Waynapicchu is the larger of the two mountains behind the main site. There is a trail that leads to the top. It takes about 1.5-2 hours to climb and maybe slighly less to decend. It shouldn't be assumed that coming down is easier. There's a lot of stress on the knees. The trail has stairs fashioned mostly from rock. They are uneven. In some places there are handrails made from cable. At the top there are original Inca stairs along side the terraces. These are so steep they are best climbed as ladders. Just before the top is a cave-like passage, about 10 meters in length. It is easily negotated by people under 1.5 meters in height and 45kilos in weight.
Like elsewhere, there are insects that bite. Wear long pants, long-sleave shirts and bug spray.
The top of the mountain has a number of Inca terraces and ruins. As well the top provides a 360 view and an aeral view of the Machupicchu site.
There is a limit of 400 climbers per day allowed entrance to the trail. All 400 were consumed on the day we signed up and expect that is the case for every day. There are two start times: 7:00 and 10:00 with the 400 places being split between those two times. People line up early in the morning to get access to the trail. We lined up at 5:30, one half hour before the 6:00AM gate openning and got spots 42 & 43 for the 7:00 batch. While some buses arrive before 6AM, a number of people hike up from the city below. It takes about 40 minutes.
The staff at the site walk through the line before openning and mark entrance tickets with a number indicating access to the mountain. There is no separate charge for access to Waynapicchu. After we got our numbers we returned to the hotel for breakfast.
There's a gate at the begining of the trail where your ticket is checked for a number. All hikers need to sign in and out providing their name, age and country of origin. I can see signing in and out to make sure that everyone is accounted for. Providing age and country of origin seems unnecessary, but I left it unquestioned.
The trail is considered difficult. Being at over 2000 meters above sea level adds to the challenge if one has not acclimatized themselves. People suffering vertigo may find the top a challenge.
In the end, a good hike and worth the effort.
We spent three days at Machupicchu. The first day we arrived at about 11:00 AM. The train fare included a guided tour which covered the main site over a period of about 3 hours. It seemed comprehensive and the guide seemed to know what he was talking about. The second day was spent climbing Waynapicchu followed by a walk along the Inca trail as it enters the site at Machupicchu. The third day we walked over to the Inca Bridge.
The site at Machupicchu opens at 6:00AM and closes at 5:00PM which means sunrise and sunset shots are out of the question.
On sunny days there's good shadows before 8 or 9 AM and after 3:00PM. On cloudy days there's a lack of contrast and definition.
Most of my shots were with my 14-45mm (28-90 equivalent) lens which was quite satisfactory for the most part. Something a little shorter would have been useful in a few cases.
I took some close-in shots on the Waynapicchu hike with my 135mm (270mm equivalent). I used the same lense for some of the Llama shots. I switched between the 135mm and 200mm for some of the floral and bird shots.
There 3 ways to get to Machupicchu: bus/car; train; hike the Inca Trail. The hike is four days from Urubamba. The train takes one and one-half hours. We opted for the shorter "hike".
On arrival in Aguas Calientes we were immediately bused to the entrance of the site of Machupicchu. The immediacy was good; Aguas Calientes (from what I saw) is a place to be avoided.
We camped just outside the gates of Machupicchu which turned out to be very convenient. The accomodations offered a view of the mountains and the jacuzzi under the stars provided a nice relaxing venue after a full day.