After having planned your visit to Machu Picchu, you have to decide which of the two imposing mountains that surround the citadel you will travel to complete your trip. If you are going to risk climbing one of them and take the best picture from the top; This blog will help you to know what are the differences and similarities between these two routes.
Before knowing more about the routes, we must know that the name of Machu Picchu citadel is for the archaeological site itself, that is, the area where we observe the greatest number of Inca constructions. While Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains are the two great mountains that house the citadel. The image below will help you better recognize each of these places; It is worth mentioning that the most typical photos of the citadel have Huayna Picchu in the background, so it is the most recognizable between the two.
Difference between Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Mountains
Huayna Picchu mountain is the one that appears behind Machu Picchu in its classic photo postcard; its Inca trails built on one side of the mountain can be frightening for people with fear of heights; these circulate next to abysses of hundreds of meters, they are steep and narrow; with some sections where you will have to hold on to safety cables to balance yourself; It is a challenge for anyone. If you suffer from vertigo or can not control your fear of heights, it is better to overlook this mountain. The Machu Picchu mountain offers less steep, wider and visually less terrifying roads. When booking the Machu Picchu Tickets think about all the people that come with you, this trek is ideal if you come with children or with elderly people.
The Machu Picchu mountain trails offer long periods of time without seeing anyone; very different from Huayna Mountain, where you will have to wait your turn to be able to use the access route. Both roads have almost the same distance (about 2 km), however, the walk to the top of Huayna Picchu is more vertical than the Machu Picchu Mountain and will take less time. The Machu Picchu mountain is one of the most amazing treks in Machu Picchu; However, if you can overcome your fear of heights, we recommend reserving the Huayna Picchu mountain, it is possible that your life will change completely after you reach the top.
The reservation of tickets…
You will have to reserve 6 months before if you want one of the 400 tickets available to ascend the Huayna Picchu mountain. The trek through the Machu Picchu mountain allows the entry of 800 people each day and the ticket can be booked up to weeks in advance. But remember that in high season, reservation times should be longer, and you will also have to provide for train tickets, hotels and others. Ticket Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu or Ticket Machu Picchu + Mountain, if you already know which mountain is for you, check availability.
- Machu Picchu mountain: reaches 3082 m.a.s.l. with a very leafy vegetation, great variety of orchids, butterflies and birds, in addition to a quite horizontal road
- Huayna Picchu mountain: reaches 2720 m.a.s.l where you can see archaeological remains and terraces along a road with narrow accesses and very steep sections.
Technical differences between Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountains:
Huayna Picchu Mountain:
- Height: 2,693 m.a.s.l
- Walk distance: 2 km, steep and narrow roads.
- Location: North of the Inca City of Machu Picchu.
- Road Description: The trails are quite steep, you will need ropes to overcome some parts of the road. You will cross steps built in rock and wooden stairs; the road is visually terrifying.
- Access: From the Inca City of Machu Picchu, through the Sector of the Huayranas (Sacred Rock). Here you will find the entrance control booth to the mountain.
- Schedule: First Group: 07:00 hrs. – 08:00 hrs. Second Group: 10:00 hrs. – 11:00 hrs.
- Number of visitors: 400 per day, divided into two groups of 200.
- Walking Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes (up and down).
- Degree of Difficulty: Moderately high. It is a steep mountain, with precipices and many steps (not recommended if you suffer from vertigo).
- Archaeological Attractions: Andenería and the amazing Temple of the Moon, built inside a natural cave.
- Flora and fauna:: Landscape of jungle brow, abundant vegetation, which serves as a habitat for birds, butterflies and insects.
- Advantages: Some of the best panoramic views of the Inca City and the amazing mountain environment where it is located.
- Disadvantages: Precipices covered with vegetation, steep ascent, narrow roads.
Machu Picchu Mountain:
- Height: 3,082 m.s.n.m.
- Walk distance: 2 km., Will ascend approximately 300 m. vertical
- Location: Opposite Huayna Picchu and to the left of the Traditional Road.
- Description of the Way: Abundant vegetation, highlight the wild orchids. The wide paths will allow you to cross them in a quiet way.
- Access: From the Machu Picchu Complex, go up to the lookout (Casa del Guardián) continue to the detour that is indicated by a sign.
- Schedule: First Group: 07:00 hrs. – 08:00 hrs. Second Group: 9:00 hrs. – 10:00 hrs.
- Number of visitors: 800 spaces per day, divided into 2 groups of 400.
- Walk Time: 3 and a half hours (round trip).
- Degree of Difficulty: Moderate / high. Archaeological
- Attractions: None.
- Flora and fauna: You will find a variety of orchids, butterflies and birds.
- Advantages: Less steep trails, panoramic views of the Inca City and the Huayna Picchu Mountain.
- Disadvantages: It has no archaeological remains.
What is the best season to visit Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu Mountains?
The best season to visit Machu Picchu is between April and October, in the dry season. In spite of observing less rainfall, the subtropical climate and some regions with humid forests maintain the landscape without many changes, so you can obtain good photographs in both routes.
In which are the best views?
Having bleachers, narrow passages and archaeological remains along the way makes Huayna Picchu the preferred route for travelers looking for adventure; These details make it possible to get different views from various points of the route, and also when you reach the top you will feel a very rewarding feeling for all the effort it has cost you. The climb to Machu Picchu mountain has a much wider and regular road, more convenient for family trips and with small children; On the other hand, despite not having Inca buildings, visitors who choose this route can enjoy views as good and diverse as from Huayna Picchu.
Recommendations and Restrictions
The entry to Huayna Picchu mountain is restricted to children over 12 years old and the entrance to Machu Picchu mountain is allowed for children of all ages. If you are going to travel the mountain with a baby, it is a requirement to bring a babysitter since you can not enter with cars. To prevent altitude sickness from affecting your baby you can buy candies for height in the city of Cusco or in the town of Machu Picchu. Keep in mind that the prices of tickets tend to vary and it would be a good idea to consult the official site of the Cultural Office of Cusco in a timely manner to verify its availability.