Sad, but not tragic. A forced opportunity. Maybe even a fortunate adaptation…fuck it. Let's make taco salad.

Aguas Calientes

The Lonely Planet guidebook says that “it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to get stuck for a night in Aguas Calientes.”  First of all, what the fuck does that mean?  Second, why am I carrying around “the backpacker’s bible” when the damn thing weighs 5 pounds.  Don’t I have enough to carry around (47 lbs, at last check) without that piece of deadweight bullshit?

So let me take a shot:  Aguas Calientes (~6500 feet, ~5000 people) is a super quaint – if not slightly overpriced – little town that serves as the gateway to Machu Picchu for those arriving via rail.  As a purely tourist destination, the locals are extremely accommodating, although sometimes aggressively so.  FYI, it is always happy hour in Aguas Calientes and restaurants will compete for your business by offering 4-for-1 drinks and free nachos…but they will also always fail to mention the 25-30 soles “local tax” that goes on top of the bill.  Remember, you’re in the quintessential tourist town and you’ll pay a little more for the experience.





Every time I walked by another restaurant, someone would come running out.  “Señor!   Es Happy Hour!  4-for-1!!”  My response: “It’s Happy Hour??  Holy fuck!!  That is AWESOME!!”  That seemed to stun them long enough to make a safe getaway.

What was supposed to be a train ride from Cusco (literally, the most expensive part of our journey, to-date), turned out to be a painfully bumpy and slow 2.5 hour collectivo ride followed by a 1.5 hour train ride.  There were mudslides earlier this spring that caused some major issues and we should have felt fortunate to still make the trip.  But we didn’t.  Mainly because there was absolutely no mention of the substitute for the train service on the website or even when we checked in at the station in Cusco.  We didn’t pay $96 round trip for a damn collectivo ride.



We arrived early in the day so we would have a chance to explore a little before heading to Machu Picchu early the following morning.  Frankly, if it wasn’t for the advice of “the backpacker’s bible,” we would have spent another night here instead of rushing back to Cusco.  No matter, we’re only here for one reason.






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