El Mapi Inn, Machu Picchu village
The market town known as “Machu Picchu Pueblo” used to known as “Aguas Calientes” named after the hot springs which are found here: aguas calientas translates as “hot water”. The local authorities noticed that they were missing a trick by not capitalising on the famous, iconic name of Machu Picchu, hence the town’s name change.
Machu Picchu Pueblo is 112 Km (70 miles) from Cusco and sits between the Andean highlands and the Amazon rain forest. Cusco is 4 hours away by train and the recommended route is to travel by car or bus to Ollantaytambo and continue by train for one and a half hours to reach the inn. It is possible to walk the one-day Inca Trail to explore the archaeological site and return by bus, from El Mapi.
Buses to Machu Picchu leave Aguas Calientes, beginning before dawn, at 15-minute intervals throughout the day. The last bus returns at 5:30 pm.
El Mapi is at 2,450 m (8,038 ft) above sea level so it’s a great place to acclimatise if you’re planning to walk in the Andes. It’s an affordable and functional base from which to explore Machu Picchu and is in the centre of town, close to the train station and shopping area.
There are 48 rooms decorated in a trendy style that some folk find incongruous with the reason for visiting this area. There are two grades, Superior and Deluxe: the difference being size; the deluxe rooms are 30 m² compared to Superior at 20 m² . There’s a hot water pool in the garden which is an ideal spot to relax after a day at Machu Picchu. The hotel has café and restaurant and a trendy bar area. It’s a pleasant place to stay.