OverviewPutukusi is a shear cliffed, jungle coated mountain rising more than two thousand feet up from the Urubamba valley across from Machu Picchu. Because of its prime locations it offers in my opinion the best view of the site while providing unsurpassed solitude, something which none of the other two climbable peaks in the area can provide. On a clear day it's possible to see Machu Picchu with snow-capped Salkantay behind it, which is supposed to be an absolutely spectacular site. Putukusi is the best and almost only other thing to do in the Aguas Calientes area that doesn't involve Machu Picchu and doesn't require paying the site's steep entry fee.
The mountain, like all other in the area, is composed of near vertical, perfectly smooth stone walls with steep gullies intersecting them. The entirety of them are covered in jungle and cloud forest so dense so as to render off trail hiking completely impossible.
The trail leading up the mountain is more vertical than it is horizontal and that seems to be the general pattern among mountains here. When looking out at Machu Picchu from the summit of Putukusi it is interesting to think why the Incas chose to build their empire in such a rugged place. Surely the incredible beauty of the landscape inpsired them, and they thought of themselves as standing in the presence of their gods. The wilderness here is some of the most pristine left anywhere on earth, and much of it has most likely never seen a human being. It is interesting to imagine that there might be other "Macchu Picchus" hidden out in these mountains that nobody knows the existence of.
Getting ThereAguas Calientes is a tiny dot of a ton surrounded by rugged impenetrable mountains in the eastern part of Peru's Cordillera Oriental. The entire town exists for one sole purpose: to serve the millions of yearly visitors to Machu Picchu.
The mountain is located less than a mile down the railroad tracks from Aguas Calientes, and directly across the river from Machu Picchu. To get there follow the tracks down river towards Machu Picchu for half a mile, You will see a sign that says km 111. At almost the same time you will see a sign for Putukusi and a trail that climbs steeply up to the right. This is the beginning of your climb.