According to the Inca worldview, the mountains represented gods capable of protecting and deciding on the natural cycles of life. That is why they built roads, temples and even religious shrines at the summits with the aim of venerating these entities, also known as ‘apus’. The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, for example, was built in the middle of a mountain range in the eastern part of the Peruvian Andes. The peaks of the Salkantay, the Machu Picchu Mountain, the Huayna Picchu and the Putucusi stand out. Nowadays, it is possible to make trekking routes on top of these summits. Learn a little more about the mountains near the Wonder of the World.
Machu Picchu Mountain
The mountain Machu Picchu is a summit located at 3,082 meters above sea level (masl) and whose name was adopted by the Inca Citadel located in its lower part. On its slopes are ancient Inca trails probably destined to worship the ‘apu’ Salkantay, located at the top of the Wonder of the World. Currently, its route is one of the tourist attractions in the Inca llaqta. The journey to the top is an adventure for the whole family. From the top, you can enjoy an incredible view from a unique point of view. To access its stone paths and reach the top you need the Ticket Machu Picchu + Mountain. This ticket allows the tour of the Inca Citadel and the Machu Picchu Mountain. The income is in two shifts or groups:
- Grupo 1: Ingreso de 07:00 a.m. a 08:00 a.m.
- Grupo 2: ingreso de 09:00 a.m. a 10:00 a.m.
The Huayna Picchu
The Huayna Picchu is a summit located at 2,720 masl north of the Inca Citadel. It is known as ‘Young Mountain’ in contrast to the mountain Machu Picchu known as the ‘old mountain’. On its slopes are ancient Inca roads made of stone more than 600 years ago. There is also an elaborate construction in the middle of a cave, known as Temple of the Moon. All these works were probably made with the aim of paying homage to the ‘apus’ of the place. The Waynapicchu is currently one of the most popular attractions of the Wonder of the World. The journey to the top at the edge of extreme ravines is known as one of the most incredible short walks in the world. To access this trekking route you need the Ticket Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu. The income allows entry to the Inca Citadel. The income is in two shifts:
- Group 1: Entrance from 07:00 a.m. at 08:00 a.m.
- Group 2: Entry from 10:00 a.m. at 11:00 a.m.
The Putucusi (happy mountain) is a summit located at 2,560 masl, located 8 kilometers from the Inca Citadel. In comparison with the Huayna Picchu and the Machu Picchu Mountain, it is the smallest mountainous formation. From the top, however, the Wonder of the World is appreciated from a unique and different angle. Although it does not present known Inca constructions, its route has as many doses of adventure as the ascent to the Waynapicchu. It is entered directly from the town of Aguas Calientes. You start ascending along stone paths until you reach a vertical staircase made of bamboo several meters high. Getting to the top takes 3 to 4 hours according to the physical condition of the visitor. No type of ticket is needed to access this adventure.
The Salkantay Mountain is a summit located at 6,424 masl belonging to the so-called Cordillera de Vilcabamba in the Peruvian Andes. Its name means ‘Wild Mountain’, probably due to its difficult access at high altitude. From the time of the Incas, it is considered a powerful deity, the father of all the mountains of the region. The ancient Incas who inhabited the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu surely paid homage to this imposing summit, as did the inhabitants of Cuzco, Choquequirao and other urban centers from where the ‘apu’ was sighted. From the top of the mountain Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu, it is possible to see this imposing snow. Currently, there is a 5-day hiking trail that crosses the skirts of Salkantay until arriving at the Wonder of the World.
To take into account
The Incas considered the mountains as life-giving gods to whom they were to worship. Offerings, payments to the land and even human sacrifices were made to their skirts. Nowadays, according to the Andean cosmovision, these summits continue to enjoy importance. Due to this, the tourist who visits the slopes of Huayna Picchu, the Putucusi, the Machu Picchu Mountain and the Salkantay must respect them. In addition, the following should be taken into account:
- To access the Waynapicchu you need to book the Ticket Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu. Due to the high demand, it is recommended to do it up to 3 months in advance.
- To access the Machu Picchu Mountain you need to book the Ticket Machu Picchu + Mountain. Although this ticket does not need to be booked so early, it is recommended to do it at least 3 days before.
- The ascent to Putucusi needs a lot of care and caution. The roads are uneven. For a few years, the rains caused the removal of the vertical bamboo ladder so the ascent is dangerous.
- The 5-day trekking route from Salkantay to Machu Picchu is one of the most incredible treks in Cusco. It is recommended to have a prior acclimatization in the city of Cusco.
- The ‘apus’ or ‘spirits of the mountains’ are still respected entities and even revered by the inhabitants of the Andes. It is advised to respect the beliefs and traditions of the people. In Peru, many of the Inca beliefs still survive to this day.
The Wonder of the World is also the Huayna Picchu, the Putucusi, the Machu Picchu mountain and even the ‘apu’ Salkantay. Live the adventure, traditions, and beliefs offered by the Inca Citadel. Reserve the entrance ticket in advance.