Ausangate Trek Adventure
The mountain chain of the Ausangate is situated in the Cordillera Vilcanota in the department of Cusco. It is one of the most remote high Andean zones of Peru and offers a spectacular trekking circuit along snow-capped peaks, lagoons, ice caverns, and thermal waters. Furthermore, it represents a thousand-year-old culture.
Ausangate trek is a high altitude 70km hike in Peruvian mountains near Cusco with an average altitude over 4000m. Unlike most other hikes in the region Ausangate is not about Inca ruins, it’s all about beautiful scenery; snow peaks, glaciers, colorful mountain lakes and the Rainbow mountain.
Ausangate Trek – An overview: Lying a 100 km south-east of Cusco is the impressive cordillera Vilcanota. The mountain range has several peaks over 6,000 metres, including the sacred Ausangate (6372m) – the highest mountain in the Cusco region.
Unlike the Inca Trail, no permit is needed for the Ausangate trek. The trek is one of the quietest in the region and you’ll likely not see another trekker.
Whilst most Ausangate treks are offered on a 6 day itinerary, certain companies will combine the trek with a visit to Machu Picchu. Camping is usually the norm on this route, however, some companies will offer the trek as a ‘lodge’ trek in which you will stay in very basic huts along the route.
The Ausangate trek is one of the few treks in Peru that offers the option to ride a horse. Operators will provide the horses and extra horses will also be brought to carry your gear and equipment.
However, certain sections of the trek are so steep that you’ll need to get off and walk beside your horse. If you are not a confident rider then trekking only tours are also available.
The trek offers an array of wildlife including soaring condors, vicunas, bobcats and pumas. Camp sites are often beside beautiful blue lakes.
You’ll also have the chance to bathe in several hot springs and view the trek’s signature rainbow mountains! The colourful sandstone mountains in the Vinicunca area is probably the coolest thing you’ll see in Peru!
Ausangate mountain itself is considered a holy mountain (or mountain spirit) by local Peruvians and is the deity of Cusco. Since pre-Inca times the mountain has been a place of worship and offerings and this tradition continues today.
The mountain is also notable for the Qoyllur Rit’I Festival which is held on the opposite side of the Cordillera Vilcanota, in the Sinaqara Valley at the end of May. The festival draws over 10,000 pilgrims each year and celebrates the mountains spirit and the apparition of Christ on the mountainside.
Machu Picchu Extension: Occasionally a tour operator will offer the Ausangate trek in conjunction with a visit to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. If you have a little more time on your hands and want to see the magnificent ruins then this a great option for trekkers. The itinerary is almost identical to the one above until you get to the final day when things change slightly. Instead of trekking from Pajchanta to Tinki, you trek from Pajchanta to Laguna Armaccocha. See below for details.
How difficult is the Ausangate trek?: With several high passes over 5,000 metres, the Ausangate Trek is considered fairly difficult.
The trek is classified as grade C which means the trek is fairly long and many sections are at high altitude. You’ll need a good level of fitness and stamina as you’ll be trekking over many steep sections in which the altitude changes significantly over a short space of time.
The trail itself is fairly good and well defined.If you are using horse, you’ll most likely be on horseback for much of the flat sections. Your operator should allow good time for acclimatization.
This trek is probably not suited to first time trekkers. If you are a strong walker and have completed some moderate treks prior to this then you should be fine. Often weather can get quite rough in the higher regions and blizzards are certainly not uncommon.
As there are several high sections on the trek you should make yourself aware of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and how to diagnose and treat the sickness. The important thing is not to rush. If you have chosen a good operator they will take this into account.
Here is a really beautiful short video from Contemporary Nomad that shows the incredible landscapes of the Ausangate Trek.
Ausangate trek – Route itinerary: There are several route itinerary options for the Ausangate trek, including a 4 day, 5 day, 6 day and 7 day itinerary. The most popular is the 6 day itinerary which we have laid out below.
Best time to do the Ausangate trek: Like most trek in the region, the best time to do the Ausangate trek is in the dry months between May and September. Unlike other popular treks, the Ausangate trek is very quiet, even in peak season. In the shoulder months of April and October weather is still pleasant and the trek is very possible. However, because of its altitude you’ll have to contend with freezing nights, even in the dry season. Because of the altitude and snow, the trek is best avoided in the wetter colder season between November and February. Temperatures during the day in the dry months are usually quite mild and visibility is very high. Because of the height you’ll want to make sure you are wearing layers, especially for the colder nights. Please see our packing list below for suggestions.
Our journey starts early in the morning by heading towards Mallma (3900/12795f), a town situated southeast of Cusco, where we will meet the rest of the team. During our bus ride, we will pass several little Andean farms and will enjoy the nice view. In Mallma we will start hiking for approximately two hours towards our camping site at the shore of the Singrena cocha lagoon (4200m/13780f).
The sunrise over the Cordillera Vilcanota is spectacular and offers a beautiful view of the glaciers and the lagoons around us. Although we are high up in the Andes, the region offers a great variety of flowers and plants, such as the Andean Cactus. Furthermore, this area is the home of the camelid, the chinchillin, the condor and the puma. After having passed the Tarapata Pass (4600m/15092f) we will descend to the Añasñiyucpampa Valley (4200m/13780f), our camping place.
The day starts with a walk towards the Pupusayoc Pass (4900m/16076f), from where we will have an impressive view of several mountains, such as the Callangati and the Ausangate. Thereafter, we will descend to our camping site in the community of Pacchanta (4300m/14108f). In the afternoon we will relax in the hot springs and at night we will have a typical dinner of the region called Pachamanca.
After breakfast, we will head for the manor of Tinqui (3850m/12631f). From here, we will take the bus back to Cusco.
Included meals: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner
Services included in the prices:
- Private transport from the hotel to Mallma
- Return Private Transport from Tinqui to your hotel in Cusco
- Entrance to the Ausangate park
- Professional bilingual guide (Spanish and English)
- High quality camping equipment (professional tents, Doite model Cima 4, extra light/4,5kgs for two persons. Mattresses, eating tent with table and chairs, bathroom tent).
- Meals during the excursion (Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks/option vegetarian)
- Cook and cooking equipment
- Horseman and mules, for all our personal and camping equipment
- Emergency horse
- First-aid kit and oxygen bottle
- Sleeping bag (if you do not have a sleeping bag, there is the possibility of lending one)
Prices & Dates
» Additional dates available upon request
» Rates may vary from July 26th to 31th for the national holidays
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Deposit for reservations: — USD (– EUR) ✓ Full payment 40 days before. No refund if you cancel less than 30 days!
Trip-code: Number ►PER-
Duration: 04 days
Participants: Minimal: 4 Maximal: 12
Members: We don’t have an open group to join – We can open a new group – Contact us!
Country / Location: Peru
Mountain Guide: Eric Albino Lliuya
Other dates / additional info: Contact us!
3% early bird discount when booking 6 months prior to departure 2023
EZZ Single room supplement
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Eric Raul Albino Lliuya
Expert guide certified by AGOMP
General Sales Manager of Peru Expeditions