September 2, 2015
While Aguas Calientes is the gateway to Machu Picchu, the unattractive and expensive town is certainly not worth lingering in longer than you have to.
We booked a room at Casa del Sol, conveniently located across the tracks from the train station. Despite its closeness, it’s difficult to find. A maze of market stalls confuse the exit of the train station, and to make matters worse the railroad tracks are not indicated on the Google map. I would, therefore, recommend arranging a pick-up from the hotel to avoid confusion.
The hotel is situated right along the river such that rooms facing the river have great views.
The up-scale rooms are comfortable and decorated in tropical woods and white linens.
The big downside to this hotel is the restaurant. Room prices include half board, but the dinner was so bad I would only recommend Casa del Sol on the condition that you don’t have to dine there.
That said, the dining room is pleasant, also decorated in tropical woods with views overlooking the river, and the service is friendly and efficient. The kitchen, however, is a disaster and barely keeps up with the capacity of the dining room.
The four course dinner was poorly seasoned from start to finish.
The avocado salad with shrimp and cucumber was the best of the lot but rather ordinary. The trout salad was skimpy on trout and too salty. The tomato soup was way too sweet, tasting more like jam than a savory soup.
For mains we had the chicken cacciatori – could have been OK but with the addition of capers was way too salty.
The lamb stuffed ravioli was just strange – more folded over wide noodles than ravioli with very little lamb and covered in a salty spicy sauce. Deserts were OK but nothing special – a flavorless peach soup and a poached pear that was more ice cream than pear. For the prices they are commanding they really should taste their food before they serve it.