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Getting Into Hot Water

May 12th. Sorry we’re a bit out of order, as this is before Wayna Picchu. Traveling to the town of Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, is not easy. Especially when traveling there just a few months after devastating landslides damaged the train tracks, stranding many tourists at the town.

Well, the train track has been rebuilt, at least partly. But instead of taking the train directly from Cusco (roundabout 3h away by train), one must first ride a minibus for 2.5h along winding switchbacks and across dusty, bumpy dirt roads to Piscacucho. From there, the train takes you the last 2h beside the raging river, where you can see lovely views like this one:

Machu Picchu - damaged train tracks to Aguas Calientes

Yes, that appears to be the old track strewn across the river rocks. Very reassuring.

The town itself is nothing special. I didn’t visit the hot springs (because that’s not my thing). Frommer says they’re somewhat dirty, but refreshing for hikers fresh off the Inca Trail. I did have some tasty trout ceviche – raw trout slices with a strong lemon sauce. Either this or a Pisco Sour (a drink, probably made with some “local water” ice) led to some brief… errr… digestive issues the next morning. So, beware what you eat and drink.

I found these varied roofing tiles an interesting contrast, mirroring a lot of what I see in Peru: extreme poverty next to attempted modernity (e.g. Lima).

Contrasting roofs in Aguas Calientes

Huy (a.k.a. guinea pig) is a local specialty available in nearly every restaurant. I didn’t try it, though, and instead had a crispy pizza at Chez Maggy (a restaurant I can highly recommend!).I believe it was chorizo, egg, and plantain:

Pizza at Chez Maggy in Aguas Calientes

I went to sleep early to be ready for Machu Picchu the next day. Pirwa Hostel was… well, let’s just say the staff was friendly and nice. Otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it too highly (I had a moldy room, intermittent bathroom light, lack of lockers, just bread + butter + jam for breakfast). Disclaimer: it could be great in comparison to other hostels there… I have no idea.

Next up: one of the most amazing ancient-city-ruins on the planet, Machu Picchu. And, according to Internet vote, one of the new seven wonders of the modern world! If you’re interested to read about Machu Picchu, just subscribe via RSS or email to be notified when the article is live.

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Posted in Around the World 12 years, 2 months ago at 3:27 pm.


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3 Replies

  1. Trout ceviche sounds sooo yummy! How is the price like? a couple weeks ago I had ceviche appetizer, shared with many people, because it was expensive.
    .-= Dina´s last blog ..Top 3 Travel Gear Chosen by Travelers Around the World =-.

  2. Nothing worse than a bout of food poisoning when you are travelling, especially when you are at somewhere so cool! My worst experience has to be eating chicken from a street vendor in Guilin in China before boarding a train to Vietnam. I was sick sick sick that whole journey!

  3. Dina, the price wasn’t too bad, about 25 Soles which is about $9. Still too expensive for Peru, actually, but it is a totally tourist-oriented town.

    Tom, that’s true… my only really bad experience was in Guatemala. And I had some bad lamb at an expensive restaurant in Munich (where I live) that knocked me out for a whole day once. Fortunately this (whatever caused it) was just one bad morning and feeling a little strange for <24h.

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