A Fresh Perspective

We’ve all heard of Machu Picchu – the “Lost City of the Incas” is famed for it’s complex construction, hidden location and sheer beauty. Spending a day wandering around the ruins through the mist of the mountains is nothing short of spectacular.

But what most people don’t realize is that in order to get to Machu Picchu you must first make your way to Aguas Calientes. The less than desirable pit stop is slandered by travelers and guide books alike. According to the Lonely Plant, Aguas Calientes is “one of the ugliest, most exploitive towns” in all of Peru. Heeding this advise, most travelers plan to get in quick, eat a fast dinner and head to bed early so you can get up at the crack of 4 in the morning and hike up to be one of the first entering Machu Picchu.

Jump aboard the only means of transportation to Aguas Calientes, the lovely Perurail

So when it came to planning a trip for my lovely boyfriend, Chase and myself, I did as most travelers do – aimed to spend as little time in the big AC as possible.

Yet to my utter surprise, and probably to most other adventurers who’ve visited the quaint little village at the base of Machu Picchu, Chase took a real shine to ole’ Aguas Calientes. He was immediately charmed by the towns location. Before long, I was starting to agree with him. Smack-dab in the valley of lush mountains, Aguas Calientes is humid, green and not too hard on the eyes. Certainly it could use a little elbow grease around the edges, but all in all, it’s like an unpolished gem.

Aguas Calientes nestled between monster mountains

Copious amounts of pizza parlors, hotels and street merchants trying to peddle their alpaca gear might make most travelers feel overwhelmed by the rush and anxious to leave. But Chase loved it. He was so mystified by Aguas Calientes location – squeezed between the cleavage of lusty green mountains – that nothing seemed to annoy him. At one point, he even turned to me and confessed that Aguas Calientes might be his favorite city in the entire world. Bold words for a bold man, I thought.

The lovely Aguas Calientes hidden in the valley

The beauty of the entire scenario was that Chase refreshed my outlook on a city I had written off. After five months of living out of a backpack and moving to a new place every few days, one can become somewhat jaded. And as far as I am concerned a new perspective on a city or a fresh take on a tired situation is one of the greatest gifts a traveler can recieve.

Two very happy travelers enjoying every inch of Aguas Calientes