Machupicchu or Machupicchu Pueblo, also known as Aguas Calientes, is a location in Peru situated in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province. It is the seat of the Machupicchu District. Machupicchu lies at the Vilcanota River. It is the closest access point to the historical site of Machu Picchu which is 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) away or about a 1.5 hours walk. There are many hotels and restaurants for tourists, as well as natural hot baths which gave the town its colloquial Spanish name. The baths were destroyed by floods several years ago, but have been rebuilt.
The village of Machupicchu did not exist until the railroad was built, as it was a center for construction workers. It took off after the railroad opened in 1931 and foreign tourists started arriving to visit the Machu Picchu ruins. Enterprising individuals set up businesses serving the tourists, primarily restaurants and small hotels. Those who could afford luxury stayed at the luxury hotel up by the ruins.
Settled by a few farm families in 1901, the settlement was transformed into a busy railway worker’s camp called Maquinachayoq (possibly from Quechua makina (a borrowing from Spanish máquina) machine / locomotive, train, -cha, -yuq suffixes, “the one with a little machine, locomotive or train”, Makinachayuq) during the construction of the railroad through there in the late 1920s. The town was the central hub for worker lodging and their equipment until the railway was completed in 1931.
Machupicchu serves as a terminal for the PeruRail and Inca Rail passenger train service from Cusco. Trains serve locals and tourists arriving from Cusco and Ollantaytambo to visit Machu Picchu. A sheltered souvenir market is adjacent to the train station. Avenue Pachacutec is the main and only thoroughfare of the town, connecting the baths to the town’s main square.
There are no cars in the town, as there is no road access. The only motorized transport are the minibuses that take tourists up the mountain to the ruins; they were brought in by train.