When you are preparing trip outlines getting from Lima to Machu Picchu or only in the Cusco to Machu Picchu route, doubts or confusions often arise, especially when you hear about options for climbing Machu Picchu. And this happens, since the majestic Machu Picchu Citadel has two spectacular mountains that are Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain, and from the top of any of them, the pictures come out truly amazing. Both mountains have differences between them and similarly, they have limited access. In this article, you will discover how to face your choice and why it is very interesting climbing Machu Picchu.

climbing machu picchu citadel

The best time to go

Machu Picchu Citadel, with its mountains, is year-round accessible, but during the rainy season (mid-November to April), the trail for climbing Machu Picchu becomes slippery and more exhausting to traverse.

All Machu Picchu region is surrounded by a tropical forest and, so that, its weather has daily temperatures averaging 18 ยฐC / 64 ยฐF. The dry season (May to mid-November), for most visitors, is considered as the best time to visit Machu Picchu. However, humidity always is felt by 40% when the climate is without precipitations and in 60% when it is raining.

Anyway, note that high season is from May to August (you will see multiple tourists) and from September to mid-November is usually less crowded.ย 

Two attractive mountains climbing options in Machu Picchu:

Huayna Picchu or “Young Mountain”

Huayna Picchu is the mountain you can see in many of the Machu Picchu Citadel postcards and it is located to the north of it. This mountain is the most visited since contains valuable archaeological Incas remains and also due to its proximity to the Historical Sanctuary. On the path to the top, its steep and narrow irregular stone steps stand out, amid dense vegetation, which defies gravity, being the reason why this climbing Machu Pichu is quite hard but it rewards you in the end.

climbing machu picchu huayna picchu view

Height 2 693 meters above sea level
Quantity of people per day400 limited and divided into two groups
ScheduleGroup I: from 7:00 am to 8:00 am
Group II: from 10:00 am to 11:00 am
Climbing timeapproximately 2 hours (go and return)
Difficulty levelHigh

Machu Picchu Mountain or “Old Mountain”ย 

Machu Picchu Mountain is located in southern Machu Picchu Citadel, in the high mountain range that surrounds it, and on the opposite side of Huayna Picchu. This mountain is not as popular as Huayna Picchu, but it has a less demanding and wider trail, which makes it more accessible for visitors in spite of the arrival to the top that lasts more time. On this climbing Machu Picchu route, it is marvelous the great diversity wild flora and fauna of the place. This mountain also offers a completely different perspective to Huayna Picchu resulting in amazing panoramic postcards of the valley that houses Machu Picchu Citadel.

climbing machu picchu view from the mountain

Height 3 082 meters above sea level
Quantity of people per day800 limited and divided into two groups
ScheduleGroup I: from 7:00 am to 8:00 am
Group II: from 9:00 am to 10:00 am
Climbing timeapproximately 3 hours (go and return)
Difficulty levelHigh medium

The Machu Picchu Mountain entry point

For climbing Machu Picchu, the Old Mountain to be exact, tourists must go to the Control Cabin which is located within the Machu Picchu Citadel, and to reach this point, they do it following the Guard House path. In fact, from the Sanctuary main entrance, wooden signs lead this hike beginning, which takes the same route of the climb to Sun Gate (Inti Punku). After a few minutes, tourists continue on a road that goes up through agricultural terraces to then, while taking the trail that direct them, in about 15 minutes, finally get in the Control Cabin. There, tourists need to show their passports or ids, tickets and sign a guestbook. Note the total duration to arrive in the entry point of the adventure is 30 minutes approximately.

climbing machu picchu entrance


  • For climbing Machu Picchu, it is very important to acclimatize with the altitude. 1-2 days will be enough!
  • Don’t forget there are limited permits for climbing Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain, make your reservations well in advance since permits get sold out really fast.
  • When purchasing your ticket, request the option of climbing Machu Picchu so you can have the correct ticket which considers the perfect combination you like it.
  • Be punctual or arrive even earlier than the schedules you have on your entrance ticket, especially when it is high season. Otherwise, you won’t have enough time to enjoy your expected journey.
  • Before start climbing Machu Picchu, one of the mountains, follow the proper signs of the trail that takes you to the entry point. If you get confused, ask your guide, he/she will help you.
  • Carry with you bottles of water and snacks at the moment to enter the Sanctuary. Once inside, nobody sells nothing, it isn’t allowed. Start the adventure and get the experience of a lifetime!

What to bring:

  • Current Passport or ID (mandatory)
  • Hat/cap, sunglasses, sunblock, and insect repellent
  • Raincoat/rain poncho
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hiking pants
  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • Jackets and/or windbreakers
  • Walking sticks
  • Camera

climbing machu picchu lost city of the incas

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