Hot Springs in Aguas Calientes

By ShortEdit
April 12, 2024

It may not surprise you to hear that there are natural hot springs in Aguas Calientes, since “Aguas Calientes” literally means “Hot Waters”. Because Aguas Calientes is also often referred to as Machu Picchu Pueblo, this is as close as anyone is going to get to taking a bath in Machu Picchu.

Getting To Aguas Calientes Hot Springs

To get to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes you will first need to get to Aguas Calientes. There’s three main ways to do this:


Walking to Aguas Calientes begins at Hydroelectrica. It is a 12km walk from Hydroelectrica to Aguas Calientes along the train tracks. Typically people who arrive to Aguas Calientes this way have done the Salkantay Trek, the Inca Jungle, or taken a car/bus.


Taking the train to Aguas Calientes is easy and simple, it’s a one road track from Ollantaytambo to the town. People choosing a day trip, an overnight trip, or those traveling from the Inca Quarry Trek or the Lares trek typically get the train.


The Inca Trail 4 day and the 2 day KM104 both hike into Machu Picchu, from there you can drop down into the town. It’s only possible to do these treks with a registered guide and you will need to book your ticket way in advance, so if you’re just trying to get to Aguas Calientes to use the hot springs then this is not the route for you.

From Aguas Calientes to the Hot Springs

The Aguas Calientes hot springs sit at 2040 meters in altitude (6693 feet), and the town itself a few meters below. From the ruins of Machu Picchu it’s a 9.3km walk to the hot springs, but the entrance to the hot springs sit right at the tip of the town, so no more than a few hundred meters from your hotel.

There are no cars in Aguas Calientes, so if you want to visit the hot springs then you are going to have to walk there. But don’t worry- Aguas Calientes is a small town and the hot springs are no more than 600m (around an 8 minute walk) from the farthest flung hotel in the whole town.

The Machu Picchu Pueblo hot springs come from an underground natural volcanic spring. They have been around for so long it is thought that they may have even been used by the Incas themselves.

Visiting the Hot Springs

You can visit the hot springs by following the river that runs through the center of the town up the hill. Pass over to the left hand side of the river, and once you can go no further, that is where the entrance to the hot springs are.

The entrance to the springs will be marked with a large sign saying “Baños Termales”. If you’re not sure you’re in the right place, look around. If you are surrounded by people selling swimsuits and towels, you’re in the right place.

You can enter the hot springs from 5 am until 7:30 pm. Everyone must leave the premises by 8:30 pm. Children are allowed and welcome at all times of day, but they do not receive a discount on their entrance. You are permitted an hour and a half in the pools from the time of your entry (except those who enter at 7:30 pm).

The majority of people tend to visit later in the day, after their treks and Machu Picchu visits are done and locals after they finish work. While visiting in the evening certainly has its benefits (watching the sun go down from a natural hot spring in the middle of a mountainous jungle is certainly a once in a lifetime event), this is also the busiest time.

Because of this, I would recommend visiting in the morning. This time of day sees fresher water (as it has had all night to replenish), fewer crowds, and generally a more enjoyable atmosphere- unless you’re a fan of crowded pools.

The entrance fees for accessing the hot springs is as follows:

  • 20s for a foreign person
  • 10s Peruvian resident
  • 5s Aguas Calientes local

Please note that the entrance fees and the bar ONLY accept cash. You cannot get around this as there are literally no card machines on the premises. Just bring enough cash with you for your entrance and a little more if you’d like to have a few drinks.

Rules for Getting Into Aguas Calientes Hot Springs

Okay, so you’ve paid your 20s entrance fee and you’re heading inside. What else do you need to know? First of all, entrance to the pools is ONLY allowed if you are using a swimsuit. Sorry, you’re not allowed in an old t-shirt and you’re not allowed in your pants either. Likewise, you also need a towel to enter.

You can rent towels from just outside (or borrow your hotel towel if you prefer). You can also rent or buy (I would recommend buying) swimsuits from just outside. There are lockers available for leaving your stuff in. These lockers have keys that you can take, and there is generally someone there to make sure everything is kept safe.

If you have a pair of flip flops or waterproof sandals then wear them. This will stop you from slipping and protect your feet from general floor grime. Please note that while there are changing rooms (male and female specific) they are not the cleanest place you’ll ever be in, so yet another reason to bring your flip flops.

Everything You Really Want to know About Aguas Calientes Hot Springs

You will enter the hot springs through the bar area, and then have the chance to change in the changing rooms and store your things in your locker. You head out to the pools, where you will need to shower before jumping in- there are two shower blocks for you to rinse off in, both by the pools.

You then have your choice of 7 different pools. Each is of varying size and temperature. The hottest pool is officially 46°C (115°F), with cooler options of 34°C (93°F) and several options in between.

These pools are not scalding hot springs, but they are at the very least pleasantly warm springs, and a great place to soothe your aching muscles. Now. Remember that these are natural pools, coming from the ground. Do not expect the dazzling blue waters of the Caribbean ocean (unless you love being disappointed).

The mineral rich hot springs of Aguas Calientes can vary in color, but it is typically a yellow opaque hue. This is normal and owes to the chemical components in the water. It is not because the water is dirty. Likewise, you will probably smell sulfur to some extent. Again, this is due to the natural sulfur content in the hot springs and to be expected while visiting.

Chemical components of the water in Aguas Calientes Hot Springs (Parts per million)

Ph 7.25Magnesium0.035

So, what does all of this mean? What do the minerals in the water help with? Do they help with anything at all? Yes, they do!

In fact, studies have shown that mineral hot springs such as the ones found in Aguas Calientes can help with lots of different things. From relaxing tense and sore muscles (making this a great stop for those fresh from a hike), to leveling blood pressure, improving metabolism and aiding in digestion, increasing skin oxygenation, and releasing toxins.

In fact, these natural hot springs are often recommended as part of physical therapy and certain medical treatments. Plus, it is very relaxing- what could be better? You have an hour and a half to enjoy your time in the hot springs, so be sure that you are making the most of it!

Are There Refreshments Available at the Hot Springs?

Yes! There is a bar attached where you can enjoy a small selection of cocktails and beers, as well as a small restaurant. Both of these are cash only, so come prepared with money. While they do sell drinks here, entrance to the hot springs is not permitted if you are drunk, so pace yourself.

Please also be aware that the restaurant is not the best in the area- so if you’re absolutely starving and must have something right now, sure, grab a nibble. But if you can hold onto your hunger and get something in the town later (or before), we recommend you do that.

Is There Anything Else To Do?

If relaxing in the hot springs doesn’t quite scratch the itch, then don’t worry. There are one or two more things that you can see for your entrance fee. The hot springs themselves are about 200 meters from the entrance, and 100 meters further up you can find a beautiful waterfall.

You can swim in the waterfall, but be aware that it is not warm like the springs are. If you would like, you can try a Turkish bath style dip, with a cold dunk and then moving on to the warmer pools in the hot springs.

If you are interested in the waterfall in particular, make sure that you check at the entrance that it is open. It is not always open and can leave travelers very disappointed if that is the reason they came and paid the entrance fee. Check before paying!

If you are lucky you will also see lots of different species of butterflies, both around the falls and on the path on your way up. If you want them to land on you, you will need to forgo the DEET and also face the mosquitos. An impossible choice, I know. If I were you I’d stick with the DEET and admire the butterflies from afar.

While it’s not inside the entrance for the hot springs, there are also several interesting rock carvings on the walk up. Each one depicts an important part of Incan History and the artistry is truly fantastic. It’s worth a look!


So, now you know almost everything there is to know about Aguas Calientes hot springs. They’re certainly worth a trip if you are prepared to manage your expectations.

The water is not the clear sparkling blue you might hope for, but it does hold many minerals that will help your body to relax and repair itself after a strenuous few days. Likewise, it is very unlikely that at any point you will be the only person in the pools.

The hot springs are used regularly by the community in Aguas Calientes, so be respectful of that and also be grateful that you are being welcomed into an integral part of their community as you are welcomed into the hot springs.

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