Huayna Picchu and Machupicchu mountain: comparison!

Machu Picchu has more than 150 buildings that were part of an ancient Inca citadel. Most are located in the center of the place. Up high, in the two mountains that surround the archaeological site, there are more constructions that very few people know about. These are the platforms and enclosures located on the Huayna Picchu mountain and the Machupicchu mountain. Very few tourists dare to walk the difficult roads to its peaks. Learn a little more about both peaks, their similarities and differences.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu – Cusco

The mountains of Machu Picchu

There are three mountains that surround Machu Picchu: a) Huayna Picchu mountain, b) Machupicchu mountain and c) Putucusi mountain. The first two were equipped for tourism. The third, not yet.

Huayna Picchu is the most famous mountain in the place. It is easy to recognize it as it is the summit that stands out in the classic postcard photo of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu mountain is even higher than Huayna Picchu. It is located to the south of the archaeological site.

Putucusi, the third mountain, is not equipped for tourism. Likewise, some visitors decide to go through it with great effort. The entrance to this mountain is free. Instead, access to Huayna Picchu and Machupicchu Mountain has a cost.

The Huayna Picchu

Machu Picchu Mountain
View from the top of the Huayna Picchu mountain

The Huayna Picchu mountain is the most famous summit of Machu Picchu. Its summit is located 2,720 meters above sea level, approximately 300 meters higher than the Inca citadel.

Huayna Picchu is a Quechua word that, translated into Spanish, means ‘young mountain’. The gateway to the mountain is to the north of the Inca city, near the so-called ‘Sacred Rock’.

The walk to the top is demanding. Almost 2 kilometers are covered by a set of stone steps built by the Incas more than 500 years ago. These stairways have slopes of up to 60 degrees. Along the way, you can also appreciate terraces, enclosures and more Inca constructions.

After an average of 1 hour 30 minutes of walking, you will reach the top of Huayna Picchu. From there you have a spectacular view of all of Machu Picchu. The way back follows the same path as the one up, only going down.

Optionally, tourists can take a longer alternative return path. This path little traveled by tourists leads to a famous temple called ‘The great cave’ or ‘Temple of the moon’. It is a mysterious construction inside a cave.

Machupicchu mountain

Montaña Huayna Picchu
View from the top of Machu Picchu mountain

The mountain Machupicchu is the highest peak in the wonder of the world. The locals called it ‘Machu Picchu’, which means ‘old mountain’. After its discovery in 1911, the Inca citadel took the same name with which it is known worldwide today.

It is located on the south side of the Inca city. Its summit reaches 3,082 meters above sea level, that is, it is almost 600 meters higher than the archaeological site (and 300 meters higher than Huayna Picchu).

The gateway to this mountain is also within Machu Picchu. The road to its summit is 2 kilometers long and easier to travel, compared to Huayna Picchu. Reaching the top of this mountain can take 2 hours.

From its top you can see all the natural landscapes that surround Machu Picchu. There are no Inca constructions on this mountain, except for the stone paths and terraces. The return path follows the same route as the outward journey. During the tour you can see the flowers and birds (and sometimes animals) characteristic of the wonder of the world.

Mountains location

Location of the mountains in Machu Picchu
Location of the 2 mountains of Machu Picchu

What is the difference between them?

This table summarizes the main differences between the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains:

Huayna Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu Mountain
Meaning nameYoung MountainOld Mountain
LocationNorth of Machu PicchuSouth of Machu Picchu
Summit altitude2,720 masl3,082 masl
Entry pointIn the ‘Sacred Rock’ sectorIn the sector of the ‘Inca Trail’
Walking distance2 kilometers2 kilometers
Road slopes60º30th
Average time to top1 hour 30 minutes2 hours
InputTicket ‘Machupicchu + HuaynapicchuTicket ‘Machupicchu + Mountain’
Price200 S /. (62 USD)200 S /. (62 USD)
Time allowed7 hours from admission8 hours from admission
Limit of people per day200 visitors per day400 visitors per day
Age limitOver 12 years oldAny age
Inca templesTemple of the MoonThere is not
Advance purchase3 or 4 months before2 or 3 weeks before

How to visit these mountains?

The entrance to the Huayna Picchu mountain and the Machu Picchu mountain is with two different entrances. In both cases, these tickets also allow the tour of the archaeological site of Machupicchu. That is, for most of its Inca constructions.

Huayna Picchu Mountain – The entrance to this mountain is called the ‘Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu’ ticket and has a cost of 200 Peruvian soles (62 US dollars, approximately). As its name suggests, it allows you to visit the archaeological site of Machupicchu and the Huayna Picchu mountain. Both sites can be covered in a time of 7 hours (enough for the adventure).

This ticket allows entry in 4 times:

The ticket ‘Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu’ must be purchased online 3 or 4 months in advance.

Machupicchu Mountain – The entrance to this mountain is called the ‘Machu Picchu + Mountain’ ticket and has a cost of 200 Peruvian soles (62 US dollars, approximately). As its name suggests, it allows you to visit the archaeological site of Machu Picchu as well as the Machupicchu mountain. Both sites can be covered in a time of 8 hours (enough for the adventure).

This ticket allows entry in 2 times:

The ticket ‘Machu Picchu + Montaña’ can be purchased online or in person a few weeks or even days in advance.

Questions and answers


By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, February 8, 2022

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