a real outdoor adventure
See Rainbow Mountain
blue, green and turquoise lagoons
The Ausangate Trek is a stunning hike through the wildest and rarely visited areas in Peru. It is a true outdoor adventure for nature lovers, with amazing natural beauty and wildlife to appreciate. The scenery is breathtaking, boasting snow-capped mountains and blue, green and turquoise lagoons. The trek passes through a few Andean communities who have not suffered much change in their lives between now and the time of the Incas, such is their isolation.
Ausangate (6,372 above sea level) is the most representative mountain of the Cusqueno Andeans, and it is considered the most beautiful one. Ausangate is situated at the cordillera of Vilcanota, and it is not easily accessible. The route of Ausangate is probably one of the most attractive ones of Cusco.
Ausangate is around 4 hours from Cusco, but the enormous peak can often be seen from many parts of the city.
The Ausangate trek reaches a maximum height of 5200 meters. Make sure you are well acclimatised to not suffer from altitude sickness.
The Ausangate is one of the quietest in the region; you will probably not see other hikers
Camping is the norm on this route; however, some trek operators in Cusco will offer an Ausangate 'lodge' trek with huts along the route
The Ausangate mountain is famous for the Qoyllur Rit’I Festival every year in May
Apu Ausangate is a Sacred mountain for the local people
Upgrades: extra horse(s) to carry your stuff
Departure time: 5 am from your hotel in Cusco, return time: depends on the itinerary
Estimated time per day: 6 – 8 hours per day
(this is a sample itinerary, there are small differences between the diferent trek operators in Cusco)
Different trek providers in Cusco offer different Ausangate itineraries. Check with the tour operator in Cusco of your choice for the details of your trek.
Walking the trails of the Ausangate trek is an indescribable adventure. The trek starts in Tinki. The trail goes through the Vilcanota Valley before steadily climbing upwards to some high grasslands. After crossing the Mapacho river you continue through local community villages towards the base of Ausangate. Here you can see the stresses and strains of traditional Peruvian rural life. The scenery is breathtaking. We can observe birds, alpacas, llamas, vicuñas and condors and enjoy stunning views of the valleys, waterfalls, and glacier peaks.
One of the highest passes is the mountain pass Arapa (4850 meter above sea level) from where we can enjoy a lovely view over a beautiful mountain chain and lakes surrounded by a formation of rocks.
Other passes are the Ausangate Pass (4750 m), the Alpaca Pass, Condor pass (4900), the Palomani and the Tampa pass (depending on the itinerary). Most tour operators include the village of Pajchanta (4,010m), where the local people make their living here from herding and farming. It will give you an authentic insight into traditional Peruvian culture. Pajchanta also has very picturesque natural thermal pools.
Apart from the Andean communities and the beautiful passes, there are many impressive lakes along the route: the Lake Ynaccocha, green lake of Puqa Q’ocha (4556m, the blue lake of Jatun Puqa Q’ocha and the blue-green lake Q’omercocha (4,704m). Relax and get some rest for your soar muscles in the thermal baths of Urpi, Pacchanta or Huchuy Finaya, from where we will have a magical view over the high mountains like Ausangate and Santa Catalina
One of the highlights of the Ausangate Trek is the popular Vinicunca (better known as Rainbow Mountain) on day 3, 4 or 5 (according the route) with it’s the uniqueness of its colourful mountains.