Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo, was founded in 1901 during the construction of the railroad between Cusco and Santa Ana. It was initially a railroad camp that went by the name of Maquinachayoq. The camp became a headquarters for the railroad's machinery and heavy equipment operations and many of the workers based there ended up settling in the town permanently with their families.
Aguas Calientes is the closest access point to the historical site of Machu Picchu which is 6 km (3.7 miles) away. There are many hotels and restaurants for tourists, as well as natural hot baths which gave the town its colloquial Spanish name (aquas = waters, calientes = hot). The baths were destroyed by floods several years ago, but have since been rebuilt.