Best Options for hiking at Machu Picchu 2018
All hiking lovers visiting the Inca citadel, will be thrilled to learn that they can kick it up a notch by complementing their adventure with an additional Machu Picchu hike and choose between 4 exciting options:
- Huayna Picchu
- Machu Picchu mountain
- Sun Gate
- Inca Bridge
Please have in mind that tickets to both mountains must be purchased (for an additional fee) in combination with your Machu Picchu entrance. Make sure you let your Travel Advisor know about your desire of hiking in Machu Picchu so your tickets can be booked accordingly. The other two hikes are free, provided that you have a ticket for Machu Picchu site.
Huayna Picchu Hike
Upon entering Machu Picchu site, take a right and make your way to the Huayna Picchu entrance by following the wooden signposts. You will need to present your printed ticket, original passport and must sign in and out at the checkpoint.
This is the most booked Peru Machu Picchu hike and mostly popular among visitors doing one of the Machu Picchu treks, like the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek.
If you were wondering how to hike Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, entrance tickets must be purchased at least 2 months in advance to ensure availability. Entry time is divided into 2 groups:
From 7 to 8 AM and from 10 to 11 AM, limited to 200 tickets on each group.
The way to the Huayna Picchu summit consists of a moderately difficult trail of several hundred of steps that turn narrower and steeper as you progress to the top of the mountain. The average time for most hikers, is between 45 minutes to 1 hour each way but it will ultimately depend on each person’s level of fitness and how many breaks you take for catching your breath as well as how often you stop for pictures.
According to the new Park regulations, visitors have a total of 4 hours, from the moment they enter the site, to complete their visit of both Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu.
Machu Picchu Mountain Hike
The entrance to this mountain is located on the opposite side from Huayna Picchu and it is just as easy to get to the checkpoint, by following the wooden signposts.
Machu Picchu mountain might not be as popular as Huayna Picchu but is certainly equally beautiful and less crowded, which also translates into a more unique experience. Although tickets are limited to 400 per slot, per day, these are almost always available, even when booking just a few days in advance. Time slots are from 7 to 8 AM and from 9 to 10 AM.
Because this is a higher mountain, it takes longer to reach to the top, on a trail that offers amazing views of both Machu Picchu site and Huayna Picchu, as well as the valleys surrounding the Inca site.
The new Park regulations allow visitors for a total of 6 hours, from the moment of entrance, to complete their visit of both Machu Picchu site and Machu Picchu mountain.
Sun Gate Hike
The Sun Gate (or Inti Punku) is famous for being the entry gate for those finishing the Inca Trail, the most popular Machu Picchu trek. For regular visitors, the Inti Punku can be reached by simply following the upper path, starting at the left side of the Guardhouse, through the agricultural terraces of Machu Picchu, where wooden signposts can be easily spotted.
The trail is mainly cobblestone, dirt and some stone stairs at some points that are specially steep towards the summit. It takes about 1 to 1.5 hours each way, depending on how well you manage hiking in the altitude and, of course, the times you will stop for admiring the outstanding views. Having a good level of fitness is recommended for doing this trek.
Hiking to the Inca Bridge is a great option for those seeking to get away from the crowds and enjoy a fairly easy, paced hike, although not recommended for people suffering from vertigo.
From the entrance of Machu Picchu, pass the Guardhouse and follow the wooden signposts or simply ask one of the wardens to point the direction. Each way takes between 20 to 30 minutes on a mostly flat path but beware of the narrower trail and sheer drop-offs as you get closer to the bridge.
Due to safety reasons, visitors no longer can get to the actual Inca Bridge, rather than just admire its architecture from the distant.
Most people don’t have the chance (or time) to visit this impressive site so, plan ahead and make it part of your visit, you won’t be disappointed!
Best Time to Hike
While all these 4 Machu Picchu hikes are available all year round, you have to consider that, Machu Picchu is quite a humid area and during the rainy season (November through April), trails can be significantly more slippery than usual. Weather also can often be unpredictable so be prepared to bring clothes for both sun and rain, hiking shoes and a rain poncho or lightweight waterproof jacket.
Make the most of your trip by letting an expert take care of all you need for this special and once-in-a-lifetime vacation!