best neighborhoods in machu picchu
Where to Stay in Machu Picchu: Best Neighborhoods & Areas

Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan citadel nestled amidst the towering peaks of the Andes Mountains in Peru, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most iconic archaeological wonders in the world. Visiting this historic site is a dream come true for many travelers, and finding the perfect place to stay can greatly enhance your experience. In this guide, we’ll explore the best neighborhoods and areas to stay in Machu Picchu, ensuring that your accommodation choice aligns with your preferences and travel goals.

The Charms of Machu Picchu

Before delving into the details of where to stay, let’s take a moment to appreciate the magnificence of Machu Picchu itself. This ancient city, believed to have been built in the 15th century, offers an unparalleled glimpse into the engineering and architectural prowess of the Inca civilization. The complex consists of intricately constructed stone structures, terraced fields, and ceremonial spaces that provide insights into the daily life and rituals of the Inca people.

places to stay in machu picchu

Machu Picchu’s popularity has grown exponentially over the years, drawing tourists from all corners of the globe. As a result, the town of Aguas Calientes has developed as the main gateway to the archaeological site.

Best Neighborhoods in Machu Picchu

When it comes to selecting a neighborhood or area to stay in Machu Picchu, it’s essential to consider your travel preferences, budget, and desired level of convenience. Here are some key neighborhoods and areas to consider:

1. Aguas Calientes
best places to stay near machu picchu

Aguas Calientes is the most popular and convenient place to stay when visiting Machu Picchu. This small town is located at the base of the mountains, just a short bus or hiking journey away from the entrance to the archaeological site. Staying in Aguas Calientes offers several advantages:

Proximity to Machu Picchu: Aguas Calientes is the closest settlement to the Machu Picchu ruins. This makes it an ideal choice for those who want to maximize their time exploring the archaeological site.

Accommodation Variety: The town offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxury hotels. Travelers can find something that suits their preferences and budget.

Dining and Shopping: Aguas Calientes has various restaurants, cafes, and markets, making it easy for visitors to find meals and souvenirs.

Thermal Baths: The town’s name, Aguas Calientes, translates to “hot waters.” There are thermal baths where you can relax and unwind after a day of exploring.

Train Access: Most visitors arrive in Aguas Calientes via train, which connects the town to Cusco and other nearby cities.

2. Sanctuary Lodge

For those seeking a truly immersive experience, the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel located right at the entrance of the archaeological site. This luxury option allows you to wake up to stunning views of the ruins and experience the site before the crowds arrive. Keep in mind that staying here comes at a premium price, but the convenience and exclusivity are unparalleled.

3. Urubamba and the Sacred Valley
machu picchu where to stay

If you’re willing to stay a bit further away from Machu Picchu itself, the towns and villages within the Sacred Valley, such as Urubamba, offer a unique experience. The Sacred Valley is known for its breathtaking landscapes, traditional markets, and Inca ruins. While staying in Urubamba, you can explore the valley’s attractions and take a train or bus to for a day trip.

4. Cusco
hotels in machu picchu

Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire, is another option for accommodation. While not as close to as Aguas Calientes, Cusco offers a wealth of cultural attractions, including ancient ruins, colonial architecture, and vibrant markets. Staying in Cusco allows you to explore the city’s rich history and acclimatize to the altitude before heading to Machu Picchu.

Best Hotels in Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a popular tourist destination, and there are several excellent hotels that cater to various budgets and preferences. Here are some of the best hotels there :

1. Belmond Sanctuary Lodge: This luxurious hotel is the only one located right at the entrance to Machu Picchu, offering unparalleled convenience. Guests not only can enjoy stunning views of the ruins from their rooms but also have the unique opportunity to explore the site before and after the crowds arrive.

machu picchu where to stay

2. Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel: Situated in Aguas Calientes, the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel offers a blend of luxury and Andean culture. Generally the hotel features beautifully designed rooms, a spa, and gourmet dining options that incorporate local ingredients.

3. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel: Set amidst lush greenery and gardens, this charming hotel in Aguas Calientes offers a tranquil retreat. The hotel’s eco-friendly focus and unique design create a serene atmosphere for guests.

4. Tierra Viva Machu Picchu: With a prime location in Aguas Calientes, Tierra Viva offers comfortable and modern accommodations. The hotel’s friendly staff and convenient amenities make it a popular choice among travelers.

5. Waman Hotel: This boutique hotel in Aguas Calientes provides a cozy and personalized experience. Its stylish rooms and friendly service make for a pleasant stay after a day of exploring Machu Picchu.

6. Casa del Sol Machupicchu Boutique Hotel: Offering a blend of comfort and elegance, this hotel in Aguas Calientes boasts well-appointed rooms and a spa.Certainly this hotel’s welcoming ambiance makes it a great place to unwind!

7. Casa Andina Premium Machu Picchu: This upscale hotel in Aguas Calientes provides comfortable rooms and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Guests can also enjoy amenities like a hot tub and an on-site restaurant.

8. Hatun Inti Boutique Machupicchu: A charming and cozy hotel in Aguas Calientes, Hatun Inti offers  personalized service and a relaxed atmosphere simultaneously. Its proximity to the train station and bus stop is a convenient plus.

9. Inti Punku Machu Picchu Hotel & Suites: Located in Aguas Calientes, this hotel offers comfortable rooms and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views. Its warm ambiance and attentive staff make it a popular choice.

10. Hotel La Cabaña Machu Picchu: Situated in Aguas Calientes, this hotel provides a comfortable stay with well-equipped rooms. Guests can also enjoy the on-site restaurant and the hotel’s convenient location.

What to do in Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu offers a plethora of activities and experiences for visitors to enjoy, from exploring the ancient ruins to taking in the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding area. Here are some of the top things to do in Machu Picchu:

places to stay in machu picchu

1. Explore the Ruins: Of course, the main attraction is the archaeological site itself. Wander through the intricate stone structures, terraced fields, and plazas that make up this ancient Incan citadel. Don’t miss iconic spots like the Intihuatana stone, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows.

2. Sunrise or Sunset Viewing: Witnessing the sunrise or sunset is a magical experience. Certainly the soft golden light cast on the ruins creates a breathtaking atmosphere. Arrive early to secure a good spot for sunrise, or stay a bit later to watch the sun set over the Andes.

best neighborhoods in machu picchu

3. Hike Huayna Picchu: If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, consider hiking to one of the peaks that overlook Machu Picchu. Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain offer stunning panoramic views of the entire site and the surrounding landscape. Keep in mind that tickets for these hikes are limited and need to be purchased separately.

4. Visit the Sun Gate (Inti Punku): This is the point where many Inca Trail trekkers get their first view of Machu Picchu. You can also hike to the Sun Gate from the archaeological site for a different perspective.

best hotels in machu picchu

5. Explore the Inca Bridge: A short hike from the main site leads to the Inca Bridge, a unique stone bridge built into the side of a cliff. It’s a fascinating example of Incan engineering.

6. Learn at the Machu Picchu Museum: Before or after visiting the ruins, consider a trip to the Manuel Chávez Ballón Site Museum. It offers valuable insights into the history, culture.

places to stay in machu picchu

7. Bird-Watching: Machu Picchu is located within a cloud forest, making it an excellent spot for bird-watching. Keep an eye out for the Andean cock-of-the-rock and the green jay, among other species.

8. Relax at the Aguas Calientes Hot Springs: After a day of exploration, unwind in the natural hot springs of Aguas Calientes. The warm waters are a soothing way to rejuvenate your body.

What to eat in Machu Picchu

9. Try Local Cuisine: While in Aguas Calientes, indulge in Peruvian cuisine. Taste dishes like ceviche, lomo saltado, and quinoa soup at local restaurants and eateries.

10. Shopping for Souvenirs: Aguas Calientes offers various markets where you can purchase traditional Peruvian crafts, textiles, and souvenirs.

11. Photography: Whether you’re a professional photographer or just love capturing memories, Machu Picchu provides an array of stunning photo opportunities. From sweeping vistas to intricate stone carvings, there’s something for every photography enthusiast.

In conclusion, Visiting Peru is a bucket-list experience that requires thoughtful planning, and choosing the right neighborhood or area to stay is a crucial part of that process. Whether you prefer the convenience of Aguas Calientes, the luxury of the Sanctuary Lodge, the cultural richness of Urubamba, or the historical charm of Cusco, each option offers a unique perspective on this awe-inspiring destination. With the right choice of accommodation, your journey to Machu Picchu can be an unforgettable adventure filled with history, culture, and natural beauty.


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