Friday, June 14, 2013

All the way to the tippy top: Wayna Picchu

Wayna Picchu is known as Huayna Picchu by the locals, the Quechaua, and means young peak. It stands tall behind Machu Picchu and according to Wikipedia, the top of the mountain was the residence for the Inca's high priest and the local virgins (probably not virgins for too long after hanging out with the priest).

Each day there are about 2500 visitors to Machu Picchu but only 400 are allowed to climb Wayna Picchu.  Reservations must be booked in advance to be one of the 400 people to climb up the steep mountain. At the control point again you need your passport, your reservation and you must sign into the book and the time you're entering. When you leave, you must find your name and sign out with the time.

At the entrance to Wayna Picchu was a list of instructions. My favorite is 'Be healthy and fit for the ride', like it's a ride as Disneyland with physical activity and  'walk with careful'.

It was certainly steep but well worth the views. From the top was yet another view of Machu Picchu and the zig zag road the buses took to the top.

I think these are the original Inca stairs used to climb the mountain.  There was no sign and they were off to the side but you can see they go a long way in various sections.

While hiking around we came across another trail blocked by an employee.  It was closed because the loop required 2.5 hours and there wasn't enough time.  When another couple negotiated their way onto the closed trail, we jumped in too explaining we were fast.  The trail let to Gran Caverna and the Temple of the Moon.  Gran Caverna are natural caves on the north side of the mountain and are well below the summit.  We climbed a ladder down in one spot and slide down the steep downhill slopes.   We knew what goes down must go up and we'd have to climb our way back up and if it took 2.5 hours John thought we'd be short on time.  We were going to walk down the stairs from Machu Picchu back to Aqua Caliente leaving by 3pm in order to catch our train that boarded about 5:30pm.

Once at Gran Caverna we had a brief snack and started the cruel hike back up.  We didn't hike back the way we came because there was a loop trail that went around the mountain and although it was longer, it wasn't as steep.  Or so they say.  I had such a hard time trying to hurry up the stairs but in the end we made great time.  The sign said the loop and Wayna Picchu would take 4 hours and we did the whole thing in 2 hours.

If you go to Machu Picchu and can't get Wayna Picchu reservations, it's ok.  Perhaps it's because we were rushed, didn't have a guide to explain more about the history or had to wait or squeeze by people who weren't fit enough to be on the trail, but Wayna Picchu didn't make the overall day any better. I'm glad I did it but don't fret and feel you missed out if you can't climb the mountain.

1 comment:

The Green Girl said...

Like many people, Machu Picchu is one of those bucket list items for me. I loved reading this post.

I'd never heard of Wayna Picchu before. I'm so glad you were able to continue on the trail to Gran Caverna and the Temple of the Moon.