Family Hotel Review: Tierra Viva Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, Peru
Just over one hour’s walk (or a quick shuttle bus ride!) from magical Machu Picchu, this family-friendly hotel offers everything you need for an overnight stay.
Best For: Accessing Machu Picchu; kids of all ages.
Reviewed by: Victoria Westmacott
Why You’ll Love It
Located in the remote town of Aguas Calientes, the closest access point to magical Machu Picchu, is this modern, family-friendly hotel that forms part of the Tierra Viva group. This is a relatively new chain of small hotels that offer extremely good value and a high level of comfort in some of Peru’s top tourist destinations.
The hotel is conveniently positioned in a quiet part of town (if you exclude the roar of the Urubamba River that rushes past the property!) and is within easy reach of the main square, the train station and the bus stop from which buses shuttle up to the mystical mountaintop ruins. From here it’s also just an hour’s walk to Machu Picchu although I have to confess that the thought of a steep hike with a 7- and 6-year old made me opt for the bus instead!
The property has been recently renovated and despite the rather unassuming exterior, the interiors are fresh and modern. The elevator at the centre of the property has been decorated with Andean inspired graffiti by the Peruvian artist Carolina Málaga and forms something of a focal point. The hotel runs on a B&B basis, which makes good sense given the number of decent restaurants in town and we found it to be an ideal place to stop for a night.
What I was particularly enjoyed was the artwork on display in both the rooms and along the corridors; framed textiles such as hats and bags from The Centre for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC), a non-profit organisation, lined the walls and were quite beautiful (and covetable!). Each piece was accompanied by information on the artist behind the work.
Why The Kids Will Love It
The Tierra Viva group prides itself on good service. They say “if we had to summarise our approach in one sentence, we would call it a passion for service”. And, as we all know, when you’re travelling with children, a friendly welcome can make all the difference.
We arrived quite late in the day and our two children were hungry and grumpy. Quick as a flash, the receptionist whipped out a street map, circled some recommended restaurants and even called ahead to make sure there were tables available. It’s service like this that I love in hotels!
The hotel is definitely a base from which to visit Machu Picchu (an experience my children can not stop talking about) rather than a destination in itself. That said, it’s worth stopping by the Tierra Viva even if you are not staying here just to look at the lift. This colourful elevator was a huge highlight for my kids and they loved examining the vivid Andean paintings.
Breakfast is served with a fantastic view and when my kids tired of looking at the roaring rapids, they made the most of the free WiFi. Yes, even with one of the wonders of the world just up the road, they still made time for Peppa Pig!
The 43 rooms are fairly minimalist but very comfortable. Expect white walls, white linens and enormous beds with colourful blankets made from baby alpaca wool. We had a corner room with great views overlooking the Urubamba River. Apparently some guests have been known to complain about the noisy river! You can’t please everyone….
Double Room: These come with twin beds or a Queen size bed, private bathrooms, free WiFi, heating, a safe, TV, hairdryer among other amenities.
Double Superior Room: These enjoy the same amenities as the Double Rooms as well as bathrobes and locally produced cottonseed oil hand and body creams.
Suites: Boasting the best views in the house, the Suites overlook either the river or the mountains and come with a private terrace.
Best Rooms For Families: We enjoyed a Superior Double that came with two double beds and this worked perfectly for our family of four. Children under two-years-old are free. One child from 0 – 3 years stays free of charge when using existing beds. Older children are charged USD $25 per person per night in an extra bed. Maximum number of cots / cribs in a room is 1; maximum number of extra beds permitted in a room is 1.
The hotel serves breakfast only, which is available daily from 5am – 10am. The dining room is light and airy and enjoys floor to ceiling windows along one side overlooking the river.
Breakfast The buffet breakfast offers all the usual suspects including cereal, toasts, fruit, eggs, coffee and tea.
There are lots of restaurants in town for lunch and dinner. We were recommended Indio Feliz, a quirky pirate-themed restaurant that the kids loved. Another restaurant that came recommended was the Tree House, a popular café that is accessed by a steep flight of steps. We enjoyed a good lunch here but do make a reservation if you plan to go at night as it gets booked up quickly.
The main reason to come here is to visit the incredible Machu Picchu!
A/C, common rooms, handful of baby cots available, doctor on call, 1 extra bed permitted in each room, heating, laundry, pushchair-friendly, travel desk, WiFi (complimentary and available throughout the property).
Double rooms start from USD $115 but rates vary according to room type, extra bed requests and date of travel. Please contact the hotel directly for an exact quote based on your family’s requirements.
When to go:
Peak season for this region is May to October (the dry season or ‘winter’ in the Southern Hemisphere), with the greatest number of visitors in July and August. During this season the days are usually clear and sunny with chilly nights, especially at high altitudes. The days surrounding the Christmas and Easter holidays are also busy.
The rainy season (‘summer’) runs from November through March (January and February are usually the wettest months). This period sees dramatic price drops and less crowds but flooding and landslides are common.
Location & Travel:
Tierra Viva Machu Picchu is located in Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo.
The only way to access Aguas Calientes is by train or by foot. There are no cars in the town but if you notify the hotel of your arrival time, a member of staff will greet you with a large trolley and guide you through a colourful maze of market stalls to Tierra Viva (approx. 5-10 minute walk). This is a complimentary service.
Take a video tour of Tierra Viva Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, Peru
Contact The Hotel
For more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:
Reviewer’s Top Tips!
1) Remember to give the hotel your arrival times so they can meet you at the train station with a trolley.
2) To avoid queuing in the morning buy your tickets for the shuttle bus (up to Machu Picchu) the day before. The bus station is a couple of minutes walk from the hotel.
3) Beat the crowds and get up to Machu Picchu as early as possible. It starts getting very busy from 9:30/10am onwards.
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