All you need to know about Machu Picchu Mountain Hike!
Machu Picchu Mountain, also known as Montaña Machu Picchu, is the area's highest mountain at 3082 meters (10111 feet) and is located in the Machu Picchu District Urubamba Province, Cusco Region. This mountain rises in the Machu Picchu Citadel's southern area. Machu Picchu derives from the Quechua: Machu (ancient or great) and Picchu (mountain). The name Machu Picchu translates to "great mountain. Many people would mistake Machu Picchu Mountain for Machu Picchu Citadel; they are not the same.
When you book a tour or purchase Machu Picchu entrance tickets, you reserve access to the Machu Picchu Citadel but not necessarily the mountain. Machu Picchu Mountain, or Montaña, is the highest mountain in the area. There is an entrance fee, and you must book in advance. Visiting Machu Picchu doesn't necessarily mean you must hike to this mountain; it's optional. You can only hike it if you have a permit different from the Machu Picchu Citadel.
What are the entry times for Machu Picchu Montaña?
To enter Machu Picchu Mountain (Montaña Machu Picchu), you must book the entrance ticket in advance since they tend to sell out fast, depending on the season. You can choose two different shifts to hike this mountain. However, you must first consider the type of tour you will participate in before booking the Montaña entrance.
Montaña Machu Picchu tickets will allow you to enter Machu Picchu twice. First, you will enter the upper of Machu Picchu, where are the best views; after you finish hiking Montaña Machu Picchu, you will be able to enter again to Machu Picchu, this time to explore Circuit 3.
First shift to Montaña (7:00 am–8:00 am)
The first shift is ideal for those who stayed in Aguas Calientes the previous night. You must board early morning buses to Machu Picchu and ascend this peak before sunrise. From the summit of Montaña, one can see how slowly Machu Picchu becomes crowded. If you choose this option, the total cost of Machu Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Citadel will be US$ 75, and only 50 people are allowed in this shift. But there is a downside: after a 3-hour round-trip hike up this peak, you will be too tired to continue your 2- to 3-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu.
When you purchase this option, you must enter the Machu Picchu citadel between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. It takes 25 minutes to hike from the main gate to the control point of this mountain. Once you finish the hike, you can reenter Machu Picchu through the lower part (Circuit 3)
Second Shift to Montaña (8:00 am to 9:00 am)
The second shift, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., allows 50 people to enter; this is ideal for people arriving at Machu Picchu after hiking the Short Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle, or Tours by train. It would be best to first explore the Citadel of Machu Picchu before ascending the mountain. It will take around 1.5 hours to reach the mountain's summit and a similar time to return.
Unless you take a private trip, we don't suggest this mountain if you're trekking the Classic 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Then, you hike this mountain first and then visit Machu Picchu. If you stay an additional day in Aguas Calientes after the Inca Trail, you may hike this mountain and return to Cusco the following day. Machu Picchu Mountain tickets allow you to reenter Machu Picchu but only through the shortest circuit called "CIRCUIT 3 OR LOWER ENTRANCE."
How hard is it to climb Montaña?
The trail to Machu Picchu Mountain is more difficult since it is longer and higher than the trail to Huayna Picchu Mountain. Many people believe that Huayna Picchu is the best, so it sells out rapidly. Due to its location, I consider Machu Picchu Mountain one of the most magnificent mountain peaks. You will enjoy a 360-degree view of the whole Machu Picchu area from the summit.
At first, it is steep with a moderate incline. The ascent becomes more difficult as it continues. Upon reaching the summit, you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and the magnificent fortress of Machu Picchu far below. Remember to use extreme caution to prevent accidents.
Anybody in average physical condition can climb this peak. The 1.5 hours to the top can be done at your own pace and with as many breaks as you want.
How much is the cost of the entrance ticket?
You can not buy Machu Picchu Montaña Tickets separately. You must always buy them together, including Machu Picchu Circuit 3, which costs US$ 75 per person. You must consider your guided tour time before booking any shift when participating in a tour. If your tour is with a tour company, contacting them and requesting that they advise you through booking the best shift that fits your schedule is better. Below is the recommended schedule depending on the tour you are booking.
The Classic Inca Trail + Machu Picchu Montaña combination is not recommended because there is not enough time to arrive from the Inca Trail, visit the Machu Picchu citadel, and hike Machu Picchu Mountain. It's possible, and we've had past guests who completed Machu Picchu citadel and the mountain. However, you might have to skip part of the guided tour of Machu Picchu citadel. We recommend booking Machu Picchu Mountain only if you want to stay an extra day in Aguas Calientes; then, you can go back the next day to Machu Picchu and climb the mountain.
As mentioned above, it's possible to do both but not recommended; if you have only one day and must do Machu Picchu Mountain too, please make sure you book the last shift and keep in mind that you might have to skip part of the tour. You must always inform and coordinate with your tour guide.
The entrance ticket to Machu Picchu Montaña + Machu Picchu Circuit 3 is US$75. The Inca Trail permit will allow you to enter Machu Picchu. However, we must book a new entrance again to climb Machu Picchu Mountain.
The Short Inca Trail + Machu Picchu Montaña is perfect and recommended. You need to participate first in the guided tour of the citadel as part of your regular tour; then, you will exit Machu Picchu and reenter again. This time, you will head straight for 25 minutes to the entrance of Machu Picchu Mountain. Once you complete the 2 or 3 hours of exploring Machu Picchu with your tour guide, you must find the Machu Picchu Mountain entrance and enter the second shift from 9:00 a.m. to 10 a.m.
The cost of the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu Montaña is US$75. The short Inca Trail permit will allow you to enter Machu Picchu. However, to climb Machu Picchu Mountain, we must book a new entrance for Machu Picchu Mountain + Machu Picchu Circuit 3.
This group includes the Salkantay Trek, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle Trek, Alternative Inca Trail, Huchuy Qosqo Trek, Quarry Trek, and other treks that involve spending the night before in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo).
After spending the night in Aguas Calientes the following morning, you will catch the early buses up to the citadel and access Machu Picchu via the main checkpoint. First, exploring the citadel would be best, especially on a group excursion. After spending 2–3 hours with your tour guide visiting Machu Picchu, you must find the Machu Picchu Mountain entrance and join the second shift between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.
After entering the trail to Montaña Machu Picchu, you will have until noon to complete the hike: ascend to the summit (2 hours), descend the same route, exit back to the Machu Picchu citadel, explore the citadel further, take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, and return to your hotel or train station.
To follow the itinerary mentioned above, you must first book the earliest Machu Picchu access (6 a.m. or 7 a.m. CIRCUIT 2, for US$ 50). Then, you must purchase Machu Picchu Mountain between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. Please be aware that you must ensure you enter the mountain at the specified time.
It is possible to purchase just one ticket. Still, you will be required to climb and complete Machu Picchu mountain before continuing on the 2 to 3-hour tour of Machu Picchu, but only via the lower half, missing the spectacular views of Machu Picchu from the top. If you purchase just one ticket for Machu Picchu Mountain, you must add US$ 35 to your trip price.
Traveling by train is also a fantastic experience since you will enjoy the tremendous views of the Andes. There are two ways to visit Machu Picchu by Train. Full-day Tours from Cusco: you will travel from Cusco or Ollantaytambo very early (from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.) by train, arrive at Aguas Calientes, board the bus to Machu Picchu, and explore the Machu Picchu Citadel. To climb Machu Picchu Mountain, you must always book the last shift from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and climb the mountain before the guided tour. Overnight Tours: If you plan to spend the night in Aguas Calientes and visit Machu Picchu the next day, the recommendation is to have a guided tour of the citadel and then hike the mountain. For this, you will need the double ticket option.
FAQs about Montaña Machu Picchu
Which is the best time of the day to hike?
Whether you are on a group tour or have a private tour guide, these options are recommended.
Private Tours to Machu Picchu
You can hike up to Machu Picchu Montaña first and then meet your tour guide at a specific point and explore the citadel. You can also request your tour guide to go up to the mountain. However, this is an extra charge as the Machu Picchu guided tour only includes the citadel. If this is your plan, you will only need one ticket, and the cost is US$ 75 in total.
Group Tours to Machu Picchu
If you are part of a group tour, the one-ticket option is not for you. The group guided tours are always in the morning when Machu Picchu is not very crowded. After exploring Machu Picchu, you can climb Machu Picchu Mountain by yourself. You need 2 tickets: 1 for Machu Picchu early entry (US$ 50) and one for Machu Picchu + Montaña (US$ 75). A tour guide for Machu Picchu Mountain is not necessary.
Where Can I Hire a Private Tour Guide for Machu Picchu?
TreXperience has an excellent staff of tour guides! They are all locals and come from the surrounding villages. They speak Quechua (an ancient language of the Incas) as their first language; Spanish is their second language, and they are fluent in English. Our tour guides have constant training in first aid, have updated knowledge of the history of Machu Picchu, animals, and plants, and always ensure that their knowledge is current.
You can book a Private Tour Guide for Machu Picchu with TreXperience.
Which time of the year is best to hike Machu Picchu Montaña?
Machu Picchu is in the tropical cloud forest in the warm and humid upper Amazon. Machu Picchu is situated on a high mountain top with difficult access and cannot be seen from the lower part. Also, the area gets covered by mist and clouds for most of the year.
Travelers will visit Machu Picchu all year round, even with intense sun, clouds, or rain; the city will still amaze you. Below are some recommendations to consider when visiting Machu Picchu.
- The dry season is from May to October and is expected to have little rain. However, you must always have rain gear as the weather can change in minutes. This season is also busy, especially from June to September when there will be long lines for the buses, Machu Picchu, and trains.
- The wet season is from November to April; rain is expected early in the morning, and the sun will come out around 9 to 10 a.m. However, in the cloud forest, the weather is unpredictable. Preparing for the sun, rain, and cold weather is better. The best time to visit Machu Picchu and hike Machu Picchu mountain are the shoulder seasons: April, May, September, October, and November.
How high is the mountain?
Montaña Machu Picchu is the highest mountain in the area at 3082 meters (10111 ft.). The hike begins at Machu Picchu citadel (2430 m - 7972 ft). To reach the top of Machu Picchu Mountain, you need at least 1.5 hours and a similar time to come back the same way.
Where is it located, and how do you get there?
Machu Picchu Mountain is located southwest of the citadel, and the entrance is in the upper part of Machu Picchu near the Guardhouse. After passing the checkpoint, you hike up toward the Guardhouse three times on the left side until you arrive at the main trail that leads to the Sun Gate (Intipunku). Then, continue hiking this trail for about 5 minutes until you see a sign that says Machu Picchu Mountain, and turn to the right. You will see a set of long stairs going upwards until you arrive at the checkpoint. The total time from the main entrance of Machu Picchu to the gate of Montaña is about 25 minutes.
Is Machu Picchu a mountain?
Machu Picchu Citadel and the mountain, also known as Montaña, are not the same: Machu Picchu Citadel is an archeological site. Huayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain are extra hikes, and you must get a permit beforehand.
Is Machu Picchu Montaña Dangerous?
The trail is steep in some parts of the mountains with stairs and can be dangerous; you must always be careful and follow your tour guide's signs and instructions.
Is the Montaña hike worth it?
The climb to Montaña Machu Picchu could be challenging. The sun is intense, and you might wander the middle of the trail wondering, "Why am I doing this?". You will find the answer once you reach the mountaintop and have a fantastic view of Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, and the surrounding mountains.
What are the entry times to Montaña Machu Picchu?
- First Shift: You can enter Machu Picchu at 6 a.m. and Montaña from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
- Second Shift: You can enter Machu Picchu at 7 a.m. and Montaña from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Where can I book the Machu Picchu tickets?
To book Machu Picchu tickets, we require your passport details; choose the entry shift and the number of travelers, and enter your details. Every booking needs to be confirmed manually. Please note that Machu Picchu is subject to availability; tickets are only guaranteed after confirmation within 24 hours of submitting the booking.
You can also add a private tour guide for Machu Picchu and bus tickets, and if you would like the train tickets quoted, don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +51957011937 (WhatsApp or Signal).
Tips for Hiking Machu Picchu Mountain
- Start your hike early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowds.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you fueled during your hike.
- Take breaks often to catch your breath and enjoy the views.
- Be prepared for some steep sections, but know the rewards are worth it!
- Stay on the trail at all times to help protect this fragile ecosystem.
- When you reach the summit, take a moment to soak in the incredible views of Machu Picchu.
What to Pack for the Hike
When packing for the hike to Machu Picchu Mountain, bring plenty of water, snacks, comfortable walking shoes, clothes for warm weather, sunscreen, insect repellent, and rain gear. Also, be sure to pack a camera to capture the stunning views!
Weather in Machu Picchu
If you plan to hike Machu Picchu Mountain, check the weather forecast. The mountain can be treacherous in bad weather, with strong winds and rain. It's always best to be prepared for the worst, so pack accordingly and check the forecast before setting out on your hike.
Flora in Machu Picchu
If you're looking to hike Machu Picchu Mountain, you'll be rewarded with some of the most stunning views of flora in the world. The mountain is home to an incredible variety of plant life, including many rare and endangered species of orchids and flowers.
Fauna in Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is home to various animals, including several species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. The most common bird species are the Andean condor, black vultures, eagles, falcons, and owls. Mammals include the Andean cat, foxes, and llamas. Reptiles include snakes and lizards.
The temperature during the day
The average temperature in Machu Picchu is 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20ºC). However, the temperature can range from 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Packaging clothing for all weather conditions is essential when hiking Machu Picchu Mountain.
Machu Picchu Mountain is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the world and for a good reason. The views from the top are breathtaking, and the sense of accomplishment you feel after completing the hike is unbeatable. If you're considering tackling Machu Picchu Mountain, follow our complete guide to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Map of Machu Picchu and Montaña
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I would like to do a hike next December for my 60th birthday and bring a group