When visiting Machu Picchu, don’t overlook the village at the foot of the famous Inca citadel. Machu Picchu Village, also known as Aguas Calientes, is a colorful town filled with shops that cater to tourists who flock to Machu Picchu from all over the world. Cobbled streets meant for walkers, not cars, wind their way up to the hot springs for which the village was originally named.
Spending a night in the rustic village requires no sacrifice of luxury now that the five-star Sumaq Hotel has opened in Machu Picchu Village. The décor was created by contemporary artists who interpreted traditional Inca motifs in completely original ways, making a perfect setting for experiencing Peru’s Wonder of the World.
Best of all, staying for a night or two at Sumaq Hotel means you can witness Machu Picchu at sunrise, before throngs of tourists arrive on the train from Cusco. Machu Picchu is loveliest then, when ethereal morning mists are dancing in and out of the cloud forest canyon below. Hop on the first bus of the morning; the departure point is only steps away from Sumaq’s front door. Zigzag your way to the top of the mountains that conceal the enigmatic Inca citadel, and you’ll begin to understand how it was hidden for centuries. The staff at Sumaq can help you plan the best way to explore; choose a guided walk that explains the geology, history and archeology, or a challenging yet rewarding climb up Wayna Picchu, where ancient science joins astonishing scenery at the site of an Inca observatory.
Return from your day at Machu Picchu, and immerse yourself in one of Sumaq’s signature spa treatments, intended to connect body and soul in perfect harmony. The Andean Stone Massage is particularly pleasurable —following a soothing massage with essential oils, hot or cold stones are applied to the body, evoking sensations that are alternately calming and energizing. After a few hours of such blissful renewal, set out to explore the surrounding village, and enjoy the pleasant cacophony of international languages all around. Located just at the edge of Aguas Calientes, Sumaq offers a haven from the high energy tourist bustle, yet is it close enough to for easy access to all the town’s vibrancy.