A Hike that is a little less known in Aguas Calientes. Deserves recognition.
10.10.2013 - 10.10.2013
I am a go with the flow type of traveller, as are most of the people I have met during my 2 years! I arrived in Aguas Calientes with the intention of getting up early and hiking the famous Huayna Picchu. I had no ticket as planning is not my usual game plan, a little naïve i guess! I now give a warning to fellow travellers, book early to avoid disappointment! I must say I was a little disappointed!
Nevertheless I stumbled upon a hike that was free and was supposed to give great, if not better views of the famous Inca city of Macchu Picchu. From other reviews it looked a little risky and as I woke to showers early on Thursday morning, i was a little sceptical as to whether it would be safe. After breakfast the rain had stopped, the sky was a little clearer, I was game!
The trail head is just outside the village of Aguas, following the train tracks as if your journey carried on from Aguas Calientes when you arrived (not back the way you came) Literally as you leave the last built house and walk past a building site (at the time of writing) a set of stairs appears on your right, it is here where the Putucusi hike starts.
It is rated as a difficult hike, the first part was relatively flat and easy, i found a 'sign in' book which made me feel even more safe. the ground was still a little wet by this point but the sun was making an appearance!
As you start to make the ascent and the trail gets a little steeper, the first of several ladders appears out of nowhere, a little cabin is situated at the bottom which has a 'be careful' inscription on its roof. I was certainly going to heed the warning and took it very easy up the ladder. I lost count of how many steps it was but definetly over 100. this was the biggest ladder of the hike.
From there the climb takes you under the cover of tres with views of the river below, steps crafted by the rocks and 5 or 6 more ladders puts you about halfway, from there the trees leave you out in the open, The trail winds up for another 700 metres, quite steep in places but the views of Aguas Calientes and the surrounding mountains bathed in Green made the sweat and tiredness well worth it.
Finally I reached the Summit, it took around 1hr and a half, I took my time especially keeping an eye out for Macchu Picchu as I climbed to no avail. The best part was of course the top, not only because you knew you had made it but because it was the first time you see the Inka city and without trying to be cliché it was magic!
The marker at the top states 2,500 metres high but the altitude once you're up there didn't affect me too much. I had some well deserved sándwiches that I'd sneaked from breakfast and took some great pictures. At the top I met a girl and a guy and later a couple and a group of three made it to the top, in total i saw 11 people hiking this trail...compare that to the 400 people everyday on Huayna Picchu and it felt pretty nice to be in open space with noone crowding the view.
I am sure the views from Huayna Picchu are very spectacular but Putucusi definetly has some cracking views to offer as well as being free (money wise and people wise!) In terms of difficulty on a dry day I am sure anyone who can walk up steps for an hour would be able to tackle it, as long as time is taken. The second ladder you come to is the biggest and steepest so if you feel like trying the hike go and see this ladder and if you can handle it, you will have no problems..
I had an amazing day and feel compelled to tell all!