If you're looking for a unique adventure in the Vilcanota Mountain Range, you can't miss the Ausangate trek. This experience is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and challenging that you can find in the region. The circuit starts and ends in the community of Pacchanta, where you can get to know the hidden culture that only shows itself to the most curious travelers. The highlights of this expedition are the impressive mountain landscapes that you can enjoy along the way. Glaciers, crystal-clear lagoons, and deep valleys are just some of the spectacular sights that await you.
But the Ausangate trek is not only a visual experience. It is also a true physical challenge that will test your endurance and determination. The terrain is demanding and often steep, which means that you will need to be in good physical and mental shape to trek through the lands of Ausangate. Of course, the effort is worth it. The Ausangate trek is a unique opportunity to connect with nature and Andean culture. In addition, Ausangate is considered the protective apu of Cusco, making it a sacred and mystical place.
Ausangate Circuit, has several ways to explore and with different combinations, this is one of the classic walks touring the Ausangate Valley circuit. An impressive walk around the Vilcanota mountains exploring the fauna with the beautiful vicuñas and also many herds of alpacas, finishing the expedition with a bath in the hot springs of Pacchanta.
The start of the Ausangate trek is an exciting moment for any traveler. Pick-up in Cusco is early, at 4:30 am, to ensure that the day begins with energy and enthusiasm. After a three-hour journey, we arrive at the Pacchanta community and head to Huillca Restaurant to enjoy the delicious breakfast prepared by our cooks.
Once in Pacchanta, we meet our support staff - cook and muleteers - who welcome us. With renewed energy, we start the trek, beginning with a slight ascent that crosses the puna, a dry and high zone with little vegetation. As we walk, the landscape begins to change, and a spectacular view of the mountains and valleys opens up before us. After about three hours of trekking, we reach the Upis campsite, located at 4,438 meters above sea level. From here, beautiful views of the sacred peak of Ausangate can be seen, towering majestically at 6,384 meters above sea level.
After lunch and a well-deserved rest, we continue the trek towards the Upis-Arapa lagoon. This impressive and crystal-clear lagoon offers a beautiful natural backdrop for taking pictures and admiring the beauty of the landscape. Finally, we return to the campsite where we will camp and dine directly in front of the majestic Ausangate, an unforgettable experience for any nature and mountain lover.
After enjoying a delicious breakfast that will provide you with the necessary energy for your adventure, you will begin a two-hour ascent to reach Paso Arapa, located at 4750 meters above sea level. As you progress, the landscape will change around you, with impressive views of the mountains and valleys of the Andes. It's important to note that this activity requires good physical condition due to the altitude and steep terrain.
Once you reach Paso Arapa, you can enjoy an incredible panoramic view of the surroundings. You can admire the impressive mountains, endless valleys, and picturesque landscapes that extend as far as the eye can see. We recommend taking a moment to enjoy the scenery before continuing with the hike.
After admiring the beauty of the region, you will continue the descent until you reach the black lake, also known as Yanacocha. This lake is very important to the local population, as one of the most important justice organizations in the Andes was started here. Your guide will take a short break for you to learn about the history of the lake and its importance to the local community.
Continuing with the hike, you will arrive at the impressive Huchuy Pucacocha lake, where you can take incredible photos of the surrounding landscapes. This lake is a true natural treasure, with crystal clear waters and surrounded by majestic mountains.
Following the path through the rugged terrain, you will finally arrive at the campsite in Hatun Pucacocha, where you will have a well-deserved break for lunch. Here, you can relax and enjoy the nature that surrounds you, taking small excursions to the lakes that surround the campsite. Your guide will accompany you, telling you the most fascinating stories, legends, and curiosities about nature and the customs of the local population.
Today is the day we face the biggest challenge of our hike: the Palomani Pass, located at 5115 meters above sea level. To get there, we will first make a small ascent to reach the Ausangate Lagoon, where the real climb to Palomani begins. From this point, we will be able to enjoy impressive views of the valley, where we will see many alpacas grazing and vicuñas running around the mountains.
Once we reach the highest point of the hike, we will feel the excitement of having reached the top. But this is only the beginning of an exciting adventure: a two-hour descent through an area of llamas and alpacas, a unique experience that can only be lived in this region of the Andes.
Finally, we will arrive at the Inkawasi camp, where we will spend the night in a privileged place with views of the Ausangate and the field of alpacas. From here, we will be able to see the Ausangate from the north face, which will allow us to appreciate the climbing route to its main summit. We will also be able to enjoy a well-deserved rest and delight in the delicious dinner that our kitchen team will prepare for us.
We will start our hike early in the morning, following the beautiful Huchuy Phinaya valley, with the majestic Three Peaks mountains around us. As we make progress, we can appreciate the cozy cabins of local residents, who dedicate themselves to caring for their alpacas.
The ascent is gradual but constant, taking us towards the last pass of our hike, Jampa, with an altitude of 5,072 m. From here, we will have a spectacular panoramic view of the Pacchanta community valley, as well as the surrounding mountains such as Puca Punta, Tinke, and Caracol, all belonging to the Callangate mountain range. It will be an unforgettable moment for all nature and mountain lovers.
Then, we will start our descent towards the circuit of the 7 lakes of Ausangate, one of the most famous day hikes, known for the beauty of its landscapes and rich fauna and flora. We will descend through grassy hills and rocks, and we can see the shining turquoise lakes as we get closer. Finally, we will arrive at the beautiful Bluecocha Lake, located at an altitude of 4634 meters above sea level. After approximately 7 hours of hiking, this will be a perfect place to rest, refresh, and enjoy the beauty of the Andes.
After breakfast at our campsite, we will prepare to undertake the final stretch of our hike through the majestic Ausangate mountain range. We will descend on a winding path towards the community of Pacchanta, where we will have the opportunity to meet the locals and learn more about their lifestyle and local customs.
One of the highlights of our visit to Pacchanta are the famous Pacchanta hot springs, which are popular among travelers and locals alike. We will take some time to relax and soak in the hot springs to enjoy their healing and rejuvenating properties.
After enjoying the hot springs, we will have the opportunity to try pachamanca, a traditional dish from the Andes that is cooked underground. It is a dish that consists of alpaca meat and native potatoes, which are seasoned and then buried in an earth oven. The experience of sharing a pachamanca with the local community will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable of our trip.
Finally, the time will come to say goodbye to our guides and the Huillca Expedition team, who have guided us through the impressive Ausangate mountain range with professionalism and kindness. It will be an emotional farewell, full of thanks and promises to meet again on future adventures. With our hearts full of memories and our cameras full of stunning photos, we will return home with the satisfaction of having experienced the natural and cultural beauty of the Peruvian Andes in all its fullness.
Note: Our camping equipment is guaranteed and washed after each trip.
Additional services that you can hire:
You can first see our travel guide for Ausangate and the list of equipment for Ausangate Trek you need for this adventure.
Physical preparation: The Ausangate hike is a demanding activity that requires good physical preparation. We recommend that you exercise regularly before the hike, especially activities such as walking, running, and hiking to improve your endurance.
Acclimatization: The Ausangate hike takes place at high altitudes, so it is important to take some time to acclimatize before starting the hike. We recommend that you arrive in Cusco at least a few days before so that your body has time to adapt to the altitude.
Proper equipment: It is important to bring the appropriate equipment for the hike, including suitable clothing for cold weather, comfortable and sturdy trekking boots, a comfortable and sturdy backpack, trekking poles, and a good flashlight. Additionally, it is important to bring enough water and energy foods for the hike.
Sun protection: The Ausangate hike takes place at high altitudes, where solar radiation is intense, so it is important to wear high-protection sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
Respect for the environment: The Ausangate hike takes place in a protected natural area, so it is important to respect the environment and not leave any trash on the trail. We recommend that you bring a bag to collect the garbage and take it with you until you can dispose of it properly.
Safety: The Ausangate hike is an activity that takes place in steep terrain, so it is important to follow the instructions of the guides and maintain a vigilant attitude at all times. It is important to stay safe and follow all safety measures to avoid accidents.
Respect for local culture: The Ausangate hike takes place in an area where local culture is very important. It is important to respect the traditions and customs of the local population, as well as the rules and regulations of the protected natural area in which the hike takes place.
We hope these recommendations are useful for you to enjoy an incredible experience on the Ausangate hike!
The cost of this walk is for the 2022 season:
$510.00 per person (Includes VAT)
Note: all our trips include VAT with legislative compliance and tax liability.
The complete trek takes around 6 days, with a total distance of approximately 60 kilometers.
The best time to do the Ausangate trek is between the months of April and November, when the weather is more stable and the probability of rain is lower.
Previous mountaineering experience is not necessary, but it is important to have a good physical condition and be used to walking long distances on steep terrain.
The weather on the Ausangate trek is cold and dry due to the altitude, with temperatures ranging between -5°C and 15°C during the day and can drop below -10°C at night.
It is highly recommended to hire a guide for the Ausangate trek, as they know the route well and can provide information about local culture and customs.
The Ausangate trek is a safe activity if necessary precautions are taken, such as following the instructions of the guides, respecting the rules of the protected area and remaining vigilant at all times.
During the Ausangate trek, accommodation is offered in tents at established campsites along the route, where food and necessary equipment for the trek are provided.
I hope this helps answer some of your frequently asked questions about the Ausangate trek. Enjoy your trip!
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