I have been to the Great Wall of China, climbed through Angkor Wat, stood among the Himalaya, and nothing compares to the magic of this site. Unfortunately, Aguas Calientes is the end of the train tracks town you must stop at to reach Machu Picchu if you did not take the Inca Trail. The whole town smelled like bad eggs due to the mineral pools and was quite expensive compared to the rest of Peru. We chose to skip the $12 bus and walked the 1.5 hours straight up to MP, in strong humidity and rain, with steps up to a foot tall and just inches deep. Coming out at the top we felt something near spiritual at the site of the ancient city. It was like we had just ascended to something greater than man. Sadly, since my trip here in 2015, they have begun to limit the number of tourist and the hours spent within the city. This is great for the conservation efforts but it will only get more expensive and difficult to see as time goes on.
-skip paying for a tour guide and just linger near a group if something catches your eye, otherwise move at your won pace
-the Inca drawbridge is just a few sticks across a whole in the path and not worth the trek
-with train tickets and entrance fees, expect to pay $250 US per person
-we spent 7 hours there including the hike up and down, it felt rushed
-do not stay here as accommodations are over priced in the city
-if you go to the edges of town you can find buy one drink get 3 free at some bars, meaning you drink for about 50 US cents a drink