Difference Between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Machu Picchu | 3 comments

Huayna Picchu Mountain Hike

Difference Between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain? The first thing you should know is to not confuse both of these add-ons with the archaeological site of Machu Picchu as seen in the picture below.

Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain are two different mountains located near the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru.

Machu Picchu Mountain is the highest Trail of the two mountains, reaching a height of 2,720 meters (8,924 feet), while Huayna Picchu Mountain is slightly shorter and steepest at 2,600 meters (8,530 feet). Both mountains offer stunning views of the surrounding area and are popular tourist destinations.

How do I get tickets for Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain?

Certainly! Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain are both incredible experiences, and securing tickets in advance is essential. Let me guide you through the process:

Travel Tours: Combined Inca Trail To Machu Picchu

Huayna Picchu Tickets:

Availability: There are only 200 tickets available per day for Huayna Picchu.

Booking Window: It’s advisable to book at least 2 to 3 months in advance due to high demand.

Ticket Types: You need two separate tickets to explore both Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu.

Duration: The Huayna Picchu ticket allows you to stay for up to 4 hours from the moment of admission.

Groups and Entry Times:

Group 1: Entry between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.

2: Entry between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Group 3: Entry between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Group 4: Entry between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Booking: Check real-time availability on the official ticket websites and reserve promptly.

Machu Picchu Mountain Tickets:

Availability: There are 300 tickets available per day for Machu Picchu Mountain.

Advance Booking: Reserve at least 4 months in advance, especially during peak season.

Duration: The ticket allows you to explore Machu Picchu Mountain within a specified time frame.

Views: Machu Picchu Mountain offers stunning panoramic views of the citadel.

Booking: Use official ticket platforms to secure your spot.

Booking Tips:

Real-Time Availability: Check the availability calendar online.

Choose Your Group: Select your preferred entry group (morning hours).

Reservation Form: Once you find availability, fill out the reservation form promptly.

Remember that both Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain provide unique perspectives of this ancient wonder. Book early, plan your visit, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

What is the altitude of Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the 7 wonders of the world, rests on a mountain ridge in Peru’s Eastern Cordillera. Sitting at around 2,430 meters (7,972 feet) above sea level, this ancient Inca citadel is cradled between Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, offering stunning vistas of the Urubamba River valley and the Andes Mountains.

Before you set off to this enchanting place, acclimatizing to the altitude is crucial. The entry point, Cusco, perches at an altitude of 3,399 meters (11,152 feet). Spending time in Cusco or neighboring villages in the Sacred Valley allows your body to adjust gradually to higher altitudes before venturing to Machu Picchu. Once properly acclimated, you’ll be all set to delve into this magnificent wonder!

Can I visit Huayna Picchu without a guide?

Certainly! Visiting Machu Picchu without a guide is indeed possible. Here are some important points to consider:

Independent Exploration:

You can explore the ruins on your own, taking your time to soak in the history and beauty of the site.

Wander through the ancient streets, marvel at the stone architecture, and discover hidden corners.

Benefits of a Guide:

While not mandatory, having a knowledgeable guide enhances the experience:

Guides provide historical context, fascinating stories, and insights into Inca culture.

They point out significant structures, explain rituals, and share legends.

Guides can take you to viewpoints for the best photos and viewpoints.

Booking Tickets:

Regardless of whether you have a guide, purchase your tickets in advance. You’ll need separate tickets for Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain if you plan to climb them.

Guided Tours:

If you prefer a guided experience, you can join a group tour or hire a private guide at the entrance.

Group tours are available in various languages.

Guided tours typically last around 2 to 3 hours.

Exploring Solo:

If you choose to explore independently:

Arrive early to enjoy the sunrise and beat the crowds.

Bring a guidebook or use a reliable app for information.

Respect the rules and guidelines set by the authorities.

Respect the Site:

Whether with a guide or on your own, respect Machu Picchu:

Stay on designated paths.

Do not touch or climb on the ancient structures.

Preserve its natural and cultural integrity.

Remember that Machu Picchu is a place of wonder and reverence. Whether guided or independent, savor every moment in this mystical citadel and huayna picchu stairs of death!

How long does it take to explore Machu Picchu?

Exploring Machu Picchu is a captivating adventure that allows you to immerse yourself in ancient history and breathtaking vistas. The duration of your visit can vary based on your pace, interests, and the specific areas you wish to explore. Here’s a general breakdown:

Guided Tour: If you opt for a guided tour, it typically lasts around 2 to 3 hours. Guides provide valuable insights into the site’s history, architecture, and significance.

Independent Exploration:

Main Ruins: To explore the central ruins, including the Temple of the Sun, Intihuatana, and residential areas, allocate at least 2 to 3 hours.

Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain: If you plan to climb either of these peaks for panoramic views, add an extra 2 to 4 hours (including ascent and descent time).

Inca Bridge: Visiting the Inca Bridge takes about 30 minutes.

Photography and Reflection: Factor in time for photography, quiet contemplation, and soaking in the atmosphere.

Total Time:

Minimum: A minimum of 4 to 5 hours is recommended to cover the main ruins and essential viewpoints.

Leisurely Exploration: For a more leisurely experience, plan for 6 to 8 hours or even a full day.

Remember to arrive early to catch the magical sunrise and beat the crowds. Wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, and savor every moment in this mystical wonder!

Related: Machu Picchu Trip Planning

The Main Difference Between Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain is their respective Elevation.

Machu Picchu Mountain is taller and offers more expansive 360 Dregres views, while Huayna Picchu Mountain is smaller but has more Inca ruins to explore. Both mountains are worth visiting for their unique perspectives on the ancient city of Machu Picchu.

The majority of tour companies in Peru offer archaeological sites but many do not know that there are two extra add-on options available to hike. For those that do know of the extra add-ons, many ask “Which hike is better Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain?” or “What is the difference between Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Hike?” and “Which Mountain should I hike?”

Truth be told, there is no right or wrong answer for everyone who plans on hiking these beautiful mountains with awesome landscapes. It is a matter of preference and what it is you wish to see. If you don’t want to miss out on either one you can A reliable tour company can purchase the permits If you want to book your own Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Tickets make your reservation months ahead and enjoy your trips to Peru.

Huayna Picchu Mountain Backside of The Inca City of Machu Picchu

Which Is Better, Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain?

Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains are two different mountains on opposite sides of the central city, the Machu Picchu archeological site. It Is possible to hike Machu Picchu Inca City and Huayna Picchu in one day? 

Both of them present panoramic views from the top of those Mountains. Huayna Picchu is the postcard mountain you see in most photos of Machu Picchu City, and Machu Picchu Mountain is located at the opposite end of the site.

Permits are required for each option and have to be booked months in advance as spaces are limited to 200 people per shift, 7-8 first Group, 10-11 second group. This travel blog compares each option to decide which one is best for you or your team member.

On your travel to Machu Picchu, you will have the opportunity to hike through the mountains, among which the Inca city is built.  The ascent to these mountains will allow you to see the city of Machu Picchu from above. Booth Mountains need a special ticket; both offer spectacular views of Machu Picchu. Most people can tour Machu Picchu Mountain. However, not everyone can journey to Huayna Picchu. Have you ever wondered why?

Related: Machu Picchu Hike Difficulty

Inca trail to Machu Picchu

Is Climbing Machu Picchu Mountain dangerous?

Huayna Picchu Mountain appears behind Machu Picchu in its classic postal photo. Its Inca trails, built on one side of the mountain, can be frightening for people afraid of heights. These circulate beside hundreds of meters of abysses. They are steep and narrow and contain some sections where you will need to secure the safety cables to balance. It’s a challenge for anyone.

Huayna Picchu
Huayna Picchu Mountain in Machu Picchu Inca City

Machu Picchu Mountain Hike and 360 degrees 

Suppose you suffer from vertigo or can’t control your fear of heights. You’d better overlook the other mountain. Machu Picchu Mountain (Montana) offers less steep, more comprehensive, and 360 degrees visually fewer frightening paths. When you book the Machu Picchu tickets, think of all the people who come to you. This hike is ideal if you come with children or with older adults.

Machu Picchu Mountain Trails offer long periods without seeing anyone. It’s very different from Huayna Picchu Mountain, in which you will have to wait your turn to use the path. Both roads are almost the same distance (about 2 km). However, the hike to the top of Huayna Picchu is more vertical than Machu Picchu Mountain and will take less time.

Machu Picchu Mountain

Is one of the most amazing hikes in Machu Picchu. However, if you can overcome your fear of heights, we recommend you book Huayna Picchu Mountain; your life may change after you reach the top.

best 2 day inca trail tour
Machu Picchu Mountain Hike

Can you do Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu in one day?

You will have to book six months ahead if you want one of the 400 tickets available to ascend Huayna Picchu Mountain. The hike through Machu Picchu Mountain allows the entry of 800 people each day, and the tickets can be booked up to weeks in advance.

But remember that in the busy season, booking times must be well in advance, and you will also have to anticipate train tickets, Hotels, and more. Ticket Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu + Mountain ticket. If you already know which mountain is for you, check the availability Climbing to one of those mountains is difficult but worth it

The Technical Difference Between Both Mountains Miles and Hours

Strategic points in Machu Picchu

Huayna Picchu Mountain in Peru Hike and Distance of 1.6 miles

Huayna picchu elevation: 2.693 M.A.S.L.
Walking distance and Huayna Picchu height: 2 km, steep and narrow roads.
Location: north of the Inca city of Machu Picchu.


Description of the road: the trails are quite steep; you will need ropes to overcome some parts of the road. It crosses stairways built of rock and wooden staircases; The road is visually terrifying.

Access: From the Inca city of Machu Picchu, by the sector of the Huayranas (sacred rock). Here you will find the entrance control house to the mountain.


First group: 07:00 hrs. – 08:00 hrs. or the second group: 10:00 hrs. – 11:00 hrs.
Number of Visitors: 400 per day, divided into two groups of 200.
Huayna Picchu Walking time: 2 hours and 30 minutes (up and down).
Huayna Picchu Degree of difficulty: moderately high. 70 degrees, It is a steep mountain, with precipices and many steps (not recommended if you suffer from vertigo).


Archaeological attractions: terraces and the amazing Temple of the Moon, built inside a natural cave.
Flora and Fauna: jungle-browed landscape, abundant vegetation, which serves as 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.
Drawbacks: vegetation-covered precipices, steep ascent, narrow paths.

Machu Picchu Mountain Hiking Distance and Miles 1.24 miles

Hike Distance.

Height: 3.082 M.A.S.L.
Walk Distance: 2 km., approximately 300 m. Vertical.
Location: In front of Huayna Picchu and to the left of the traditional road.
Description of the road: abundant vegetation, wild orchids. The wide trails will allow you to travel quietly.
Access: From the Machu Picchu complex, go up to the Mirador (Guardian’s house) and continue to the diverted, which is indicated by a sign.


First group: 07:00 hrs. – 08:00 hrs. or the second group: 9:00 hrs. – 10:00 hrs.
The number of visitors: 800 spaces per day, divided into 2 groups of 400.
Walking time: 3 and a half hours (roundtrip).
Degree of difficulty: moderate/high.

Picture from Montaña Machu Picchu – Nikon d 7500

The Attraction of Huayna Picchu Mountain hike

Archeological 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 Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Disadvantages: It has no archaeological remains.


IMPORTANT!!! If you are going hiking, please wear hiking shoes; also remember that the particular climate of Machu Picchu makes it necessary to bring solar protection (sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, repellent) and rain clothes. The best time to hike is between May and October (dry season)-the rainy season runs from November to March.

Thanks For your nice comments and share our article Hike with Tour Leaders Peru.

Watch this Amazing video About Machu Picchu – Peru.

Altitude Sickness affecting Machu Picchu Mountain?

Is anyone planning to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain? you need to understand how high the two mountains are. The peak of Huayna Picchu is approximately 2,700 meters above sea level (MASL). Machu Picchu is even taller at about 3,100 MASL. People typically begin to experience altitude sickness once they reach heights of over 2,500 MASL, meaning that you’ll be at risk of suffering altitude sickness as you approach the peak of either mountain. 

What Are the Symptoms of Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness — which people sometimes refer to as acute mountain sickness—is caused by the decreased air pressure and reduced oxygen content as you reach higher altitudes. Even mild altitude sickness forms can cause severe symptoms that include problems sleeping, dizziness, tiredness, vomiting, shortness of breath, a rapid heart rate, and headaches. 

You are particularly vulnerable to developing acute mountain sickness if you usually live at sea level, climb too quickly, consume alcohol, or have medical conditions affecting your heart or lungs. The best way to avoid developing altitude sickness is to climb very slowly. Ideally, you should spend several days climbing approximately the 3,000 MASL level, and slow down even more beyond that point. 

Sun Gate Peru Machu PIcchu
Sun Gate Machu Picchu

What should I wear to Machu Picchu?

When preparing for your Machu Picchu adventure, consider the following clothing and gear to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience:

Layered Clothing:

Base Layer: Start with moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics like synthetic or merino wool. These keep you dry and regulate body temperature.

Mid-Layer: A lightweight fleece or down jacket provides warmth when needed.

Outer Layer: A waterproof and windproof jacket is essential, especially during the wet season.

Trekking Pants or Leggings:

Opt for comfortable pants or leggings that allow freedom of movement. Avoid jeans, as they can be restrictive and heavy when wet.

Long-Sleeve Shirts:

Protect your skin from the sun and insects with lightweight, long-sleeve shirts. Look for UPF-rated fabric for added sun protection.

Sun Hat and Sunglasses:

Shield your face and eyes from the intense Andean sun. A wide-brimmed hat and polarized sunglasses are ideal.


Hiking Boots or Trail Shoes: Sturdy footwear with good traction is crucial. Break them in before your trip.

Comfortable Socks: Moisture-wicking socks prevent blisters.


Carry a small daypack for essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen, and your camera.

Rain Gear:

Rain Jacket and Rain Pants: Be prepared for sudden showers, especially during the wet season.


Bring a refillable water bottle. Staying hydrated at high altitudes is essential.

Sunscreen and Insect Repellent:

Protect your skin from both sunburn and bug bites.

Camera and Extra Batteries:

Capture the stunning views! Spare batteries are handy.

Comfortable Backpack:

If you plan to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, a comfortable backpack is essential.

Passport and Tickets:

Keep these in a waterproof pouch.

Remember that the weather can change rapidly, so be prepared for various conditions. And most importantly, wear comfortable clothing that allows you to fully enjoy the magic of Machu Picchu!

Travel Post: What are some Travel Tips when hiking Machu Picchu


All Our Travel Articles are Related to Blissful Travel Escapes LLC’s Official site and Brunch with Tour Leaders Peru.

No matter what time of year you visit Machu Picchu, it’s sure to be an amazing experience. With beautiful views and plenty of history to explore, you’ll be glad you made the trip. Make sure to pack appropriately for the weather and book your tickets and accommodation in advance to ensure a spot!


  1. erotik

    Good article. I will be going through some of these issues as well..| Ulrike Tait Sherar

  2. Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu

    We booked our trip with Tour Leaders in the US, and fortunately, they arranged for us to hike the Huayna Picchu. My understanding is that there is a limit and a permit must be obtained ahead of time. We arrived at the gate around 6:40 am, and there were plenty of folks already getting ready for the 7 am hike. I must mention that Machu Picchu was very pretty in the early morning in the mist and very few tourists on the way to the gate. Also, it was interesting that there were people from all over the world in different physical shapes and hiking experiences, judging from the attire, etc. I believe most made it to the top without any issues. It is interesting how we bond with total strangers when we are climbing very steep and exhausting trails together. The view is amazing, and considering the cultural and historical significance, it’s well worth it.

  3. Huayna Picchu Best Trip

    We climbed this with our guide. Let me start by saying we are in our early sixties. This fact was evident in that we never saw anyone during the climb that was over 30-35. Not that it can’t be done, but you better be in condition to do the climb.

    Entry is restricted by the entry time of your ticket and this ensures safety. Once you are doing it you will see why this is important. The lower portion is through the rainforest but as you climb, some of the steps become narrower and narrower. At some points, the steps are only maybe 4 inches deep and 1 foot wide. When you go through the tunnel it is maybe 3 feet of clearance. Thus if crowded it would be of concern.

    Once you are at the top it is amazing. Direct view down to Machu Picchu and the valley.

    Was the climb physically demanding – yes? Would we do it again – probably once was enough but we are very glad we did.


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Cesar Conde

I’m Cesar Conde Licensed Tour Guide in Peru, owner of Tour Leaders Peru and Travel Advisor. My other side job is a Digital Nomad. I share my amazing travel experiences, stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!


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