Grade

Difficult

Cusco & Ausangate: If you’re looking for a beautiful and more remote trek in Peru, the Ausangate trek may be perfect for you. This itinerary gives you some time to explore the ancient Incan capital of Cusco before embarking on this 5-day trek.

The Ausangate Region is a special place, it’s far enough outside of Cusco to be considered remote but it’s also near enough to be accessible for a wonderful adventure. Often you will encounter small poblados (small local communities); with many farming llamas for their way of life. Many children will greet you, often after ‘dulces’ (sweets) to savour. Also a lot of the houses & shelters in the area don’t have basic utilities such as electricity, gas, tap water; things we take for granted in more developed countries.

This is a remote region to trek in, but close enough to Cusco to be accessible. You’ll trek close to the Ausangate Nevada along with taking in Rainbow Mountain (Mt. Vinicunca) and Red Valley. Whilst circumnavigating the Ausangate nevada you’ll hit many high mountain passes, getting up to around 5,200m.

For more information about the Ausangate region you can read our article

Highlights

  • Explore the ancient Incan capital of Cusco
  • Visit traditional herding villages nestled in the mountains
  • Soak in the hot springs of Upis and Pachanta
  • Summit the impressive 5,050m Campa pass
  • Get a chance to spot endemic wildlife such as vizcachas and Andean foxes
Day 1
Arrival in Lima & Transfer to Cusco
On arrival to Lima you'll transfer directly to Cusco, by domestic flight. If it's a late arrival into Lima then you can overnight here and transfer to Cusco the following morning.  
Day 2
Exploring the City
Arrival to Cusco and transfer to your hotel. Cusco: This ancient city is the former capital of the Inca empire, which reigned from the 13th to 16th centuries after conquering the Killke settlement on the same location. Remember: you will be 11,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, so take it easy and remember to drink lots of water. Since Cusco was designed by the Incas as a city for walking, start your exploration of the narrow stone alleyways on foot. Take a walk through the plaza — if the weather is beautiful, it's a perfect place to sit on a balcony and have a cup of coca tea while adjusting to the elevation. Then we go on to Cerro Laya Grande via massive glacier del Inca, and the most striking colors in the sediments of Yauricunca. This area is called ‘montana arcoiris’ by the locals, and often referred to as ‘rainbow mountain’ by visitors, the spectacular colours make for amazing photography. We lunch here in this unique landscape. On our way to the fourth “Andean Lodge”, we see hundreds of Andean geese nesting in the cliffs of Anta, and the flatiron formations of Apu Labrayani near Huampococha Tambo, where we will spend the night at the Camino del Apu Ausangate.
  • Accommodation: Campsite Huampococha
  • Maximum Altitude: 4980 masl / 16388 fasl
  • Approximate Walking Time: 7 hours
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3
Ausangate Trek Day 1/5: Cusco - Tinqui - Upis
You'll depart from your hotel in Cusco early this morning for a scenic 3-hour drive to the village of Tinqui (3,800 m), located at the base of the Bilcanota mountain range. Along the way, you'll observe local farmers and herders with their alpaca flocks. In Tinqui, you'll meet your crew of mules and their handlers, and start your trek by heading towards your campsite in Upis (4,400 m). The first day of trekking is relatively smooth and passes through hilly grasslands where you may encounter vizcachas (chinchilla-like rodents), condors, and foxes. Once you arrive in Upis, you will be rewarded with views of the Ausangate glaciers rising above the site. End the day with a refreshing soak in the nearby hot springs.
  • Accommodation: camping
  • Overnight: Upis
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4
Ausangate Trek Day 2/5: Upis to Jatun Pucacocha
Get ready for a day of more intense trekking. From your campsite in Upis, you will climb through the Arapa pass (4,800 m) before reaching Uchuy Pucacocha (“little red lake”), one of the several dazzling mountain lakes in the region. Marvel at its waterfalls, and continue onwards to Jatun Pucacocha (“big red lake”), where you will camp along its shores.
  • Accommodation: camping
  • Overnight: Jatun Paucacocha
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5
Ausangate Trek Day 3/5: Jatun Pucacocha to Ausangate Base Camp
After a hearty breakfast in Jatun Pucacocha, you'll start your journey to Ausangate Base Camp. You will cross two different passes today. The Apuchata pass (4,900 m) comes first, followed by a descent to the turquoise Laguna Ausangate Q'ocha. After taking some time to rest and enjoy the scenery, you will continue up Palomani pass. At 5,200 m, this is the highest pass of the trek. The ascent is challenging and steep, but well worth it. Upon reaching the summit, you'll be treated to spectacular views of the snowcapped peaks of Tres Picos and Puka Punta. Now, you'll start the descent toward Ausangate Base Camp (4,510 m). Here, amidst the highlands meadows and icy moraines, you'll set up camp for the night.
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Overnight: Ausangate Base Camp
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6
Ausangate Trek Day 4/5: Ausangate Base Camp to Pachanta
The last day of pass crossing begins with a tranquil hike from Ausangate Base Camp to Lake Ticllacocha. Along the way, more vizcachas and perhaps even rare camel-like vicuñas may be roaming the green grasses of the valley. Then, rise up for your final challenge: Q'ampa pass (5,050 m). You'll see some strikingly beautiful glaciers as you tread over the snowy scree to summit the pass. Once you reach the top, you can see the towering Apu Salkantay. After descending the pass, you'll set up camp for the last time at Pachanta (4,360 m), and rest in the soothing waters of the site’s hot springs.
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Overnight: Pachanta
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7
Ausangate Trek Day 5/5: Pachanta - Tinqui - Cusco
This morning, enjoy an easy 3 to 4-hour hike downhill from Pachanta back to the village of Tinqui (4,237 m) where you'll eat lunch. After lunch, bid farewell to the muleteers, and transfer to your hotel in Cusco for some well-deserved rest.
  • Overnight: Cusco
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8
Departing Cusco
Today is your last day in Peru! You will be met at your hotel for a transfer to Cusco Airport, where you will transfer to your international departure. ¡Buen viaje!
  • Meals included: Breakfast

Tour Info

Breakfast x 4
Lunch x 5
Dinner x 4
Private Transport – collection & drop-off
Professional bilingual guide
Cook
Horsemen & mules
All camping equipment (Sleeping bags to hire + Walking sticks)
Hotel Accommodation in Cusco x 2 Nights
Return Domestic Flights from Lima to Cusco
Airport Transfers
Hotels before & after (can be organised as part of trip)
Extension trips to Machu Picchu
Tips for crew
Any additional extras
There will be a pre-trek briefing held usually the evening before departure, at your hotel, to go over the details of the trek and any specific requirements not already captured
Prior to setting off we recommend you steer clear of street food and only eat in good restaurants, to avoid any stomach complaints. Peruvian food can be spicy, it can be strong and rich for many European diets. Likewise with tap water, it is largely untreated, so please avoid at all costs on arrival and stick to bottled water only or sterilised water if you have the right equipment.
We’ll ensure that we cater for all of your dietary needs, at the point of booking we’ll collect this information from you. We can secure special menu requests also for your trek party.
We are able to customise our treks to suit you, but usually our treks are guided by a professional bilingual guide, arriero (horseman) and mules to carry all equipment (passenger horses also available on request), and a mountain cook. They become a large part of your trekking expedition and it’s a great experience working together.
This is a really important part of your trip planning process, please find a link below which explains a little more about preparing for altitude.
Attached below are a couple of links which will explain how to prepare for your trip & trek in advance of your arrival. We recommend being prepared in advance to save time & stress whilst you’re in Peru.
From June through to the end of September, we’re offering one person free on all of our treks for group sizes of 3+. If you are a group of 2 you can add one person for free, or if you’re a group of 3 the third person joins free and so on.

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Lunch: 12pm - 1pm
RUC: 20602741029



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