Huayna Picchu Mountain VS Machu Picchu Mountain

From the Machu Picchu Citadel — should you hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain?


If you’re planning a visit to Peru, a hike to the incredible, mythic citadel of Machu Picchu is a must. You can also choose to add on an extra hike from the citadel itself. The entrance to Machu Picchu Mountain is a priceless gem where you will see stunning of views. Machu Picchu is surrounded by beautiful peaks and the two most spectacular are Machu Picchu peak at 3051 meters and Huayna Picchu peak at 2720 meters. Both are open for visitors to climb and are very popular. Tickets are sold out almost on a daily basis, but Huayna Picchu usually sells out faster.

HUAYNA PICCHU

MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN

Hiking Huayna Picchu Peak is not for the faint of heart


Why does Huayna Picchu sell out faster? Well for starters, Huayna Picchu is home to the breathtaking Temple of the Moon. This hike has the reputation of being the more difficult, and scary climb of the two, especially for people with a fear of heights. Huayna Picchu peak is the steeper climb in comparison. You’ll encounter long sets of stairs and very steep, narrow paths. You’ll need to keep your hands free as it gets trickier towards the top. Ladders and cables are provided to hold on to. This hike is perfect for adrenaline seekers.

Along the climb, there are areas of great exposure to big drop offs and the top can feel very crowded. However, the great thing about Huayna Picchu is that when you’re at the peak, you are able to look straight down over the Machu Picchu ruins and the Urubamba River. It is a faster hike and you get the bonus of seeing some partially completed Inca buildings. The hike will take about 2 hours, roundtrip. Finally, please note that the trail can be very slippery when it’s wet or rainy.

ARE THE ENTRANCE TICKETS LIMITED?

Yes! They are limited to 400 hikers per day so you will need to plan early to book this extra hike. At least 2 to 3 months in advance.  Any agency can purchase the permit for you with your trek, if tickets are available.

 Schedules for hiking up to Huayna Picchu:

  • First schedule: 7 – 8 AM * This is the best schedule for alternative treks. 
  • Second schedule: 10 – 11 AM * This is the best schedule for Inca trail trekkers. 

***This is the time you start the hike.  It takes approximately 2 hours (roundtrip) to hike Huayna Picchu.

PRICES

  • For trekkers of the  Inca Trail  to Machu Picchu: $75 USD per person
  • Alternative treks to Machu Picchu: $75 USD per person
  • Tours to Machu Picchu: $75 USD per person

Climbing Machu Picchu Mountain offers stunning views

On the flip side, Machu Picchu Mountain is higher than Huayna Picchu. The elevation gain for Huayna Picchu is about 300 meters. The total climb for Machu Picchu Mountain is much higher at over 600 meters of elevation gain. Generally fewer people pick this peak. However, it is packed with the promise of a 360 degree panoramic view of the whole site, including Huayna Picchu. You will feel as if a helicopter dropped you right there!

When climbing Machu Picchu Mountain, you’ll find wider paths and a more gradual ascent. When approaching the summit, there’s a narrow ridge and a stone gateway.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

The amount of time to climb Machu Picchu mountain depends on the physical condition of the individual and can range from 1 to 1.5 hours for just the ascent, which will make it 2 to 3 hours roundtrip. From the top, you have incredible views of Machu Picchu, which the picturesque Huayna Picchu behind it and the last part of the Classic Inca Trail.  You can also admire the amazing canyon formed by the slope of the Vilcanota river with green mountains on one side and on the other side the mountains of the Cordillera Vilcabamba,  and the snowy summit of Salkantay (6,271 m/20,574ft) and more.

The climb to Machu Picchu Mountain is considered moderate to difficult but not challenging. An average physical condition is required.  During the rainy season, the road can be very slippery, making the ascent more difficult.

Schedules for hiking up to Machu Picchu Mountain:

  • First schedule: 7 – 8 AM * This is the best schedule for alternative treks.
  • Second schedule: 9 – 10 AM * This is the best schedule for Inca Trail trekkers.

***This is the time you start the hike.  It takes approximately 3 hours (roundtrip) to hike Machu Picchu Mountain.

PRICES

  • For trekkers of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: $75 USD per person
  • Alternative treks to Machu Picchu: $75 USD per person
  • Tours to Machu Picchu: $75 USD per person

Permits are required for both of these hikes and either can be added to any visit to Machu Picchu. Any quality agency can book your hike and handle all of the details for you.

The Huayna Picchu vs Machu Picchu Mountain information was provided by Orange Nation.

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