Huayna Picchu is a popular mountain, situated in Peru, where you can witness the Urubamba River making a bend. The mountain is situated in the Cusco region, in the district of Machu Picchu. The city of Machu Picchu is also known as the lost city of Incas. The Incas tribe has built a pathway up the sides of Huayna Picchu, and established a fair number of temples and terraces on the top of the mighty mountain. The height of the Huayna Picchu Mountain is 2,693 metres above sea level, and also, 260 metres higher than the famous Machu Picchu.
You can trek on the Huayna Picchu Mountain, and listen to interesting stories about the place from the local guides. According to those guides, the top of this mountain was the home to the high priest and the local virgins of the Machu Picchu town. Every morning, before the sun rose, the high priest with a group of people would walk to the Machu Picchu town to announce the beginning of a new day. The Temple of the Moon is also situated on the side of this mountain, on a lower level than Machu Picchu.
Travel in Huayna Picchu
If you are in Machu Picchu, or are planning to travel there in the near future, we have a few suggestions for you in order to make your trip more memorable. If you are physically fir, you have to climb to the top of Huayna Picchu Mountain, that too on foot. The Huayna Picchu hike is one of the most sought after activities for tourists visiting the region of Machu Picchu. There is an advanced booking that goes on for the Huayna Picchu hike for the entire year. Thousands of tourists book it every month.
When I climbed to the top of the Huayna Picchu, I experienced a view like never before. I could view the entire Machu Picchu from above, which was nothing but a unique and exquisite sight to take in. I stood there, wind hitting my face, and for a moment, I felt like this is how heaven looks like. I felt like I was a bird, viewing the Inca city from such a height. It was truly a great experience.
If you are visiting Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu in a day, it will take you around 6 hours for the entire tour. I had to trail on narrow paths and staircases, and I also hiked a lot, therefore, I will suggest my fellow travellers to not carry anything heavy with them. A small backpack with some food and water will be more than enough for your day’s trip. Another mistake that all of us make are the clothes and shoes that we wear. You will be required to hike on steep and narrow paths, therefore, wear comfortable and sturdy shoes that have a nice grip.
If you want to hike to the top of the Huayna Picchu, you will have to enter the Machu Picchu complex. After I entered it, I crossed the citadel and walked up to the entry point to Huayna Picchu. I will suggest all of you to book your spot in advance, as the space is very limited and you might not be allowed without a booking.
What do you need to know for a Huayna Picchu hike?
- Time of hike – ask your operator about the time when they will take for the hike
- Climate – minimum 1 degree Celsius; maximum 20 degree Celsius
- Price – depends on which operator you have chosen
- Essential items – insect repellent, sunscreen, warm clothes, hats and sunglasses, camera, food and water, trekking gear (optional)
- Altitude – 3,335 metres above the sea level
These were all that I needed for a comfortable trek on the Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Huayna Picchu Stairs of Death
Before I tell you my experience of visiting the Huayna Picchu stairs of death, let me tell you a little about the stairs: the ‘Stairs of Death’ in Huayna Picchu are a place where a few stone steps are placed. This was built by the Incas in the past. These steps lead one to the top of the Huayna Picchu Mountain. These stairs are called the ‘Stairs of Death’ because they are extremely steep and difficult to climb. These steps are made on the edge of the cliff, making them a lot more dangerous. After you have climbed these steps, you reach the top of the mountain.
All the while that I was climbing the steps to reach the top, I was scared that I will fall. This was the time that I realised why the stairs are called what they are called. I clung tightly to the wall using both my hands while I was climbing up the mountain. The height of the Huayna Picchu stairs death stairs are as high as 183 metres and were build 500 years ago. Don’t worry! They won’t break under your feet.
The most exciting part was when I was climbing these stairs, and after a few moments realised, that on one side I had a damp and slippery wall, and on the other side I had a hundreds of metres deep fall into the Urubamba River. This might seem scary to a lot of people, but the travellers who are driven by their adrenaline will find the Huayna Picchu death stairs even more exciting.
When I was climbing upwards, I realised that this activity requires a lot of strength and breathing power. The stairs are at a slope of around 60 degrees. There was one thing that I made sure of, and it was not to rush while climbing. I took one step at a time and ascended slowly to the top. The descent is even more challenging. I was taking the steps to go down and with each step, I felt like I will roll down any moment. I was letting other ascenders pass through, before taking another step downwards. You should not climb the Huayna Picchu death stairs if you suffer from the fear of heights.
Huayna Picchu vs. Machu Picchu
Huayna Picchu is more popular than the Machu Picchu mountain and the spaces gets sold out way earlier. The passes for Machu Picchu are mostly available whenever you want them. The Machu Picchu Mountain is less crowded and busy than the Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Huayna Picchu climb is steeper and more difficult than the Machu Picchu climb. Machu Picchu is not as steep and difficult but has the double amount of elevation than that of the Huayna Picchu. Machu Picchu is also a longer hike.
Both hikes are equally scary and challenging, making them completely inappropriate for people who are scared of heights.
400 spaces are allotted to both the hikes, but the spaces for Huayna Picchu get sold out way faster than the spaces for Machu Picchu. If you want a quiet climb, you can go for Machu Picchu.
These were my parameters for deciding my choice in the Huayna Picchu vs Machu Picchu war.
This was a travel review of Huayna Picchu on the basis of what I experienced in the region. It was a great experience for me overall, and I hope my review makes it easy for you to plan your trip as well. Do not forget to gain proper knowledge of the area before you head for a trip there.