Located to the north of the citadel of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu or Wayna Picchu is not another thing that the enormous mountain that is behind the Inca citadel and that usually can be appreciated in the traditional panoramic photos of the Inca archaeological remains. Huayna Picchu is the Quechua name that translates as “young mountain”, whose base is semicircular is bathed by the waters of the Urubamba River and is facing Machupicchu.
Reaching the top of Huayna Picchu climbing trek is a big challenge. The journey to the top of the mountain is adventurous and exhausting and takes about an hour. But once you are up, you will not regret it. The road begins entering an area with a very dense vegetation and soon begins the climb. The path, rather narrow, is formed by a series of steps of granite stone placed irregularly, they are called the stairs of death. There are some that seem carved in the same rock that continues along the wall. If you take the walk slowly it can take you about an hour. The narrow and stony road gathers hundreds of visitors per day from the whole world, who in different languages speak of the wonderful view from the mountain. It is known because from there you can appreciate Machu Picchu and it is a perfect background for the panoramic photographs of the Inca archaeological remains, however it also houses important archaeological remains related to the Inca complex such as the famous Temple of the Moon.
Hiking Huayna Picchu:
The Huayna Picchu Mountain is located between km 82 to 122 northeast of the department of Cusco, in the province of Urubamba, district of Machu Picchu. The Huayna Picchu belongs to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu and is north of the Inca City, and can be seen as the background of Machu Picchu in the photos spread of the enigmatic Llaqta or Inca City.
You can climb the Huayna Picchu Mountain by a steep path, which begins exactly in the area of the “Huayranas” within Machu Picchu, where there is a well-marked path, from the entrance gate to the Inca City to reach a control booth of Entrance and exit of the visitors. The narrow path of ascent includes steps worked on the edge of the walls of the mountain.
Natural landscape of Huayna Picchu Mountain:
Huayna Picchu Mountain is located in the middle of a landscape of jungle, surrounded by lush vegetation with a habitat of birds, butterflies, insects and others, all belonging to a tropical landscape, in addition you can see deep chasms. The rock walls, which are found during the ascent, belong to the Vilcabamba Batholith, and we are talking about the white granite. The climate is warm and temperate, during the dry season (from April to October), and with the presence of rains (from November to March), although Machu Picchu preserves its brightness, greenery all year round.
Another interesting fact, aside from the view you have of the Inca City of Machu Picchu and its surroundings, is the domain, which is the Vilcanota River and in the background the canyon, whose turbulent waters, are heard loudly even in this elevated site . And to crown the view, you can see from this point the Salkantay snow (Sacred Apu of the Incas), as well as the Inti Punku or entrance to Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail.
Limit to hiking Huayna Picchu:
Tickets for Huayna Picchu are scarce, only 200 spaces per group, so it is recommended to make the reservation in advance. There are 2 groups, t he first group is recommended for those who have more time and can go a day before the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town) where Machu Picchu is, as the average distance from Cusco to Machu Picchu is 3 hours and a half so Many times you do not usually arrive on time if you leave on the same day.
- First Group: 07:00 hrs. – 08.00 hrs.
- Second Group: 10:00 hrs. – 11:00 hrs.
The first group is recommended for those who have more time and have a day to spend the night in Aguas Calientes, the day before your visit.
Ascent time: The walk depending on the physical state of the person is 1 hour and 30 minutes one way and another both return. It is recommended that you exercise caution when climbing the mountain and especially undertake the return with great care, to avoid accidents.
What is the difficulty of climb the Huayna Picchu?
It can be cataloged with a moderate difficulty. It is a vertical 300 meter ascent; of narrow and irregular stairs; it has some very narrow paths in which it will have to be fastened by ropes to cross them; but despite all this, it is not really very complicated.
Although it is not really dangerous, you will have to follow the signposted course at all times, to look for a way on your own or not to follow the signposted paths, it could mean a very serious accident. It is not recommended if you suffer from vertigo (fear of heights) since it will become very difficult since it is a slope with steep steps; The problem is that passengers who suffer from vertigo, usually do not stop being afraid. But you will always have the possibility to descend.
- If you dare to go up to Huayna Picchu, remember to buy the entrance tickets in advance.
- Estimate the time of walking at a quiet pace, if you are in the first group, you can photograph the City of Machu Picchu, without much flow of people.
- Keep in mind, that during the rainy season the floor is slippery, you have to climb very carefully.
- Do not forget, bring sunscreen and repellent, as well as good anti-slip shoes, head protection and of course in the rainy season bring a good waterproof.
- Finally, if you are in good physical condition but suffer vertigo (fear of heights), it is advisable to opt for the entrance to Machu Picchu Mountain as an alternative.