The Huayna Picchu mountain is that mountain that stands out in the classic postcard photo of Machu Picchu. It is very popular with tourists, especially those who like adventure as reaching its top is a challenging experience. This 2-kilometer uphill route through hundreds of stone steps takes approximately 2 hours. From the top you can see a beautiful landscape of the Inca city. The purchase of the entrance ticket to this summit must be done online 3 or 4 months in advance. It includes the visit to the archaeological site of Machupicchu.
All about Huayna Picchu
- What is Huayna Picchu?
- What does his name mean? How high is it?
- Map of the hike to Huayna Picchu
- History of the Huayna Picchu mountain
- What to do in Huayna Picchu?
- It is dangerous?
- How to go? How much?
- Ticket Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu
- Prices and discounts
- Do I need a tour guide?
- Tips for the walk
- Images of Huayna Picchu
What is Huayna Picchu?
Huayna Picchu is the name by which the enormous summit that rises right in the middle of the Inca city of Machu Picchu is known. It is very popular with tourists as it offers a hiking route to its top through ancient stone steps built by the Incas hundreds of years ago. On this mountain the Incas also built platforms, smaller enclosures and even temples where they worshiped their heavenly gods: the sun, the moon, the stars. Today it is one of the most famous short hiking trails in Cusco, Peru.
What does his name mean? How high is it?
Huayna Picchu comes from a Quechua word (the language of the Incas) that means ‘Young Mountain’. This is due to the contraposition of the name of Machu Picchu, which means ‘Old Mountain’. Its summit reaches 2,667 meters above sea level (8,750 ft). That is, about 300 meters higher than the Inca city of Machupicchu.
Map of the hike to Huayna Picchu
History of the Huayna Picchu mountain
The history of the Huayna Picchu mountain is closely linked with that of Machu Picchu. Both sites were inhabited by few human groups until they were conquered by the Incas who, under the command of Emperor Pachacutec, built Machu Picchu approximately in 1450 after Christ. The work of elaboration of stone stairs at the top of ‘Huayna Picchu’ would have taken a little more time due to the difficult rugged territory in which it was located.
During Inca times, Huayna Picchu would have served as a guard and control post for the citadel. In addition, religious ceremonies were held there. This is demonstrated by some temples found, such as The great cavern (also known as the Temple of the Moon). Based on the evidence found, it is believed that these temples continued to be built, until the Inca city had to be abandoned in 1535, still unfinished.
Today, the Huayna Picchu mountain is known as the best adventure within Machu Picchu. The roads that the Incas built are traveled by hundreds of tourists every day. From the top you can take one of the best postcard photos of the Inca city. The fame of this mountain is so great that for many visitors going to Machupicchu and not visiting the ‘Huayna’ is like not having gone.
What to do in Huayna Picchu?
Hiking route – The walk from Machu Picchu to the top of the Huayna Picchu mountain covers about 2 kilometers of sections, most of which are ascent by steep stairs (of a maximum of 60 degrees). Reaching the top takes between 1 to 2 hours, depending on the physical resistance of the tourist. At the top you can see beautiful landscapes. The return path follows the same route as the uphill section. However, if you decide to go to the Temple of the Moon, the path is different and longer.
The stairs of death – One of the most famous sections during the route to the top of the Huayna Picchu mountain are the so-called ‘Stairs of death’. The name of these steep stairs is due to the difficulty required to overcome them. No one has lost their lives during this stretch that requires both hands to continue climbing. It is almost in the last part of the way to the top of Huaynapicchu.
The Great Cavern – The Temple of the Moon or Great Cavern is an enclosure located on the opposite side of the mountain, built inside a cave. It has walls, windows, tables polished to such perfection that the place would have been used to perform religious rituals of great importance. You get there by taking a detour from the top of Huayna Picchu. This implies an additional two hours of walking. That is why there are few tourists who dare to go to the Great Cavern. If you are lucky enough to go there, you will surely be almost alone with the temple.
Flora and fauna – In the Huayna Picchu mountain it is possible to find a diversity of plants, insects, birds and, with luck, wild animals. The most common and popular flower species are orchids, considered the Machupicchu flower due to its great diversity of up to 400 species. It is also easy to run into lizards, hummingbirds, vizcachas, cock of the rocks and even the famous spectacled bear.
It is dangerous?
Social networks and internet forums have created the idea that climbing the Huayna Picchu mountain is dangerous. However, according to the majority of visitors who were there, this is false. The sections are steep, difficult but not dangerous. No one has slipped trying to climb and fell off a cliff. What must be taken into account is that older adults must be in good physical condition to travel this mountain. Climbing stairs at a high altitude can cause rapid breathing and, in the cases of people with heart problems, fainting. Older adults are advised to consult with their doctor before doing this adventure.
How to go? How much?
To visit this mountain you must do a ‘Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu’ tour, either 1 day or 2 days. All tours include: entrance, transportation by minivan, train, bus, tour guide and, in some cases, lodging and food. The price of the 1-day tours is approximately 320 US dollars.
The other way to go to Huayna Picchu is on your own, acquiring each ticket (train, bus) and service (tourist guide, hotel, restaurants) separately. However, the main thing is to acquire the ticket ‘Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu’ in advance of 3 or 4 months. Only in this way can the entire itinerary of the trip be organized. The cost of this ticket is approximately 200 Peruvian soles (62 US dollars).
Ticket Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu
The entrance ticket ‘Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu’ offers 400 spaces available each day. This availability is low compared to the large number of tourists who want to enter this tourist attraction. Therefore, it is recommended to buy the ticket online 3 or 4 months in advance. You can purchase the ticket on the official website (www.machupicchu.gob.pe). Or through the website of an authorized tourism agency. The cost of the ticket is 200 Peruvian soles, although tourism agencies charge an additional amount for the service. As its name suggests, the ticket includes both the entrance to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu.
When you buy your ticket ‘Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu’ you must choose one of these entry times:
- Group 1 – Entrance to Machupicchu from 6 am. Entrance to Huaynapicchu between 7 and 8 in the morning.
- Group 2 – Entrance to Machupicchu from 7 am. Entrance to Huaynapicchu between 7 and 8 in the morning.
- Group 3 – Entrance to Machupicchu from 8 am. Entrance to Huaynapicchu between 10.30 and 11.30 in the morning.
The entrance to Huayna Picchu is allowed only to people over 12 years old. Most tourists choose Group 3 since only this schedule allows visiting the mountain in a 1-day trip departing from Cusco. If you want to choose Group 1 or Group 2, you must spend at least 1 night in the town of Aguas Calientes. So you can arrive early and on time to the Huaynapicchu mountain for your visit.
Prices and discounts
The entrance ‘Machupicchu with Huayna Picchu’ offers discounts for:
University students – Undergraduate university students who are under 25 years old at the time of their visit, can buy their entrance ticket with an approximate discount of 25%. For this they must make their purchase with their current university card (the ISIC card is no longer allowed).
Under 18 years old – People under 18 years old (but over 12 years old) will be able to buy their entrance ticket with a discount of approximately 25%. For this, their parents (or an older person) must acquire the ticket showing the minor’s passport or identity document.
Citizens of the Andean Community of Nations – Citizens of the ‘CAN’ can buy their ticket with a discount of approximately 25%, showing their passport, identity document or immigration card, at the time of purchase. The countries included in this promotion are: Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia.
National (Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador)
|Adult||200 S/||Adult||112 S/|
|Student||118 S/||Student||80 S/|
|Child (8 to 17 years old)||118 S/||Child (8 to 17 years old)||80 S/|
Do I need a tour guide?
Touring the Huayna Picchu mountain in the company of a tour guide is not mandatory. If you want to do it, you must get a private service (just for you and your group of friends or family). The guides can be booked online through a tourism agency, or directly at the entrance gate of Machu Picchu.
In the Huayna Picchu mountain:
- It is prohibited to enter anyone without their entrance ticket ‘Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu’.
- Entry is prohibited to persons under 12 years of age.
- Upon entering the tourist must register at the mountain control booth. The same happens when leaving. This for reasons of security and protection of tourists.
- All visitors can enter with a backpack, as long as it is not too large to prevent the easy transit of other tourists.
- No visitor can go off the marked paths or search for trails on their own.
- When the tourist reaches the top, they must return at the latest at 1 in the afternoon..
- No tourist should damage the buildings on the mountain.
- No visitor should take selfies or photos near cliff spots.
- In the mountains are not allowed: selfie sticks, tripods, drones or professional recording devices that take up a lot of space.
Tips for the walk
Take a backpack with you with the necessary things: snacks, rehydration drinks, a polo shirt to change, a camera. This way, your hands are free to walk more safely.
If you run into someone coming down from the top, give them space. The same will happen when it is your turn to descend.
You do not need to be a professional mountaineer to do this hike. Even so, it would be good if you do some sport a few weeks or days before the hike. Going up and down stairs is good exercise.
If you are visiting the Temple of the Moon, advise the park ranger that you will be following that route. It is good for your safety that the caretakers know that you are there.
It is not common to suffer the symptoms of altitude sickness in Huayna Picchu: dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headache. However, a good idea to prevent these symptoms is to drink plenty of water (coca tea is a good option). Above all, avoid fatty food and alcoholic beverages before the hike.