Machu Picchu Mountain is another mountain above the Machu Picchu Citadel that can be hiked. It offers a panoramic view of the Machu Picchu Citadel, Huayna Picchu Mountain, Putucusi Mountain, the meandering Wilkamayu (Urubamba) River, the lush mountain scenery, and the last part of the Classic Inca Trail.
Important: With the Machu Picchu mountain tickets, you do not have the opportunity to take your “postcard photo” with Machu Picchu at the end of the trek. You will re-enter Machu Picchu from the lower part and must complete Circuit 03 (soft, yellow color). You must buy regular Machu Picchu tickets to have the Machu Picchu postcard photo.
It would be best to respect the scheduled entrance times between 7 and 8 a.m. and 8 and 9 a.m. If you arrive a few minutes late, you cannot enter.
Use sun protection, a hat, and sunglasses. The sun is intense at this altitude.
To avoid crowding at the top, hikers arriving at this classic photo spot can only stay here for 15 minutes, so take advantage of every one of them to get amazing photos.
The mountain trail tends to get wet during the rainy season (December to March). It does recommend wearing shoes or footwear suitable for hiking.
As with the Huayna Picchu trek, if you book the Inca Trail, you will still need to purchase another permit for Machu Picchu Citadel plus Machu Picchu Mountain, although the Inca Trail will secure you a ticket for Machu Picchu Citadel.
The hike is not for those with a great fear of heights, as there are sections where the trail is only 1.2 meters wide and a cliff is on one side.
Many websites recommend it as a quiet hike, suitable for children and the elderly. Well, it isn’t. It may not be dangerous, but it is a strenuous and rather long hike.
If you have the Machu Picchu mountain ticket, you should climb the mountain first and then hike the Machu Picchu Citadel. Otherwise, you will have very little time at the Citadel.
If you are making the Inca Trail in 4 days, we do not recommend climbing Mapi Mountain because you will not have time to explore the Machu Picchu Citadel with your guide unless you want to miss the guided tour of the Citadel. But you can climb this mountain after the 4-day Inca Trail trek. If you stay an extra night in Aguas Calientes, then on day 05, you can mount this mountain alone.
Use the toilets outside the ruins (2 suns) each. Remember that your permit only allows you to re-enter X1, so you can’t go out and use the restroom often.
Bring plenty of water—at least 2 liters per person—plus good snacks, as there is no store to buy refreshments from after entering the site. Be respectful and discreet in the places where you decide to stop and have a snack, and never leave waste, please.
You should be well acclimatized to the altitude before attempting this hike; the air gets thinner, and you will notice the difference.
The alternative route, Machu Picchu Mountain, will have 400 daily quotas, distributed in 2 hours, the first hour from 07:00 to 08:00 hours and the second hour from 08:00 to 09:00. Visitors must enter the Machu Picchu Mountain route and leave the monument on the same path. This ticket type can re-enter Machu Picchu to visit the small circuit 3 (yellow color).
The first turn is perfect for people who stay one more night in Aguas Calientes town and decide to climb the mountain on their own the next day or for people who want to do a guided visit to the Citadel after climbing Machu Picchu Mountain. But there is a disadvantage: you will be tired after the total hike of 3 hours (round trip), and then you will continue your tour of the Machu Picchu Citadel with your guide (2 to 3 hours approximately).
The second shift suits people arriving in Machu Picchu from different treks such as the Inca Trail 2 days, Salkantay Trek, Huchuy Qosqo, Quarry Trail, Lares Trek, Inca Jungle Trek, or Train Tour. This is because you start the guided tour at 6 a.m. at the Machu Picchu Citadel until 8 a.m. and then climb the mountain after your guided tour. Note: It only works in the dry season from April to October because in the rainy season, Machu Picchu remains foggy until 10 a.m. most of the time, and it does recommend starting the guided tour at 9:00 a.m.
The summit of Machu Picchu
View of the Inca City of Machu Picchu from Machu Picchu Mountain
The trail to Machu Picchu Mountain ascends through steps of stone and well-established paths. The hike is not dangerous, but it will require all your strength. As the trail approaches the base of Machu Picchu mountain, the steps become steeper, narrower, and more challenging, and there is no flat part.
Once you enter the main entrance of Machu Picchu, walk for 2 minutes in a straight line, and then turn left towards the gatehouse. There will be a sign pointing you in the right direction. This hiking trail also takes you to the Sun Gate, the same entrance to Machu Picchu for those who came by the Inca Trail.
You should turn right three minutes after the guard house and follow the road through agricultural terraces. You will then arrive at the guard booth, where you must sign in, present your ticket, and register with your passport. It is approximately 30 minutes from the entrance of Machu Picchu to the start of the Machu Picchu mountain trail.
Learn in detail what the Machu Picchu mountain hike has to offer:
The cost of a Machu Picchu mountain permit is 200 PEN (soles) or US$65 (£40); this includes the entrance fee to the Machu Picchu Citadel, which is currently 152 PEN. A Machu Picchu mountain permit costs 48 pesos, or US$15. Students with valid international IDs pay half.
There are pros and cons to both times. Just like Huayna Picchu, the advantage of the 7:00 am hike is that it will be more fantastic and more pleasant to hike the trail. The 8 a.m. hikers will contend with much higher temperatures. They will require more breaks and water to reach the summit of Machu Picchu.
The disadvantage of going in the earlier group in the rainy season (December to March) is that there is a higher possibility of experiencing mist in the early mornings, which can entirely obscure the view from the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain.