Ausangate Trek (5 Days)

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Departure & Return Location

Hotel in Cusco - City of Cusco


Tour Details

The Ausangate Trek is undoubtedly one of the most scenic treks in Cusco, offering an off-the-beaten-path experience. The snow-capped Ausangate mountain stands as the highest peak in Cusco, towering at 6,372 meters above sea level.

Known locally as “Apus,” Ausangate was sacred to the Incas and remains revered by the Andean population today. Each year, thousands of pilgrims hike to the small church in Sinakara Valley. On clear days, the sacred peak of Ausangate dominates the southern skyline of Cusco.

The five-day Ausangate Trek is a lifetime experience that takes you through untouched wilderness. The trek offers captivating views right from the start and leads you through high mountain passes adorned with glacier lakes and hot springs. This journey also provides the opportunity to witness the lives of remote Andean communities, where people practice a pastoral lifestyle, grazing herds of alpacas and llamas.

These communities continue to practice “Ayni,” which means reciprocity in Quechua. This concept extends to their relationships with both people and nature. To ensure a good harvest, they make offerings to the “Apus.”

Although the trek doesn’t lead to Machu Picchu, it can be more intriguing than the Inca Trail.

Difficulty of the Ausangate Trek:

The Ausangate Trek is categorized as a challenging experience, with high passes ranging from 4,700 meters to 5,200 meters above sea level. The trek involves passing through two high points: Apara Pass at 4,850 meters and Palomani Pass at 5,165 meters. Altitude sickness is a serious concern here. It’s highly recommended to spend at least 3-4 days acclimatizing in Cusco before embarking on the trek.

We also suggest consulting your physician about using Diamox, an effective drug for overcoming altitude sickness. Locals here often chew Coca Leaves, which may seem unusual, but these leaves act as mild stimulants to combat thirst, hunger, pain, and fatigue without the psychoactive effects of cocaine.

Best Time for the Ausangate Trek:

Ausangate is the highest mountain in Cusco and is part of the Cordillera Vilcanota (Vilcanota Mountain Range) in the Andes. This region experiences two distinct seasons: a dry season and a wet season. The Peruvian highlands receive rain from December to March, causing slippery trails. Therefore, it’s ideal to undertake the Ausangate Trek during the dry season, which spans from April to November.

Why Choose Tayra Tours Cusco?

Tayra Tours Cusco is a reputable adventure tour operator in Cusco. We have specialized tour guides for all our high-altitude treks. Our guides are local experts who were born and raised in Cusco. They possess in-depth knowledge of the customs, traditions, and first aid practices.

Price Includes

  • Pre-Trek briefing
  • Cusco Hotel Transfer
  • Round Trip Transport
  • Local Guide (English and Spanish speaking)
  • Spacious tent for added comfort
  • Mattress
  • Cook
  • Meals
  • Mules and Muleteers
  • An extra horse for emergency use
  • First aid kit
  • All entrance fees

Price Excludes

  • Breakfast in the first morning
  • Lunch and Dinner on the last day
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Any Private Expenses

Recommended To Carry

  • A lightweight daypack with extra clothes for the trek's duration - prepare for a vast range of swings in temperature
  • Sturdy, waterproof trekking boots (extra socks are essential)
  • Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings if you wish to carry them.
  • Warm clothing, including a jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf, and beanie. Thermal clothing is recommended, especially for sleeping. * This is a particularly cold trek, you should make sure you have a lot of very warm clothes.
  • Sleeping bag
  • Torch/flashlight with spare batteries
  • Camera with extra batteries (cold conditions deplete battery life faster)
  • Hat or cap for sun, rain, and cold protection
  • Sunscreen
  • After-sun or hydrating cream for face and body
  • Toilet papers
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, fruits, muesli, etc.
  • Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
  • We advise you to bring water sterilising tablets in case you collect water from streams.
  • A medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
  • Swimsuit (for hot springs)
  • Cash for snacks, tips, and souvenirs
  • Travel Insurance


  • Total distance – 70km/43 miles
  • Starting/finishing point – Tinqui (Tinki)
  • Average altitude – Over 4000m/13 123ft.
  • Highest points – Arapa Pass – 4850m/16 000ft; Palomani Pass – 5165m/17 000ft.

Day 1Cusco - Tinqui - Upis

At 5:00 AM, we will pick you up from your Cusco hotel. Our private transport will take you to Tinqui, a small Andean village at 3,800 meters above sea level, serving as the gateway to Ausangate.

Our crew (muleteers and chef) will join us here, organizing your belongings on mules while we serve you lunch. After lunch, the five-day Ausangate Trek commences with a gradual uphill climb, offering stunning views of the Vilcanota Mountain Range during the first three hours of the trek.

We will reach Upis, a village situated at 4,400 meters above sea level, which is home to natural hot springs and offers a mesmerizing view of Ausangate Mountain. We will camp here for the night.

  • Hiking Distance: 7 kilometers
  • Trek Duration: 5 hours
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,400 meters/14,435 ft.
  • Minimum Altitude: 3,800 meters/12,467 ft.
  • Meals Included: Lunch and Dinner

Day 2Upis - Ausangate Q'ocha

Our crew will wake you up with freshly brewed coffee or tea, followed by breakfast amidst the snow-capped peaks. The day’s hike begins toward our first pass, Arapa Pass, nestled at 4,850 meters. The pass offers a picturesque valley view, providing a serene natural setting. Afterward, we’ll descend to the valley for lunch, passing the green Puqa Q’ocha lake.

Our route then takes us to the turquoise Hatun Puqa Q’ocha lake, where we’ll enjoy lunch. Following the meal, an uphill hike to Apacheta Pass awaits, situated at 4,900 meters. From this vantage point, you’ll enjoy a beautiful view of the Ausangate Q’ocha lagoon, where we’ll camp for the night.

  • Hiking Distance: 11 kilometers
  • Trek Duration: 7 hours
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,900 meters/16,076 ft.
  • Minimum Altitude: 4,750 meters/15,583 ft.
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Day 3Ausangate Q’ocha - Q'ampa

After a nourishing breakfast, an early start leads us to the highest point of the Ausangate Trek: Palomani Pass at 5,200 meters. A brief stop at the pass allows us to absorb the stunning valley view.

Descending to the valley, we’ll stop for lunch, gazing at the captivating “Tres Picos,” or three peaks.

The hike then takes us through the lush green Pampa Jutunpata valley to Rio Q’ampa valley, where we’ll set up camp.

  • Hiking Distance: 12 kilometers
  • Duration of Trek: 7 Hours
  • Maximum Altitude: 5200 metres/17060 ft.
  • Minimum Altitude: 4641 metres/15226 ft. 
  • Meals Included: Lunch and Dinner

Day 4Q'ampa - Pacchanta

We will be hiking through a small village which is home to the Andean community of Q’ampa. Then we will be hiking up to the last pass of the Ausangate 5 Days Trek: the Q’ampa Pass at 5000 metres. This pass offers views of differently colored lakes. We will be having lunch near Q’oma Q’ocha lake. 

We will then resume the hike to Pacchanta. Famous for natural hot springs, Pacchanta allows you to relax and unwind in the hot springs and spend the evening.

Camping is an option here, or you can upgrade to a hostel room for more comfort.

  • Hiking Distance: 12 kilometers
  • Duration of Trek: 7 Hours
  • Maximum Altitude: 5060 metres/16601 ft.
  • Minimum Altitude: 4360 metres/14304 ft. 
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Day 5Pacchanta - Tinqui - Cusco

This day offers the most relaxed experience of the tour. After breakfast, we’ll hike back to Tinqui, a three-hour journey. Our transport will meet us in Tinqui for the return drive to Cusco, reaching the city around 3:00 PM.

  • Hiking Distance: 7 kilometers
  • Duration of Trek: 3 Hours
  • Maximum Altitude: 4360 metres/14304 ft.
  • Minimum Altitude: 3800 metres/12467 ft.
  • Meals Included: Breakfast.
1 Review
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Solo Traveller

It was truly a lifetime experience. Ausangate Trek should top your bucket list. It takes you to some unspoilt places in the Andes. I am very thankful to Richard my guide from Tayra Tours. Everything was just as planned.

February 3, 2020

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