So, you’re all set for your trip to Peru, you have your hotels, flights, etc., and of course you’re more than ready for your tour of Machu Picchu. You should know that there are two extra hikes that you can take in Machu Picchu complex: Huayna Piccchu or Mount Machu Picchu. These hikes are completely optional and great for travelers that want an extra challenge.
Let’s take a look at the differences between the Huayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes. First off, Huayna Picchu only allows for 400 permits per days and tends to sell out very quickly, sometimes months in advance, so make sure to plan around that. Hiking up Huayna Picchu takes about 1.5-2 hours (roundtrip) and consists of big, steep steps and areas where you have to use your hands for balance. Some sections even make use of handrail wires to hold onto in some sections while later on you will have to climb over large rocks and boulders at the top.
Travelers should note that even through ample safety measures are in place, you can feel a bit exposed in places with big drop offs. The top can be a bit unnerving as once you reach the top there isn’t much space, but it is well worth the view. Be sure to follow entrance schedules as there are two different shifts, one from between 7am and 8am and another from between 10am and 11am (200 permits available for each time slot). Note that these are the times at which you can start the hike, you can take your time going up the mountain.
Next up is Machu Picchu Mountain, spots for this mountain are almost always available so you shouldn’t have problems reserving spots. Hiking up Machu Picchu Mountain takes about 2.5 to 3 hours (roundtrip) and is an all-around easier hike even though its much longer. It’s not as steep as Huayna Picchu and you won’t have to hold on to handrail wires along the way. You can be a bit exposed in places as there are some narrow stone staircases sticking out of the rock, with nothing on the other side. Once you reach the top you’ll get the classic National Geographic view of Machu Picchu, quite a sight! Travelers can enter anytime between 7am and 11am. Once again, note that you can start the hike at some point within this schedule, but you don’t have to finish right away.
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