Peru Travel – Huayna Picchu

Guide to Plan a Huayna Picchu Trip

The problem with attempting to climb Huayna Picchu is that only a certain number of people are permitted access to the Huayna Picchu trail each day.

To add to this challenge, the rules for obtaining access are continually changing. For example in 2008 you needed a number to climb but if those with numbers did not show up at the entrance to the Huayna Picchu trail by a certain time, the security guards would allow you to pass through. In 2009, we asked again how to obtain a number only to be told, “Numbers to climb Huayna Picchu are handed out at the main entrance gate so you must arrive early.”

No matter how you plan when traveling in Peru, something always seems to get in the way. We were up early, had purchased our tickets for the bus and entrance a day prior and arrived at the bus stop only to find, they had allowed everyone to line up for the bus, even if they had not purchased access tickets.

This was very frustrtating when we had made every attempt to be part of the first group to arrive at the Machu Picchu entrance, and now have to wait while those with less knowledge are able to obtain access ahead of us. We could only hope that they had no interest in climbing and watch in dismay as busses continued to climb up the hill. Guessing how many people each bus holds and how many buses had actually made the round trip up the switchbacks to Machu Picchu did not help relax our nerves.

Upon arrival at the Machu Picchu entrance gate, we asked for a number to climb Huayna Picchu only to be told, “You have to get them at the Huayna Picchu trail entrance”. While Machu Picchu is lower altitude than Cusco, it is still not the best climate for a 5.30am morning run accross the ruins. Nevertheless, we set out to accomplish this wondering how many people we could pass to ensure our spot to climb Huayna Picchu.

Less than 100 yards away it was a little disconcerting to hear pounding feet behind you of other runners with the same knowledge and panic stricken hearts, that one would have traveled all this way and possibly not have the opportunity to climb. They were kind enough not to pass us in the last few feet but take their place behind. (Later we found out they had run all the way from Intipunku, the Sun Gate which opened at 6am(?).)

So, the bottom line is you must plan ahead if you wish to climb

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