My, Machu Picchu is a place so many people have on their bucket list. I was one of them. Getting there was hard, finding the perfect hotel even harder. I heard that some people do Machu Picchu on a day trip, but frankly speaking that is reserved for a younger generation that can do without sleep and still hike the andean mountains. There are also hostels and even a campsite.
I, old as I am, had to find a hotel. There is only one hotel at the gates of Machu Picchu itself. It is called the Sanctuary Lodge and is prohibitevly expensive. I can’t afford 1,000 USD or more for one night, much as I wanted (found this review of the Sanctuary Lodge Machu Picchu, in case you are interested) . Heard there is a spa with a view on Machu Picchu inside. That would have been cool. Super cool in fact. As it was, I only had lunch at the Sacntuary Lodge. Paid 40 USD for a Burger and a Coke (though the burger was above excellent).
Since I couldn’t sleep at the gates, I had to settle for a hotel in Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is the closest town to Machu Picchu and virtually only exists because of Machu Picchu. Here is where the train stops. The name derives from the hot springs in the town (which I didn’t visit). The whole town is nestled at the bottom of a gigantic gorge and more or less follows the narrow train tracks (there is not much space). Same applies for the hotels…they all feel somewhat cramped, somewhat shabby and not what you’d expect at such an auspicious site. There are two luxury hotels there (the Inkaterre and the Sumaq hotel). But these were not too much cheaper than the Sanctuary lodge.
After a lot of search and research I personally settled for the Casa del Sol Machupicchu. To be quite honest with you it sounded better than it was. There was a decent restaurant, it was new and modern, there was even a spa…and all at a decent price. I think I paid like 210 USD for one night. Since I basically just slept there and had breakfast, it felt a bit like a rip-off to me. But I guess there are certain sacrifices you have to make when visiting Machu Picchu.
Can I recommend the hotel? Well yes! Would I book it was it located anywhere else in the world? Probably no!
As you might be faced with the very same problem of finding the perfect accomodation in Machu Picchu, here is one piece of advice. Go for something cheap, dine somewhere else and focus on visiting the ruins and strolling around Aguas Calientes. The town is somewhat touristic, but still lovely (there is a church, a museum and the aforementioned hot springs…even a smallish zoo). Save the luxury for the rest of Peru, where it can be had at a bargain. Machu Picchu is living on its fame. It is expensive, but there really is no need to make it more expensive. The ruins will speak for themselves, and if you wanna see the sunset in Machu Picchu, you have to get up at 4:30 am anyway. So there really is no reason to spend a fortune on the hotel…except you plan to stay multiple days. Hope that helped!