Click to rate article

Putucusi mountain hiking guide

Putucusi Mountain is one of the toughest hiking challenges in Machu Picchu. On its top you can see the entire maze of mountains that surround the Inca city. Currently, admission is free and starts in the town of Aguas Calientes. But yes, it takes a lot of physical effort and take the necessary security measures.

Few tourists know the Putucusi mountain since reaching its summit is one of the most challenging walks in Machu Picchu. While admission is free, it does take a lot of strength and courage to travel its paths. From the top you can see Machu Picchu from a distance.

hiking mountain putucusi machu picchu
Ascent to Putucusi Mountain, located in front of Machu Picchu Mountain

How to find the entry point of Putucusi?

  • From Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town) you must follow the train tracks in a northerly direction (towards the Hydroelectric Station) until you leave the outskirts of the town.
  • After walking approximately 1 kilometer you must enter a path that descends from the mountain.
  • After approximately 10 minutes of walking along the path, you will reach an uninhabited surveillance cabin. At that point the path that leads to the top of Putucusi Mountain begins.

How is the road to the top of Putucusi?

  • Once the road to Putucusi has begun, the first obstacle must be overcome: a huge vertical rock. A few years ago there was a ladder there but now, no.
  • To overcome this obstacle you need to hold a rope and ascend slowly and with great force. Most tourists give up continuing on this stretch.
  • After overcoming the first obstacle, you will have to ascend six less vertical wooden stairs. This section requires a lot of security and courage.
  • After ascending all the stairs, you will pass a small ridge that connects to the base of the mountain.
  • From this point, the tour will reveal breathtaking views of the dense jungle of Machu Picchu. From another point you will get views of the town of Aguas Calientes.
  • The top of Putucusi is at the same height of the Inca city of Machu Picchu.

How to climb the flight of stairs in Putucusi?

  • The most difficult section to reach the Putucusi is to cross the set of vertical stairs several meters high.
  • The difficulty increases because the first flight of stairs was removed. Thus, tourists must manage to climb the wall.
  • To ascend this section it is recommended to wear rope and harness. This way tourists will feel safer to reach the top.
  • It is also possible to ascend by holding the metal rope there. For this it is recommended to wear gloves.
  • All tourists need courage and strength in their arms to pass the flight of stairs.

What is the difficulty of the walk?

  • Challenging difficulty – It is without a doubt the most difficult hike in Machu Picchu. It is considered quite intense and involves overcoming high stairs and quite steep trails located on rocky slopes. It is recommended for hikers in good physical condition. Not suitable for people with fear of heights.

How to prepare for the walk?

  • The most important thing before the hike to Putucusi is to be sure to reach the top. For this it is essential to carry the appropriate implements.
  • Take clothes with you, both for rain and for the sun. The weather in Machu Picchu is unpredictable at any time of the year. Wearing waterproof ponchos are the best option during the rains.
  • It is also recommended to wear sunscreen, mosquito repellent and a cap.
  • Snacks, drinks, camera and other implements must fit in a backpack not very large. So the tourist can use their hands at any time.
  • The trail is mainly made of stones and wooden stairs so it is recommended to wear hiking shoes.

What things lead to the walk?

  • Water (2 – 3 personal bottles).
  • Hat, sunglasses and sun protection.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Poncho for the rain.
  • Small snacks
  • Identity document / passport / university card.
  • Photographic camera.
  • Backpack.
  • Sogas with harness (optional).

When is the best time to go?

  • This hike is possible throughout the year. However, the route is complicated in the rainy season from November to April). In those days, the trails become slippery and difficult to overcome.
  • The most advisable thing is to make the walk in the dry season (from May to October). In those months it hardly rains and the weather is ideal for ascending the mountain.
  • Trekking is recommended in the early hours of the day as temperatures are cooler.
  • It is not advised to ascend the Putucusi at night (when there is low light).

Useful information about Putucusi

  • Time needed: Ascent between 3 hours and 3 hours 30 minutes.
  • Altitude at the summit: 2,500 meters above sea level (8,202 ft).
  • Height in relation to Machu Picchu: 460 meters (1,509 ft).
  • Terrain: Inca stone path, grass paths and vertical wooden stairs.
  • Recommended footwear: Hiking boots.
  • Entry schedule: You do not have a set schedule.
  • Type of ticket: You do not need any type of ticket.
  • Availability: No income limit.

Is Putucusi dangerous?

  • Climbing the Putucusi mountain can be a dangerous experience due to the difficult stretches that must be overcome to reach the top.
  • It is not recommended for people traveling alone.
  • Tourists who are afraid of heights or suffer from vertigo should not do the trek.
  • If the visitor does not feel safe to overcome the most difficult sections of the Putucusi mountain, it is best to give up.

Is the Putucusi closed?

  • Putucusi does not remain closed but many tourists think so, since the first flight of vertical stairs were removed.
  • The only way to reach the top of the Putucusi is to cross this first part and continue on some vertical stairs several meters long.
  • The first part of these stairs were destroyed because of the constant rains. Therefore, tourists must climb this part with ropes. The same goes for the way back.
  • Once the difficult obstacle has been overcome, visitors must continue ascending up vertical stairs. The whole journey needs strength, skill and courage.


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, January 27, 2020