Why You Should Skip the Hot Springs in Agua Calientes, Peru

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Near Agua Calientes.

If you are going to go to Machu Picchu on your trip to Peru, you are definitely going to pass through Agua Calientes. A small town in the Peruvian mountains, it only exists as the gateway to the most famous Inkan ruins. It’s name comes from the hot springs situated just outside the town, but they are not as alluring as it sounds.

The town is in the middle of beautiful green Andean mountains, the location alone is worth the tourism, but as far as things to do, the hot springs are on top of the list. We go, of course, we love hot springs.

We take the Peru Rail panoramic train and drink pisco sours and get hyped for the next day-and-a-half. Arriving at our hostel, Eco-Packers, which is great for a budget. They have an upstairs party room where they will give you a free pisco sour if you check-in online, we go straight for the hot springs.

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Pisco sour and books on the train to Machu Picchu.

After a hilarious time trying to even find the waters–there aren’t many signs–we get to Agua Calientes. Immediately upon seeing the waters, we shutter. They look disgusting. First we’re forced to check all of our stuff at what I like to call the Shoe Guys, then we walk barefoot to man-made pools filled with sulfuric water that certainly looks like it has been there for at least the entire day without filtration. It is vile, but the locals don’t seem to mind. As much as I believe doing what the locals do, I just can’t handle it. We spend about five minutes in the water before leaving.

I’ve been to thermal springs in Colorado and it was magical, but there was a river to filter the sulfuric water as needed. These stagnant, might I add luke-warm springs were just unbearable. Looking back at it, I read that they get dicey as the day goes on. With other hot springs in the area, I would definitely skip these. Above all, though, it was completely worth the laughs.

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From the train to Agua Calientes.
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