Ascent to the Putucusi Mountain in Machu Picchu

One of the most complicated activities to do during your visit to Machu Picchu Pueblo is to climb the Putucusi mountain. This route includes hiking and rappelling activities. At the same time, it allows an exclusive view of the entire Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Once at the top of Putucusi, many tourists mention having or feeling the sensation of touching the llaqta of Machu Picchu as if it were a canvas in the sky. Next, learn more about this destination and high-adrenaline activity in Machu Picchu. We already tell you that this climb to Putucusi is free

View of Putucusi from the route to Huayna Picchu

Putucusi Mountain

Putucusi Mountain is located very close to the Machu Pichu Pueblo district. What’s more, if you made the trip by train, you likely saw it when you arrived. It is a huge mountain, it is possible to see it leaving the waiting room of the train station. This mountain has an altitude of 2560 meters above sea level. However, it is considered one of the smallest mountains in this entire geographical area. For example, Machu Picchu Mountain reaches 3082 meters above sea level. To reach the top, in both cases, you have to do a hiking route.

Putucusi can be translated from Quechua to English as “Happy Mountain”. It is a steep mountain. One of the main reasons why people are inclined to make the ascent to Putucusi is because it allows hiking activities mixed with a section of rappelling. Rappelling is common in mountaineering since it involves ascending or descending vertical stone surfaces. During this ascent, we will be able to do this activity, both on the outward and return sections. Therefore, it is advisable to do this walk with the help of an expert, both on the route and in the necessary safety.

Climbing Putucusi Mountain is recommended for people who love mountaineering and lovers of vertigo and heights. The ascent is complicated, so you will need adequate equipment and some preparation so that the path and activities do not surprise you. This activity is completely free, in the sense that no entry ticket is paid, however, if you do not have the necessary rappelling or mountaineering equipment or experience, you will have to contact a guide. We find it necessary to specify that hiring the guide will have a cost.

How to start the ascent to Putucusi Mountain?

Part of the route to the top of Putucusi mountain

Once we have decided to do this ascent route, it will be necessary to have everything necessary. In this sense, it will not be enough to have the desire to promote but to have an adequate team. It will be necessary to have the necessary safety equipment to rappel. This is because, having free entry, the road does not receive adequate maintenance. A few years ago there were sectors where you could find wooden and bamboo stairs that became weaker over time. This is why it will be necessary to have the implements to achieve a safe ascent and descent. Remember that there are sections where you must carefully ascend gigantic, totally vertical rocks.

To begin the climb up the mountain, simply follow the Hiram Bingham Trail or Highway. Putucusi Mountain is located northeast of the Urubamba River. A more exact location is that it is in front of the archaeological site, therefore, you can have impressive views of the entire Inca site of Machu Picchu. Along the way, as previously mentioned, we will see a small detour, and from there we will begin the adventure. Next, let’s learn more about this experience.

This is the route to climb Putucusi Mountain

As we mentioned, you just have to follow the trail that connects the Machu Picchu Pueblo district with the Hiram Bingham Highway. That is, you have to follow Hermanos Ayar Avenue until you reach the road. Once the pass has advanced, we will find a detour. We will follow this path that is surrounded by a lot of vegetation. Little by little we will begin to notice the steep path. After approximately the first hour of ascent, we will find the first rock or section of the path, where we will have to use the climbing equipment.

Before climbing, some guides do a small ancestral ritual with coca leaves. This is to ask permission from the mountain and at the same time request security during the ascent. This doesn’t take long and once everyone is with the equipment ready, they begin the climb. It is in this section that the guides or experts have to secure the equipment and ropes or ropes, making a support line so that the rest of the people can ascend in complete safety.

After the rappelling activity, it is time to do the hiking route again, but always carefully. The walk will have sections that are connected by stairs. The steps of these may be damp and it will be necessary to walk carefully. Before reaching the top, it is advisable to have a short break to try a snack or fruit. This is to recover energy. Once rested, it is possible to continue with the walk. Some days the fog does not allow you to see Machu Picchu well, but with patience and good humor, you can wait a moment for the sun’s rays to illuminate the entire Inca citadel. Thus obtaining a beautiful view of the archaeological site.

After reaching the top and taking the photographs we want, it is time to return. For obvious reasons, we will have to descend along the same path given. The descent is much easier, but as always you have to be careful, sometimes the humidity creates small viscosities in the rock that make the sole of the shoe slippery. We will also have to rappel down. The latter is important because it will only be possible to do it with the corresponding equipment. Before there were some stairs, but they deteriorated and to avoid accidents it was necessary to remove or extract those stairs.

What will we see on the walk and ascent to Putucusi?

View of Machu Picchu from the top of Putucusi

During the walk, which lasts approximately 5 hours, taking into account the ascent and descent route, it is possible to appreciate different landscapes. Also, great variety of vegetation. Among this abundant vegetation, the presence of orchids will stand out, remember that the entire Machu Picchu sector has a diversity of these beautiful plants. It is also possible to see very carefully during the section, some tubers such as yacon and other mosses and ferns that decorate this entire ascent route.

Although the presence of many animals is not guaranteed, it will be possible to see some birds probably flying out of curiosity along these trails. Likewise, it will be possible to find the presence of some insects, especially mosquitoes. To do this, it is necessary to have a mosquito repellent on hand and use it at least every hour. Only in this way is it possible to avoid their bite. Also, it is possible to see some butterflies and other insects. All these animals will be seen if the walk is done with attention to detail.

However, the most spectacular view that this activity offers is the llaqta of Machu Picchu and even Huayna Picchu. The Putucusi, although it is one of the smallest mountains, allows you to have a natural viewpoint of Machu Picchu and the mountains around this archaeological site. It is possible to see Machu Picchu from another perspective. The angle offered by this viewpoint is truly incredible because it allows you to have a frontal view of the entire Inca site. For this reason, many people mention that it could touch the Inca site in the distance. If you are interested in taking this tour, you will not regret it because the experience of both walking and ascending the mountain allows a special connection with nature.

Recommendations to ascend Putucusi

Panoramic view of Machu Picchu and the Hiram Bingham Highway

To have a safe trip, it will be necessary as a fundamental step to have experience on mountaineering routes and why not climbing. Likewise, it will be necessary to master the descent with the necessary rappelling implements. If you do not have enough experience, you can contact guides who are experts in these activities. We mention all this to avoid accidents. Next, we need more recommendations to ascend to the Putucusi mountain.

  • This route has a section of climbing and rappelling, the help of an expert in this sport will be necessary.
  • If possible, practice climbing and rappelling before doing this route.
  • It will be necessary to use protective helmets and gloves.
  • The helmet will be essential, in case we slip. Remember that being hung up makes an immediate reaction impossible.
  • It will be necessary to have a “Dynamic Stop” for rappelling or an implement that allows you to descend safely.
  • For greater security, it will be necessary to use the self-locking implement.
  • Long, resistant ropes, preferably ones approved for the activity.
  • A shoe for hiking routes.
  • Be very careful even on the route on foot. The roads tend to get wet due to rain or humidity itself.
  • Bring snacks, chocolates, fruit, and water. The route is long and requires great effort.
  • Do not leave waste such as bottles or plastics.
  • This route is recommended for people who like extreme activities, but at the same time have special respect for nature.


By Imachupicchu – Last updated, October 26, 2023

Enjoy the trip to Machu Picchu with the best services

Choose one of the 5 types of tickets

The entrance to Machu Picchu offers discounts for university students, those under 18 years of age and citizens of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. Children under 3 years enter free! Get your entry to 'mapi' here.

We take you wherever you want in Cusco

The private transportation service takes you to any tourist destination in Cusco. Travel with total security in a private service for you, your partner, your friends or family. Includes pick up service from the airport or transfer to Machu Picchu train station, book here!

An unforgettable train trip to Machu Picchu

In total there are four tourist train services to Machu Picchu: Expedition, Vistadome, Vistadome Observatory and the Hiram Bingham luxury train. They all belong to the prestigious Peru Rail company. Buy the tickets here! Take advantage of the discounts!

Get on the final bus to Machu Picchu

The train trip will leave you in the town of Aguas Calientes, 10 kilometers from Machu Picchu. For this last section you must get the bus to Machu Picchu, a comfortable service that takes care of the environment of the wonder of the world. Buy your bus ticket here!

Tour Machu Picchu with a professional guide

In Machu Picchu the tour guide service is not mandatory. However, most tourists decide to go accompanied by a guide. This way they will be able to fully understand the history and importance of the wonder of the Incas.

Machupicchu all inclusive 1 day

If you do not want to buy each ticket to Machu Picchu separately, it is best to hire an all-inclusive tour. Includes: transfer to the station, train ticket, tour guide, entrance fee and lunch option at the best ‘mapi’ restaurant. Book the tour here!