The Huayna Picchu mountain is the summit that looks high and imposing in the classic photos of Machu Picchu. The Incas built a series of stone stairs to its top from where you have spectacular views. Walking these stairs is a challenging adventure for any tourist. However, the pleasure of doing it is worth it. Learn more about this famous mountain.
The young mountain
Huayna Picchu is a Quechua word that means ‘young mountain’. The reason for this name seems to be related to the highest mountain in the place called Machu Picchu, which means ‘old mountain’.
To get to the top, a hike of almost two kilometers must be made through ascending sections (up slopes of up to 30º). This hike is considered the best adventure in Machupicchu.
In addition to roads, along the Huayna Picchu mountain the Incas built platforms, smaller enclosures and even mysterious temples such as the Great Cavern. To get to this building you must take a detour from the top.
Along the mountain there is a great diversity of flora and fauna. Species such as: orchids, lizards, vizcachas and even the cock of the rocks stand out.
Location inside Machu Picchu
The Huayna Picchu mountain is located north of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu (approximately 2 kilometers of walking). The top of the mountain is 2,720 meters above sea level, that is, about 300 meters higher than the archaeological site of Machu Picchu.
History of Huayna Picchu
The Huayna Picchu mountain was annexed to the Inca empire under the rule of Emperor Pachacutec (1418 AD – 1471 AD). The construction of the Inca city dates back to 1450 AD In addition to the temples, enclosures and platforms; The Incas built hundreds of stairs to reach the peaks of the mountains that surround the citadel: Machupicchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain.
For a little over a hundred years the Incas continued to build the enclosures and temples on the Huayna Picchu mountain. However, in 1535 due to the wars between the Incas and the Spanish, the people of Machupicchu abandoned the place. Thus, the buildings of Huayna Picchu, such as the Temple of the Moon, were left unfinished.
Since the world news of its discovery in 1911, and the excavation work in Huayna Picchu; the mountain opened its doors to tourists. Today is one of the best adventures in Machupicchu. Your admission is included with a ticket other than general admission. This entry is one of the most requested by the visitor.
The hike to the top of the Huayna Picchu mountain is an incredible adventure. It travels almost 2 kilometers on ascending paths (stone stairs almost the entire route) with slopes of 30 degrees. It takes tourists 1 to 2 hours to reach the top. There you have impressive views of Machu Picchu.
The mountainous altitude makes it difficult to catch your breath for the hike. The most difficult sections are the steep ‘stairs of death’. Once at the top, you can take a detour that leads to the famous ‘Great Cavern’. Along the way you can also appreciate the diverse flora and fauna characteristic of Machupicchu.
The stairs of death
These stairs are the most difficult section of the way to the top of Huayna Picchu. It is a set of one hundred stone steps with an average slope of up to 60 degrees. Due to the difficulty of traversing this path, both hands must be used to hold on to each step.
Despite its name, no one has lost their lives on these stairs. They are almost at the end of the ascent path. During the return journey, special care must be taken. For greater security, there are ropes to hold onto while ascending or descending this path.
The Great Cavern (Temple of the Moon)
The Great Cavern is also called the ‘Temple of the Moon’. It is located at the back of the mountain, on a difficult path that starts from the top and connects in the middle of the return path. Due to the difficulty of getting there (an additional 2 hours to the normal path), not many tourists manage to visit it. Those who do, will find themselves almost alone with this mysterious construction.
The Great Cavern is a temple carved with the formations of a cave. It has large windows, walls and a finely carved ceremonial table as religious ceremonies were held there. In the vicinity of the place there are similar constructions that were not completed. Tourists currently perform there religious ceremonies of ‘payment to the land’, as was the practice of the Incas hundreds of years ago.
The entrance ticket
The entrance ticket to the Huayna Picchu mountain has a cost of 200 Peruvian soles. This ticket includes entry to both the mountain and the archaeological site of Machu Picchu at one of these times:
- 1st. schedule: entrance to Machupicchu from 6 in the morning. The entrance to Huaynapicchu between 7 to 8 in the morning.
- 2nd. schedule: entrance to Machupicchu from 7 in the morning. The entrance to Huaynapicchu between 7 to 8 in the morning.
- 3rd. schedule: entrance to Machupicchu from 8 in the morning. The entrance to Huaynapicchu between 10.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m.
The ticket offers discounts for university students and people between 8 and 17 years old. The cost of the ticket for them is 118 Peruvian soles.
Visitors from Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia pay 112 Peruvian soles for their entrance. If they are university students or a person between 8 and 17 years old, they pay 80 Peruvian soles.
The entrance to Huayna Picchu must be purchased online with an anticipation of approximately 3 months. It is the entry most requested by visitors.
The tour guide service
The tour guide service is optional in the Huayna Picchu mountain. The guide service at the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, on the other hand, is mandatory and highly recommended.
At the entrance gate to Machu Picchu you can get the tourist guide service. Prices range from $ 10 per visitor in shared service.
The guided tour of the Huayna Picchu mountain can only be hired in private service. Costs range from $ 40 to $ 60 per group.
Some rules inside the mountain
The entrance to the Huayna Picchu mountain is prohibited for tourists under 12 years of age.
When buying the ticket, the tourist must choose an entry time. The entrance to the mountain is compulsory at the established time. The maximum time to return from the top of the mountain is 1 in the afternoon.
All tourists must register their entrance to the Huayna Picchu mountain in a control booth at the door of the mountain.
Backpacks are allowed as long as they do not impede the transit of other visitors.
It is not allowed to enter with tripods, drones, selfie sticks, professional recording devices or other objects that impede the easy transit of other people.
All visitors must follow the established signs. Avoiding the route is a danger for visitors.
Photographs are allowed. However, it is forbidden to take photos near cliffs as this is a danger to the integrity of visitors.
The entrance allows you to leave Machu Picchu and re-enter once. Thus the visitor can complete the visit of both the mountain and the archaeological site.
Tips for a safe visit
Walking the paths of the Huayna Picchu mountain is a safe adventure if the visitor himself does not risk his life foolishly, approaching the ravines to take pictures. You also shouldn’t look for paths off the beaten track.
Teens must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Older adults should consult a doctor if they are physically fit to do this walk.
If you make the trek to the Huayna Picchu mountain, do not forget to bring a medium backpack with fruits, snacks, rehydrating drinks and an additional polo shirt or blouse. This way you can use both hands for the most difficult sections of the hike.