Cerro Machu Picchu
This moderate three-hour hike is a good alternative to climbing Huayna Picchu if Huayna Picchu has reached its daily quota or if you are afraid of heights (Huayna Picchu has one steep and exposed section).
The hike up Cerro Machu Picchu (3,051 meters, or 601 meters above Machu Picchu) offers lots of fresh air, quiet natural surroundings, and a great view at the top.
Cerro Machu Picchu is the mountain above Machu Picchu in the direction of the Inti Punku, or Sun Gate. To get there take the Inca Trail out of the Machu Picchu ruins past the Caretaker’s Hut and towards Inti Punku. About 150 meters past the Caretaker’s Hut, head right up a set of stairs with a sign that says “To Machu Picchu Mountain.”
Follow the trail for one hour through a habitat of exotic birds, orchids, lichen, moss, and trees, until arriving at the bottom of a set of Inca stairs. From here, it is a steep, 45-minute uphill walk. This is an excellent acclimatization hike for anyone preparing for a post-Machu Picchu trek.
Various caves that contained skeletons when found by Hiram Bingham’s expedition are located at the base of Cerro Machu Picchu. This area is therefore called Upper Cemetery.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition