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Is it dangerous to climb Huayna Picchu?
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Is Mountain Huayna Picchu really dangerous?

For adventure lovers, Machu Picchu also has something to offer. This is the ascent to the top of the Huayna Picchu mountain, considered one of the most incredible short walks on the planet. Every year thousands of visitors dare to walk the ancient Inca trails on the edge of fearsome cliffs. But is Waynapicchu Mountain really dangerous?

Huayna Picchu
Huayna Picchu can produce very intense feelings of vertigo

The fearsome Huayna Picchu?

  • The Huayna Picchu (2,720 masl) is the mountain that is located north of the Inca archaeological site.
  • Inside is the Great Cavern or Temple of the Moon of Huayna Picchu , a mysterious building in the middle of a cave.
  • From the Inca Citadel you can see a steep summit that is difficult to navigate and indeed it is.
  • Inside, the Incas made stone steps with complicated slopes.
  • In some sections, these limit with fearsome precipices. At the top, the geographical beauty of the Wonder of the World is appreciated like nowhere else .
  • Despite everything, the adventure is recognized as one of the most incredible on the planet.
  • Every year more tourists are encouraged to experience the adrenaline of the Waynapicchu.

The entrance to the Huayna Picchu mountain is only allowed to tourists over 12 years old. It is not recommended for people who have a phobia of heights or older adults with heart problems. Persons under the age of 18 must enter with their mother or father.

Is it really dangerous?

  • The Huayna Picchu mountain tour is difficult and dizzying but it is not really dangerous.
  • In the most complicated sections on the edge of precipices there are safety ropes that help to overcome them .
  • There are also qualified personnel to assist tourists who need some type of support and signs on some sections of the road.
  • At the beginning of the path it is mandatory to record the personal data of each person who enters and leaves the summit. In this way, the authorities ensure that everyone who enters leaves the place.
  • Access is only allowed to tourists over 12 years old .
  • Adventure is not recommended for people who fear heights or with heart problems.
  • In social networks and tourism forums such as Facebook and Tripadvisor, there is varied information about the dangers of Waynapicchu mountain.
  • Most agree that the journey is difficult and frightening but not dangerous. If all the recommendations and safety measures are followed, the danger is nil .
  • However, there are cases of tourists unnecessarily risking their lives by taking a picture near the cliff or looking for a way out of the allowed trails. In those cases accidents can occur.

How is the route?

This is the rise

  • The journey is difficult. It begins with a slight ascent along trail paths. Then they climb a series of stone steps built by the Incas centuries ago.
  • The ascent continues through more stone staircases of reduced space. In some sections, on one side it borders the rock wall of the mountain and on the other a precipice several meters long.
  • The sight is terrifying. However, if fear of heights is overcome, it is possible to reach the top. It is estimated that the ascent takes 1 hour depending on the physical state of the tourist.

So is the top

  • The top of the Waynapicchu is the perfect reward for the effort deployed. From that point you can appreciate the Inca Citadel and the nature that surrounds it like nowhere else .
  • In the highest part there are rocks that can be slippery (especially if it rains) so it is recommended to avoid taking photos of these stones.
  • The highest of the mountain is 300 meters higher than the archaeological site. From there you can also see the town of Aguas Calientes, the Vilcanota river, the Putucusi and even the snowy Salkantay.
  • It is believed that the proximity to this nature and mountains was the reason why Machu Picchu was built in that place.

This is the descent

  • The descent is as arduous as the ascent. It starts on a different path to promotion.
  • In one section there is a detour that leads to the Great Cavern or Temple of the Moon of Huayna Picchu. Returning along this path visiting the temple may take an additional 2 hours.
  • The stone steps are also narrow and next to precipices. These join at a point with the initial path of ascent.
  • It is estimated that going down from the top of the Huayna Picchu takes 1 hour depending on whether or not you visit the Temple of the Moon .

What are the stairs of death?

  • In the final part of the ascent to Waynapicchu there is a section called ‘The stairs of death’ . This nickname is exaggerated since in fact nobody lost their lives when falling from these stairs.
  • These owe their name to the verticality and difficulty of its section. It is the last stumbling block before reaching the top of the Waynapicchu.
  • The feeling of vertigo and adrenaline in that part of the trail is one of the most extreme moments of the climb.

How to buy the Huayna Picchu ticket?

The only way to ascend to the top of the Waynapicchu is to book in advance the ticket Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu.

Daily only 400 people are allowed to access this adventure.

The ticket also allows the tour of the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu.

The entrance to the Huayna Picchu mountain is in 3 groups:

Group 1:

    To Machu Picchu: from 6 am

    To Machu Picchu: from 7 am to 8 am

Group 2:

    To Machu Picchu: from 7 am

    To Machu Picchu: from 7 am to 8 am

Group 3:

    To Machu Picchu: from 8 am

    To Machu Picchu: from 10.30 am to 11.30 am

Any of the groups of the Huayna Picchu mountain allows to stay a maximum of 6 hours from the entrance to Machu Picchu. However, if you want to visit the Temple of the Moon you must choose either Group 1 or Group 2. If you choose Group 3 you will not be able to visit this temple.

Tips for a safe visit to Huayna Picchu

  • Any experienced climber is aware that mountains must be treated with respect. You must take precautions and not risk your life unnecessarily.
  • If you suffer from vertigo or fear of heights, we recommend you ignore the Waynapicchu. You can also get wonderful aerial views of Machu Picchu from the top of Puerta del Sol (Intipunku) or from the top of Machupicchu mountain.
  • If you want to choose the dates you want to climb the Huayna Picchu mountain, you must book the tickets up to 3 months in advance.
  • Only a backpack of no more than 5 kilos is allowed. It is advisable to bring only what is necessary: water, hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, poncho in case of rain, snacks and a camera.
  • Climbing to the top of the Waynapicchu is quite a challenge. You just have to do it at your own pace. Many older adults are also encouraged to reach the top.

Advice from people who have been there

Mountain Huayna Picchu

Ana Lucia DBy: Ana Lucia D


“I booked my Huayna Picchu ticket in advance, although I wasn't in shape and I'm not a hiker, so I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to the top, plus I'm afraid of heights, but Huayna Picchu looks beautiful in the pictures of Machu Picchu, so I decided to try it. I admit it took me longer than the others but it was worth the effort.“


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, July 17, 2020