Kensington Tours' Destination Expert, Noraly Barillas, suggests hikers with little time on Peru tours who want to take in the famous vistas of Machu Picchu can trek the region's most famous short trail along the mountain of Wayna Picchu.
Also spelled Huayna Picchu, the mountain's name translates to "Young Peak," a name largely derived from the mountain's shorter stature compared to nearby summits. The trail itself hugs the mountain, providing steep ascents that at first seem daunting but are trickier in nature. The trail includes a ladder and brief interlude into a cave, prompting all hikers to be careful in their footing and creative in their movements.
However, those who climb the route often find it worth the effort. Trekkers pass along the backside of the main ruins, which provide a unique viewpoint to the relic structures that few travelers will experience. The route also leads to the impressive Temple of the Moon, a cliffside temple found beneath large rock outcroppings that is not easily described in words. Plunging guests into a mystical cloud forest and then around the mountain's backside, the Wayna Picchu trail is in a realm of its own, even amid such relics.
Guests really wanting to try out the trail will have to arrive early, however. Only 400 visitors are allowed to hike it daily, and trail-goers line up rather quickly.
For those who cannot secure a spot along this wondrous trail, the Cerro Machu Picchu is a good alternative, providing excellent vistas of the relics without the long lines. With Wayna Picchu only taking fast hikers around an hour to finish, those ambitious - and lucky - enough to enjoy both trails should readily do so.
(Lima, Cusco, Aguas Calientes)
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