Situated in the Cuzco Region, Aguas Calientes is the seat of the Machu Picchu District. Also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, the small valley town is isolated from all roads and enclosed by stone cliffs with two rushing rivers and a towering cloud forest. As the primary access point to the "Lost City," Aguas Calientes (less than four miles from Machu Picchu) offers overnight guests a nice selection of hotels and restaurants, in addition to the distinct advantage of early morning access to the historic ruins. The only ways to reach the hamlet are by train or by foot as there is no vehicular traffic with the exception of buses that ferry visitors to and from Machu Picchu.
Aguas Calientes translates to "hot waters" and was originally named for its popular thermal hot springs which are believed to possess medicinal qualities. Adventurers often opt to trek Putucusi, meaning "happy mountain" in Quechua, which is accessible from Aguas Calientes and located directly opposite Machu Picchu, bestowing spectacular views worth the intensely steep and sometimes slippery hike.