"Your Guide to the Inca Empire"
About Peru History

Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes

There is a town located on the Urubamba River in Peru called Machu Picchu Pueblo. The local name this town is recognized by is Aguas Calientes or “hot waters”. Before reaching Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan city located in Quechua, one would have to pass through Aguas Calientes as the first access point.

The name “hot waters” was given to the town due to the hot baths that nature offers which are found six kilometres away from Machu Picchu. If one were to take a walk to the springs from Machu Picchu, it would probably take an hour and a half to reach there.

The small town of Aguas Calientes was also the base for Camp Maquinachayoq which was a camp for railway workers who began living there in the 1920s as they built the railway system that was eventually completed in 1931. Although the town existed mainly as a small farming community in 1901, by the time the railroad was complete, it was more or a less a bustling hub for workers and passers through alike.

The railroad system, also known as PeruRail, exists even today as tourists take passenger trains from Ollantaytambo and Cusco to reach their destination of Machu Picchu while passing through the Aguas Calientes terminal. The town has become quite the thoroughfare with its main street, Avenue Pachacutec, serving as the main connection between the town square to the hot baths.

Close by the town is a place called Vilcanota which houses the energy producing Central Machupicchu Hydroelectric Plant. This plant was originally built from 1958 to 1965 and currently supplies Apurimac, Puno, and Cusco with power reaching up to 90 MW. Expansion of the plant was done from 1981 to 1985, and was renovated after a 1998 landslide affected it bringing it back to full operation only in 2001.

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