No one travels to Peru to see the village of Aguas Calientes, and yet thousands of people end up visiting the place each year, because of where it sits, at the base of the Sacred Valley, in the shadow of Machu Picchu.
Despite the huge numbers of travellers who are forced to spend a night, or just pass through its narrow streets, hardly anyone bothers to mention Aguas Calientes online, except to warn fellow wanderers not to eat the pizza from such and such a restaurant, or more generally, how the whole town is an overpriced tourist trap.
And it is, mostly, but it also happens to have one of the best bars in the country too.
The lounge at the Aguas Calientes hot springs isn’t cool in the hipster sense of the word. There are no fancy cocktails, and the decor isn’t trendy, but that’s exactly what makes it great. Located on a rooftop, in a wrinkle of the mountainside, there’s nothing but the tranquil sound of the nearby river, and the eponymous baths of soothing water down below. Unless they start serving Pisco Sours up on Machu Picchu itself, you couldn’t find a more dramatic location to knock back a few drinks.
And yet hardly anyone’s here.
Maybe the pilgrims are exhausted after hiking the Inca trail? Maybe their aching bones can’t propel them any further, and walking the extra 10 minutes from the village is impossible? Whatever the cause, being able to enjoy a spot like this to yourself (pretty much) while flocks of sheeple line-up for tables back down the hill, only makes the experience even sweeter.
So if you’re in the hood, be sure to take a soak, order a Pisco or three, kick back and wonder… “How the hell did they build that God damn city so high in the sky?”