Without a doubt, the Ausangate trail offers some of the most wonderful scenery in the Cusco area. With many birds, wildlife, glaciers and high alpine lakes its difficulty is easily forgotten, however, it’s one of the most challenging tours in the region with three high passes over 5,000 meters.
On a clear day, Apu Ausangate dominates Cusco’s southern skyline. As we reach closer to this massive mountain (6,380 meters), one becomes increasingly impressed and can fully understand why the ancient Incas held this spectacular mountain in such high regard. During the whole Ausangate trek circuit we pass local villages, where the people dress in their typical attire mostly seen on women wearing beautiful flat board hats with trimmings while standing in between freely grazing llamas.
Highlights: Ausangate Mountain and contact with the locals.
Location: The village of Tinqui, about 3 hours’ drive east of Cusco.
Duration: 5 days / 4 nights. You can do a trek in 6 days if you want to visit Sibinacocha.
Level: Moderate to difficult if you are acclimatized to the height.
Departure dates: Any day with two people, maximum six people. Not available during the rainy season (December – March).
Acclimatization: Minimum 3 days at altitude recommended.
Day 1: Cusco – Tinqui – Upis
We depart Cusco early in the morning for our three hour ride in private transport to the small village of Tinqui (3800 meters). As Tinqui is located on the new Interoceanic highway we can arrive here much more quickly than in previous years. We pass through beautiful countrysides and several traditional villages including Urcos, Cattca and Ocangate. After our lunch in Tinqui, the first 3 hours on the trail are a wonderful prelude to the magnificent scenery of the Cordillera Vilcanota, with also gives us great views of the Ausangate. We will trek for two hours more until we reach the hot springs at Upis (4,400 meters) which offer fantastic views of Ausangate at the end of the valley. We will camp here for the night.
The total trekking time this day is 4-5 hours.
Day 2: Upis – Lake Ausangate Q’ocha
During our morning’s trek, we will cross the Arapa pass (4,850 meters). From here, we continue 3.5 hours down the valley, passing the green lake of Puqa Q’ocha until we reach the turquoise Lake ‘Jatun Puqa Q’ocha.’ We then ascend the second pass of Apuchata (4,900 meters) with the stunning turquoise blue ‘Laguna Ausangate Q’ocha’ below. This lake is fed from the melting snow of Ausangate. After this day filled with natures beauty, we will also camp here for the second night.
Day 3: Lake Ausangate Q’ocha – Qampa
After our breakfast, we ascend from the lake to the Palomani pass (5,200 meters), the highest point of our trek. From the pass, we follow the trail into the valley where we will rest and have lunch. During the afternoon we can enjoy the views of the snowcapped Tres Picos and Puca Punta. We will continue through the broad green valley of Pampa Jutunpata and up the Rio Q’ampa valley. We will spent our third night in this vicinity.
Day 4: Q’ampa – Pacchanta
After passing through the small community of Q’ampa, we will head North-West to the last pass of this hike, the Q’ampa pass (5,000 meters). We will see several different colored lakes and we will lunch at Q’oma Q’ocha. We hike for several hours before arriving at the small village of Pacchanta. We can soak in the thermal springs for a couple of hours, and even have a well-deserved beer! We will set up camp near Pacchanta and you will have the afternoon free to explore the interesting Andean village. This night we can stay in a basic hostel!
Day 5: Pacchanta – Cusco
Get ready for our last hike for this tour! From Pachannta, it is a 3 hours trek back to Tinqui where we will have time to explore this traditional village we’ve met before, whereafter we take our private car back to Cusco, arriving at about 18.00.
The times cited in this itinerary are approximate as the duration of walking depends on the group. Besides this, in some cases, the guide can change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group. Each guide has their own preferred route and it might not correspond exactly to the route described above!
The Ausangate region is at a very high altitude; you are close to a snow covered massif. Temperatures are low, and can fall well below zero in the nights. You should be well prepared for cold temperatures. Hire or buy sleeping bags for temperatures less than 15 degrees Celsius.
This region has limited tourist infrastructure and this tour makes use of local facilities. Visitors should be aware that things change, or may not go to plan. This is all part of the adventure, and visitors to Peru are encouraged to have an open mind and be open to the differences in the way things are done in another culture. Time for an adventure!
- Pre-trek briefing
- Pickup from your hotel in the morning of departure
- Transport from Cusco to Tinqui (the trailhead) and return at the end of the trek
- Entry fee to the Ausangate Mountain
- English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 8 people)
- Tents – 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks
- Basic foam mattress
- Cook and cooking equipment (assistants are provided for larger groups)
- Toilet tent
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary (optional vegetarian food). Our cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes. Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water
- Horses (for equipment and personal items) including horsemen. They carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7 kg per person)
- Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
- Tents for our staff to sleep in, sleeping bags & mattresses plus a budget for their meals
- Breakfast on the first morning, dinner on the last evening
- Additional horses for passengers luggage
- A light day pack with clothes for the whole trek – prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature!
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought in Cusco
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots are recommended. Extra socks are a must
- Sandals or plastic slip on thongs
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and cap.
- Thermal clothing
- Sleeping bag
- Flashlight and spare batteries.
- Camera (with spare batteries)
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Toilet paper
- Snacks like energy bars
- Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
- We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
- Personal medical kit
- Small towel
- Original passport
- Cash money
- Walking sticks or poles
5 days / 4 nights
Phone/Whatsapp: +31 6 44668062
PaRa Travels B.V.