hiking huayna picchu in peru

Among all the most impressive hiking trails in Peru, there are a few in the vicinity of the ancient Inca citadel, like trekking to Huayna Picchu. This imposing mountain can be seen behind all the famous photos and postcards of the Inca citadel. The advantage of climbing it is the impressive panoramic views of Machu Picchu that you will have from another angle. Also, this famous hiking trail is usually done by hundreds of tourists a day. And it is for this same reason that, together with Machu Travel Peru, we have decided to prepare a complete article about the Huayna Picchu mountain. In this way, you will know in depth what awaits you when you undertake this imposing route among others Machu Picchu tours.

Everything you need to know about Huayna Picchu mountain

What is Huayna Picchu?

huayna picchu view

Huayna Picchu is an ancient mountain located behind Machu Picchu citadel, with an altitude of 2693 meters above sea level, surrounded by the Vilcanota River, in Urubamba province, department of Cusco, south zone of Peru. Which can be found Inca buildings, and a famous trekking route to its top.

The mountain of Huayna Picchu is the pointed, cone-shaped mountain behind the ruins. In any of the different classic photos, you can see it in its magnificence. Its visit represents one of the alternatives to Machu Picchu. At first glance, it can seem like a very challenging mountain for a hike. But technically it is not that difficult, although the climb will be very steep. It is a hike suitable for all audiences, but if you are traveling with your children there are other more relaxed options.

Huayna Picchu weather and location

huayna picchu mountain adventure

This stepped mountain stands at a height of 2693 meters above sea level, inside a tropical zone (Jungle eyebrow), therefore it is not a surprise to feel hot and humid weather there. It is situated behind the famous Machu Picchu, surrounded by the Vilcanota River, in Urubamba province, department of Cusco, south of Peru.

There is a climbing trek that the Machu Picchu visitors use to do after visiting the citadel. Because, reaching its top, the Huayna Picchu mountain offers the possibility of an alternative view of Machu Picchu. Great photos from another angle!

How to get there?

how to get to huayna picchu

If you see a Machu Picchu map, getting to Huayna Picchu mountain is similar to traveling to the citadel (The first is located behind the second). Therefore, we can resume the trip to get there in 4 steps.

  1. From Cusco to Poroy or Ollantaytambo train station: a Public (Vans and cars that depart from Pavitos street in Cusco) or private (Through a travel agency) transportation to go to Poroy or Ollantaytambo train station, to take the train previously booked. (Private trans: $60 around / Public trans: $6 / one way)
  1. From Poroy or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes town: This part of the route is developed onboard train. In Cusco, we have two important train companies like Inca Rail and Peru Rail. Both offer trains with tourist-level services. (Train cost: $70 around / one way)
  1. From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu Citadel: Once you arrive at Aguas Calientes train station (in Machu Picchu town) and leave the station, you will have to walk a few meters in the north direction, to the Bus station of CONSSETUR (the only company of buses in the town)  to take a bus and go up until the same Machu Picchu citadel. (Bust cost: $15 around)
  1. From the Citadel to Huayna Picchu mountain: Once arrived at the Machu Picchu entrance, you will have to show your original passport and your ticket (which indicates “Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu”) to enter. After that, you will enjoy the tour through the citadel and will begin climbing to Huayna Picchu, trekking whose starting point is located within the citadel itself. (Ticket price: $42 around)

The Huayna Picchu route

inca trail map

The Huayna Picchu mountain visit takes long around 120 minutes, approx. 60 minutes to climb up and the rest to descend approx throughout 4 km round trip. Everything will depend on your physical condition and your previous acclimatization. Also, you will have to be careful and take some precautions. Since the staggered steps can be slippery when wet in the rain. That is why we will have to try to avoid the rainy season at all costs if we want to make this trekking that has moderate to a challenging level.

Starting the hike

huayna picchu entrance

Your entrance ticket (which will have to say: Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu) will have to be shown at the same entrance of Machu Picchu citadel. This ticket entitles you to visit Machu Picchu, only by circuit 4, before getting the trek to Huayna Picchu.

The trek starting point to Huayna  Picchu mountain is located on the north side of Machu Picchu, behind the Sacred Rock. The entrance is clearly marked with a large sign in the Caretaker’s Hut. If you are going to make the trek, you will have to register in the Caretaker’s Hut, showing your ticket.

The Huayna Picchu trail follows an undulating path for about 15 to 20 minutes until the route splits. Next, the route forks into two sections, one goes up, and the other goes down. The high trail stretches to the top of Huayna Picchu, while the low trail continues around the base of the mountain to reach the Great Cavern and the Temple of the Moon. Then it climbs steeply to the top of the mountain.

The ascend

how to go to huayna picchu trek

The path goes zigzagging through the sacred mountain and continues up to where there is a small complex of Inca constructions. We can take a rest there for a few minutes. Next, continue the journey up the route, and we will find a marked path that goes to the left and continues along the back of the Huayna Picchu Mountain to reach the Temple of the Moon. If you decide to go straight, you will find that the path is easy to follow, but many of its zones are quite steep, the closer you are to the top, the steeper the path will be. Following, we will find steep stairs too and a cave that can be a bit tedious to pass.

Reaching the top

the top of huayna picchu

As you approach the top, you will pass some old agricultural terraces so inaccessible and so narrow that their value for agricultural purposes would have been unnoticeable. It is believed that they were probably gardens for decorative purposes or had some structural function in general. Finally, reaching the top, you will have a unique view that will accompany the already beautiful Machu Picchu itself. Make sure to enjoy these views after knowing the different Machu Picchu facts, to get a great view of the citadel and imagine the facts that occurred there many years ago.

Descending

huayna picchu descending

The path descends around the Huayna Picchu mountain before plunging into the cloud forest. At the initial descent, you will pass through a narrow tunnel, where you will have to crawl, practically. After, the descent is steep, and your knees will do most of the work there. If you want, you can visit the Moon temple in this part of the trek.  Finally, you will then come to a cleared area where you will find some beautiful ruins to appreciate, a sign that the path is finishing.

The best time to visit it

best time to visit huayna picchu

Without a doubt, the best time to make the climb to Huayna Picchu mountain is in the Dry season (April – November), because you will have clear skies, sun, humid and hot weather, colorful vegetation, and the most important, solid and dry paths to walk securely. On the other hand, the rainy season (December – March) presents a muddy and slippery path, with hard rains, cloudy skies, and mosquitos. But, in the same way, it will depend on your preference. As you can see, the best time to visit Machu Picchu is similar to visiting this mountain, too.

Schedule of Huayna Picchu visit

the ruins of machu picchu, entrance to huaynapicchu

You can enjoy the Huayna Picchu mountain at any time of the year. But you have to keep in mind that there are eight shifts available. In each shift, only about 25 people are allowed to make the route. Making it possible to access 200 lucky people per day.

Range time to enter Huayna PicchuTickets availability
From 07:00 – 08:00 am25
From 08:00 – 09:00 am25
From 09:00 – 10:00 am25
From 10:00 – 11:00 am25
From 11:00 – 12:00 am25
From 12:00 – 13:00 am25
From 13:00 – 14:00 am25
From 14:00 – 15:00 am25

These schedules are essential when climbing Huayna Picchu. Depending on how you get to Machu Picchu, you will see what the best time is. Either way, you can’t stay out of one of the best tours in Peru.

Tickets to Huayna Picchu

sign to huayna picchu
Circuit 4 + Waynapicchu TicketPrice
Adult (From 18 years old and more)$42
Underage (Between 03 to 17 years old)$19

Everyone who plans to climb the Huayna Picchu mountain will have to purchase a special ticket along with their entrance to Machu Picchu.

When you get your Machu Picchu tickets, be sure to also choose the tickets for the hiking route of your preference. You will notice that you can choose to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. In this way, if you choose the first one, your ticket will have to indicate: “Circuit 4  + Waynapicchu”

  • What means circuit?

As all tickets include the visit to Machu Picchu citadel (developed through 4 circuits), the ticket to visit Waynapicchu includes circuit 4 to visit Machu Picchu, too.

The difference between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountain

the ruins of machu picchu, mountain huayna picchu

Machu Picchu is the famous Inca ruins of Peru postcards. But, besides it, there are two mountains surrounding it, Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountain. The first one always appears in photos behind the ruins and the last one shares the same name as the citadel, and both can be visited.

The path to visit Huayna Picchu mountain is very steep and demands extra effort from visitors to get to the narrow top. On the contrary, the Machu Picchu mountain path is more horizontal, its walk is done in more hours, the top is wider, and you will get amazing views from there, even better than the views of the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu.

So, what is better, Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain?

the ruins of machu picchu, moons temple

If you are traveling together with your family, it is better to opt for Machu Picchu mountain (3051 meters above sea level) which is the easiest to do. But if you are looking for a challenge, better choose the Huayna Picchu trek. You can buy both, but always in advance with your tour operator. You can also buy them on the Peruvian government page.

Advice and tips

huayna picchu mountain reaching the top

There are some tips to follow if you want to enjoy the climb of Huayna Picchu mountain without any inconvenience.

  • As a minimum, buy your tickets to Huayna Picchu 6 months in advance. As you could see, the schedules to visit the mountain and its high demand make full out the availability of tickets quickly. Therefore, buying with anticipation your tickets through the website of the Machu Picchu office administration will be recommended, or take contact a travel agency to plan a visit.
  • By law, a tour guide is necessary during your Machu Picchu tour, not so during your visit to Huayna Picchu. The government understands that most tourists want to visit the citadel to answer the only question, What is Machu Picchu? Therefore, they established a person to guide visitors during the citadel tour. And, usually, these tour guides accompany their clients until the start-point of the Huayna Picchu trek. From this point, the adventure is at the tourist’s expense. But don’t worry, the path is well-signed.
  • Before buying and taking the visit to Huayna Picchu mountain, be honest with yourself. Remember, this trek has a level from moderate to challenge. Therefore, if you are not in good physical condition, you won’t make it. And the Machu Picchu mountain route can be perfect for you.
  • If you have children or older persons, see other options besides doing a Huayna Picchu visit. Because its trek demands high physical effort. See other things to do in Machu Picchu citadel or do the Machu Picchu mountain trek can be the best for them.
  • The dry season to do this trek is recommendable always. As we mentioned before, the rainy season can represent a true risk for visitors.
  • Wearing high-soled hiking shoes (to get good stability while walking on stone steps), lightweight pants, a t-shirt, and a raincoat, besides hats and hiking sticks will be the best. Other important implements can be repellent, sunblock, a bottle of water, and a fully charged cellphone for photos!

“TRAVEL IS THE ONLY THING YOU BUY THAT MAKES YOU RICHER”

As you may have appreciated, the Huayna Picchu mountain is a challenge to take. Especially if you are an adventurous soul, visiting the old citadel. Therefore, leave the Machu Picchu virtual tour that you can find on the internet and come to do the real experience. Machu Travel Peru hopes that this little article has been useful. If you decide to visit this imposing citadel, this hike should definitely be on your itinerary. To learn more about our travel programs, you can consult with our qualified team of advisers. They will be happy to help you plan your trip.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!