Ausangate trek 5 days | Ausangate Circuit |

The Ausangate trek offers some of the most wonderful scenery in the entire Cusco area, encompassing glaciers and high alpine lakes, and there is also ample opportunity to see a variety of birds and wildlife. It is one of the most challenging trails in the region, including three high passes over 5,000 meters / 16,000 feet. On a clear day, Apu Ausangate dominates Cusco's southern skyline. As we draw closer to this massive massif (6,380 metres / 20,926 feet), you will feel an increasing sense of awe and be able to fully understand the ancient Incas held this spectacular mountain in such high regard. During the Ausangate trek circuit, we will pass through local villages where people dress in traditional attire, i.e. women in beautiful flat board hats with trimmings, and llamas are allowed to graze freely.


DAY ONE: Cusco - Tinqui - Upis

We depart Cusco early in the morning for a 3 hour private transfer to the small village of Tinqui (3800 meters / 12,464 feet). As Tinqui is located on the new Interoceanic highway, our transportation is more efficient than in previous years. We will pass through the beautiful countryside and several traditional villages including Urcos, Cattca, and Ocangate. Lunch is in Tinqui. The first three hours on the trail are a wonderful prelude to the magnificent scenery of the Cordillera Vilcanota, with outstanding views of Ausangate. We will trek for an additional two hours until we reach the hot springs at Upis (4,400 meters / 14,432 feet) which offer further views of Ausangate at the end of the valley. We will camp here for the night. (Total trekking time: approximately 7 hours)

DAY TWO: Upis to Lake Ausangate Q’ocha

During the morning trek, we will cross the Arapa pass (4,850 metres/ 15,908 feet).

From here, we continue for three and a half hours through the valley, passing the green lake of Puqa Q'ocha until we reach the turquoise Lake Jatun Puqa Q'ocha. We will then ascend the second pass of Apuchata (4,900 metres/ 16,072 feet), with the stunning blue Laguna Ausangate Q'ocha visible below. This lake is fed by the melting snow of Ausangate. After the ascent, we will camp for the second night. (Total trekking time: 8 to 9 hours)

DAY THREE: Lake Ausangate Q’ocha to Qampa

From the lake, we ascend to the Palomani pass (5,200 metres/ 17 056 feet); the highest point of the trek. We then follow the trail into the valley where we can rest and have lunch. During the afternoon, we will enjoy views of the snow-capped Tres Picos and Puca Punta. We will continue through the broad green valley of Pampa Jutunpata up into the Rio Q'ampa valley. We will spend night 3 in this area. (Total trekking time: 7 hours)

DAY FOUR: Q’ampa to Pacchanta

After passing through the small community of Q'ampa, we head northwest to the last pass of this hike, the Q'ampa pass (5000 metres/ 16400 feet). We will see several differently coloured lakes and have lunch beside Q'oma Q'ocha. We hike on for several hours before arriving at the small village of Pacchanta, where we can soak in the thermal springs and even have a well-deserved beer! We will then set up camp near Pacchanta and you will have the afternoon free to explore this interesting Andean village. You also have the option of staying in a basic hostel for the night. (Total trekking time: 8 hours)

DAY FIVE: Pacchanta to Cusco

It's a three hour trek back to Tinqui where we will have time to explore this traditional Andean village before taking a private car to Cusco, arriving there at about 18.00. (Total trekking time: 5 hours)

Itinerary notes - Ausangate trek (Ausangate Circuit) - 5 days

 The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group and the guide may decide to change lunch and campsite locations depending on the group's progress. Each guide has their own preferred route and it might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
 The Ausangate region is very high, plus you will be close to a snow covered massif. The climate is generally cold, and can fall well below freezing in the nights. You should travel prepared for cold temperatures. Hire and/or carry sleeping bags rated for sub-freezing temperatures (minus 15 degrees Celsius or more).

      This region has limited tourist infrastructure and this tour makes use of local facilities. Visitors should be aware that things may change and/or may not always go strictly according to plan. This is all part of the adventure, and visitors to Peru are encouraged to remain flexible and open to the ways that things are done in another culture.



    Practical Information:


    • Pre-trek briefing.
    • Collection from your hotel on the morning of departure.
    • Private transport between Cusco and Tinqui (the trailhead) at the beginning and end of the trek.
    • Entry fee to the Ausangate mountain area.
    • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (and an assistant guide for groups of larger than 8 people).
    Tents - 2 people to a 4 person tent, which allows for greater comfort and storage of backpacks.

    Cook and Cooking equipment (assistants are provided for larger groups).

    Toilet tent.
    Meals as indicated in the itinerary (vegetarian option upon request). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and 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/15 lbs per person).
    1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or are falling behind the group.
    First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.

    • Breakfast on the first morning. 
    • Sleeping bags. If you haven't got a sleeping bag or you don't want the hassle of bringing one all the way to Peru, we offer sleeping bags for rent ($20 USD). For this trek you should have a bag rated to at least minus 15 degrees Celsius.

      Tips for the guide, cook and porters.
      Additional horses for passenger luggage in excess of 7 kg/15 lbs per person.

      A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek - prepare for a wide range of variability in temperature.

      Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco.
      Strong footwear - waterproof trekking boots recommended. Extra pairs of socks are a must.
      Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breathe in the evenings.
      Warm clothing, including jacket, fleece, gloves, scarf and beanie/toque. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping. ** This is a particularly cold trek, you should make sure you have plenty of warm clothing items.
      Sleeping bag (we can rent these to you).
      Torch/ flashlight and spare batteries.
      Camera, films and batteries (batteries drain more quickly under cold conditions).
      Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold.
      After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body.
      Insect repellent - minimum recommended 20% DEET, although no malaria risk has been reported.
      Toilet paper, which we must pack in & pack out.
      Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
      Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and enough water for the first morning.
      We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect drinking water from streams.
      Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, analgesics, second skin for blisters, etc.
      Small towel or sarong.
      • Swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs).
      Cash - sufficient for your final lunch in town, tips and souvenirs.
      Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you have one.
      Walking sticks or poles (we have these for rent).
      Binoculars (if you have them).