The Huchuy Picchu hike is the new kid on the block at Machu Picchu. Opening in 2021, the trail up Huchuy Picchu Mountain is the most recent addition when it comes to hiking at Machu Picchu. Given the Huchuy Picchu hike is a brand spanking new trail, there’s not much information about it online.
In this travel guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Huchuy Picchu hike. We’ll talk about the hike itself, explain the situation around tickets, and tell you how to get there and the best time to visit. Also, we’ll compare the Huchuy Picchu hike with the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes. In doing so, we’ll discuss whether it’s actually worth doing this hike when there are already other great and well-known Machu Picchu hikes to choose from.
Table of Contents
What is Huchuy Picchu?
Huchuy Picchu is a small mountain located adjacent to the extraordinary Machu Picchu archaeological site. Also written as Huchuypicchu or Huchu’ypicchu, this mountain isn’t as well known as Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. In fact, Huchuy Picchu (2,497m) is dwarfed by Huayna Picchu (2,693m), which is positioned north of Huchuy Picchu. Yet, given Huchuy Picchu’s position next to Machu Picchu, it’s one of the most photographed peaks in the world. If you’ve visited Machu Picchu or plan to visit, you’ll basically be staring right at Huchuy Picchu, if you’re facing the Inca city from the southern side.
Until recently, there was no trail leading to the summit of Huchuy Picchu. That all changed in 2021 when a new route leading to Huchuy Picchu officially opened. By doing the Huchuy Picchu hike, you’ll enjoy phenomenal views of Machu Picchu that have rarely been seen before.
Alternative to Hiking Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain
Until 2021, there were only two Machu Picchu hikes. These included the Huayna Picchu (otherwise known as Wayna Picchu) and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes. But, with the opening of the Huchuy Picchu trail, there are now three hikes to choose from at Machu Picchu. Of course, given how well-known Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain are, these hikes remain the most popular. But, with more time and exposure, Huchuy Picchu should also become a more popular hiking option. It’s certainly the easiest Machu Picchu hike and this certainly will be appealing to many visitors. So, let’s look at some nitty-gritty details about the Huchuy Picchu hike itself.
Huchuy Picchu Hike Preview and Map
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 0.5km
- Time: 30 minutes
- Accumulated elevation gain: 60m
- Difficulty: Very easy
- Trailhead: Huayna Picchu Registration Hut
- Map: Wikiloc
Huchuy Picchu Difficulty
Straight up, the Huchuy Picchu hiking route is very easy. From the Huayna Picchu Registration Hut, the trail leading to the summit is only around 250 metres. Plus, you’ll only climb up around 50 metres or so. Whilst, trail navigation is simple and straightforward. All in all, you’ll reach the Huchuy Picchu summit in around 10–15 minutes. Returning to the trailhead is even quicker. So, yeah, you don’t have to be fit or have any hiking experience to be able to do the Huchuy Picchu trek. Certainly, when compared with climbing Huayna Picchu Mountain and climbing Machu Picchu Mountain, the Huchuy Picchu hike is very easy.
Huchuy Picchu Hike: What Else to Expect
You can expect breathtaking views of Machu Picchu by doing the Huchuy Picchu hike. Best of all, there’s such little effort required to reach the summit. Certainly, it’s a case of huge reward for minimal effort. By doing this hike, you’ll also enjoy sensational views of Putucusi Mountain and Sacred Valley. Of course, good weather isn’t always guaranteed. Early morning low-lying mist is commonplace at Machu Picchu. So, you may encounter obstructed views of the Inca site. But fingers crossed you have good weather!
Because the Huchuy Picchu hike is still relatively unknown, you can expect the trail to be nice and quiet. Given how busy Machu Picchu can get, it’s refreshing to have a part of the Inca site without crowds of people. When Beck and I hiked Huchuy Picchu Mountain in 2022, we were the only ones at the summit. We only bumped into a group of three on the way back down.
Although, when you arrive at the Huayna Picchu Registration Hut, you may see lots of people. But, don’t be alarmed. Huchuy Picchu and Huayna Picchu share the same trailhead. So, those hiking Huchuy Picchu and Huayna Picchu, respectively, will register at the same hut. You’ll find most people at the hut will be doing the famous Huayna Picchu hike. So, once you’ve registered, you’ll leave the crowds behind and likely join an empty trail. With that in mind, make sure to print and present your ticket at the Huayna Picchu Registration Hut. You’ll register your details and then you’ll be all set to go!
Huchuy Picchu Hike Description
You’ll find the trailhead for the Huchuy Picchu hike is just a few metres away from the registration hut. Instead of turning right for the Huayna Picchu hike, you’ll turn left for the Huchuy Picchu hike. Initially, you’ll follow a flat dirt path with lovely forest surrounds. But, soon enough, you’ll begin climbing up fairly steep steps, which wind around the small pinnacle. About halfway to the summit, you’ll get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. Indeed, the views of Machu Picchu from this initial sighting are spectacular. After a few more steps, you’ll eventually wind around to the summit and main viewpoint.
Huchuy Picchu Summit
At the summit, you’ll find a signpost and a couple of uneven rocky landforms. Indeed, the peak of Huchuy Picchu is small. By standing on the rocks, you can improve your view of Machu Picchu. Because Huchuy Picchu is a small mountain, you won’t feel too far away from the Inca site. This means you’ll have a brilliant perspective of the ruins.
Similar to Huayna Picchu, from the summit, you’ll be looking down at Machu Picchu from the north side. Many of the viewpoints around Machu Picchu are from the south side, where you can actually see Huchuy Picchu and Huayna Picchu in the background. But, from Huchuy Picchu, you’ll be looking at the Inca site in a southerly direction with Machu Picchu Mountain in the background. Truly, the Huchuy Picchu summit provides unforgettable views of this world-famous attraction.
Once you’ve enjoyed the views, simply retrace your steps to return to the trailhead to continue your exploration of Machu Picchu.
Anyway, you’ll need tickets to complete the trail!
Huchuy Picchu Mountain Tickets
To do the Huchuy Picchu hike, you’ll need to buy tickets in advance. You’ll find different travel companies offering tickets online. But, to avoid the middle man, you can simply buy tickets from the official Machu Picchu website. Thankfully, the website translates well to English if you don’t speak Spanish. Although, when speaking with other travellers, many were confused about which Machu Picchu ticket to buy. Well, when you enter the website, there are four different Machu Picchu tickets to choose from.
Basically, there is ‘Llaqta of Machupicchu (Circuits 1, 2, 3, 4)‘, which is a general ticket for the Inca site. This ticket doesn’t grant you access to any of the hiking trails. The other three options are specifically for the Machu Picchu hikes, which also include one of the circuits around the Inca citadel, respectively. For instance, if you want Huayna Picchu tickets, select ‘Circuit 4 + Waynapicchu Mountain‘.
Anyway, to do this hike, simply select ‘Circuit 4 + Montaña Huchuypicchu‘.
The entrance ticket fee is 152 soles ($40USD), plus a 4.10 soles ($1USD) processing fee for card payment. So, all up, you’ll be paying $156.10 soles ($41USD) to do the hike. Yes, it’s pretty expensive for a 30-minute hike! Is it worth it? Find out what we think here.
Huchuy Picchu Schedules and Availability
There are 200 Huchuy Picchu tickets sold daily. Tickets are sold in hour time slots starting from 7–8am and finishing with a 2–3pm slot. In 2022, only 25 tickets are sold for each time slot. Personally, we hope this number doesn’t increase in the future. Given the summit is quite a small area, it really can only accommodate a dozen people at a time. Also, the trail is quite narrow. So, it really can’t allow for too many more people.
Because the Huchuy Picchu hike is still relatively unknown, you don’t need to book tickets too far in advance. But, of course, that’s as of 2022. In the future, the hike will become more popular and well-known. So, this situation may change regarding booking in advance.
What’s Included in Huchuy Picchu Circuit Tickets?
By purchasing a Huchuy Picchu ticket, you’ll have access to the Huchuy Picchu trail, as well as Circuit 4 of Machu Picchu. Circuit 4 is also known as ‘bajo largo‘, which loosely translates to the low long route. Basically, the Huchuy Picchu ticket doesn’t give you access to all sections of the Machu Pichu Inca citadel. But, Circuit 4 is a long route around the ruins. So, essentially, you’ll still get to explore and see most of the Inca citadel with this ticket.
For most tourists, the Huchuy Picchu ticket will suffice for their visit to Machu Picchu. But, perhaps if you’re a history buff or want to avoid FOMO, you may also want to buy the standard Machu Pichu ticket, which grants access to all sections of the Inca citadel by including Circuits 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Huchuy Picchu Ticket Circuit Map
Here’s a map of Circuit 4, which is included in the purchase of a Huchuy Picchu ticket. This map has been sourced from the Peru Ministry of Culture website.
Is a Tour Guide Needed For the Huchuy Picchu Hike?
The simple answer is no. You can enter Machu Picchu to do the Huchuy Picchu hike independently without a guide. This also holds true for the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes. Although, on the Circuit 4 map above, you’ll notice that it says, ‘it is recommended to hire a tour guide‘. So, it seems a tour guide is only recommended and not mandatory.
Of course, if you want to learn more about Machu Picchu, having a guide is a great idea. Head to Machu Picchu tours for more information.
How to Get There
To do the Huchuy Picchu hike, initially, you’ll have to get to Aguas Calientes, which is also known as Machu Picchu town. Many tourists will visit Aguas Calientes from Cusco.
Getting to Aguas Calientes from Cusco
The easiest and quickest way to get to Aguas Calientes from Cusco is by train. But, this is the most expensive option. Train costs are usually around 260 soles ($70USD) per person one-way.
A cheaper option is to take a 1.5 hour colectivo from Cusco to Ollantaytambo for 10 soles ($2.50USD). Then, you can jump on a train to Aguas Calientes from Ollantaytambo. This option is usually around 185 soles ($50USD). If this is all too expensive, then you can catch a 7 hour bus from Cusco to Hidroelectrica for around 60 soles ($18USD). From Hidroelectrica, you can walk 10km along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes. It’s a tedious walk. But, it’ll save you plenty of pennies!
Getting to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes
To get to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes, you have two options – bus or hike!
- Bus: they leave Aguas Calientes regularly from 5:30am. The bus takes around 30-40 minutes. The price of the bus is $12USD per person one-way. The ticket office is located just off the main street of Avenida Hermanos Ayer. It’s easy to find as there’s a huge sign labelled ‘BUS TICKET’. FYI – you’ll need to present your passport a number of times to buy your bus ticket, so make sure you have it with you.
- Hike: you can simply hike 4km from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. But, it’s a steep climb up the mountainside with around 650 metres of elevation gain. The hike takes around 1.5–2 hours. Honestly, it’s a punishing hike – much harder than the actual Huchuy Picchu hike. But, this is a popular option because it’s the option that’s free!
Alternatively, you could always take the bus up and walk back down. After doing the Salkantay trek, Beck and I were pretty buggered. Additionally, we still had the Huayna Pichu, Machu Picchu Mountain and the Huchuy Picchu hikes to do. So, to save our legs, Beck and I skipped the tough hike up by getting the bus. Then, to save money, we did the walk back to Aguas Calientes, which is quite easy as it’s all downhill.
Best Time to Visit
In Peru, and in this part of the world, there’s a dry and rainy season. The dry season runs from May to October. Your chances of rain are low and you can expect mostly sunny days. Whereas, the rainy season is from November to April. You can expect frequent rainfall during this time. But, on the flip side, temperatures are generally warmer throughout the day.
Of course, visiting in the dry season is recommended to increase your chances of good weather when visiting Machu Picchu and climbing Huchuy Picchu Mountain. Although, even in the dry season, low lying mist around Machu Picchu is very common early in the morning. So, to increase your chances of good views of Machu Pichu from the summit of Huchuy Picchu, it’s best to avoid an early time slot (7–9am). From 9–10am onwards, you’re more likely to have unimpeded views of Machu Picchu. But, of course, weather in the mountains is unpredictable!
Is Huchuy Picchu Worth It?
Yes, we think it’s worth hiking. Because the Huchuy Picchu hike involves following a new trail, you’ll get to enjoy rarely seen perspectives and angles of Machu Picchu from the summit. Best of all, the hike is still relatively unknown. So, you’ll enjoy a peaceful and quiet hike despite many people visiting the ruins. Although, at $41USD, it’s a very expensive hike! If you’re on a shoestring, it’d be hard to justify climbing Huchuy Picchu Mountain.
So, is it worth it for you? Let’s compare the Huchuy Picchu hike with the other Machu Picchu hikes to help you answer this question.
Other Machu Picchu Hikes
Other than the new Huchuy Picchu hike, there are the well-known Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes. In the past, many tourists weren’t sure whether to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Now, with the arrival of the Huchuy Picchu hike, there’s a third option! Let’s compare Huchuy Picchu with the other two Machu Picchu hikes to help you figure out which trail or trails to do!
Huchuy Picchu vs. Huayna Picchu
The main differences between the Huchuy Picchu and Huayna Picchu hikes are the difficulty and views of Machu Picchu. To help us compare the two hikes, let’s look at some quick stats for a better understanding of the difficulty concerning the Huayna Picchu hike.
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 2km
- Time: 1.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 180m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trailhead: Huayna Picchu Registration Hut
As you can see, the Huayna Picchu hike is four times as long and has three times more elevation gain. Although trail navigation is simple, the Huayna Picchu hike includes harder trail orientation. For instance, climbing Huayna Picchu Mountain involves some very narrow and steep steps. So, the trail is much harder to negotiate.
Although, with a steeper hike, you’ll have an even more far-sweeping view of Machu Picchu. Indeed, the view from Huayna Picchu is absolutely mesmerising. Compared with the Huchuy Picchu hike, you’ll have to work much harder on the Huayna Picchu hike. But, the more glorious and birds-eye-type views of Machu Picchu make it all worth it! For this reason, perhaps the Huayna Picchu hike is better.
But, as mentioned earlier, both the Huchuy Picchu and Huayna Picchu hikes share the same trailhead. So, why not do both hikes? You could simply do one after the other. Although, the ticket entrance fee for the Huayna Picchu hike is 200 soles ($53USD), plus 5.40 soles ($1.50USD) for card payment. Overall, you’d be paying 205.40 soles ($54.50USD) to do the Huayna Picchu hike and also 156.10 soles ($41USD) for the Huchuy Picchu hike. Yeah, fair enough, if you only choose one!
For more information, read here: Huayna Picchu Hike
Huchuy Picchu vs. Machu Picchu Mountain
Now, let’s compare the Huchuy Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes. The main differences between these hikes, again, are the difficulty and views of Machu Picchu, owing to the trail location. First, let’s look at some quick stats regarding the Machu Picchu Mountain hike to see how it compares with the Huchuy Picchu hike.
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 3.3km
- Time: 2–2.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 515m
- Difficulty: Hard
- Trailhead: Machu Picchu Mountain Registration Hut
As you can see, climbing Machu Picchu Mountain is much harder than climbing Huchuy Picchu. The Machu Picchu Mountain hike is around six-seven times longer and has approx. 10 times more elevation gain! Although, similar to the Huchuy Picchu hike, trail navigation is simple and easy.
Other than difficulty, the main difference between hiking Huchuy Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain is the views. Both Huchuy Picchu and Huayna Picchu are located north of Machu Picchu. Whereas, Machu Picchu Mountain is positioned south of the Inca site. Essentially, Machu Picchu Mountain faces opposite Huchuy Picchu and Huayna Picchu. As a result, the views of Machu Picchu from Machu Picchu Mountain are very different when compared with the views from Huchuy Picchu (and Huayna Picchu for that matter). So, perhaps it’s worth doing either Huchuy Picchu OR Huayna Picchu AND Machu Picchu Mountain. That way, you’ll have views of Machu Picchu from opposite sides.
But, again, to do the Machu Picchu Mountain, you’ll need to pay 200 soles ($53USD), plus 5.40 soles ($1.50USD) for card payment. Overall, you’d be paying 205.40 soles ($54.50USD) for both the Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu hikes. Perhaps that’s a benefit of doing Huchuy Picchu, as it’s slightly cheaper at 156.10 soles ($41USD).
For more information, read here: Machu Picchu Mountain Hike
Other Things to Do at Machu Picchu
Other than hiking at Machu Picchu, you will definitely need to spend time exploring the Inca citadel. Of course, you’ll learn much more about the 15th Century complex by doing a guided tour!
Machu Picchu Tours
Certainly, you’ll get more out of your experience at Machu Picchu by doing a guided tour. A guide will be able to explain the history of the Inca civilisation and describe the significance of features at the site, such as the Sacred Rock of Machu Picchu. As mentioned, it’s easy enough to find a guide in Aguas Calientes or at the entrance of Machu Picchu.
Although, personally, Beck and I didn’t go with either of these options. As part of the Salkantay Trek, our trekking guide showed us around Machu Picchu. If you’re also keen to do a guided Salkantay Trek that involves a Machu Picchu tour, we booked with Apu Andino Travel Peru. They’re an excellent family-run Cusco-based tour operator. Beck and I really enjoyed the Salkantay Trek and Machu Picchu tour with Apu Andino Travel Peru.
To book a tour with Apu Andino Travel Peru, you can reach them on Whatsapp (+51 984 609 485 or +51 984 067 472). Otherwise, drop into their office in Cusco (Centro Commercial Imasumaq, Office #216) to find out more information about the different tours they offer. Why not check them out on Facebook and Instagram?!
Where to Stay at Aguas Calientes
Aguas Calientes is only a small town. But, it has plenty of accommodation options. To hike this mountain, you’ll probably need to stay in Aguas Calientes at some point. We’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxury options to cover all needs.
- Budget – Supertramp Hostel Machupicchu: this hostel is one of the most popular and highly-rated in Aguas Calientes. Supertramp Hostel Machupicchu is conveniently located, provides free breakfast and even has soundproofing throughout the establishment. There are great value-for-money dorm rooms. But, there are also private rooms on offer.
- Mid-range – Peru Coca B&B Machupicchu: this bed and breakfast is a great mid-range option for those not looking to spend the earth on comfort. Beck and I really enjoyed our stay at Peru Coca B&B Machupicchu. The hosts are super friendly and they serve up a great breakfast too. In addition, the rooms are spacious and nice.
- Luxury – Gringo Bill’s Boutique Hotel: when it comes to boutique hotels in Aguas Calientes, it’s hard to beat Gringo Bill’s Boutique Hotel. This stylish hotel is one of the most highly-rated accommodation options near Machu Picchu. It includes a hot tub, organic restaurant and even a Pisco bar! Best of all, it’s great value for money compared with other luxury accommodation options in Aguas Calientes.
What to Wear and Pack For Huchuy Picchu
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
When climbing Huchuy Picchu Mountain, you should also take water, snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat.
For a more complete gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Or, for a summary of everything you’d need for a hiking trip to Peru, check out our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
- There’s more to Peru than just Machu Picchu: of course, you should explore popular attractions in Peru, such as Machu Picchu and Sun Gate on the Inca trail. But, make sure to also see lesser-known attractions. Beck and I really enjoyed less-explored natural attractions and treks near Cusco such as the Ausangate and Choquequirao treks and the Huchuy Qosqo One-Day Trek. You could go one step further than us and do the Huchuy Qosqo Trek over 2 or 3 days!
- Do two Machu Picchu hikes in one day: the Huchuy Picchu hike should only take 30–60 minutes. If you’re keen on another hike, you could easily fit in Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain on the same day. Or, why not do all three in one day? It’s possible!
- Travel Insurance: given the potential for altitude sickness in Peru, you’ll want travel insurance. We recommend SafetyWing as a reputable and dependable provider.
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