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The Best View of Machu Picchu- Climbing Huayna Picchu (An Epic Journey)

Best View of Machu Picchu

Best View of Machu Picchu

Huayna Picchu or Wayna Picchu is a mountain rising over Machu Picchu with its peak 2,693 m (8,835 ft) above sea level. Climbing the mountain will give you the best view of Machu Picchu to take that epic Instagram photo or an awesome youtube video.

The views from the top of the mountain are breathtaking and really make you realize the magnitude of the mountain while giving you the best view of Machu Picchu.  From the top, a bird’s eye view of everything below, Machu Picchu appears very small off in the distance.

If you would rather listen to our detailed podcast episode on this subject, check out
Podcast 30: Machu Picchu and Cusco, Peru (Bucket List Journey).

The Inca built a trail up the side of Huayna Picchu leading to its temple and terraces on top.  The amount of visitors is restricted to 400 visitors per day, 2 groups of 200 visitors are allowed between 7-8 am, and 10-11 am daily.  When you arrive at the checkpoint to start your hiking adventure, you show your entrance ticket and passport.

You then have to sign in by writing your name, age, country of origin, and time of departure.  When you finish your hike, you will sign yourself out by writing down the time you finish your hike and return to the checkpoint from which your journey began.

A very steep, exposed, and dangerous pathway leads to the Wayna Picchu summit.  Depending on the weather, the path can be slippery at times from the rainfall, and there are some portions of the steep, 1.5-2 hour climb up the mountain that requires the assistance from steel cables that act as railings and some portions of the climb that will require you to use both hands and feet.

There are points during the climb where the stairs are so steep and vertical that it feels like you are climbing a ladder. The descent down Huayna Picchu takes roughly 45 minutes to an hour and was much easier than the climb up!

Note:  Tickets for Huayna Picchu to get the best view of Machu Picchu should be purchased in advance.  There are only 400 visitors allowed to hike the mountain per day and your chances of getting a ticket the day of your hike are very slim.  We used a tour agency called Pie Experiences that helped us to get our tickets in advance.  Make sure to wear comfortable hiking/ trekking shoes.  Also make to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and water, and depending on the time of year, wear the appropriate clothing for hiking and the weather.  

It was quite warm during our hike, and I wore a t-shirt, Zella Slim Fit Live- In Leggings, and tied my Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket around my waist.  Also, leave your bags at home or in your hotel/ hostel.  The less you have to carry, the easier it is to climb up the mountain.  Only bring the necessary things with you so you can get the most out of your experience and not have a large, heavy bag weighing you down and unbalancing you!

Machu Picchu

Total cost= Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu combination ticket= 150 S/ person ($60).  Inca Rail Train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu= 208 S/ person EACH way ($64 USD one way or $128 round-trip).  Round trip bus ticket from downtown Machu Picchu to Machu Picchu site= 78 S/ person ($24 USD).  

Note:  The shuttle buses that leave from downtown Machu Picchu starting at 0600-1800.  You must present a passport to get on the bus along with your ticket.  Tickets can be purchased in advance in through a travel agent, in Aguas Calientes, Cusco, or at the ticket stand in Machu Picchu where the buses depart from.  Buses typically depart once every 15 minutes however, there are many people in line early in the morning.  

We arrived at the bus station at 545am and did not depart until 630am as the line was already very long.  It is possible to purchase a one-way ticket however, the price is slightly higher.  The ticket is valid 3 days from the date of purchase.  It is possible to hike up the mountain by foot.  This trek takes approximately 1 hour and is very strenuous and hikers must dodge the passing buses.  

Travel Tip:  After a day of hiking (and several months of traveling, harsh sun rays, pools filled with chlorine, etc.), a natural, exfoliating DIY face scrub is just what your face needs!  This simple, 2 ingredient face scrub takes 30 seconds to make and it is a life changer!  You will need 1 tablespoon of your favorite olive oil and 2 tablespoons of sugar (I try to use coarse sugar, larger sugar than regular, white granulated sugar, for a better exfoliating scrub).  Just combine the olive oil and sugar in a small bowl and stir.  

Rub the sugar scrub onto your face, neck or any area of the skin using a gentle circular motion for approximately 30 seconds (I recommend doing this over the sink or in the shower to avoid a messy bathroom floor or countertop).  Rinse dry with warm water and pat dry with a fresh, clean towel.  Repeat process if needed (not more than twice weekly). Find other travel tools and hacks on our Travel Tools page. 

Traveled April 2017

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