UJ Explorer

Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, that is the question

Published 3 October 2018

Written by: Ximena Arrieta

Walking through the citadel of Machu Picchu is an unforgettable experience: admire their perfectly fitted stone walls, learn how the Incas built them taking into consideration their worldview and connection with nature, discover that each of its sections has a motive in its structure and orientation. However, there are other ways to enjoy it outside the traditional circuit.

For those who like hiking or want a bit more adrenaline, Machu Picchu offers two great options. The ascent to Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain are the cherry of the cake of any visit, experiences that will allow you to see this jewel of architecture from another angle. Do you know the differences between them? If you have no idea, we'll tell you:

1. Huayna Picchu

The mountain Huayna Picchu is undoubtedly the best known: it is the one that appears in the background in all the photos and postcards of Machu Picchu. The ascent can take between 45 minutes and an hour, with steep steps and narrow roads that surround the mountain next to intimidating abysses. It is an experience not suitable for those who suffer from vertigo, but if they can overcome their fear, the view from the top will be worth everything.

If you have more time, in Huayna Picchu’s touristic circuit is the Temple of the Moon or the Great Cavern, a fantastic construction made inside a stone cave. The entire journey takes approximately three to four hours.

2. Machu Picchu Mountain

When we mention Machu Picchu, confusion can arise. However, the relationship is simple: the Inca citadel is at the foot of the Machu Picchu Mountain. So, from the top of it, you can see the archaeological site such as Huayna Picchu, the Vilcabamba mountain range and the Salkantay snow-capped mountain.

The Machu Picchu Mountain has begun to attract the attention of tourists, especially those who are looking for a less challenging road with few people walking through it. The ascent is approximately two hours and is not vertical as in Huayna Picchu, ideal to enjoy the landscape and recharge with the energy of the citadel.

How to buy the tickets?

To make these walks, you must buy a special ticket. It includes the entrance to the archaeological site plus the pass for Huayna Picchu or Mountain Machu Picchu as chosen. For both, there are two turns of entry, and only one must be selected when buying the ticket with due anticipation since the spots are limited.