Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain: Which one to choose?

Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain: Which one to choose?

Once you’ve planned your travel to Machu Picchu, it’s time to decide which of the two imposing mountains that surround the citadel you want to scale. If you’re going to take the rick to climb one of them and get the best pic from the top; this article can help you to know what are the differences and similarities of these routes.

First of all, you have to know that we call Machu Picchu Citadel to the archaeological site itself, that is to say the low area where the most of the incas buildings are located. While Huayna Picchu mountain and Machu Picchu mountain are the two big mountains that surround the citadel. The image below will help you to recognize each location. It might be helpful to say that the mountain that is background of every typical picture of Machu Picchu is the Huayna Picchu mountain.

Huayna Picchu vs Machu Picchu Mountain


Machu Picchu mountain reach the 3082 m.a.s.l. filled with very thick plant life, a wide range of orchids, butterflies and birds, besides of a path quite flat; meanwhile Huayna Picchu mountain reach the 2720 m.a.s.l. where you can find archaeological ruins and Andean platforms along a narrow and steepy path.

Machu Picchu mountain and Huayna Picchu.

Tour duration

Both ways take approximately 1 hour in the rise and 1 hour to descent, although the trek to Machu Picchu mountain is a little bit longer since the path is very flat. Keep in mind that the access to both mountain is through the citadel for what the tickets are on sale as Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu + mountain.


The level of difficulty to scale the Huayna Picchu mountain is very average, however is a good strategy to stop and get some air every time you need; this will let you to climb without much trouble by adopting a natural breath rhythm. In some parts is necessary rely on the walls and remain very attentive, particularly on stairs and some walkways. Despite of this route appear to be too risky, the record of accidents or injuries is very rare and we assure you that your effort will be worth it.

Trail to Machu Picchu is very much wider and flat, that gives you more time to observe the wildlife and vegetation of the area. This option is the most accurate if you’re planning to make the trip with your kids. Remember that on both routes is always important to be aware of the altitude sickness.

Stairways to Huayna Picchu and path to Machu Picchu mountain.

Which is the best season to do these routes?

The best season to visit Machu Picchu is between April and October, that is dry season. Despite of observing less rainfall, the subtropical climate and some humid forests maintain the scenery unchanged, for what you can take great pictures on both tours.

In which can I get the best views?

Huayna Picchu is one of the preferred routes for travelers, because of its steep ways and rustic stairs is a great attraction for adventure and hiking lovers. It’s not rare to get good pictures from these unusual angles, besides of feeling a rewarding sensation when you get to the top. The ascent to Machu Picchu mountain has a wider and regular path, more convenient for family trips with children; on the other hand besides of not to count with archaeological ruins, visitors that choose this route can get pictures as good as can from Huayna Picchu.       

Views from Huayna Picchu.

Views from Machu Picchu.

It’s necessary to indicate that due to high demand for travelers to Huayna Picchu, it’s essential to buy the tickets 3 or 4 months ahead. On the other hand tickets for Machu Picchu mountain can be found even 2 or 3 days ahead, which might be an advantage if you have an itinerary more versatile.

Recommendations and Restrictions

Entrance 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’re going to walk the mountain with a baby is a requirement to bring a baby-carrier with you because baby strollers are not allowed in the sanctuary.

In order to avoid the altitude sickness for your baby you can buy candies of coca in the city of Cusco or the village of Machu Picchu.

Take into account that the Price of the tickets tend to vary so is a good idea to consult conveniently the official site of the Cultural Administration of Cusco in order to verify availability.

You can plan your travel and accommodation in Machu Picchu with us visiting or ask more information sending an e-mail to

Images of jipe7, inyucho, Blake Read, owlpacino and Nimmi Solomon on Flickr licenced by Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

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