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Ausangate Trek from Cusco is considered to be an off the beaten track. It is an high altitude hike with most passes over 4500 metres above the sea level. Unlike most other trails and hikes in Peru, this is not about Incan archaeological sites, it is all about nature.
The experience is ideal for people loving nature and wanting to explore something off the touristic track. It rewards the trekkers with sights of snow capped peaks, colourful lagoons, glaciers.
The trek itself is not too difficult. But what makes it challenging is the altitude. Major part of the trek is at a very high elevations. It entirely depends on how well you are acclimatised before doing this trek. Also, we advise you to get your feet wet with one of our treks before attempting this scenic high altitude trek.
The snow capped peak of Ausangate dominates the southern skyline of Cusco. Infact, it is the highest in the region. With an elevation of 6384 meters above sea level, it is the highest mountain in Cusco region. The snow capped peak Ausangate or “Apu” is visible from the southern part of Cusco on clear days.
To local people, this is the most sacred peak. They call it “Apus”. Hence there is a small church high up this sacred mountain. Thousands of pilgrims visit the church every year during the annual festival, Qoyllority.
The highest pass is at 5200 metres above sea level. We recommend you to spend atleast 3 days in Cusco and acclimatise to avoid altitude sickness.
If you want to combine the Ausangate Trip with Rainbow mountain, check out our two days itinerary. You can also get the most of the trek by culminating this with a visit to Sibinacocha Lake.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
Early in the morning we will be leaving from Cusco on a three hours ride in a private transport to a small village called Tinqui. Enroute to Tinqui, we will be crossing many traditional villages namely Urcos, Cattca and Ocongate.
We will then stop for lunch. After having lunch, we will start the trek. First three hours of the trek offers a wonderful introduction to the enchanting scenery of Vilcanota Mountain range.
From here we will be trekking for another two hours towards the hot springs of Upis. It offers a jaw dropping view of Ausangate at the end of the valley. Here we will be camping for the night.
We will start the trek by crossing the Arapa Pass at 4,850 meters above sea level. From here, we will start a three and a half hours down hill trek to the valley. On the way we will be crossing the green waters of Puqa Q’ocha and Jatun Puqa Q’ocha a turquoise lagoon. Both these lakes are fed by the melting snow of Ausangate. Here we will spend the second night, camping.
We will ascend to Palomani pass at 5,200 metres/ 17 056 feet. Palomani pass is the highest point of the trek. At Palomani pass we will follow the trail into the valley and stop for lunch. From here you can get a clear view of the snowcapped peaks of Puca Punta and Tres Picos. From here we will continue our trek through the lush green valley of Pampa Jutunpata and further to Rio Q’ampa valley. We will spend our third night here with this view.
We will start our day hiking through the community of Q’ampa. From here we will head north towards the last pass, the Q’ampa pass at 5000 meters. Here we will see different coloured lakes and will stop for lunch near Q’oma Q’ocha. After lunch we will continue to a dusky village called, Pacchanta. You can reward yourself by soaking in the hot springs here. We will be camping for the night near Pacchanta and in the afternoon you will have some free time to walk around this beautiful Andean Village.
After breakfast we will start hiking back to Tinqui. Once in Tinqui we will have breakfast and take our transport back to Cusco. You will be reaching Cusco at around 0600 PM.
Yes it is do-able without a guide, however there are some factors you may have to consider. The trek is off the beaten track, not many people do this trek. So incase of an emergency or an injury it will be difficult for you to seek assistance. Moreover, the weather is unpredictable and you will often need to seek assistance from locals who speak barely any Spanish and only Quechua.
We recommend you to spend atleast 2-3 days in Cusco before the Ausangate Trek to acclimatise.
Ausangate Trek in itself is not so challenging. The only factor is that most passes are above 4500 metres. It is imperative that you are acclimatised well.
Ausangate is a part of the Peruvian Andes. It is subject to two seasons – monsoon and dry season. It is highly recommended to do this during the dry season as the trails are not slippery.
An exceptional experience. Ausangate Trek was the best and an unforgettable trek I have had in my life. The views are stunning and the camping areas a re very well maintained. Thanks to Encuentros Peru Adventure.