The Mysteries of Machu Picchu
Since its discovery in the early 20th century, Machu Picchu has taken off as a world destination, being named year after year as a best travel destination and one of...
If your trip to Cusco is already set on your calendar, then surely you have already started to investigate everything about your visit to the famous Inca sanctuary, Machu Picchu.
And with a good reason, as there are many things that must be taken into account when visiting this tourist destination, such as traveling from your place of origin to Lima, capital of Peru, and then to the city of Cusco, the province where Machu Picchu is located. Then taking an Inca Rail train to Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu town, a bus to the citadel, and finally entering to one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World.
That is why in this post we want to give you a great tip about your visit, so your trip to this legendary place exceeds your expectations. And for that we recommend visiting Huayna Picchu, the mountain that is north of Machu Picchu, and that will offer you a panoramic view of the whole place.
In Quechua, the meaning of Huayna Picchu, is “Young Mountain”, and it is believed that this was the place of surveillance of the Inca city.
Its altitude is 2693 MASL, which is equivalent to a route of 2 kilometers, which can be walked in 2 hours and 30 minutes (round trip).
To make this ascent it is ideal to have some physical resistance to enjoy the journey as much as possible, as it has a lot of narrow roads that involves innumerable stairs and mostly with vertical inclination.
If you want to access this mountain, one of the 2 trekkings available in Machu Picchu (the other is Machu Picchu Mountain), you must make sure you get the correct entrance ticket since there are several options:
Citadel of Machu Picchu
Citadel of Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu
Citadel of Machu Picchu + Mountain
It is also very important to know that the maximum capacity to visit Huayna Picchu is 400 people per day, divided into two groups of 200 each.
The first shift is from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., and the second one is from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. So, it can only be accessed during the morning.
To check the availability of tickets and schedules, you can visit the official website of Machu Picchu: http://machupicchu.gob.pe/
One of the main attractions to ascend Huayna Picchu is to visit the ceremonial temple of the Moon, an incredible construction that is inside a natural cave, which represents one of the most amazing structures of the Sanctuary by the perfectly symmetrical and polished cuts of the rocks. It is believed that this place was used to house mummies and make sacrifices.
If you go to Aguas Calientes (or Machu Picchu Pueblo) for the day, we recommend to take one of our first available trains (between 5:55 – 8:00 am). This way you will be able to arrive on time for the second entrance shift of Huayna Picchu and take advantage of your visit within the Ciudadela to the maximum.
If you prefer instead to be during the sunrise inside Machu Picchu, you should ride your train the day before your visit (the last train leaves from Ollantaytambo at 7:27 pm) and wake up very early (5am) to take the bus to this Wonder of the World and enter at the time that Machu Picchu opens: 6am.
For more information about tour rain schedules, we invite you to visit our website: www.incarail.com
Likewise, we advise you to be prepared as far as clothing is concerned. As we have mentioned in other opportunities, the climate in Cusco is very changeable, and can vary quickly from rain to sun… from cold to heat … And if you are also planning to do the trekking of Huayna Picchu we recommend you to wear comfortable clothes such as stretch pants, dry fit shirts and trekking shoes, and a coat if the weather warrants it.
Other clothes that will be super useful will be a windbreaker, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen to protect you from the intense rays of the sun, and a poncho or umbrella if it rains. If you want to know more tips on what to pack and use in your visit to Machu Picchu, we recommend you read this post.
Finally, and to charge you with energy after your achievement, you can pack fruits and snacks to eat at the summit or at the end of the journey back to the Citadel. Another essential element will be a canteen with water, so that you can hydrate during the road and in moments of rest.
There is no doubt that visiting Machu Picchu is a unique experience in life, and if you add the Huayna Picchu trekking, it will be a doubly special experience.
Like any learning experience, you will get as a reward for your great effort of climbing this mountain a magical, almost dreamed view, of imposing mountains, impressive ancestral buildings, and incredible vibes that we assure you will remember forever.