Complete Guide about hiking to Huayna Picchu Mountain
Huayna Picchu Mountain, commonly known as Waynapicchu, is located in the Machu Picchu District, Urubamba Province, Cusco Region. This peak rises at 2693 meters (8835 feet) in the northern region of Machu Picchu. According to local guides and historians, a high priest responsible for astronomical observations resided on this peak. It was also the site of religious ceremonies where offerings were made to the local gods.
Huayna Picchu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Machu Picchu. Every year, thousands of people come to hike its trails and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The hike is not particularly challenging, but it is steep in places and can be slippery when wet. It takes about two hours to complete the hike, and from there, you can see Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.
Meaning of Huayna Picchu in Quechua
In Quechua, the Inca language, Huayna Picchu means "young mountain" This name was given to the mountain because it was the site of an important Inca Temple, and the Inca believed that the spirits of their ancestors resided there.
There is some debate over the exact meaning of the name, as some scholars believe it may also be a reference to the Inca emperor Huayna Capac. However, the most popular interpretation is that it simply refers to the fact that Huayna Picchu is a young mountain compared to the other peaks in the area. Whatever its true meaning, Huayna Picchu is undoubtedly an impressive sight, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru.
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. You need to book the entrance tickets to hike this mountain.
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." You will also see terraces, temples, orchids and enjoy the fantastic views this incredible place offers.
All about the hike to Huayna Picchu Mountain
The hike up Huayna Picchu is not for the faint of heart. It is a strenuous hike that will take you through dense jungle and steep cliffs. But the views from the top are well worth the effort. You can see amazing views of Machu Picchu, the Valley, and the surrounding mountains.
It takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete the mountain, depending on your fitness level. Once you enter the checkpoint in the northern area of Machu Picchu, you will start a steep 45 minutes to 1-hour ascend to the top of Huayna Picchu. Once you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with a 360° view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding area.
After spending time at the top of Huayna Picchu, you will start descending through the same trail back to Machu Picchu; it takes around 1 hour to reach Machu Picchu and another 30 minutes to exit the citadel.
What to bring for the hike?
Some essential items to bring are:
- A small backpack
- Water (at least 2L)
- Bug spray
- First Aid kit
- Snacks, chocolates, power bars, candies
- Hiking boots
The views from Huayna Picchu Mountain are some of the most incredible in all of Peru. On a clear day, you can see for miles in every direction. The mountain is surrounded by lush rainforest, so the views constantly change as you hike up. You'll also get an up-close look at some of the highest peaks, which is why this hike is so popular.
Huayna Picchu is home to a wide variety of flora, including some found nowhere else in the world. The mountain's humid climate and rich soils provide the perfect conditions for a diverse range of plants to thrive.
Some of the most notable Flora on Huayna Picchu include:
- Orchids: There are over 200 species of orchids that can be found on Huayna Picchu. Many of these are rare and endangered.
- Bromeliads: These colorful plants are closely related to pineapples. They grow in abundance on Huayna Picchu, often clinging to rocks and trees.
- Ferns: More than 60 ferns grow on Huayna Picchu, ranging from small ground-covering varieties to large tree-dwelling ones.
- Trees: Several tree species can be found on Huayna Picchu, including Andean cedar, kapok, and mahogany.
Not only will you enjoy stunning views of the Andes mountains, but you'll also get to see some fantastic wildlife. Here's a guide to the fauna you might encounter on your hike.
One of the most common animals you'll see is the llamas in Machu Picchu. These animals are both native to South America and are well-adapted to life in the high mountains. Also, you might see different species of birds, lizards, and even the Spectacular bear.
The stairs of death
If you're looking for a genuinely heart-pounding hiking experience, look no further than the Huayna Picchu mountain in Peru. This hike is not for the faint of heart, as it features a nearly vertical stair climb that some have nicknamed "the stairs of death." But if you're up for the challenge, the view from the top is more than worth it.
The temple of the moon
Also called the Great Cavern is an incredible temple built inside a natural cave with finely carved lithic structures. The Incas believed caves were a medium to communicate with the dead.
Some scholars of the Temple of the Moon believe that there are reasons to think that sacrifices were made at this location. The only way to visit the Temple of the Moon is by buying the combined entrance Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu in the first shift. Access to the temple of the moon is currently closed until further notice.
Ticket Times to enter Huayna Picchu Mountain.
200 people hike to Huayna Picchu Mountain daily, and the entrance tickets will sell out fast. For this reason, you need to book the tickets far in advance. There are four shifts that you can choose from:
The Huayna Picchu Tickets will allow you to enter Machu Picchu through Circuit 4 until you arrive at the Citadel's main entrance. Please note that circuit 4 is through the Lower part of Machu Picchu; if you want to explore the upper part, the views points of Machu Picchu, you need to buy another entrance with circuit 1 or 2.
First Shift to Huayna Picchu
Allows you to enter Machu Picchu citadel after 6.00 a.m. and Huayna Picchu from 7.00 a.m. to 8.00 a.m. You must stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes town the night before and take the early buses to Machu Picchu to arrive for this shift. Every day there are 50 permits available for this shift.
- Second Shift to Huayna Picchu
Allows you to enter Machu Picchu citadel after 7.00 a.m. and Huayna Picchu from 8.00 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. We recommend booking this shift if you stay the night before in Aguas Calientes; you need to enter Huayna Picchu Mountain before 9: 00 am. Please note that from the main entrance, there is still a 20 minutes hike to the main entrance of Huayna Picchu. Every day is available; only 50 permits are in this shift.
- The Third shift to Huayna Picchu
You can enter Machu Picchu citadel after 8.00 a.m. and Huayna Picchu between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. This shift is perfect for Alternative Treks such as the Short Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle trek, 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. Every day is available; only 50 permits are in this shift.
- The last shift to Huayna Picchu
You can enter Machu Picchu after 9.00 a.m. and Huayna Picchu; you can enter between 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. This shift is perfect for the Classic Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle trek, 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. Every day is available; only 50 permits are in this shift.
Please note that the cost for Huayna Picchu Mountain is 75$, is not possible to buy this mountain separately. You can only enter through the lower part of Machu Picchu, and you will not be able to access the upper part where the best photo places are. These tickets will not allow you to re-enter.
To have the whole Machu Picchu experience and get the upper part's pictures, you must purchase a separate regular Machu Picchu ticket (50$).
When you take a trekking tour, tour by train, or any other tour that Includes Machu Picchu entry, the regular Entry to Machu Picchu is always included.
Huayna Picchu Mountain FAQs
How challenging is the hike to Huayna Picchu?
Anyone in decent shape may climb Huayna Picchu. The route is steep, narrow, and slippery when wet, but steel cables are always available. The last section is the toughest, but the vistas are worth it. Once you reach the summit, you may enjoy the scenery or continue to Gran Caverna and the Temple of the Moon to the left. The usual path follows the right side from the summit and descends from the mountain in less than 1 hour.
How Much is the entrance ticket?
The cost of the Huayna Picchu tickets is 75.USD and includes Machu Picchu citadel through circuit 3. You can not buy just Huayna Picchu itself. The same is the case of Machu Picchu Mountain. To plan a perfect trip to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, you must book a more convenient shift for your tour.
When you hike the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you will arrive on the last day of the trek to Sungate around 6:30 a.m.; continue to Machu Picchu for another hour, where the Inca Trail ends. After resting, you will start a guided tour of Machu Picchu from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. approximate; next, if you have the Huayna Picchu tickets, you will hike to the top of this mountain, reach the top, go back down, and take the bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch, then take the train back to Cusco. The cost of the tickets is $75, and you must always book the last shift from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Treks like the Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle trek, Quarry Trek, Tours by train, and any other tour that includes spending the night in Aguas Calientes and taking the early buses up to Machu Picchu. You must book an early Machu Picchu entrance (6:am or 7:am), explore the upper part of the citadel with a guided tour, and use a second ticket to enter Huayna Picchu from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. By following this order, you will enjoy Machu Picchu to the fullest, have enough time to listen to the tour guides, and explore on your own before climbing the big mountain.
If you are traveling from Cusco or Ollantaytambo on a full-day tour, take the early train options (4 a.m. to 8) and make it on time before 11 a.m. to enter Huayna Picchu Mountain. You must always book the second shift (10 to 11 a.m.); you can get one ticket for Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu included at 75.USD or you can buy 2 tickets to enter Huayna Picchu (75. USD) and another to explore the citadel after the mountain (50. USD). Please remember to enjoy Machu Picchu in no hurry; you need at least 2 hours. If you have later trains, you can also consider booking the last shift of Huayan Picchu from 12: p.m. to 1 p.m.
Which is the best time of the day to hike Huayna Picchu Mountain?
The best time to hike Huayna Picchu is after the guided tour in 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 must enjoy it first. After Huayna Picchu, you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, enjoy a Cuzqueña (Local beer), and go back to Cusco.
Which is the best time of the year to hike this mountain?
Huyana Picchu is open all year round, but there are a few things to consider when planning the perfect trip for you. Machu Picchu is located in the cloud forest, the wettest place in Peru. Rains are expected anytime; we can have unexpected rainy days, even in the driest months like June or July.
Huayna Picchu during the dry season
From May to October in the Andes, less rainfall is expected in Machu Picchu. However, you must always carry rain gear, as the weather may change within a few minutes. These months are also the busiest time of the year, especially from June to September, when there will be long queues for buses, Machu Picchu, and trains.
Huayna Picchu during the wet season
From November to April. It is expected to rain in the mornings and late afternoon. However, the sun will come out around 9 to 10. However, in the cloud forest, the weather is unpredictable. It is better to be prepared for sunshine, rain, and cold weather.
The best time to visit Machu Picchu and hike Huayna Picchu Mountain is in the shoulder seasons: April, May, September, October, and November. These are the transition months between the dry, cold, and warm-wet seasons.
How high is Huayna Picchu Mountain?
The mountain's top is at 2693 meters (8835 ft). The hike starts in Machu Picchu at 2430 meters (7972ft) and finishes at the same place.
Where is it located, and how to get there?
The mountain known as Huayna Picchu can be found to the north of Machu Picchu; to reach the entrance to Huayna Picchu, you will need to trek through Machu Picchu for around twenty minutes after entering the site.
Is the Mountain Dangerous?
Huayna Picchu and Montaña are steep, open, exposed areas with sheer drops; however, Huayna Picchu is more vertical, and you will need to use in some parts handrails to keep your balance. Montaña is also steep, open, and exposed; however, it does not have the sheer drops which Huayna Picchu does. Use extreme caution when you are out on the trail to Huayna Picchu's top.
Is the hike worth It?
The ascent is difficult since it is steep and narrow; you must stop and allow the people behind you to pass. A series of steps at the very top is known as the Stairs of death. These stairs got their name because they are very steep and require you to ascend using your hands.
Despite the difficulties and possible risks involved, the ascent to Huayna Picchu is well worth it for the breathtaking vistas.
What are the entry times to the mountain?
- The first group allows access to Machu Picchu between 6 and 7 a.m.
- The entry to Huayna Picchu is between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning,
- If you are part of the second group, you can access Machu Picchu between 7 and 8.
- You can enter Huayna Picchu mountain between 8 and 9 in the morning.
The third shift
- You will have the opportunity to access Machu Picchu between 8 and 9.
- The Huayna Picchu entrance is open from 9.00 a.m. till 10.00 a.m.
The fourth and last shift of the day
- If you belong to the last group, you can access Machu Picchu between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.
- Between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., visitors can enter Huayna Picchu mountain.