Before embarking on your Machu Picchu tour, you need to consider whether or not you want to do one of the two permitted hikes inside of Machu Picchu; Huayna Picchu Hike or Machu Picchu Mountain Hike. Keep in mind that these hikes are challenging, and as such, they are just perfect for the fit and adventurous travelers.
So if you’d like to challenge yourself, these hikes would just be right for you. What’s more, both mountains require a special ticket. Many people can hike Machu Picchu Mountain, but only a few can hike Huayna Picchu because you need to use your hands in some places for balance. This brings us to the question, what are the differences between Machu Picchu tour and Huayna Picchu hike?
Below is a chart of the differences between the two hikes:
|HUAYNA PICCHU||MACHU PICCHU|
|Height||2,720 meters||3,051 meters|
|Total Round Trip of Hike||2-3 hours approx||3-4 hours approx|
|Elevation||8,924ft / 2,720m||10,010ft / 3,051m|
|Elevation gained||952ft / 290m||2,038ft / 621m|
|Difficulty||Moderate. Steep with many steps. You need to use your hands in some places for balance, especially near the top||Moderate to challenging. Less use of hands, but a much longer hike.|
|Number of visitors||Maximum number of 400 persons daily, divided into two groups of 200||Maximum number of 800 persons daily, divided into two groups of 400|
|Availability||The tickets are usually sold out a couple of months in advance, so for a chance to hike it, book your Huayna Picchu tour months in advance||Almost always available|
|Entrance time||Between 7am and 8am, or between 10am and 11am. It has a limit of 200 permits per time slot.||Between 7 am and 8am, or between 9am and 10am with a limit of 400 people per time slot.|
|Flora and fauna||A jungle eyebrow landscape, lush vegetation which serves as home for moths, birds, and insects||Home to an amazing collection of colorful butterflies, orchids, and birds|
|Archeological attractions||Andeneria and the spectacular Temple of the Moon, located deep with a natural cave||Unfortunately, there’s none.|
|Views||Spectacular views of the Machu Picchu ruins and the surrounding mountains||Spectacular views of the Machu Picchu ruins, as well as the Huayna Picchu Mountain|
|Terrain||Inca Trail stone path steps||Uneven, steep, stone steps|
Sun Gate Trek
The Sun Gate, otherwise known as Inti-punku, once served as the main entrance to Machu Picchu. It is one of the most significant landmarks in Peru. The hike follows an original Inca Trail that takes you through the amazing agricultural sector of Machu Picchu. The Sun Gate Trek is free and can be done only with the ticket of your Machu Picchu tour. Round trip takes about 1.5 – 3 hours to complete.
Best time to Trek (Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu, and The Sun Gate)
Set in the upper Amazon basin above the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu is an incredible sight to explore. Though it is accessible all year round, the best time to plan a Machu Picchu tour is during the dry season between May and October. In addition, July and August are the busiest time of the year, attracting thousands of people from different parts of the world.
During the wet season (November – April), there can be a high amount of rainfall and the trail can become more slippery. To escape the scorching heat of the sun as well as the crowd, start your trek as early as possible when you can enjoy a cooler and more favorable temperature. Make sure you pack clothing for rain and sun as the weather can often be unpredictable.
Indeed, Machu Picchu is an incredible destination that every single traveler all around the world should experience at least once in their entire lifetime. And while it is nicknamed the “Lost City of the Incas”, the locals themselves know where to find it.
Renowned for being one of Peru’s most well-known attractions, Machu Picchu is a great place to visit.