Ausangate Trek is undoubtedly is one of the scenic treks in Cusco. This is an off the beaten path experience. The snow capped Ausangate is the highest peak in Cusco. It towers to 6372 metres above sea level. Locally known as “Apus”, it was sacred to Incas and it is revered today by the Andean population. Every year thousands of pilgrims hike to the small church in the Sinakara Valley. On a clear day, the sacred Ausangate peak dominates the southern skyline of Cusco.
The five days Ausangate Trek is a lifetime experience. It takes you through some untouched wilderness. You will have captivating views right from start at every turn. The trek goes through many high mountain passes dotted with glacier lakes and hot springs. On this trek, you will also have the opportunity to witness the life of remote Andean communities. Local people here have a pastoral lifestyle. They earn their daily needs by trading with the low-land farming villages. You will see them grazing herds of alpacas and llamas.
People here continue to practice “Ayni”. In Quechua, it means reciprocity. Ayni implicit an effectual fairness in relationships. They imply this give and take policy not only with people but also with nature. To have a good harvest, they offer sacrifices to “Apus”.
Ausangate Trek can be categorised as a challenging experience with most high passes ranges from 4700 metres to 5200 metres above sea level. You will be passing through two high passes, Apara Pass at 4850 metres and Palomani Pass at 5165 metres. Altitude Sickness is often a serious concern here. It is highly recommended to spend at-least 3-4 days acclimatising in Cusco before the trek.
We also recommend you to consult your physician about using Diamox. It is an efficient drug that helps in overcoming altitude sickness. Locals here widely consider chewing Coca Leaves. It may seem bizarre but the leaves are mild stimulant that combats thirst, hunger, pain and fatigue without the psychoactive effects of cocaine.
Ausangate is the highest mountain in Cusco and is a part of Cordillera Vilcanota (Vilcanota Mountain Range). It lies in the Andes. The mountain range is susceptible to two seasons – dry season and wet season. Peruvian highlands experience rains from December to March. During the wet season the trails are slippery. Hence it is ideal to do Ausangate Trek during the dry season, between April and November.
Tayra Tours Cusco is one of the trusted adventure tour operators in Cusco. We have specialised tour guides on all our high altitude treks. All our guides are locals who are born and raised in Cusco. Our guides have a through knowledge about the customs and traditions of Andean communities. They are also trained in first aid and using oxygen cans.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
At 0500 AM, we will be picking you up from your hotel in Cusco. Then in our private transport, we will drive you to a small village in the Andes named Tinqui. It is at 3800 metres above the sea level and serves as a gateway to Ausangate.
Our crew (muleteers and chef) will join the group here. So while they organise your personal belongings on mules, we will serve you lunch. After lunch, we will begin the five days Ausangate Trek with a gradual uphill climb. You will have a wonderful introduction of the Vilcanota Mountain Range on the first three hours of the trek.
We will then reach Upis. It is a small village at 4400 metres above sea level. The village is home to natural hot springs and offers entrancing view of “Apus”. We will be camping here for the night.
Our crew will be waking you up to a freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea. We will serve you breakfast in a beautiful setting amidst the snow capped mountains. Then we will start hiking to our fist pass. Arapa pass nestles at 4850 metres. It offers an enchanting view of the valley. Here we will have a small break to immerse in the tranquility of nature.
Then we will be hiking down to the valley. It will be a three and a half hours hike. On our way we will cross a picturesque green lake called Puqa Q’ocha. From here we will be hiking to turquoise lake named Hatun Puqa Q’ocha. We will have lunch here.
After lunch, we will start with an uphill hike to Apacheta pass. It is at 4900 metres. You will have a beautiful view of Ausangate Q’ocha lagoon. We will be camping on the banks of this turquoise lagoon for the night.
We will start the day quite early after a nutritious breakfast. Then we will hike up to the highest point of Ausangate Trek, Palomani Pass at 5200 metres. We will have a brief stop at the pass. Then we will descend to the valley for lunch. The valley offers captivating view of “Tres Picos” also known as three peaks.
We will then trek through a lush green valley named Pampa Jutunpata to Rio Q’ampa valley where we will be camping.
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, Q’ampa Pass at 5000 metres. Here you will be able to see different coloured lakes. We will be having lunch near Q’oma Q’ocha lake.
Then we will be continuing the hike to Pacchanta. It is a village famous for the natural hot springs. You can relax and unwind in the hot springs and spend the evening.
We will be camping here. The village also has basic hostels. You can upgrade to a hostel room for extra comfort.
This is the most relaxed day of the 5 days Ausangate Trek. After relishing on a breakfast, we will hike back to Tinqui. It will be a three hours hike.
Here we will be meeting our transport. We will then drive you back to Cusco. At around 0300 PM, we will be reaching the city of Cusco.
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.