The Huayna Picchu mountain is the imposing granite peak that dominates the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. It is considered an important “APU” or sacred summit of Machu Picchu; Huayna Picchu is a “quechua” word that means young peak or young mountain; It is located at 2,720 meters above sea level or 8,920 feet around which the Urubamba River bends. The Incas built a trail up the side of Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on top of it. From a distance, the mountain looks impossible to climb without the necessary tools, but even though it is a strenuous climb with some parts where you will really need hands and feet, the climb is quite possible for all visitors on average. For many people climbing Huaynapicchu is one of the highlights when visiting Machu Picchu.
The climb itself is interesting as you will see how the Inca architects carved some steps into the rocks and as you hike up the side of a mountain you will see Machu Picchu from different angles. Before reaching the top, you will also have to go through a tunnel carved into the rocks and the higher you go, the more structures you will recognize on top of the mountain. Some structures and terraces are built in impossible places that really speak to your imagination. Some structures are almost flush with the side of the mountain with a sheer drop of a couple of hundred meters on the other side. The views (on a clear day) of Machu Picchu as seen from Huayna Picchu are impressive and really give you an idea of how impressive the site is.
At the top of the mountain there is a residential room probably used by the most important priest of the Incas. Temple of the Moon: Located at 2,667 m.a.s.l. within the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, it was considered a ceremonial temple, forming part of Huayna Picchu. It is built inside a cave that has fine finishes made from trapezoidal niches in the Inca style.
The name was given after the arrival of Hiram Bingham, but it is unknown how it was known in times of Tahuantinsuyo. In the center of the cave you can see a throne carved out of rock. It is said that niches for mummies were housed within this. During the winter and summer solstices, before dawn, the priest with a small group would walk to this astronomical observatory, to record the events and codify them in the Quipus, which were then sent to the Inca emperor.
The maximum of 400 people per day has been maintained, but the great novelty is that visitors can only climb Huayna Picchu in the morning in two groups of 200 each. The groups have been given fixed times to climb Huayna Picchu and therefore the time allowed on the mountain has also been limited.
The first and second groups are recommended for those who have more time and can go the day before to the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) where Machu Picchu is, since the average distance from Cusco to Machu Picchu is 3 hours and a half per day. what many times you do not usually arrive on time if you leave the same day.
The walk, depending on the physical condition of the person, is 1 hour and 30 minutes one way and the same return. It is recommended that you be very cautious when climbing the mountain and, above all, undertake the return very carefully, to avoid accidents.
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