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Ausangate Trek to Rainbow Mountains 4 Days

OCT 2022 - DEC 2023 Price from $ 380 USD pp $ 420 USD
Trip Type Walking & Trekking
Difficulty Level Challenging/Tough
Group Size 2-8 people
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Explore the Ausangate Trek and Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca in 4 days

Trip Overview

Ausangate Trek Peru   is surrounded by extensive and luminous turquoise lakes such as Sibinacocha, as well as stone forests, glaciers and vast plains that impress with their magical landscape, it is considered one of the most challenging trekking routes in the Andes. However, during the hike, the traveler witnesses incredible postcards: multicolored mountains, herds of alpacas and desert cliffs that together create an incredibly beautiful outdoor experience from start to finish.

The communities within the Ausangate Trek and Rainbow Mountain are small Andean towns, dedicated to livestock and agriculture, many of them have very unique customs, in addition each one of them houses some small pre-Inca archaeological complexes. At these heights, men, llamas and alpacas have lived in harmonious communion for more than five thousand years. The Ausangate trek and rainbow mountain  is considered the most beautiful of the Andes.

INCLUDED

INCLUDED IN AUSANGATE TREK TO RAINBOW MOUNTAIN  4 DAYS:

  • Private transportation to/ from your hotel in Cusco
  • 4 Breakfast, 3 Lunch, 3 Dinner, all meals and drinks are prepared by professional mountain cook.
  • Boiled water and snacks
  • Fluent English/ Spanish / Quechua  speaking tour guide
  • Camping tents designed for mountain treks plus blanket and foam matress
  • Duffel bags for your personal belongings (carried by horses)
  • Large Dining tent with table, stools, cutlery, & kitchen
  • Portable toilet
  • Horseman/Pack horses to carry all of the gear and personal belongings (up to 6kg per person)
  • Fees to the Ausangate Trek, Rainbow Mountain
  • First Aid kit including oxygen tank
  • Sleeping pad (thermarest)

NOT INCLUDED

  • Personal trekking gear
  • Sleeping bag ( you  can rent in Cusco $ 20 usd for all the trip)
  • Trekking Poles ( you  can rent in Cusco $ 15 usd for all the trip)
  • Voluntary Tips for Guide, Horseman and Cook
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal riding horse*

 

Trip Highlights

  • Experience world-famous Rainbow Mountain—crowd-free
  • Hike across remote Andean valleys and passes on the breathtaking Ausangate Trek
  • Share unique experiences with the last descendants of the Incas, you will learn their ancestral rites and traditions, hold a ceremony to Mother Earth with the sacred coca leaves
  • Experience the best trek of the Andes, with fabulous views of the Apu Ausangate, red, turquoise and green lakes.
  • Taste the only typical dish of the Incas “Pachamanca”
  • Connect your body and mind with the best energy of the apus and sacred mountains of the Incas
  • Discover the ancestral paths of the Quechuas with our local guides.
  • Get to know the textile tradition of the Andes of Cusco, learn the process of dyeing, warping and making ponchos, chullos and sweaters with alpaca wool, where the Quechuas embody their sacred symbolism.
  • You will discover the true magical and sacred world of the Andean priests, who still practice their ceremonies of gratitude to their sacred mountains and Pachamama (mother earth).
  • Immerse your knowledge about the agriculture of the Incas, in these towns it is possible to see this activity, where they grow the most delicious and colorful potatoes in the world.

Activities

This trip is rated as Vigorous . Trip members need to be strong, experienced hikers in excellent physical condition. Most days are spent at high altitude (7,000′-17,000’). For the trekking portion, we will remain at elevations between 14,000′-16,986′ and sleeping as high as 15,797′. Most days we hike 5–7.5 miles with average elevation gains of 1500′ and elevation losses of up to 3000′, some of which are quite steep. Upon arrival in Peru, you should be capable of hiking up to 8 miles, averaging 2 miles per hour, without major discomfort over terrain with some steep grades for multiple days in succession. To help combat the effects of altitude, incorporate hills and stairs into your training.

Accommodations

High Mountain Camping Tents:
On our Ausangate trekking adventures, we use the best outdoor trekking gear. Our camping tents have the best technology to withstand the harshest climates in the Andes. They are Tents that have a capacity for three people, but are only used by 2 people. For your comfort, an inflatable mattress and additional blankets are provided to insulate you from the cold. Because it is always different to experience the true spirit of Trekking, our company maintains that idea of not using Lodges or huts as other companies do.

Itinerary

Level Challenging/Tough
Max Elevation 4100 m
Hiking Distance 10 km
Approximate walking time 5 hrs

The pick-up will be from your hotel at 5:45 am, then we leave Cusco around 6:00 am for our private transport, in the direction of Urcos, Ocongate and then to the town of Tinki, where we start the Ausangate Trek. Our chef will prepare a succulent Andean breakfast. Then we hike to the base of the impressive Ausangate Mountain. This day we will pass through the local villages of indigenous communities, who speak Quechuam, and are dedicated to grazing llamas, alpacas, until reaching the small settlement of Upis, this site is well known for its sources of thermal baths you can take a dip, The cost is (10 soles). Today we will spend the night here and you will have the opportunity to enjoy the picturesque backdrop of the mountain while the sun sets in the mountains. So here we will have lunch and dinner with a spectacular sky full of stars and the fabulous milky way. The nights are very cold, wear warm clothes.

Accommodation

  • Camping in 3 person, 4 season Tents (double occupancy)

Included Activities

  • Ausangate Trek – Visit the local market of Tinki, where you can observe the traditional trade of the Ocongate communities.
  • Ausangate Trek – Andean plains with beautiful postcards of Andean camelids and the majestic Apu Ausangate.
  • Ausangate Trek – A pleasant afternoon in the thermal baths of Upis

Meals Included

  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Special Information

This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health.

Level Challenging/Tough
Max Elevation 4950 m
Hiking Distance 12 km
Approximate walking time 8 hrs

Today we will get up at 5:30 am, then we will have the super nutritious breakfast since the day will be very hard due to the ascent to the Arapa Pass (4950 m), from where you can see the mountain chains of the Vilcanota mountain range, whose highest point is the Ausangate (6384 m), then we will have a slight descent to our place for lunch. After lunch we continue towards Lake Pucacocha, a deep turquoise lake and a perfect stop for a rest. On the way you will see local shepherds and llamas, and your expert guide will explain the history of the locals and the landscape in the Ausangate Trek. Our camp tonight is located just below the imposing Ausangate Mountain. You will enjoy a true outdoor adventure experience, surrounded by mountains and fresh air. Your evening will be enjoyed with dinner in our cozy dining tents, here you will be surrounded by views of the Ausangate mountain and its very impressive glaciers.

Accommodation

  • Camping in 3 person, 4 season Tents (double occupancy)

Included Activities

  • Ausangate Trek – Fabulous views of the Ausangate Glacier, with the turquoise lagoons.
  • Ausangate Trek – Camping next to the Pucacocha Lake, with a view of the Ausangate. If it is in the dry season, you can enjoy a sky full of stars and the Milky Way.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Level Challenging/Tough
Max Elevation 5100 m
Hiking Distance 10 km
Approximate walking time 6 hrs

This day the walk will have a good degree of difficulty, but it is not for a long time, after breakfast, we start at 7:00 am, with a strong ascent to the Pucacocha Pass (5100 m). This step has incredible views and, when you reach the top, you will be rewarded with 360 ° views of one of the most incredible landscapes on earth. After having overcome the difficult rugged thunder of the Pucacocha pass, we have to descend very carefully with the help of our trekking poles to a green valley full of alpacas and llamas, where we will be waiting for a succulent and delicious lunch at noon. Then we will do a short walk to the camp in the Ananta community, if you are lucky, you can see an Andean condor or the rare vicuña.Today we finish the trek at 3:00 pm, at night we will have tea time and a re-comforting dinner.

Accommodation

  • Camping in 3 person, 4 season Tents (double occupancy)

Included Activities

  • Ausangate Trek – Exploration of the magical mountains of Ausangate surrounded by a natural landscape of the Andes of Peru. Where you can enjoy the best sunsets.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

 

Level Challenging/Tough
Max Elevation 5200 m
Hiking Distance 11 km
Approximate walking time 6 hrs

Today is going to be a very exciting day since we will visit the rainbow mountain, or mountain of colors, and its local name is the Apu Vinicunca, for this you will get up very early and leave the camp at 5 am, this allows us to approach and Experience the Rainbow Mountain in all its glory with loneliness, without visitors yet. After a hot breakfast and some coca tea, very close we will appreciate the other geological spectacle, of the famous red valley, which are a group of small hills whose main soil composition is the colors red, ocher, green; Surely you will feel the sensation of being on another planet! Around noon we go downhill to the community of Qesuno, where we will have lunch, and pack all our trekking equipment to return to Cusco, whose final point will be at the door of your hotel, the arrival is approximately at 5:30 pm .

Included Activities

  • Ausangate Trek – Exploration of the Rainbow Mountain, we will be the first to enjoy this natural attraction, without crowds.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

PACKING LIST

YOU SHOULD BRING TO THE AUSANGATE TREK TO MOUNTAIN OF COLORS  4 DAYS

When packing for your  Ausangate Trek & Mountain of Colors, you should keep in mind that it is best to dress in layers due to the weather variation. The variety of clothes that you must pack to dress in layers is key to your walk, from the morning when it is quite cold until mid afternoon when the temperatures rise and reach their peak and then freeze again at night.

Stratification is also useful as you ascend high passages that are exposed to winds or descend into shady valleys.

Effective stratification only works if each layer allows moisture to pass and escape into the external environment. In fact, the best layered clothing, such as wool, promotes moisture transfer through its absorbent properties. Cotton and denim absorb moisture and, therefore, should be avoided.

 

AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS warm jackets
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS Hydration bladder
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS wool socks
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS camera
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS scarf
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS first aid kit
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS hiking shoes
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS Dry bags
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS Trekking Poles
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS sun cream
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS Snack
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS sun hat
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS bathing suite
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS rain coat
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS Sandals
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS insect repellent
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS Passport
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS Down Jackets
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS toilet paper
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS daypack
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS Wool cap
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS head lamp
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS gloves
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS sun glasses
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS cap
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS extra cash
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAINS  4 DAYS Trekking pants

FAQ

ALL ABOUT THE AUSANGATE TREK  YOU NEED TO KNOW

The AUSANGATE TREK is an adventurous route offering stunning Andean vistas, hot springs, turquoise lakes, mystical glaciers, green mossy passes and enormous snowy mountains. Along the way, you’ll catch a glimpse of interesting wildlife, like condors, chinchillas , herds of llamas, alpacasand, and wild vicuña. You’ll also come across hidden picturesque Andean villages and traditionally dressed Quechua people,  richly embedded in centuries-old traditions. The highest point of the trek is 16,800 feet above sea level and the highest campsite elevation is at 15,255 feet.

A voyage to Ausangate mountain is one of natural beauty, living history and ancient spirituality. Considered challenging, this  trek is recommended for seasoned hikers only, who have experience hiking at high elevations. Ausangate is actually the 5th tallest mountain in Peru, standing at 20,945 feet above sea level

In this part Andean Great Treks has tried to answer the most frequent questions that our travelers have asked us about the Ausangate trek, if you do not find any question, let us know through our mail so that we can help you with pleasure.

WHERE IS LOCATED THE AUSANGATE TREK?

The Ausangate Mountain is a natural attraction that is located in the district of Ocongate, within the province of Quispicanchi, in the department of Cusco. That snow-capped mountain is part of the Cordillera de Vilcanota and, according to an ancient legend, it was the brother of the Salkantay snow-capped mountain.

The Ausangate Mountain, has a height of 6,384 meters above sea level; and is considered an apu, or protective deity of the peoples that surround it; as well as the most representative mountain in the region. Its size is such that it can be appreciated even if one is in the Sacsayhuamán Fortress, not in vain is it considered the fifth highest mountain found in Peru.

This beautiful snow-capped Cusco impresses the eye, due to its incredible natural formations; In it, there are not only beautiful water mirrors such as the Sivinicocha, with turquoise waters, but also stone forests, glaciers and high plains that seem to make this natural attraction a paradise on earth, especially for those tourists who are interested. for adventure sports since the geographical features of Ausangate make it ideal for practicing sports such as rock climbing, ice climbing, trekking, among other activities.

The Ausangate Mountain appears before our eyes as a mountain challenge; It is known that the first attempts to ascend it occurred in the early fifties of the last century, there were two frustrated first attempts to conquer the top of the mighty Apu, it was not until 1953, when a German expedition achieved the goal, climbing the mountain on its southern slope, in posterity, new routes were opened for the conquest of the Apu, however, only in 1983, thirty years after the first ascent, Peruvian feet crowned the top of the majestic snow-capped mountain.

At present, different companies have been promoting the Ausangate route as a trekking route, one of its purposes is that the expeditionists manage to surround the snow-capped mountain, although to date, few seasoned visitors have dared to follow it. Those who are interested in climbing this snowy mountain must know that they must have had enough time to practice before, since the Apu is not a snowy peak for beginners; so if you are an intermediate level mountaineer, it is recommended that you go in the company of a larger group of people experienced in the field.

HOW TO GET THE AUSANGATE MOUNTAIN

In order to reach this beautiful mountain, it is necessary, if one is in the city of Cusco, to go to Urcos, this first trip can be done by bus, and the duration of the journey to the place is one hour. Once in Urcos, continue to Ocongate and from here to Tinke, also by bus, spending three more hours on the way. Already in Tinke you have to pay for the right of entry, this has an approximate cost of ten soles, quite apart from the services of tour guides that are hired.

THE LEGEND OF THE AUSANGATE MOUNTAIN

The Inca tradition tells that Salkantay and Ausangate were two brothers who lived in Cusco. After a terrible time of drought, both ventured into strange lands to save the town from the crisis. Salkantay went north and found the jungle, and there, Veronica’s forbidden love; instead, Ausangate went south, to the highlands, and there he found a large amount of Andean food, such as camelid meat, corn, and potatoes, which he sent to the population.

The Chillca community, made up mostly of llama and alpaca farmers and herders, is known as the guardian of these beautiful landscapes. Every year on the slopes of the mountain the Qoyllur Ritti festival -“star snow” in Quechua- is celebrated before the Corpus Christi festival, during which thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the Sinakara temple where the painting of the Crucified Christ engraved on a rock. This pilgrimage has been named Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2004.

WHAT IS THE ALTITUDE OF AUSANGATE TREK?

The Apu Ausangate is the fifth highest mountain in Peru at 6,384m, and is the highest of the 6 peaks that exceed 6,000m located in the Cordillera del Vilcanota in the Cusco region. The first ascent was made in 1953 and was led by the famous Austrian climber Heinrich Harrer, part of his first group conquered the north face of the Eiger, which was the story and script for the book/film “Seven Years in Tibet” (The renowned actor Brad Pitt was the protagonist of this film).

Ausangate is the most famous and well-known snow-capped peak in Cusco, the normal route to reach its summit is not very technical and difficult, but a lot of resistance and strength are needed to break the path with loose or accumulated snow to the summit stalls. Ausangate is the main Apu in Cusco and can be seen from many places in the city. It is rarely visited by tourists in this part of the region but is becoming popular as a destination to do the Circuit Trek around the snow capped in the dry season.

The altitude is insane. I’ll mention again that this trek never drops below 14,000 feet! Many of the passes are grueling and tower over 16,000 feet. The mountains are Apus, or Gods, to the Indigenous, so go in with the mindset of respecting them in this regard. By the way, the mighty mountain of Ausangate is a staggering 20,945 feet (6,384 m).

HOW IS THE LANDSCAPE IN THE AUSANGATE TREK CIRCUIT?

Ausangate is surrounded by extensive and luminous turquoise lakes such as Sibinacocha, as well as stone forests, glaciers and vast plains that impress with their magical landscape. Reaching the top of Ausangate involves a journey of 5 days and 4 nights along 70 km, which is why it is considered one of the most challenging trekking routes in the Andes. However, during the walk, the traveler witnesses incredible postcards: multicolored mountains, herds of alpacas and desert cliffs that together create an incredibly beautiful outdoor experience from start to finish.

The landscape is stunning. The imposing chain of mountains of the Cordillera de Vilcanota with its snow-covered peaks takes the breath away from those who dare to explore it.

There are more than 400 glaciers that extend between the Cusco and Puno regions. One of them is Ausangate, the guardian mountain of Cusco that gave its name to the regional conservation area created in December 2019, over an area of 66,514 hectares distributed between the provinces of Quispicanchi and Canchis, in the department of Cusco.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS

Ausangate is not like some other high-altitude treks e.g. Everest Base Camp trek or Annapurna Circuit that start at lower elevations and gradually gain altitude. The entire route of the Ausangate trek goes over 4000m. Good acclimatization is the key here.

Altitude sickness, or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a health effect that can arise at high elevations. Minor symptoms include headache, fatigue, difficulty sleeping and dizziness. More progressed cases can result in vomiting, shortness of breath and high altitude cerebral edema, which is associated with lethargy, nausea and disorientation.

Altitude sickness occurs in 20 percent of people at 8,000 feet and 40 percent of people at 10,000 feet. For a hike like the Ausangate trek, it is highly likely that you will experience some form of altitude sickness, as elevations reach as high as 16,800 ft. For this reason, it is important to acclimate properly, take your time on the trail and take measures to combat symptoms.

The possibility of experiencing altitude sickness is one of the most common concerns for visitors to Rainbow Mountain. Altitude sickness is caused by a lack of oxygen at higher altitudes and can set in at altitudes above 2,500 meters (8,000 feet) above sea level, putting Rainbow Mountain’s altitude of 5,200 meters (17,060 feet) well above the minimum elevation where it can occur.

Many people arriving in Cusco by bus from Lima or the Amazon get altitude sickness. It is normal if you fly or go by bus from a low altitude to a location more than 3000m above it. Our body needs time to adjust to the decreasing amount of oxygen available due to the altitude, the higher you go the lower the air pressure and the less oxygen available to you.

Symptoms

There are three types of altitude sickness; Mild Altitude Sickness, HAPE and HACE – the last two are lethal. The Mild Sickness is the first stage that if you don’t take precautions, it can develop into one of the lethal types. Having Mild Altitude Sickness is similar to having a hangover; headache, nausea, fatigue. Many people feel it for the first couple of days in Cusco.

 

HOW TO AVOID THE SOROCHE WHILE HIKING THE AUSANGATE TREK?

How to prevent

  • First days in Cusco rest and sleep, don’t walk too much and don’t exercise.
  • Drink enough water. Locals in Peru and Bolivia drink a lot of “coca tea” a hot drink made with leaves – it’s considered to help acclimatization. An herbal remedy for altitude sickness used by local peoples for thousands of years.
  • Always take the time to acclimatize to the altitude for a day or two before attempting to hike Ausangate Trek to Rainbow Mountain or completing any other strenuous physical activity.
  • You can take Diamox, this medication speeds up acclimatization, consult your doctor before taking it.
  • Avoid heavy meals, alcoholic beverages and smoking cigarettes.
  • Make sure to keep well-hydrated.
  • Don’t consume alcohol.
  • Don’t go any higher if you skip acclimatization at lower altitudes you won’t acclimatize if you go higher.
  • Try to sleep at lower altitudes – “climb high, sleep low”.
HOW IS THE VARIATION OF THE HEIGHTS IN THE AUSANGATE TREK?

As a foreground, the point from where this excursion will start is Cusco, which is located at an altitude of 3500 masl.

It is there where you will have to acclimatize before starting the Ausangate Trek, together with your friends and all the crew that will accompany you.

The first day you will start a trek from the towns of Pacchanta (3980 masl) towards the mythical mountains of Ausangate, so base camps are usually located at an average height of 4120 to 4350 masl.

On a normal day in the Ausangate Trek circuit you gain height from 800 to 1000 meters per day. The highest steps exceed 5,000 masl. With all this data, it is considered that the Ausangate route is to be well prepared and adapted to the climates and challenges of the Andes.

BEST TIME TO VISIT 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.

Because of its high altitude and frigid air, rainy season in the region often translates to snowfall for Rainbow Mountain. Visitors to Ausangate Trek and  Rainbow Mountain should come prepared with clothes for all weather, as conditions can also change quickly. For more information about when to visit, make sure to check out our blog on the best time to visit Peru.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE ON THE AUSANGATE TREK ?

The weather at Ausangate Trek and Rainbow Mountain is very unpredictable, changing frequently and quickly. You might see warm weather and sunny skies one minute and then cloudy skies and snowfall the next. The best idea is to make sure you’re prepared for all weather by dressing in layers.

In the Vilcanota Range, there is a dry season and a wet season. The dry season is between May and September, and is considered the best time to hike in the Andes. Keep in mind, however, that the dry season, containing Peru’s winter months, is also the colder time of year. The coldest months are May through July. Expect the days to be cool, no warmer than 40 degrees F, and the nights to drop to freezing temperatures as low as 10 degrees F.

The rainy season is between October and April. While the rainy season is warmer, it can still be cool at night. In fact, there can be heavy snow as well given the elevation. The rain and snow can cause muddy conditions on the trail and even partial closures. It is especially inclimate between January-March, with February bringing the most precipitation. The shoulder months of October and April bring more moderate weather with mixed rainy and dry days.

Dry Season – June to August

  • Daytime: 64℉ (18℃)
  • Nighttime: 28℉ (-2℃)

Should Season – April to May & September to October 

  • Daytime: 64℉ (18℃)
  • Nighttime: 35℉ (2℃)

Rainy Season – November to March

  • Daytime: 64℉ (18℃)

Nighttime: 39℉ (4℃)

GEOGRAPHY OF THE AUSANGATE TREK

The Ausangate Trek traces through high elevation landscapes ranging between 10,334 ft to as high as 16,800 ft above sea level. The land surrounding the mountain features Andean uplift, glacial valleys with hanging glaciers, Permian formations and cretaceous limestone forests. The trail takes hikers through landscapes bursting with glaciers, snow capped mountains, thermal lakes, high flatlands and lush green valleys.

AUSANGATE TREK OVERVIEW

Peru is famous for being home to many exhilarating treks. Though not as popular as some of the other trails accessible from Cusco, the Ausangate trek is just as worthwhile. In fact, being less crowded with tourists is part of its charm. It guarantees travelers who venture on this remote journey a more unique experience. While you won’t come across Incan ruins, it makes up for it with breathtaking natural scenery and spiritual significance. Spot spectacular snow-capped peaks, gorgeous lakes, and wonderful wildlife, including herds of llamas and alpacas. The centerpiece of the trek is the mighty Apu Ausangate, one of the tallest mountains in Peru.

The Ausangate Trek is a high altitude 70km hike in the Peruvian mountains near Cusco with an average altitude of 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. If you like beautiful nature, going off the beaten track and hiking this trek is for you.

Ausangate is one of the most challenging hikes around Cusco but at the same time one of the most rewarding in sense of scenery. If you have any doubts about hiking Ausangate on your own read this article we hope it’ll help you decide whether to do an independent or guided trek. For more info on all our favorite hikes in Peru.

Basic Information

  • Length: 4-6 days
  • Distance: 43 miles (73 km)
  • Highest altitude: Palomani Pass – 17,000 ft (5,165 m)
  • Average altitude: 13,123 ft (4,000 m)
  • Elevation Gain: 9,406 ft (2,867 m)
  • Difficulty: Challenging
HOW MANY DAYS TAKES THE AUSANGATE TREK?

There are circuits from 3 to 7 days, which have different starting and ending points. It is advisable to do each circuit with a certified and highly experienced tour operator. The Ausangate Trek is a challenging high altitude trek through 70 km of the Cordillera Vilcanota mountain range and features some of Peru’s most extraordinary scenery. Ausangate is an off-the-beaten track hiking alternative with minimal foot traffic that allows you to carve into the mystical side of an ancient Andean world.

A voyage to Ausangate mountain is one of natural beauty, living history and ancient spirituality. Considered challenging, this trek is recommended for seasoned hikers only, who have experience hiking at high elevations. The route takes you through the Cordillera Vilcanota, or the Vilcanota Mountain Range. Ausangate is actually the 5th tallest mountain in Peru, standing at 20,945 feet above sea level.

Through  the Ausangate trek, you’ll ascend and descend through the mountain range, finding sweeping Andean vistas, thermal lakes, mystical glaciers, green mossy passes and enormous snowy mountains. Along the way, you’ll catch a glimpse of interesting wildlife, like condors, chinchillas and groups of vicunas. You’ll also come across hidden Andean villages richly embedded in centuries-old traditions. The highest point of the trek is 16,800 feet above sea level and the highest campsite elevation is at 15,255 feet.

HOW DIFFICULT IS THE AUSANGATE TREK?

The Ausangate trek is considered strenuous, with a few moderate days sprinkled in. The trek is classified as Grade C in difficulty, which implies altitudes between 14,800 to 16,400 ft (4500-5000 m) and 6-7 hours of hiking per day. Many of the days have steep sections that cause rapid altitude gain in a short time. Anyone with a good level of fitness can manage this hike, but it is recommended that trekkers have experience with multi-day hikes at high elevations.

Another factor to consider, aside from the steep sections and 16,000 ft+ elevation passes, is the weather. The weather can be quite unpredictable, and blizzard conditions at the higher altitudes are not uncommon. It is important to factor the low temperatures and your tolerance to cold and snow when determining your suitability for this trail.

HOW MANY MILES IS THE AUSANGATE TREK

We have different distances from the ausangate trek, the shortest is 15 km = 9.3 miles. And the longest 6-day trek has more than 70 km = 43 miles.

The classic 4-day Ausangate Trek tour is 36 km approx. = 22.3 miles

WHAT KIND OF FOOD THERE IS ON THE AUSANGATE TREK

Andean Great Treks is proud to have the best staff of chefs specialized in high mountains, with more than 15 years of experience, in the different trekking routes in Cusco. On our Ausangate route we provide you with the best food service every day, our chefs will prepare meals with 100% fresh and organic foods, since our company is focused on community work and support for farmers who provide us with their best fruits. You can taste the best Peruvian and Cusquenian cuisine, during the breakfast we will have pancakes, omelettes, coffee, milk,butter, cereals, and very nutritious breakfast of Cusco based on oatmeal, quinoa, wheat, etc.

Lunches and dinners are served buffet style, such as sauteed loin, quinoa chaufa, salads, vegetable soups and products from the Andes, chicken, steak, alpaca.

If you are allergic to any type of food or do not consume gluten, or are vegetarian, it is no difficulty for us as we are trained to provide food under these food standards.

In general, Andean Great Treks handles an order and quality in the handling of the products, taking care of their safety so that no illness or discomfort happens during the days of hiking on the Ausangate mountain.

THE TOUR GUIDES SPEAK ENGLISH?

Andean Great Treks has professional, knowledgeable, dependable and experienced guides, who all are well trained for us every year. All of our guides have spent years exploring the mountains and studied in Universities and Institutes of Cusco. All guides speak fluent  English and have a great knowledge of the various trekking routes. Our Guides will have the pleasure of guiding you in the most beautiful trails in the Ausangate Trek, Inca Trail, Lares Trek, which will enhance your holiday experience and make it a real success. Our guides are trained in first aid and know how to do in any emergency situation. And most importantly our guides are very friendly and enjoyable and want to share with you the faith of Peru.

ARE THERE AGE LIMITS TO DO THE AUSANGATE TREK?

Because it is one of the most demanding trekking routes in terms of physical and mental levels, we recommend doing this activity only for young people between 15 and 55 years of age.

Since they are the ones who can manage with great skill in these difficult routes of the Andes of Peru.

Although there were people up to 60 years old who were able to complete this fabulous route of the Ausangate Trek. Always before embarking on a trekking adventure anywhere in the world, we advise you to consult your doctor.

RAINBOW MOUNTAIN SIDE EXCURSION

Another compelling aspect of the Ausangate trek is that you can conveniently arrange to do Rainbow Mountain as a side excursion. Rainbow Mountain, or Montaña de Siete Colores, is a very popular destination. Here you can see these iconic mountains with rich mineralization bringing red, orange and yellow hues across a seemingly endless mountain expanse. It’s truly a sight to behold.

This part of the trek would bring you to a soaring 17,060 feet above sea level. This portion also tends to be, by far, the busiest part of an otherwise remote journey. It is important to keep in mind the crowds and higher elevation (higher than any other point on the classic Ausangate) to decide if you’d like to add this portion to your Ausantage hike. Talk to a travel advisor for more information.

WHAT IS THE RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TREK?

The best day trekking tour Rainbow Mountain Trek  was opened in 2015. It is a very popular tourist destination in the city of Cusco, you will undoubtedly enjoy the wonderful hill of colors. The Apu Ausangate is very close to the 5th highest snowfall in Peru, to see this attraction it is good to acclimatize at least one day, because it rises to 5200 meters high. On the road you can see llamas, alpacas, vicuñas. Native peoples who speak Quechua.

WHERE IS THE RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TREK LOCATED?

This wonderful place is located in the Andes of Peru, in the department of Cusco province of Canchis. At the moment the route to take is by Cusipata and the walk begins by the community Fulawasipata.

WHAT IS THE HEIGHT OF THE RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TREK?

The maximum height is 5,200 m.a.s.l. an area of ​​considerable elevation, it is located on the way to the imposing snow of Ausangate.

WHY SHOULD I BOOK THE RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TREK?

Why you will have the opportunity to enjoy an exciting day observing high Andean landscapes appreciating the beauty of the Mountain of Colors, it is currently considered the second most visited place after Machu Picchu.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TREK?

In the dry season months from April to November, the days are mostly sunny and with a radiant blue sky. Take into account that some days of June and July may show cloudy days because it is cold season.

In the months of December to March as it is a rainy season some days are cloudy and rainy and you cannot see the colors of the Mountain of Colors because it is covered with snow.

HOW LONG DO YOU WALK UNTIL YOU ARRIVE?

The distance you walk to get to Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountain Trek  is 1 hour 50 minutes, you must take into account that the time is relative because if you walk fast you can do it in less time and if you walk slow it will take more time determined.

WHAT ARE THE TIPS FOR THE WALK TO THE RAINBOW MOUNTAIN TREK?
  • Wear trekking shoes because the road is not uniform and the shoes will protect you.
  • Wear warm clothes, gloves, scarf because there are constant weather changes and in the morning at the time of pick up the cold is intense.
  • The use of blocker is important to protect the skin.
  • Trekking poles are important to keep pace with the walk
  • You must be hydrated to complete the walk.
  • The consumption of nuts (peanuts, raisins) energy bars will help give you energy and strength in the walk.
  • Take a pill for altitude sickness before starting the exit of Cusco, if you show any discomfort.
  • Bring coca leaves to chew if necessary to give you strength.
GEOLOGICAL FORMATION OF RAINBOW MOUNTAIN VINICUNCA

The geological formation of the mountain of the 7 colors, caused many of us an interrogation, perhaps without an answer at that moment, today we will inform you about the geological formation of this natural wonder. The formation of the rainbow appearance of the Vinicunca is due to the marine, lacustrine and fluvial sediments transported by the water that previously covered the area. These sediments date from between the Tertiary and Quaternary periods, approximately 65 million years ago.

The formation of a mountain is due to the alterations of the terrestrial layer and the movement of the tectonic plates, in these alterations the environment, the climate and other external factors have a lot to do. Have you ever wondered why mountains are conical in shape? The conical shape of the mountains is because ice usually forms on the top of the mountain.

Over time, these sediments formed layers, which are today the famous colored layers. The movement of the tectonic plates in the area raised the colorful sediments that became great mountains. After this, the mountains acquired their striking colors due to the oxidation and erosion of minerals in the soil.
Then, due to climate change, it causes it to thaw and this causes the mountains to drain and these generate streams of water that run towards the lower area until they run into rivers or lagoons until they mix with the ocean depending on climatological factors and because of From this process the mountain wears down and takes its cone shape.

There is no doubt that the mountains are a masterpiece of nature, from the top of a mountain we can appreciate everything that surrounds us and enjoy it.

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW MOUNTAIN

The rainbow aspect of Vinicunca is due to “a complex geological history of marine, lacustrine and fluvial sediments,” according to a report by the Cultural Landscape Office of the Decentralized Directorate of Culture of Cusco.
These sediments, transported by the water that previously covered the area, date from between the Tertiary and Quaternary periods, that is, from about 65 to two million years ago.
Over time, the sediments formed layers (with different grain sizes) that today are seen as the strips that attract tourists so much.

The movement of tectonic plates in the area raised these sediments until they became mountains.
Then they began to acquire their striking colors due to the oxidation of their minerals, exerted by the humidity in the area, and their erosion.

Composition of each strip according to its color:

• Pink or fuchsia: mixture of red clay, fangolitas (mud) and sand.
• Whitish: sandstone (quartz sand) and limestone.
• Purple or lavender: marl (a mixture of clay and calcium carbonate) and silicates.
• Red: argillites and clays.
• Green: clays rich in ferromagnesia (a mixture of iron and magnesium) and copper oxide.
• Yellowish brown, mustard or gold: limonites, calcareous sandstones rich in sulphide minerals (combined with sulphur).

Juan Carlos Gómez, from the Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP), told BBC Mundo that the hill was “partially” covered with ice and that it received temporary snow until the early 1990s.

Along the same lines, Fabián Drenkhan pointed out that he does not believe that the summit has been a glacier in recent years or decades.
The residents of Pitumarca, according to Haydee Pacheco, from the municipality of this district, say that there was snow about 70 years ago.

Pacheco explains that the mountain gained popularity thanks to the promotion of tourists who walked through the place in the direction of Ausangate, a sacred mountain for the people of Cusco.

IS REQUIRED A TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR THE AUSANGATE TREK

We recommend purchasing travel insurance if you plan to trek in Peru. Most of the trekking spots in Peru are very remote so if something goes wrong you will likely need an emergency evacuation and that can be incredibly expensive.

When choosing travel insurance, be sure to purchase a plan that covers high-altitude treks and helicopter rescue, just in case.

WHY DO I NEED TO COME TO THE BRIEFING?

The briefing is very important because it is when you will meet your guide. During this meeting, your guide will provide you with important details regarding the Ausangate trek. If you are participating in any of our treks, you will be given a duffle bag for your luggage. You will not be given a duffle bag for the Ausangate Trek. At the briefing, you will also pay your remaining trek balance. You will be given a map to our offices with your booking information.

CAN I LEAVE LUGGAGE AT THE AUSANGATE PERU OFFICES?

Yes. You can leave your luggage at our offices.

You can bring it with you to your briefing, or you can bring it when you are picked up in the morning to leave for your trek. The driver will bring it back to our offices. You can also arrange to have it dropped off at your hotel once you return from the Ausangate trek.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP MY CREW MEMBERS?

Tipping is not mandatory on a guided Ausangate Trek, but it is highly recommended. You will be amazed by the amount of work and dedication that the guides, chefs, porters and other crew bring to your experience. Tipping is a great way to show your appreciation for the incredible experience. A good rule of thumb is 30-50 soles ($8-$15) per hiker per day. All the hikers on the team can pool their tips and then hand to the trekking team, who will distribute among themselves.

IS WATER INCLUDED ALONG THE AUSANGATE TREK ?

On the Ausangate Trek  it is possible to find shops to be able to supply water on the first day. You will then be provided with water that is boiled and then filtered, to avoid any kind of illness or discomfort. It is not a good idea to drink water from waterfalls, lagoons or streams, as many of them could contain toxic minerals or bacteria that are harmful to human health.

DO I NEED TO BRING EXTRA MONEY FOR THE AUSANGATE TREK?

Yes. This is very important!!! We recommend that you bring 300 to 400 Peruvian soles. It is possible that you may not need any of this money, but just in case of an emergency you should make sure to have plenty of cash. If you are struggling on the route, you can use the money to purchase alternative forms of transportation such as: car, horse.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE IN MY GROUP?

Groups are usually 2 to 8 people. This also depends on the time of year. The maximum is 12 people and the minimum is 2 people.

WHAT SIZE BAG DO I NEED TO TAKE WITH ME?

We will provide you with a duffel bag for all of the treks. You can carry about 7 kilograms in the duffle bag. These duffle bags will be carried by horses throughout the trek. You only need to carry a small backpack/day pack with the items you might need throughout the day like sunscreen, bug spray, jackets, or snacks.

WILL I HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHARGE MY DEVICES DURING THE TREK AND WILL I HAVE WIFI?

As you can understand, this is a trek that is very far from civilization, therefore there is no way to use the internet, about charging devices anyway, you can only use your solar panels. Or carry extra batteries in case of cameras.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PRIVATE TOUR AND GROUP TOUR? WHY IS IT WORTH IT TO PAY MORE FOR THE PRIVATE TOUR?

If you choose to go on a private tour, the tour will be tailored to you. The size of the group depends on you and only you. You can decide exactly who will be on the trek with you. This is perfect for couples, families, or groups of friends. You will have your own personal chef and guide, which means the trek is more personalized and able to satisfy your personal needs.

IF I CAN’T HIKE VERY FAST I CAN RENT A HORSE?

Andean Great Treks organizes the Ausangate treks with a responsible and serious team of muleteers. Those who are in charge of their times and walk controls on the Ausangate Trek route. If you have a deficit in the pace of the walk, you will be given an assistance horse, which you can use, until you recover and you can continue the trek normally. Attention that our programs do not include horse rides during the whole journey, if in case you wish to do the tour on a horse you must communicate it at the time of your orientation in Cusco, and the guide will tell you how much it will cost and how is the service. For reasons of animal protection our company has some restrictions on the weight that you must carry or of the same person, Andean Great Treks does not allow animal abuse under any circumstances. Remember that we do the Ausangate trek to walk and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the mountains and lakes, which will surely be a unique experience in your life.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M NOT ABLE TO COMPLETE THE AUSANGATE TREK

If you could not complete your Ausangate Trek program, because of health problems or any other circunstances, in the first instance you will be evaluated your vital signs, then you will be evacuated as soon as possible to a nearby place with highway, and once there you will be transported in local mobility to Cusco. Since there are no well-equipped hospitals in the Ausangate Mountains, these expenses will be covered by you. So it is suggested to have travel insurance that covers such incidents. In adition our company will not refund the tour cost already payed.

HOW ARE THE CAMPING TENTS USED FOR THE AUSANGATE TREK?

Our trekking tents are from reputable brands, such as Doite, Noth Face, Salewa, Eureka. Which is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. Each has a capacity for 4 people, but that is used only by two hikers, and thus have more space for their things. You will also be provided with a blanket and a foam floor mat.

To take food we have kitchen and dining tents, which have enough space, where you will have your table and chairs well accommodated.

HOW ARE THE TOILETS ON THE AUSANGATE TREK

Our company takes portable toilets to the Ausangate Trek route, since in those landscapes there are still no large towns and they maintain the entire pristine circuit. Do not forget to bring your hygienic pale roll, and leave the waste generated in the container according to the classification according to its colors. Avoid throwing them during the walks, as you also there are many hikers who would like to find these circuits free of garbage.

At the end of the tour our guides and chefs are responsible for returning all the waste generated to the city of Cusco.

ARE THERE SHOWERS ON THE AUSANGATE TREK

There are no showers on the Ausangate Trek route, it is generally not advisable to take baths above that height, as you could fall ill with the flu or pneumonia. Andean Great Treks will provide you in the morning at waking time and in the afternoons after completing the trekking activities a bucket of hot water, with which you can clean your face and feet.

THERE ARE THERMAL BATHS ON THE AUSANGATE TREK

Good news is that on the Ausangate route at the beginning and end of the trekking circuit you can enjoy the thermal-medicinal baths, on the first day there are the Upis thermal baths, and on the last day the Pacchanta thermal bath, at the foot from the Ausangate mountain.

For this reason, do not forget to bring your bathing clothes, and the payment that is made is for the community that manages it (entry cost $ 4 usd).

I WILL BE ABLE TO CONTACT WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES ALONG THE AUSANGATE TREK

On all Ausangate Trek routes, you will cross many indigenous communities, who will receive you very happy for your visit, and will also offer you their handicrafts that they produce, if you want to support these people, do it, since the little, that they produce in their crop fields, it is not enough to lead a comfortable quality of life. Our friends of the high Andean communities are also very kind, do not worry when conducting an interview or a photograph, since your guide will be the one who can translate it so you can establish a conversation and thus learn more about their experiences and customs. It should be understood that these communities on the Ausangate Trek route are considered one of the last that still practice the traditions inherited from the Incas. They still perform ceremonies of offerings to the Pachamana or Mother Earth, coca leaf ceremony and the most important festivals according to the Quechua calendar.

DO YOU BRING OXIGEN TANK, FIRST AID KIT?

Andean Great Treks is a serious and formal tour operator travel agency. As such, in all our Trekking and Ausangate Trek activities we normally carry the oxygen tank, which can be used if one of our clients requires it. Remember, it is a medium oxygen tank, which is used as an emergency mediation to stabilize the tourist, if it still requires more oxygen, you will be evacuated to a closer control point where a vehicle passes, and will also descend to a lower height, to avoid altitude sickness or a tachycardia.

A first aid kit is also carried, which serves to help tourists in emergency circumstances. But have this information: No person who does not have the certification of a doctor, pharmacist or nurse can prescribe any medication, since we do not know the true medical history of the patient, which instead of improvement can worsen their situation. That is why we suggest as an important measure, if possible, bring your own first aid kit with the pills that a doctor has prescribed before starting the Ausangate Trek.

DO I NEED REALLY THE TREKKING POLES ON THE AUSANGATE TREK

The answer is that if, since having trekking poles on the Ausangate Trek route is vital, this instrument will help you overcome very difficult barriers, and have it in good balance during well-sloped descents. The type of cane that is recommended is of free will for you, since these define according to the food you are going to provide, it can be aluminum, carbon fiber, or other material, but if it has a good resistance When hiking, another no less important detail is that you must have the metal protectors at their tips, usually you will be accommodated with rubber soles. Preferably those that can be easily packed and tied.

IF I DON’T HAVE A GOOD SLEEPING BAG , CAN I RENT IN CUSCO

If you can rent a sleeping bag in our office in Cusco. For the Ausangate Trek it is necessary to have a sleeping bag that has the resistance specification at -15 C ° to -20 C °. Because otherwise you will feel very uncomfortable with the icy weather of the Ausangate Mountains.

REPRESENTATIVE FLORA OF THE AUSANGATE TREK

The department of Cusco, one could say without fear of falling into unnecessary mistakes, has it all. It is, shall we say, a small country within another. Its varied climates, product of the profusion of ecological floors, its impressive relief and its proximity to the tropical zone of the planet determine the existence among its folds of a unique, incomparable biological diversity. We must not forget, furthermore, that Peru is considered one of the seven megadiverse countries on the planet due to the varied ecosystems created by the Andes mountain range when it rises above the continent and to the action of the marine currents that bathe its extensive coastline.
Geography treatises indicate that in the deep ravines and intermediate zones, forests formed by numerous tree, coniferous and broadleaf species are typical. In the lower areas, on the other hand, ferns, reedbeds, alders and ornamental plants with seasonal flowers are common. In the Quechua and Puna zone, ichu, queuña, waqo, achupalla de monte, raqui-raqui, moqo-moqo, jucucha, huejontoy, tabaquillo, paico and tintin predominate. Full life and nature on the roof of the world.
The situation of the native forests of Peru is doubly serious, by cutting them down or burning them, one of the activities that most damages Andean ecosystems, not only is the provision of valuable environmental services lost, but the flora and fauna that allowed the insurgency of life in the territory we occupy.
The Andean forests are varied, within each of them different tree species thrive. On the Ausangate Route, where queuñas, chachacomos, unkas, tayankas, wancartipas, wamaq’eros, chuyllures, jalastos, siracas, t’astas, capulí-pishay endure, natural life makes the difference.

The following are the most notable trees on the Ausangate Trek:
The Queuña (Polylepis spp):
It is an extremely resistant tree to the altitude and to the cold typical of the Andean high-plains. It has been proven that it can live beyond 4,500 meters above sea level. The Queñuales, especially those found in the Vilcanota mountain range, contain a very varied fauna and flora that is characterized by its high level of endemism. The forests of this species regulate the climate, prevent soil erosion and store large amounts of water that ultimately feed the course of springs and puquios.

The Pisonay (Erythrina edulis):
Pajuro, bean or red cedar is a tree common to the temperate zones of Peru, where it can be found adorning the main squares of some of its cities with its size. Its leafy foliage, its red flowers and its incomparable size distinguish it from other native trees, which are generally small and rugged. It is known that it was cultivated and used by the Incas. Its fruits, which are tasty, serve as food and its leaves, flowers, bark and roots are used to cure various ills and as a contraceptive in rural areas.
The Chachacomo (Escallonia resinosa):
It is a tree with a bright reddish trunk that was used by the Incas to dye beige cotton and wool fabrics. Its leaves were used to prepare infusions useful as a brain tonic. Its wood is an excellent fuel and chaquitacllas are made from its branches, the best-known plow of the ancient Peruvians; Possibly, the keros, the ceremonial vessels that dazzled the conquerors, were also made from the wood of this tree.
The Alder (Alnus jorullensis):
Huayau or Lambrán is a good-sized tree that can reach 10 to 15 meters in height and is distributed between 2,500 and 3,300 meters above sea level throughout the Peruvian highlands. It grows in the ravines and on the edges of the farms: it is a tree that, due to its open crown that allows solar radiation to filter, does not disturb the growth of agricultural plants.
The Ccolle (Buddleja coriacea):
Qolle, Quishuar or Puna Quishuar is a tall, straight tree with a dark green, globose crown. In the times of the Incas, its wood was used for the construction of houses and the manufacture of instruments and its leaves as an effective remedy against rheumatism. Currently, the peasants use it as a living fence or “retaining wall”. Its foliage provides good fertilizer to the farms. Apart from the uses mentioned, the Ccolle provides excellent quality wood for the manufacture of beams, doors, windows, lintels and for the elaboration of agricultural tools (yokes, plows, tacllas) as well as for handicrafts and props. It is resistant to rot and fungi even when it remains in the water, hence its usefulness for making gates and parts of irrigation canals.

The Sauco (Sambucus peruviana):
O Tilo is a 3-6 m tall tree that in good conditions can reach 12 meters. Its fruit, with a pleasant flavor, is edible and is used to make jellies and jams. A strong wood is obtained from its trunk, which is highly valued for construction in rural areas. Its leaves are used to dye and from its stems quenas and blowers are made to fan the fire. It is also used as a live fence, windbreak and pest repellent.
The Molle (Schinus molle):
It is one of the most visible trees in the towns and roads of the middle part of the province. It has been used since ancient times to cleanse and detoxify the urinary tract and kidneys. Also useful to combat rheumatism, with the branches, leaves and fruits a very effective bath is prepared to combat the evil of fright. The ash is used to make soap and the bark to dye wool or cotton yellow. Its fruits, dry and ground, are an ideal substitute for pepper. It is antifungal and a powerful remedy for bacterial and viral respiratory infections. It also serves, among other things, as an insecticide.
The Quishuar (Buddleja incana):
A tree that grows up to 8 m high, is characterized by having a straight stem and cracked outer bark, light ocher in color. It is common in the highlands of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. It tolerates high stoniness and its moisture requirements are moderate. Due to its dense foliage, it is used to make perimeter fences and protection against cold winds. Due to its excellent quality, durability and resistance, it is used in construction, cabinetmaking and props.

REPRESENTATIVE FAUNA OF THE AUSANGATE TREK

The llama (Lama glama) and the alpaca (Vicugna pacos) are the two most representative species of the varied fauna of the province of Quispicanchi and much of the Peruvian Andes. In our country, apparently the domestication of both South American camelids must have occurred five thousand years ago. The guanaco (Lama guanicoe) and the vicuña (Vicugna vicugna), the two remaining species of the quartet of these Andean mammals, have survived in the wild to this day. From an ecological point of view, South American camelids have perfectly adapted to the environment they inhabit. The natural grasses that they consume are appropriate for their nutrition and the padding of their hooves does not destroy the delicate soils of the high Andean plateaus where they are usually raised by the descendants of the llamichos and paqocheros of the high mountains of our country. Vicuñas and guanacos share the grasslands of the highlands of Cusco with an ungulate well known to walkers who go around Ausangate.

The taruca (Hippocamelus antisensis):
Andean deer, a deer of great beauty that inhabits the highest areas of the Vilcanota mountain range, in grasslands, very attentive to the presence of humans. Herbivorous, it usually feeds on lichens and wild grasses and, like deer, the species has striking antlers, in this case a double horn on the forehead. The loss of the quality of its species is in a vulnerable situation and it is estimated that in thirty years it will have lost, if the current conditions of degradation continue, thirty percent of its habitat.

Vizcacha (Lagidium viscacia):
A rodent related to chinchillas, very common in Peru, central Bolivia, throughout Chile, and in western Argentina. It could easily be confused with wild rabbits: its yellow or gray fur is thick and soft except for the tail, which is black. His ears are covered with hair. The vizcachas feed on ichu and are a food attraction for the wild cats that live in the Ausangate mountains:
The Andean Cat (Leopardus jacobita):
Osqollo, osqo misi or chinchay a severely threatened feline whose population in Peru is less than 2,500 individuals and the Pajonal cat (Leopardus colocolo).

Andean Puma (Puma concolor):
The second largest feline in America and fourth in the world after the lion, the tiger and the jaguar. Common in our continent from Canada to Patagonia, the variety that inhabits the Peruvian Andes is capable of adapting to almost all our ecosystems. It is characterized by being agile, elusive, silent and strong. Avoid unnecessary confrontations with other animals, including humans. Similar in appearance to African lionesses, males can weigh up to 100 kilograms, while females weigh up to 64 kilograms. It was a sacred animal in the time of the Incas, so much so that the city of Cusco, the Llaqta Sagrada, was built following the outline of its extraordinary anatomy.
If you are lucky and drive carefully along the rural roads of the province, you may come across some of the fabulous local fauna.

Quispicanchi is the habitat of the white-eared opossum or carachupa ittuto (Didelphis albiventris), the Andean long-eared bat (Histiotus montanus), the red fox or atoj, also the Andean fox (Pseudalopex culpaeus), the skunk, añas or skunk (Conepatus chinga). , the weasel or achocalla catay (Mustela frenata), the pajonal mouse (Akodon subfuscus), the Darwin mouse or big-eared mouse (Phyllotis darwini), the wild guinea pig, guinea pig or cowi kututo (Cavia porcellus), the sacha guinea pig, guinea pig bighorn or poronccoy (Cavia tschudii).
Also with some individual of the varied avifauna of the Ausangate route:
Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus):
For being a bird linked to the history of the men and women who populated Cusco and the Andean world. The Incas considered it “messenger of the gods” (Apu Kuntur) and together with the puma and the snake it was part of an animal trilogy linked to the sacred. The imposing bird is represented at one of the points of the chakana and one of the most visited rooms in Machu Picchu is precisely the so-called “Temple of the Condor”. Due to its ability to fly up to heights of 5 thousand meters above sea level, the condor was the only animal in the Inca worldview capable of communicating with the world of the gods and the stars. In Peru, the species is in danger as a result of the loss of its habitats and death by poisoning due to the profusion of carcasses to control livestock predators (pumas and foxes). According to the Red Book of Endangered Wildlife.

Giant Hummingbird (Patagona gigas):
A distinguished inhabitant of the middle part of the province is the Andean hummingbird or giant hummingbird, the largest hummingbird in the world. Intrepid aviator, it easily reaches 23 cm in size. Its beak, straight and thick, measures 5 cm.
It is generally found in arid habitats between 2,000-3,400 meters above sea level where it frequents shrubs, trees and cacti, preferably columnar. It is very territorial and aggressive, often chasing other hummingbirds while hovering with remarkably slow wingbeats, keeping its tail open. Their diet includes nectar and flying insects.
The Huallatas (Chloephaga melanoptera)
The Andean goose or huashua inhabits open land with short grass in marshy areas of the humid valleys. Also the surroundings of lakes and ponds. They are found in pairs or in scattered flocks, males are usually larger than females and reach a size of about 90 cm. Both are white with a pink beak and legs.
Another inhabitant of swamps, lake shores and flooded fields is the yanavico (Plegadis ridgwayi) or puna ibis, common between 3,200 and 4,500 meters above sea level.

Other very frequent birds in the areas visited by guides and hikers: neotropical cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) or cushuri, Andean duck (Anas flavirostris), puna duck (Anas puna), white heron (Ardea alba), huaco heron (Nycticorax nycticorax ), Andean bandurria (Theristicus branickii), puna hawk (Buteo poecilochrous), Andean caracara (Phalcoboenus megalopterus), black-winged stilt (Himantopus melanurus), cinnamon-tailed sickle-billed hummingbird (Eutoxeres condamini), Andean woodpecker, woodpecker or gargacha (Colaptes rupicola puna), royal cinclodes or royal churrete (Cinclodes aricomae), ash-breasted bull or queñuales bull (Anairetes alpinus), chiguanco thrush (Turdus chiguanco chiguanco), grosbeak-ventidorado (Pheucticus chrysogaster), yellow-billed cacique (Amblycercus holosericeus).

AUSANGATE TREK PACKING LIST

It’s best to pack lightly for Ausangate hiking. Generally hikers leave the bulk of their belongings safely in storage at their Cusco hotel, and bring only their hiking pack for the trek. This list ensures that you have everything you need for a guided trek without overburdening yourself.

Mountain clothing

Head:

  • Hat for the cold
  • Glacier goggles with 100% UV protection (spectra / spectrum 4 or 5 appropriate for trekking activities)
  • Extra sunglasses (with UV protection – emergency glasses)
  • Headlamp (with spare batteries)
  • Sun hat or hat (Buff, balaclava)

Thorax / Core:

  • First Layer / Longsleeve: Merino, Polypropylene, Capilene, Driclime (not cotton or cotton blend)
  • Second Layer / Soft-Shell Or Polartec: Wind-pro, Schoeller, Fleece, etc. (recommended; comfortable, insulating and waterproof)
  • Third Layer / Hard Shell: windproof, waterproof and breathable (Gore-Tex, Event or similar)
  • Fourth Layer / Insulation: Down jacket or synthetic fill jacket (Down, Primaloft or Polarguard)
  • Vest: Polartec, Fleece (extra half layer)

Bottom:

  • Thin Socks: Liners (polypropylene or Capilene) and extra socks
  • Base Layer / Long Interior: Merino, Polypropylene, Capilene, Nylon, Driclime (not cotton or cotton blends)
  • Second Layer / Fleece (in case you are sensitive to cold)
  • Trekking Pants (water and wind resistant – Gore-Tex, Event or similar)
  • Trekking Pants: Soft-shell, nylon, etc. (for the walk and/or use at the Camp)
  • Walking Shoes (for daily walks, waterproof Gore-Tex or similar)
  • Sandals / Crocs (comfort for base camp)

Hands:

  • Fine Gloves: Polypropylene or Wool (liners)

Personal Team

  • Down or synthetic sleeping bag 15-20°F / -20 to -25°C
  • 60/65 liter backpack for luggage
  • 15/25 liter backpack for the daily walk
  • Trekking sticks
  • Solar charger (optional)

Hiking gear

  • Backpack, 50-70L
  • Hiking poles (optional but recommended)
  • Water bottle
  • Water filter
  • Purifying tablets
  • Zip-lock bags (for money, maps etc.)

Electronics

  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Earphones
  • Headlamp
  • Flashlight

Toiletries

  • Soap
  • Dry shampoo
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wet wipes
  • Small towel

Others

  • Personal first aid kit (medication you use often)
  • Personal hygiene accessories (towel, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, comb, etc.)
  • Photographic material
  • Sunscreen and lip balm

HOW DO I MAKE A BOOKING FOR THE AUSANGATE TREK?

STEP 1

  • Fill out the form
  • Fill out the passenger details form in a word document. This should be attached in your email.

STEP 2

  • Pre payment
  • Pay your deposit, and let us know when you have paid! This is important because our system does not automatically notify us when you’ve paid your deposit.

STEP 3

  • Confirm reservation
  • Once you’ve received your booking confirmation in the form of a PDF, please check it over to confirm that everything is correct.

STEP 4

  • Informative session
  • Your all set!! Remember to come to our offices the day before your departure date at 5:00 PM for your briefing.
IF I DECIDE TO CANCEL, WILL I BE REFUNDED?

Our company will be able to refund your reservation deposit, in case you cannot complete your adventure in the Ausangate Trek circuit. But this request must be sent to the company’s mail, with a minimum of 15 days before starting your Trekking. Otherwise you could be charged some administrative costs.

A very important issue to give, is that if you paid for the entire tour, and for any reason you decide to cancel the tour less than 48 hours, this can only be done under certain conditions, by your travel agent, who will inform you of the expenses that should cover.

WHY IS THERE AN 5% CHARGE FOR PAYPAL AND VISA? IS THERE ANY WAY TO AVOID THIS CHARGE?

Unfortunately, the 5% charge is completely out of our hands. This fee does not go to us, but to PayPal and VISA. There is really no way around it.

ESSENTIAL TRIP INFORMATION

ESSENTIAL TRIP INFORMATION ESSENTIAL TRIP INFORMATION

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

BEST SEASON TO TRAVEL

The best time to visit Peru is during the dry season, between May and November, when the weather is dry and bright, with more frequent rainfall occurring between November and April.

JANUARY
Warm - Heavy Rain 15 °C / 5 °C
FEBUARY
Warm - Heavy Rain 15 °C / 4 °C
MARCH
Warm - Light Rain 15 °C / 4 °C
APRIL
Hot - Warm 15 °C / 3 °C
MAY
Hot 14 °C / 0 °C
JUNE
Hot 20 °C / -5 °C
JULY
Hot 14 °C / -3 °C
AUGUST
Hot 14°C / -1 °C
SEPTEMBER
Hot 15 °C / 3 °C
OCTOBER
Hot - Warm 16 °C / 3 °C
NOVEMBER
Hot - Warm 16 °C / 4 °C
DECEMBER
Warm - Light Rain 16 °C / 5 °C

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

OCT 2022 - DEC 2023 Price from
$ 380 USD Per Person $ 420 USD
Note

To book this tour, a minimum of $ 100 USD per person is required, the remaining balance will be paid upon arrival in Peru, at the Cusco office.

Any other additional information, please coordinate with your travel agent.

Choose your preferred departure date to proceed.
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What to expect from our

Treks in Peru

Nothing gets you closer to a country than walking through it, and we’ve got trips to suit walkers of all levels and interests.

How fit do I need to be?

 Andean Great Treks

All our Walking trips are graded from ‘Easy’ through to ‘Challenging to Tough’. On our online trip itineraries you’ll find a chart showing the daily walk distances, timings and information on the route including the terrain, altitude. Generally, no specific training is needed but you might feel more comfortable if you’ve got out walking a few times in the lead-up to your trip.

What will the group be like?

 Andean Great Treks

As with all our trips, every group is different but the ‘average’ group consists of roughly half couples and half solo travellers – all sharing a passion for exploring the world on foot. You’ll always have someone to keep you company along the route, but you don’t always have to walk together. Wherever possible your Andean Great Treks leader will allow everyone to walk at their own pace, regrouping regularly along the route.

Will I need to walk every day?

 Andean Great Treks

Mostly of our hikes in the mountains in Peru and Cusco like the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Ausangate Trek, Lares Trek, Ancascocha Trek, Salkantay Trek , involves an average of walking hours of 7-8 hours per day, this timing includes stops for taking photos, lunch, breaks for recovery the energy, and the most important we adapt to your walking pace. This relaxed style of trip involves to know all the attractions in greater depth.

What about the logistics?

 Andean Great Treks

On nearly all our Walking trips, porters or mules will carry all the camping equimpent, so your main luggage will be transported for you. We recommend walk with a light rucksack, you will carry water, snacks, a camera, a small first aid kit and any extra clothing or sun protection. On more remote or challenging treks, additional guides are there to assist the leader tour guide and provide support to the group.

ANDEAN TREKS FAQS

HOW MANY DAYS OF ACCLIMATIZATION DO YOU RECOMMEND BEFORE STARTING A PROGRAM?

The acclimatization period is very important for our travelers to enjoy the experience. We suggest a minimum of 3 or 4 days of the previous stay in Cusco city, the Sacred Valley of the Incas or Machu Picchu. We recommend you check the acclimation programs we have prepared for you on our website.

WHAT ARE THE ALTITUDES IN THE CAMPING SITES ?

The average height of our camps in the trekking circuits is 3,500 masl. In fact, one of the circuits where you sleep at the highest altitude is the Ausangate Trek, where you will have days to set up the tents at a height of 4,300 meters. Remember that Peru has snowy peaks that reach up to 6,700 masl.

HOW CAN ALTITUDE AFFECT ME?

From 3,000 meters above sea level, the symptoms of “altitude sickness” vary according to each person, and may even not occur. However, among the most common are a headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite and insomnia. Therefore, upon arriving in the city of Cusco, located at 3,400 meters above sea level, we recommend our travelers to take a good rest, drink plenty of water, eat light meals and take slower walking. Also, it is necessary to avoid alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. The symptoms can be alleviated with high mountain medicines such as DIAMOX or similar products, but we suggest you consult with your doctor before the trip.

DO I HAVE TO CARRY MY OWN LUGGAGE?

While on the trail, hikers will need to carry a daypack (camera equipment, water bottle, extra layers, rain gear, and other accessories you might need on the trail.) Horses and llamas will carry your duffle bag to the next camping site.

WHAT ARE THE SECURITY MEASURES IN THE TRAIL?

The company makes the greatest efforts to provide a safe and unforgettable experience, for this reason, the trekking guides are constantly communicated with the central office through satellite phones, ensuring the welfare of each passenger. Our guides are trained in rescue techniques and first aid in emergency outdoor, these courses are developed annually and have the standards of the wilderness first respond. At all times we have oxygen and first aid equipment. In case of any eventuality a medical director will answer our questions 24 hours a day. In addition to the animals who carry the luggage we have horses to help walkers tired or eager to ride. We recommend getting a travel insurance.

 ANDEAN GREAT TREKS TOURS DIFFERENCE

ANDEAN GREAT TREKS TOURS DIFFERENCE

UNRIVALLED KNOWLEDGE & EXPERIENCE

Every Andean Great Treks  holiday has been thoughtfully planned and crafted by our specialists. They draw on their own extensive travel experience and the guidance and expertise of our local partners to create superb holidays. Our specialists are committed to making every aspect smooth and enjoyable; they genuinely want to ensure that the holidays they create leave you with wonderful lasting memories.

AMAZING TOURS & AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCES

Every Andean Great Treks traveller is accompanied by an experienced tour guide, you will be immersed in Historic cities, ancient ruins and unfamiliar landscapes are all brought to life by our carefully selected local guides. They want to share their expertise and help you make your own discoveries too; their sole mission is to ensure you enjoy every moment.

FLEXIBILITY & CHOICE

Giving you the freedom to make your holiday even more memorable. We know how much our customers look forward to their holiday and we pride ourselves on the choice and flexibility that we offer to enhance every aspect of your experience. Whether it’s getting to the airport, upgrading your room or booking an additional excursion, we can help.

GUIDED BY THE LOCAL GUIDES, TRUE EXPERTS!

GUIDED BY THE LOCAL GUIDES, TRUE EXPERTS!

Our guides are the stars of the show; it is their unrivalled knowledge, passion and expertise that will transform your tour experience from good to truly extraordinary!

Because the have grown up in the area and know it like the back of their hand, so they can help you experience whichever aspects most interest you. They’re passionate about sharing their corner of the world with you, and as you explore together, they’ll open your eyes to the intricate details, provide background to enhance your understanding of what you’re seeing, and share stories that will bring everything to life.

ALL OF OUR NATIONAL TOUR GUIDES…

  • Have at least five years guiding experience
  • Are fluent in English
  • Are born and raised in Cusco, Lima, Manu Jungle, Puno
  • Go through rigorous and ongoing training programmes
  • Are at your service 24 hours a day

OUR TRAVELS SHAPE YOURS

OUR TRAVELS SHAPE YOURS

“Your inspiration for a trip can be a single word or a highly evolved outline, but it’s the conversations we have that help us understand the experience you’re looking for. Meanwhile, I’m looking back on the time I spent at the destination.

‘The great thing about working with a specialist at Andean Great Treks is how they take your  complete jumble of ideas and turn them into  something absolutely spectacular.’

As you begin to share your ideas with your specialist, it will connect them immediately back to a time in their own travels. Conjuring a picture of the ­rest time they made that same discovery, reminding them how it felt.

Your specialist understands that, when the journey is right, it has the power to excite your emotions in the most profound ways after all, that was the effect on them.

They carry a treasure box of moments, captured over many  journeys, into every suggestion they’ll share with you, as  they ask you how you want to feel on your trip.

MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES, REAL CONNECTIONS

MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES,  REAL CONNECTIONS

 EXPERIENCES THAT CALL TO YOU

It’s what you do in a destination that helps bring it to life. It’s why we strive to choose experiences that help you connect to a place, absorbing a little of its complex character. Wherever your passions lie, we’ll recommend experiences that speak to you, and we’ll recommend the guide or local expert who’s most qualifi­ed to help you explore. Packing your holiday full of special experiences means some early starts and long days, but you can be sure that you’ll return home with many incredible memories! Read our Tours and check the Physical Ratings to see if the pace and activity levels are right for you.

STAYS WITH DIFFERENCE

We know that where you stay is a cherished part of your travels. So, we go to great lengths to ­find places to stay that exceed expectations, or go above and beyond the ordinary, whether in their character, hospitality, or location. Over the years, we’ve discovered the very best properties, trying and testing them, so we can choose the right one for you. We’ve nourished long-standing relationships with these establishments and the people who founded them, and we’ve stayed there many times often, we’ll even know which rooms have the best views (and reserve them for you).

TRAVELLING THE RIGHT WAY

TRAVELLING THE RIGHT WAY

Our style of travel — authentic, thoughtful, and focused on building meaningful connections to the people and places you visit — is inherently respectful and considerate of the destinations we love. We design each aspect of your trip exactly as you want it, which includes its sustainability. That might mean choosing a train journey instead of a flight, staying at eco-friendly wildlife lodges, or opting for experiences that give back to the communities you’re visiting. The choice is yours.

Responsible travel has always been at the heart of what we do. First and foremost, because it gives you the best experience, but, also because it helps to preserve the communities and landscapes you visit. This isn’t new for us we collaborated with local communities and outside experts so we can grow to be better ambassadors.

The most authentic and interesting experiences often directly benefit the local people. We prefer to buy local products that are produced in the organic farms of the Sacred Valley, we also have alliances with local artisan organizations who provide us with souvenir items for our clients, your money directly benefits the local economy.

Our style of travel — authentic, thoughtful, and focused on building meaningful connections to the people and places you visit — is inherently respectful and considerate of the destinations we love. We design each aspect of your trip exactly as you want it, which includes its sustainability. That might mean choosing a train journey instead of a flight, staying at eco-friendly wildlife lodges, or opting for experiences that give back to the communities you’re visiting. The choice is yours.

Responsible travel has always been at the heart of what we do. First and foremost, because it gives you the best experience, but, also because it helps to preserve the communities and landscapes you visit. This isn’t new for us we collaborated with local communities and outside experts so we can grow to be better ambassadors.

The most authentic and interesting experiences often directly benefit the local people. We prefer to buy local products that are produced in the organic farms of the Sacred Valley, we also have alliances with local artisan organizations who provide us with souvenir items for our clients, your money directly benefits the local economy.

WE EXPLORE WITHOUT AFFECTING THE ECOSYSTEM

WE EXPLORE WITHOUT AFFECTING THE ECOSYSTEM

We want travel to change us, and not the World

‘There’s a saying: we don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. When we show you our country, this philosophy guides everything we do. It’s our responsibility to preserve the environment and wildlife, and support communities. That means using slower modes of transport, like cycling, employing local people, and working with communities who’ll benefit directly from your visit. This also gives you the best, most authentic impression of the places we want to share with you.

We prefer to buy local products in ecological bags, to avoid the use of plastic bags, likewise we teach the use of soaps and ecological products in each tour that we organize. We also work on reforestation projects with local communities who take care of landscape resources such as communal reserves, national parks.

We want travel to change us, and not the World

‘There’s a saying: we don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. When we show you our country, this philosophy guides everything we do. It’s our responsibility to preserve the environment and wildlife, and support communities. That means using slower modes of transport, like cycling, employing local people, and working with communities who’ll benefit directly from your visit. This also gives you the best, most authentic impression of the places we want to share with you.

We prefer to buy local products in ecological bags, to avoid the use of plastic bags, likewise we teach the use of soaps and ecological products in each tour that we organize. We also work on reforestation projects with local communities who take care of landscape resources such as communal reserves, national parks.

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