Hike Waynapicchu Mountain with us by reading this post!
In our quest to quell misinformation and outdated search results we are pleased to bring this guide to hiking Waynapicchu at Machu Picchu. Waynapicchu, not to be confused with the other mountains (montañas) at the Machu Picchu historic site, provides scenic views of the ancient Inca City. Keep in mind there are three different tickets available to hike the mountains: Machupicchu mountain, Huchuypicchu mountain and finally Waynapicchu mountain or Huaynapicchu mountain as it may be referred to. For the purpose of this article and for all information provided by the Peruvian government, Waynapicchu is the preferred spelling used at Machu Picchu. Huaynapicchu could not be found anywhere as spelling at the site and will just confuse any visitors with Huchuypichhu which is a completely different ticket. If you are looking to learn more about buying tickets, see our step by step post on how to do it.
Deciding what ticket to buy in advance
There are four separate tickets available for visiting Machu Picchu and our general guide to the site details the four different tickets and where to buy them. Be certain to buy your tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment. If you are looking for a more personal and private experience away from the crowds, we recommend the Circuito 4 + Waynapicchu ticket, and we will detail everything you need to know to have the best experience. Buying the early morning ticket for 6:00AM to 7:00AM entry to Machu Picchu and 7:00AM-8:00AM for the gate to get to Waynapicchu will give you the most intimate experience with few other visitors around. Thus, taking the bus at 5:30AM will give you the best chances at the first views as the sun comes up. The lines for the bus can be extensive, so plan accordingly.
Things to bring with you in a backpack:
- Several layers like light windbreaker, sweater, extra t-shirt
- Hiking boot are not necessary but helpful
- Gloves for the hand cables and ropes
- Bottled water
- Altitude pills
- Paracetemol or Tylenol
- Hand sanitizer
- Bug spray
Getting to the entrance of Waynapicchu mountain
After gaining entry to the Machu Picchu site, using the lower entry gate at the bottom of the hillside where the entry gates are, you can follow Circuito 4 to get to the entry gate for Montañas Waynapicchu and Huchuypicchu. Huchuypicchu is a lower elevation than Waynapicchu and could be considered a much less intense hike and provide a nice view of the ancient Inca City. The entry gate for both opens at 7:00AM sharp and there will be a security guard waiting typically. You can walk around the area while waiting for the gate to open as there are some nice views. Walking down to the Temple of the Condor will take up about 15-20 minutes and have you back to the gate for the opening time if you arrive early.
Once the gate is opened by the security guard, walk down to the hut on the right. You must sign in here using your name, passport number, signature (firma) and entry time. The guard will then let you pass, and you can almost immediately see the sign that differentiates the routes between Huchuypicchu and Waynapicchu. Taking the fork to the right is the route towards Waynapicchu.
The hike up Waynapicchu is not for those who are out of shape
The hike is approximately 45-60 minutes total to the top. There are a variety of stairs, switchbacks and gravel pathways that will take you to the summit. Again, we stress that you should be in good physical condition as the hike is intense and breaks should be taken at 100-200 meter intervals for those who need it.
Waking up the mountains is moderate difficulty. The steps and cables are extremely helpful. Beware that if the cables are wet, having gloves will help with grip and to keep your hands clean. There are a number of flies and bugs; repellent should be available. Always watch your footing! If you are afraid of heights, watching your footing helps along with staying away from cliff edges or taking a few steps back if you feel anxious. Brace yourself if you feel at all dizzy.
Remember to hydrate along the way and catch your breath by taking a couple deep breaths. Some stairs are very narrow and going early will assure your visit is not impacted by a number of other visitors coming down the mountain. Waynapicchu is only a circuit at the top; everyone will use the same pathway up/down except for the last 500-meter portion which will take you around the summit and back down to the entry point to the summit.
Taking in the Waynapicchu Summit
Being the first to the summit is perhaps the greatest gift, and we had the whole area to ourselves for approximately thirty minutes. You can even wait for some fog and clouds to dissipate for the best photo chances of the Inca City, Huchuypicchu and even Machupicchu mountain if you are lucky. You’ll note the flags on top of Machupicchu mountain as the clouds clear.
There are many spots to sit and meditate, take photos and even a large platform that has sturdy footing for photos. There have been recent reports of tourists falling off the mountain and at the site in general, so always be aware of your surroundings; getting the perfect photo is not worth an injury or worse.
The descent back down to the entrance gate
After spending about 30 minutes to take photos your heart will be full like ours with the occasional goosebumps and butterflies in the stomach. Making your way back down is fairly simple as you follow the identical route up, but be mindful that other visitors may be thinking that it’s a circuit and ask you why you are coming down that route. Be on the lookout for the cave passageway that will delight you though if you have claustrophobia, may not be the best way to leave the summit. The route down is much easier but if you have bad knees, consider packing a knee brace or two for optimal support down. If your legs are shaking a little by the time you make it back down, that’s normal and carry on.
Getting back to the sign in hut, the guard there will warn you to sign out and if you have the ticket to Huchuypicchu you can show it and proceed there. If you want a full day experience, you can purchase tickets in advance, online, for more circuitos and montañas! Beware that you may not re-enter the site unless your tickets confirm this and there is security at various points to direct you out. Taking in the Temple of the Condor and getting some more photos of the scenery may leave you ready for the washroom and lunch.
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