Popularity: Huayna Picchu is much more popular and permits sell out well in advance. Although you also need a permit for Machu Picchu Mountain, the availability of these is much better. It can get crowded at the top of Huayna Picchu whereas Machu Picchu Mountain is less busy.
Difficulty: Huayna Picchu is steeper and there are some parts where you need to use your hands for balance. Machu Picchu mountain is not as steep but the elevation gain is double that of Huayna Picchu. It is also a longer hike making it a bit more physically challenging overall.
Hiking time: Huayna Picchu takes about 1.5 – 2 hours in total including the way up and the way down. Machu Picchu Mountain takes about 2.5 – 3 hours in total.
Scare factor: Both can be pretty hair raising with very exposed areas and sheer drops. Not suitable for those scared of heights!
Total height: Huayna Picchu is 2720 metres and Machu Picchu Mountain is 3051 metres.
Elevation gained: Hiking Huayna Picchu you will go up 290 metres and Machu Picchu Mountain is a total climb of 621 metres.
Time: Huayna Picchu has two slots, 7am or 10am whilst Machu Picchu Mountain is 7am or 9am.
Permits: There are only 400 spaces allowed each day and for Huayna Picchu these sell out very far in advance. There is also 400 spaces for Machu Picchu Mountain, but these don’t tend to sell out as quickly.
View: Both views are impressive and look down on the ruins. From Machu Picchu Mountain you also look down on Huayna Picchu as it is the higher peak.
Summit: Huayna Picchu does not have a flat summit and it can be quite difficult to move around, especially when busy. This can also be disconcerting for those scared of heights. Machu Picchu Mountain’s summit is flat with 360 degree views.