Our new film reveals a mysterious peak beyond Peru’s ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu

Jos looks back on one of her favourite travel experiences.

We’ve seen the world – and we will see it again. But in the meantime, we’re going to keep in touch, reminding you of why we travel in the first place. For us, travel has always started with a dream. A dream of somewhere else and of some time else. That’s why we’re going to look back at the trips we’ve made in order to feel the thrill of the trips we’re going to take. Place by place, face by face – we’re looking back to look forward.

Here, we spoke to Jos (and our local guide Piero) about her 2018 trip to Peru, including their adventurous ascent not only of Machu Picchu but of its lesser-known neighbour: Huayna Picchu.

It’s common knowledge that Peru’s Machu Picchu is a must when visiting the country. You’ve probably heard of the iconic hike to the Sun Gate, and seen photos of its crumbling stones. However, few have given time to Huayna Picchu, mysterious Machu’s colossal neighbour. Meaning ‘young peak’ in the Inca Quechua language, this behemoth of a mountain offers the perfect platform from which to look down upon the sprawling ruins of the ‘lost city’ below. 

In Jos’ own words:

“Piero’s the man you want to sit next to at a dinner party.  He’s the friend you trust to take you on a real adventure. He’s the man everyone seems to know. And he’s certainly the guide and storyteller that you want to have when in Peru.”

So, without further ado, meet Piero – the man that will take you there. 

We’re blessed that we get to meet people like Piero. they drop by in the office regularly for coffee, biscuits, laughs – and, in Piero’s case, to share stories of home. This time we were thankful to finally pin him down and get him on camera. After all, it’s all about the people in the end.

Anyway, let us tell you more about this adventure.

A vertical climb up the Stairs of Death

Rising a mighty 2,720 metres above sea level and often referred to as the ‘Stairs of Death’ (don’t worry, no deaths have been recorded – it’s just for effect) a hike to Huayna Picchu is far from a walk in the park. Fear not, there’s plenty to keep you occupied below if it’s not for you. Once in the grounds of Machu Picchu, Piero will lead you to the entrance of the hike and you’ll begin the ascent. Taking around one hour to reach the summit, you’ll climb–and at some points crawl–steep stone steps sculpted over 5,000 years ago, with Piero there every minute of the way to lead you up safely. Once you’re at the top, look down at the breathtaking views of Machu Picchu and the Sun Gate, getting an entirely different perspective of the Lost City of the Inca below. You’ll soon realise the photos just don’t do it justice, and whilst Piero has been guiding for many years, the excitement in his face makes you feel like it’s his first time too. He’ll whisk you around the Temple of the Moon, one of Machu Picchu’s greatest mysteries to this day, before starting the descent down.

Read more: Ahead of your Huayna Picchu hike, give thanks to Mother Earth with a local shaman in the Sacred Valley.

Ready to conquer the sacred site?

Marvel at Machu Picchu, hike up Huayna Picchu Mountain and retreat back to the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge for some R&R. This is just the beginning of your Peruvian adventure. Visit our Peru country page to what else we can arrange for you on your Peru itinerary, from gourmet food tours in Lima to flying over the Nazca Lines in a private plane. 


A rainforest hideaway at the foothills of Machu Picchu

The only hotel to sit quite literally on Machu Picchu’s doorstep, at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge you’ll skip the zig-zagging bus to the entrance and merely roll out of bed. As you’re getting ready for a day of exploring with Piero, take a moment to sit back, relax and watch the cloud of mist rise off the mountains ahead. Home to 31 Inca-inspired suites, a rustic restaurant serving traditional Peruvian cuisine and a vibrant cocktail bar, the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge is the perfect spot to retreat back to after climbing Huayno Picchu. Unwind with a pisco sour in Tampa Bar or indulge in a massage in the orchid garden that faces the ruins.

When to visit Huayna Picchu Mountain

The best time to visit Peru is from April to September, but our favourite time to visit Huayna Picchu is in May. We’d be lying if we said you’ll be alone at Machu Picchu–as it’s busy 365 days of the year–but in May you’ll avoid the clouds of school kids and get warm weather. Let us know if you’d prefer a morning or afternoon slot for climbing Huayna Picchu, and we’ll take care of the rest. 

Belmond Santuary Lodge in Peru

Enjoy breakfast with a view at the Belmond Santuary Lodge in Machu Picchu

View from Huayna Picchu

View of UNESCO-inscribed Machu Picchu from Huayna Picchu