We often get asked “Where to stay with kids in Machu Picchu?
Technically, this page should be titled, “Best Family Accommodation in Aguas Calientes, but given everyone calls the village of Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu Pueblo we went with the flow.
We have stayed in all of these places over a period of 5 years; in addition we have had friends stay in others and let us know what they thought. If we haven’t stayed in a place we will let you know.
Aguas Calientes – good or bad with kids?
To start with, many reviews of Aguas Calientes call it an ugly, concrete jungle and not worth stopping in. Well – we totally disagree!
To start with, unless you are going to fork out $1000 a night for a stay in the gorgeous Belmond Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, located just outside of the ruins, you are going to need to stay in Aguas Calientes for at least one night!
And contrary to the guidebooks – we love Aguas Calientes. To start with, it’s a fantastic train ride to this little village nestled at the bottom of some vertiginous verdant mountains, and there is an expectant energy about this little place.
When travelling for kids, we try to break things up – a train ride, then some fun… so that could be a walk around town, a soak in the Aguas Calientes hot springs or just a play in the hotel room.
The next day, getting up early to beat the crowds is recommended BUT – take that with a grain of salt for kids. And as backpackers we were amongst the first at the site, both hiking in via the Inca Trail and from Aguas Calientes. But when we were travelling with a 22 month old and 4 year old – we had a relaxed breakfast and headed up around 8am… it was still quite empty and we hadn’t got up too early to make ourselves grumpy.
A visit to Machu Picchu is often a “big” emotional thing for many people, and after a visit they can feel let down, especially if they jump back on the train to Cusco. For us, another afternoon in Aguas Calientes and more playing was just the ticket. We then took the train back to Ollantaytambo the next day.
Giving Machu Picchu the time it deserves means that booking a family hotel, which is kid friendly, in Machu Picchu is important!
Recommended Family friendly hotels in Machu Picchu
We’ve stayed at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel twice as full paying guests. Not only is this easily the most atmospheric hotel in all of Aguas Calientes but it has a kids’ program, and a small heated pool. The kids’ program is targeted to youngsters a little older than Miss M (5 years old) but includes a variety of activities, some of which she could participate in. They also provide an eco-guide (nanny) service and we noticed that more than one family left their children in the care of the eco-guide doing activities around the hotel while the parents went to Machu Picchu for a second day, thus getting the best of both worlds: time as a family AND time as a couple. For complete property information please take a look at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Sumaq Machu Picchu is a newer, luxury hotel that offers a comfortable stay and modern rooms. We stayed here with Little Miss as a 12 month old and absolutely loved it. For complete property information please take a look at the Sumaq Machu Picchu
Hatun Inti is a small boutique style hotel right on the river. We loved watching sitting on the balcony (with a close eye on Master 22 months!) and listening to the river roar. As a wonderful bonus, the room had a large spa which was awesome. This is one of our favourite places to stay in Aguas Calientes. For complete property information please take a look at the Hatun Inti
Owned by the fabulous folks at Inkaterra, the El Mapi by Inkaterra is a large, modern hotel with decent sized rooms and offers a high quality stay. There are gardens where the kids can play. For complete property information please take a look at El Mapi by Inkaterra
For more affordable options, we have stayed in both of these places pre-kids; they are atmospheric and fun. Located on steep hillsides they wouldn’t be recommended for small kids, but certainly for those with older kids they’d offer an adventure.
Gringo Bills was “the original” gringo accommodation in Aguas Calientes and feels like it has history in the rooms and foyers. Ask for a Family Room. For complete property information please take a look at Gringo Bills
We love Rupa Wasi because it’s a rustic Eco Lodge with amazing views into the cloud forest. It also has one of Aguas Calientes’ best restaurants on site – fantastic food, and cooking classes (need to be pre-organised). This would be a wonderful place to stay with older children or teens. It is at the top of a flight of stairs which does give tired legs a workout! For complete property information please take a look at Rupa Wasi
Looking for something different in Aguas Calientes, then why not look at a complete list of hotels in Aguas Calientes?
Looking for more information about Travelling to Machu Picchu with Kids?
These are my top tips for traveling to Machu Picchu with kids. Its a long way to Machu Picchu, and for many a once in a lifetime experience – make sure you do it right!
For most people a visit to Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime experience, a fulfilment of childhood dreams spurred on by movies of Indiana Jones as he searched for lost cities. If you are going to visit, then make sure that you do it the best you can! And especially if you are taking the kids there are some extra things to consider to make your Machu Picchu Family Holiday perfect!
To celebrate our daughter’s first birthday, we decided we would trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! Yes, that’s right, we were going to trek the Inca Trail with Baby!