972 feet (2,430 meters) above the sea level. Aguas Calientes is at the elevation of 6,693 feet (2,040 meters) above the sea level.
You will be hiking along Camino Peatonal Trail.
It takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the hike, if you are in good physical condition.
In my opinion, hiking to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes is a strenuous endeavor.
If you are unsure if you are physically able to complete the hike, or you simply want to save your energy for touring Machu Picchu Inca ruins, then take the bus. It runs every 10-15 minutes from Aguas Calientes and the journey takes about 20-30 minutes.
HIKING TO MACHU PICCHU FROM AGUAS CALIENTES
LOCATE THE BUS STOP WHERE THE BUSES LEAVE FOR MACHU PICCHU
First of all, locate the bus stop where the buses leave for Machu Picchu. It is right next to the train station.
FOLLOW THE ROAD THAT THE BUSES TAKE TO MACHU PICCHU
Next, follow the road that that buses take to get to Machu Picchu. The road is called: Avenida Hermanos Ayar. However, do not look for any signs with the name of the road. I could not find any whatsoever.
Next, continue along Avenida Hermanos Ayar for about about 15-20 min.
The road runs along the Urubamba River. On your way, you will come across The Butterfly House – Mariposario of Machu Picchu. If you have time, then stop by and learn all about the butterflies. It is a pretty cool place!
However, be cautious of the buses! Make sure to step aside when you hear the buses coming. The bus drivers will not slow down even if they see you.They drive at reckless speeds!
It is a good idea to have a scarf and tie it around your mouth. It is very dusty and it gets even worse when the buses pass you by.
The road will take you to the bridge that spans over the Urubamba River.
Next, cross the bridge.
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CROSS THE BRIDGE AND TURN RIGHT
Once you cross the bridge, turn right.
By the way, at this point, the buses turn left. You will turn right.
Next, continue for no more than 5-10 minutes.
The sign for Camino Peatonal Hiking Trail will be on your left. This is the start of the hike to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes.
Now, straight ahead of you is a road that leads to the Manuel Chavez Ballon Museum (Machu Picchu Museum). If you have time, then make sure to check out the museum.
FOLLOW CAMINO PEATONAL HIKING TRAIL
Subsequently, stick to the trail and continue up the hill.
It will be a grueling climb.
The trail is fairly well signed.
However, the trail intersects with the road that the buses take three times. At these intersections, you will need to follow the road for a bit until you pick up the trail again.
Again, the word of caution about the buses. Make sure to immediately move out of the way if you see or hear a bus coming. The bus drivers have little patience for the hikers. Moreover, If you have a hat or a scarf, wear it! The buses create an incredible dust storm during the dry season.
Be on the lookout for the arrows directing you back to the trail.
The climb is steady and continuously up the hill.
The numerous stepping stones will take a toll on your knees!
Needless to say, after about an hour and a half you will start to get rewarded with some pretty awesome views.
Are you planning on hiking to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes? Let me know!
How about hiking down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes? It should not take you more than an hour!
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Finally, to help you with your planning process of your trip to Peru, make sure to check out my post: 1-Week Peru Itinerary (+BONUS: 3-Day Extension Itinerary to Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.