Huayna Picchu Mountain
Huayna Picchu Mountain (also known as Wayna Picchu) is located in Machu Picchu. With 2693 meters (8835 feet), this mountain rises in the northern area of the Machu Picchu archaeological site. According to local guides and historians, this mountain was the residence of a high priest in charge of astronomical observations and a place to perform religious ceremonies to give offerings to the local gods.
There is a building at the top of the mountain, which may be the priest’s house. In addition, several terraces and altars define gravity. Today, the location of this building and how it is placed on the steep walls make it almost impossible to imagine how the Inca engineers anchored these buildings and terraces into such a steep mountain.
What is Huayna Picchu Mountain?
Huayna Picchu is the tall mountain you see behind in the most famous photographs of Machu Picchu, the classic postal pictures. To hike this mountain, you need to book the entrance tickets far in advance.
The access point is located in the northern corner of Machu Picchu; it takes about 1 hour to the top and 45 minutes down the same trail. Inside Huayna Picchu mountain, you will find steep and narrow stairs known as the “stairs of death.” Also, you will be able to see terraces, temples, and orchids and enjoy the fantastic views that this incredible place offers.
Tickets for Huayna Picchu
Every day, 200 people hike to Huayna Picchu Mountain in four different shifts; the entrance tickets sell out quickly; as a result, you must book your Huayna Picchu tickets well in advance; there are two shifts to choose from.
The first shift is from 6:00 am to 07:00 am:
To arrive at this shift, you must stay the night before in Aguas Calientes town and take the early buses to Machu Picchu..
The Second shift is from 8:00 am to 09:00 am:
It is recommended that you book this shift.If you stay the night before in Aguas Calientes, you need to enter Huayna Picchu Mountain before 9:00 a.m. Please note that from the main entrance, there is still a 20-minute hike to get to the main entrance of Huayna Picchu.
The Third shift is from 10:00 am to 11:00 am:
The best time to visit Huayna Picchu Mountain is when taking a guided tour of Machu Picchu. This shift is perfect for the Classic Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek Lares Trek, Inca Jungle, Tours by Train, or any other trek that leads to Machu Picchu. This is because you need to explore the citadel of Machu Picchu first, then you can hike the mountain.
The last shift is from 12:00 am to 13:00 am:
The last shift to enter Machu Picchu; we recommend this time if you plan on staying in Aguas Calientes for an extra night.Also, when hiking the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 4 days, it is possible to fit this schedule, but the arrival time back to Cusco will be later.
Please note that the cost for Huayna Picchu Mountain is $75 and that it is not possible to buy this mountain separately. You can only enter through the lower part of Machu Picchu, and you will not be able to access the upper part where the best photo opportunities are. These tickets will not allow you to re-enter.
To have the Full experience of Machu Picchu, get the pictures from the upper, you must purchase a separate regular Machu Picchu ticket (50$).
How Challenging is the hike to Wayna Picchu
Huayna Picchu is not very difficult and can be completed by anybody in moderate physical condition. The trail is steep and narrow in most parts of the mountain and can be slippery when it’s raining, but you will always find steel cables whenever necessary. The final part is the hardest but very rewarding at the same time because of the views. Once you reach the top, you can take some time to enjoy the incredible vistas, or you can continue to the left that goes to Gran Caverna with almost three extra hours of hiking to see the Temple of the Moon. The regular route descends to the right from the summit and returns the same way, completing the entire Huayna Picchu mountain in less than 2 hours.
Which is the best time to climb Huayna Picchu?
The best time to hike Huayna Picchu is after the guided tour of Machu Picchu. First, you must explore the citadel with your tour guide, spend some time on your own, and finally climb Huayna Picchu Mountain. We recommend this because Machu Picchu is the main attraction and you need to enjoy it first. After Huayna Picchu, you will be tired, and you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and enjoy a Cuzqueña (local beer) and go back to Cusco.
Is the hike worth It?
The climb is steep and narrow; you need to stop and let others pass you. At the top, there is a set of stairs called the Stairs of Death, so named because they are steep and you need to use your hands to keep climbing.
Despite the challenge and risks of climbing a steep mountain, Huayna Picchu offers spectacular views.
Is the Mountain Dangerous?
Both mountains, Huayna Picchu and Montaña Machu Picchu are steep, open, exposed areas with a sheer drop; however, Huayna Picchu is more vertical, and you will need to use some parts of the handrails to keep your balance. You must always be careful when you are hiking to Huayna Picchu Peak.
“Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful”