It is one of the toughest hiking challenges in Machu Picchu; This will take you to the top of the Putucusi mountain, with views of Machu Picchu and the entire labyrinth of mountains that surround it.
Currently, the trail is free, and starts in the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo), is one of the most challenging hiking trails of the sanctuary; includes seven wooden stairs, positioned vertically, among which is one of approximately four stories high.
How to Find the Point of Entry?
From the town of Aguas Calientes, you must follow the train tracks to the outskirts of the city, heading north (towards Machu Picchu and the hydroelectric power station).
Behind the Sumaq hotel, follow the right side of the railway, to a small path that goes down the mountain slope, after about ten minutes of walking you will arrive at an uninhabited surveillance hut, just at this point the trail starts to the Putucusi mountain.
From the abandoned hut, a metal gate is crossed, which will face the first climbing challenge of this difficult path; a wooden staircase of approximately four floors, the stairway is well built and is safe, a small rail of thick wire, will serve as additional support.
This ladder is the first of a total of 7 and is about 30 meters high, firmly attached to the mountain, at an angle of almost 70 degrees, in this place should be very careful, since a slight slip, could end in serious injuries or even death (no kidding).
After overcoming this first obstacle, you will have to overcome the remaining six stairs, which are shorter and less vertical (45º to 60º); After approximately 50 minutes of travel, you will pass a small ridge, which connects to the base of the mountain.
From this point, the tour will reveal impressive views of the dense cloud forest of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary; From another point, you will get views of the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo), you will notice the remote location and the limits of the city. From this point, it will continue for approximately 45 to the top of the mountain.
The summit is composed of huge overhanging rocks with views of the valley, the town of Aguas Calientes, and the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu horizontally, since the top of the Putucusi, is at the same height of the Inca Citadel.
Be careful, because stairs can be slippery if they are wet; Also, the lower steps may have mold or insects (disinfect your hands with wet carvings after climbing these stairs).
Defiant. It is undoubtedly the hardest trek in Machu Picchu, it is quite intense and involves getting around tall wooden stairs and relatively steep paths, located on the rocky slopes. It is recommended for hikers in good mental and physical condition. Abstain people with a fear of heights, or suffer from vertigo.
The time required: Ascent between 3h to 3h and 30m.
Altitude of the summit: 2,500 meters above sea level
Height in relation to Machu Picchu: 460 meters.
Terrain: Stone Inca Trail, grass paths, and vertical wooden stairs.
Recommended footwear: light hiking boots.
Schedule of Entry: It does not have an established schedule, but it will have to try not to be in the path at nightfall.
Type of Ticket: You do not need any type of ticket, the entrance is free.
The Best Time to Go
This hike is possible throughout the year, but like the other hiking trails in Macha Picchu, it is more complicated in the rainy season (November – April), as the path like the stairs, they become slippery and difficult to overcome.
The region has a sub-tropical climate throughout the year, with average temperatures bordering 18ºC (64ºF). Humidity during the dry season, ranges between 40% and 45%, reaching 60% or 65% during the rainy season.
It is recommended to hike early in the morning, since the temperatures are cooler, and the intensity of the sun is lower. Make sure you are not traveling this route, after 6 pm (it could be hazardous).
Take with you clothes for both rain and sun, since the weather throughout the southern region of Peru, is quite unpredictable at any time of the year, the path is mainly stone stairs and wooden stairs (vertical), so It is recommended to prepare with light, comfortable and used hiking shoes.
Also bring with you, a rain poncho, sun protection, and some snacks. We also recommend that you carry wet towels and hand sanitizer.
List of Requirements
Water; minimum 1 to 1.5 liters of water (2 – 3 personal bottles).
Hat, sunglasses and sun protection.
Strong insect repellent.
Poncho for the rain.
Identity Document / Passport / ISIC
Electronic ticket Machu Picchu printed (without this you can not enter Machu Picchu).
It is not advisable to take this walk alone, due to the dangerous nature of the path. Walk these trails with extreme caution, as the route offers many opportunities to fall. It is not recommended for people with the fear of heights or vertigo.