The Ausangate Trek & Machu Picchu photo trek includes the best of both worlds: a stunning trek past snow-capped mountains, Rainbow Mountain, glaciers, lakes, and wildlife, all ending with a tour of one of the 7 man-made wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. You’ll see the highest peak (Ausangate 6,385 m/20,948 ft) in the Cusco region, snow capped mountains, glaciers, lakes, and wildlife along the way (such as vicuñas,chinchillas, deer, and the rare condor). This adventurous trek is approximately 67 km/41.6 mi and goes up to 5,400 meters /17,716 feet.
This is a moderate to challenging trek, not technical, with several high passes and often freezing cold nights. This beautiful trek starts in the small Andean village of Tinqui and takes you around Ausangate mountain and over three high passes (two of them over 5,000 m/16,404 ft). It is essential to be properly acclimatized for this hike, spending at least two or three days in Cusco (or equivalent altitude) before starting. The campsites are at high elevations and therefore will be quite cold in the evenings.
DAY 1: ARRIVE ANYTIME IN CUSCO
DAY 2: CITY TOUR OF CUSCO
DAY 3: SACRED VALLEY TOUR
DAY 4: CUSCO– TINQUI VILLAGE – UPIS (CAMPING AT HOT SPRINGS)
Early transfer from your hotel in Cusco with 6:00 am departure. We drive for 4 hours on a new highway to Tinqui, passing Urcos Pass (4,000 m/13,123 ft) along the way. Tinqui is a village on the high plains “altiplano” east from Cusco and is where we will start our trek. We follow a wide, gently ascending path toward the northwest face of the impressive Ausangate mountain. We will have a small lunch around noon by the side of the trail. We will continue walking through fields and by scattered stone farm houses, and later in the day we will begin to see llamas and alpacas. We ascend gently to the Upis pass (4,435 m/14,107 ft) and camp at Upis Hot Springs (4,250 m/13,779 ft) where we will be surrounded by snow capped mountains (Ausangate and Maria Huamantilla).There are thermal springs at Upis where we can enjoy a soak at the end of the day. Happy hour at 4:00pm and dinner at 6:00pm. Walking distance approximately 16 km/9.9 miles (6 hour acclimatizing hike).
DAY 5: UPIS – ARAPA PASS – PUCACCOCHA
After an early breakfast we begin our second day of the hike. You will hike very close to the Ausangate glacier peak and will have incredible views of this mountain as well as beautiful lakes and waterfalls. We may see some llamas, alpacas and wild vicuñas (the undomesticated ancestor of the alpaca) and perhaps a rare condor soaring above. We will have a 3-hour uphill hike to reach the first pass (4800m/15,748ft) where you will have magnificent views of the surrounding area. After taking a few amazing pictures we continue hiking gradually downhill for another 1½ hours to our beautiful lunch spot. After lunch we hike for another 2½ hours to arrive at our campsite at Puca Ccocha (Red Lake). This spot is one of the most beautiful campsites located at the skirt of the Ausangate peak and at the bank of the lake. Approximate walking distance: 12km/7.5 miles (7-8 hours). Campsite elevation: 4300m/14,100ft
DAY 6: PUCACCOCHA – PUCA PASS –ANANTAPATA YANACOCHA
Today is a big day and the most anticipated day of the trek. We hike up to 17,000 feet where you will be graced with views of the majestic painted hills, but don't get too excited yet, we still have a few hours to go before we finally arrive at the Rainbow Mountain of Vinicunca. We have a celebratory lunch on top and take long break to enjoy the views. After lunch we head back up the valley and set up camp near Lake Yanaorqo.
DAY 7: YANACOCHA- VINICUNCA- AUSANGATE QOCHA
Continue as far as we can towards Puca punta the red sandstone sediment formations, such a wonderful experience. Here we see vicuñas and luckily condors, to shorten the climb this is a relatively short day and eventually encounter Vinicunca a mountain of striations of colors embedded in the hillsides. best known as The Rainbow Mountain, it speaks for itself. We ended up having a marvelous time our campsite by the lake Ausangatecocha 4,300 m/14,107 ft, which is at the bottom of one of the Ausangate glaciers. Happy hour is around 4:00pm with dinner at 6:00pm.
DAY 8: AUSANGATECOCHA – HUCHUY FINAYA – PAMPACANCHA
After breakfast we leave camp at 7:00am and climb steeply for 3 hours on glacial moraine to the highest point on the trek, Palomani Pass 5,400 m/17,716 ft. From the pass there are extensive views of all the peaks in the Cordillera Vilcanota. We then descend for 2 hours on a steep trail into the Huchuy Finaya Valley where we will stop for a quick lunch. From the valley and lunch stop we will have a view of “Las dos gemelas” or the two twin mountains. We continue hiking 3 hours on a varied path to our campsite in the Pampacancha Valley (Qampa) 4,300 m/14,107 ft. Happy hour at 4:00pm and dinner at 6:00pm. Walking distance approximately 17 km/ 10.5 mi (7-8 hour hike)
DAY 9: QAMPA – PACCHANTA (HOT SPRINGS CAMPING)
After breakfast we leave camp at 7:00am and begin climbing up to the Qampa pass (5,400 m/17,716 ft) for 2 hours. At this pass we have incredible views of The Three Peaks, the Pacchanta Valley, and will hopefully get a glimpse of some wild vicuña and deer, and if we are really lucky, a condor. We then descend gradually through the Pacchanta Valley, walking between Ausangate Mountain and the Two Twin Mountains for 2 hours until we stop for lunch. After lunch we continue descending gradually on a rocky trail for another 2 1/2 hours to our campsite at Pacchanta Valley (4,000 m/13,123 ft). From this campsite we will have a great view of Ausangate Mountain. There are also hot springs at this campsite, which we can enjoy before dinner. Walking distance approximately 17 km/ 10.5 mi (6-7 hour hike)
DAY 10: PACCHANTA – TINQUI VILLAGE – CUSCO
After breakfast we walk for 3-4 hours on a varied and gentle trail to Tinqui across open fields where we will have our final view of Ausangate, potato crops, and herds of llamas and alpacas. At Tinqui we will have lunch and meet our private transport and return to Cusco (3 hour drive), arriving around 4 or 5 pm. Once in Cusco we will go to our hotel to freshen up and relax before our celebratory group dinner. Walking distance approximately 16 km/9.9 mi (3-4 hour hike).
DAY 11: CUSCO – MARAS – MORAY – SALINERAS – AGUAS CALIENTES
After breakfast at our hotel we take our private transport to Maras Village (3,300m/10,827ft). Maras is a beautiful little colonial town, still boasting some colonial architecture. You can see amazing facades made of thin stone, and lintels with sculptures in bas-relief. After exploring Maras we continue driving to Moray ruins located at (3,450m/11,319ft). Moray Ruins consist of circular agricultural terraces at high altitude with a complex system of irrigation. These terraces served as a natural green house to grow an extraordinary variety of crops that would normally only thrive in tropical climates. It has also been suggested that they had a cosmological meaning. After exploring the terraces we continue to Salineras, which consists of 3,000 small pools, roughly 5 square meters (53.8 ft²). Every three days, during the dry season, workers fill the pools with salt water that comes from local natural springs. When the water evaporates from the pool the salt is left for collection. This process is carried out over a one month period until the pools reach an approximate volume of solid salt that is 10 centimeters (4 inches) in height. The salt is ground up, treated with iodine, and packaged and sent to the various markets in the region. After exploring the salt mines of Salineras we take our private transport to Ollantaytambo where we catch the train to Aguas Calientes. Once in Aguas Calientes we check into our comfortable hotel to freshen up before dinner. You can soak in the local hot springs before or after dinner if you wish. Tomorrow we get up early to see the incredible Machu Picchu!
DAY 12: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – OLLANTAYTAMBO – CUSCO
Breakfast is very early in order for us to take first (5:30am) bus directly to Machu Picchu (2,400 m/7,875 ft). Once we arrive at Machu Picchu you will show your entrance ticket and passport. If you are a student you must bring your ISIC card to the entrance or you will not be permitted entrance. You are allowed to take in a small backpack (under 20L). From the entrance it is a 15 minute walk to the famous views from the South Zone of the farming terraces at the end of the Inca trail. Enjoy the early tour of Machu Picchu with your guide who will unfold the mysteries of this magical site, explaining the history and flora/fauna. Your guide will spend about 2 1/2 hours relating interesting and amazing stories, explaining temples and special sectors. Your tour of Machu Picchu will finish between 9 and 9:30am after which you will have free time to take photos and explore before the 10:30 crowds arrive. After you are done exploring the ruin site take the bus down to Aguas Calientes. There are many restaurants to choose from and your guide can also help find a nice place for lunch. NOTE: there are no bathrooms in the ruin site. There are bathrooms right outside the entrance, cost is 1 sol per entrance, and they provide a little toilet paper. You will be provided with a report to fill out about your trekking experience. Please fill it out honestly and realistically.
DAY 13: FLY HOME
NOTE: Consulting with your doctor prior to joining the trip is recommended. It is highly suggested that you familiarize yourself with the hazards and risks of high altitude trekking. Please be advised that by joining this trip, you are assuming the ALL risks associated with high altitude trekking, outdoor activities, and adventure travels outside the United States as noted in the Liability Waiver form. A completed & signed Liability Waiver form and travel insurance to cover 100% trip cost, emergency medical and evacuation are REQUIRED to join this trip. After completing your trip booking and deposit, you will be required to purchase the required travel insurance by the trip balance due date. Failure to obtain adequate travel insurance will result in cancellation of your booking and loss of trip deposit.
This trek is STRENUOUS given the high altitude and the possible low temperatures. You must be physically fit, in good health, and preferably with recent backpacking/hiking experience.
PRICE: CONTACT US
Balance is 45 days prior to the trip departure.
DEPOSIT: A non-refundable deposit is required to book. After you send your booking form, waiver liability & terms & conditions forms, you will be directed to the payment page which outlines your options for payment.
Please read the TERMS & CONDITIONS and LIABILITY WAIVER before booking.
Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
Collection from your hotel in the morning or our departure point (your choice): Plaza Regocijo
Private bus transport to start of the trek (day 1) and back to Cusco (day 5)
Private transport through the Sacred Valley (Maras, Moray & Salineras day 6) and on to Ollantaytambo and back to Cusco (day 7)
Personal porter to carry your overnight gear up to 8kg/17.6lbs
Dry bag in which to put your overnight gear so it won’t get wet or dusty on the trail
3 person, 4 season tents (2 people in large and comfortable Mountain Hardwear Expedition tent)
One inch thick mattress pad
English speaking professional guide
Full meals on trek (3 meals per day, tea time every afternoon, and snacks on the trail)
First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank and emergency horse
Dining tent with tables and stools
Chef and cooking equipment and kitchen tent
Toilet, toilet tent, and toilet paper
Horsemen and horses (to carry tents, food, cooking equipment, and your duffel bags)
Hot water every morning and evening for hand washing purposes
Boiled water to fill your water bottle every morning and afternoon
Entrance to the Ausangate trail
Hotel (double room) in Cusco (Night 7)
Celebratory dinner in Cusco (Night 7)
Round trip train: Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu and back
Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex
Round-trip bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back
Guided tour of Machu Picchu, plenty of time to explore on your own
Hotel (double room) and dinner in Aguas Calientes
Hotel before/after trek
Lunch and dinner on the last day
Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
Entrance to hot springs (10 soles)
Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Hike (40 USD each) – advanced booking essential
Tip for your guide(s) and trek staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
International flights are excluded. Clients must book their own flights and send a copy of their flight itinerary by e-mail to no later than the trip balance due date.
TRAVEL INSURANCE REQUIRED:
After making a deposit, you are required to obtain appropriate travel insurance through Travel Guard or other insurance of your choice that should cover at a minimum 100% of the trip cost (land & air), emergency medical and evacuation for high altitude trekking of up to 5000 meters. Proof of travel insurance must be provided via electronic mail to no later than the trip balance due date. Failure to obtain travel insurance by the trip balance due date will result in cancellation and no refund of your trip deposit and/or applicable cancellation fees as noted in the Terms & Conditions.
Note: If you opt to buy your insurance from a company other than Travel Guard, please ensure that the insurance you purchase covers high altitude trekking as there are only a select number of companies that provide such type of coverage.
Please check ahead of time as to the visa requirements for the country of your choosing. You are responsible for securing your own visa, if required.
Upon booking, you will receive trip notes that include the recommended gear list and specific trek information.
meet your guide
Trek Coordinator & Guide