Machu Picchu Mountain Information & Guide

Written by: Sam Travel | 13 June, 2024
Macchu Picchu Mountain from Huayna Picchu

Peru is one of the most visited countries in South America. The country has much to see and do. Many travel to Peru every year and the one thing that is on everybody’s mind is Machu Picchu. It is the dream, a destination to cross off the bucket list. Although Machu Picchu is a must, there are many other interesting sites that surround Machu Picchu. One of the most popular hikes around Machu Picchu is Machu Picchu Mountain, a short hike that will challenge you but once you arrive at the top of the mountain, you will have unforgettable views of the Inca Citadel.

What is Machu Picchu Mountain?

Most agree that it was used as a giant military checkpoint, where the citadel was protected against any threat from waring cultures. There are also some evidences of religious and spiritual ritual celebrations were held at the summit. Theories also investigate the astronomical function of the mountain.  Here the scholars and high priests studied the cosmos, the constellations, and the different solstices during the year.

Location of Machu Picchu Mountain (Also called Montaña)

Machu Picchu Mountain is at 3082 meters above sea level, 600 meters more than Machu Picchu. It is located over the southwest corner of the Machu Picchu archaeological park. It is technically in the Cusco Region, in the province of Urubamba, Machu Picchu district and the hike offer wonderful alternative views of Machu Picchu City.

How to get to Machu Picchu Mountain?

Walk to the Guard House, from there take in magnificent views of Machu Picchu. After the Guard House or checkpoint, the trail climbs evenly for an hour. Note that the closer you get to the base, the steeper the trail becomes, the steps get narrower and more challenging. If you continue for another 30 minutes, you will see a stone entrance. Later you will find a small cabin where you can take refuge and take a breath. Round trip the trek will take around 3 hours.

Tickets for Machu Picchu Mountain

To go to Machu Picchu Mountain, you will need to buy an entrance ticket. From the 1st June 2024 you will need to have a Circuit 1 entrance ticket. This ticket will give you access to the Guard House viewing point, where you can take wonderful pictures of Machu Picchu. The cost of the tickets are US$75 per person.

If you plan to hike to Machu Picchu Mountain you will not be able to tour the ruins, this will be an additional entrance ticket and a guide.


  • Group 1 – Entrance to Machu Picchu from 7 am Access to the mountain is open from 8 am to 9 am
  • Group 2 – Entrance to Machu Picchu from 9 am Access to the mountain is open from 10 am to 11 am

More information

  • In total there are 400 tickets available for each day.
  • You can travel this mountain in the company of family and friends. There is no age limit.

Don’t forget to book your tickets for Machu Picchu Mountain in advance as this is a popular hike and the tickets sell out quickly.

Getting to Machu Picchu

Cusco is the starting point for all tours to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. Most spend a day or 2 exploring the ancient Inca city. From Cusco you can get to Machu Picchu several ways. Firstly, you can take one of the many trains that leave from Cusco and the Sacred Valley. There are different services from tourist to luxury. Travel through the amazing Sacred Valley of the Incas and see some of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere in the world. Arriving into Aguas Calientes the town below Machu Picchu, you then take the bus up a Zigzag Road to the gate of Machu Picchu, where you will either begin your tour or go to Machu Picchu Mountain.

The second way and very popular is to hike to Machu Picchu, there are several different hikes to do ranging from 2 day to 4 or 5 day through the high Andes. The hikes pass through the Sun Gate and finish at Machu Picchu.

Before or after your guided tour to Machu Picchu you can do the hike to Machu Picchu Mountain. But remember to book your tickets well in advance as they sell out quickly.

When is the best time to visit?

The most popular time to do the hike is the Dry season (April – September). This is because you will have clear skies, sun, humid and hot weather and colorful vegetation. But most importantly, you will have solid and dry paths to walk securely.

On the other hand, the rainy season (December – March) presents different challenges for example muddy and slippery paths. Of course, hard rains, cloudy skies and sometimes a fog will accompany the season. The fog may prevent you from having good views of Machu Picchu. The upside is that the sites will be less crowded and more peaceful.

Other Hikes around Machu Picchu

Although Machu Picchu Mountain is fabulous you can also do other hikes at the Inca site. The most popular is Huayna Picchu. This is the mountain that you see that is located behind Machu Picchu. The is also challenging but there are temples to see on the top and great views of Machu Picchu. Another new hike to do is Huchuy Picchu. This is an easy hike for those wanting to experience something different.

Huayna Picchu Mountain

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Altitude Sickness

How will the altitude affect me? This is something that is difficult to answer. Some people it doesn’t affect at all, where others that if does effect. Take the following precautions, these will help with the effects of altitude.

Don’t over exert yourself: When you arrive into altitude, try to give yourself time to rest so your body can focus on adjusting. 

Stay hydrated:Altitude causes your body to dehydrate quicker, so drink as much water as possible throughout your trip. It is recommended to drink an additional liter or more a day.

Take altitude medication:This helps your body adjust more easily and can reduce altitude sickness symptoms like headaches, exhaustion, nausea and a general feeling of being sick. It is recommended to come prepared with pills.

Try coca tea/leavesIt is a great idea to try one of the ancient remedies the Incas used – coca leaves. Not to be confused with the cocoa plant that chocolate is made from, coca leaves are native to Peru and act as a stimulant that calms altitude symptoms and helps you adapt naturally. Most hotels offer coca tea for free in the reception and you can buy coca leaves (to chew) off vendors, markets and shops in Cusco.

What to Pack

What you will need to make your Machu Picchu Mountain hike unforgettable:

  • Water: Bring at least 1 liter to get you through the day
  • Snacks: Food is not allowed in Machu Picchu, but you can take snacks
  • Sunscreen/Hat/Sunglasses: The sun is very strong in Machu Picchu, so protecting your skin and eyes is important.
  • Hiking boots/shoes: Preferably with good tread as you’ll be climbing a lot of stone steps
  • Rain Jacket: Having waterproof gear will help you get through those pesky downpours, to be safe you should have a raincoat year-round.
  • Layers: Long pants and layers are key for surviving the temperature changes and the biting flies.
  • Insect RepellantSpeaking of biting flies, repellant really comes in handy
  • Backpack: Nothing larger than 9.8 x 8.6 x 1.9 in (25 x 22 x 50 cm)
  • Passport: You can’t get into Machu Picchu without it!
  • Machu Picchu Mountain Ticket: This one is a given, don’t lose it!
  • (Optional) Camera: Photos and video are allowed, but keep your drones and tripods at home.

Machu Picchu Mountain is one of the best hikes you can experience at Machu Picchu. The views are spectacular and well worth the effort it takes to climb to the top. If you are a nature lover or if you love photography the Machu Picchu Mountain trek is for you. The view gives a different perspective of Machu Picchu. Don’t miss out on this experience of a lifetime.

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Had a great trip with our guide Ray Herrera and driver Alfredo. Lots of good experiences in a short period of time 4 days. Learnt a lot not just about the main tourist destinations but Peru in general by Ray. Ray has a passion for Inca history and local produce. Ray knows all the good photo spots and we managed the sun out every day .. Good culture and if you want to get on a tour ask for Ray at Sams Travel = amazing

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Cheri Buccino April 21, 2024
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Powerful! This journey tests your humanity and leaves you in awe of yourself and the beauty that Pachamama provides. April 2024 We conquered the Inca trail and it was only made possible with the help and guidance from our expert guides Jean Pierre (JP) and Jimmy. The knowledge these gentlemen shared was admired by all of our group and the envy of other trail hikers who stopped to listen. The hike has many layers of challenges including language barriers, altitude sensitivities and food specifications. The team at Sam travel exceeded the needs and went above to ensure our comforts were met. A special mention must be made to Mario, the Chef who somehow performed magic with nutritious flavourful meals to satisfy even the pickiest consumers and Francesco who was our lead porter who orchestrated the harmony that happened behind the scenes to get everything done. Nothing less than marvellous from this team. Thank you to each of the group who made our trek a remarkable experience.

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Jose and Henry were great guides for our first time exploring machu pichu! They were very attentive and kept everything on a smooth schedule. Highly recommend!

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The whole experience was amazing. Ray, our guide answered all of our questions and definitely had our best interest in mind the whole time. Timothy the cook made fantastic food and somehow found a way to prepare a birthday cake with no notice! Boni our head porter and his whole crew were kind, accommodating, and had such upbeat attitudes which really made the experience great!

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I spent two days with Sam Travel’s guide Raymier, who guided us through the one-day 12-km stretch of the Inca trail and then took us to Machu Picchu the next day. In my group, I was always the last one on the trail because I come from the coast and I’m not used to altitudes, and honestly I could also have prepared physically a little better. Raymier respected my pace, never rushed me, and supported me throughout the ardous trail. He had much knowledge to share. I speak Spanish, but ended up in an English tour, and Ray’s English was very good. He was funny, respectful, and versatile. He knew where to take all the best photos and patiently took photos of all of us. I would trust Sam Travel again especially if I was lucky enough to have Ray as a guide again.

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