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Ausangate (Alpine): 5 Days
The magnificent trek to Mount Ausangate (also spelt Auzangate) captures the true experience of life in the high Andes, not much changed over the centuries. Unlike other treks that focus on Inca ruins, this adventure immerses you in the nature and rhythms of alpine life.
This isolated region of the Cordillera Vilcanota (a hispanicized version of the Aymara name, Willkanuta) offers ancient glaciers, sparkling turquiose lakes and soothing hot springs. The Vilcanota range extends about 80 km (50 miles) and contains more than 400 glaciers. At 6,384 m (20,945 ft) Ausangate is the highest peak in its range and the 4th highest in all of Peru.
Although you will be hiking at altitudes of 3,800 m (12,467 ft) once you are acclimatized the trek is considered a moderate one. A few days walking around Cusco (3,399 m / 11,152 ft) is often sufficient for most people to acclimatize.
Enroute you will have a good chance to encounter condors, the world's largest flying bird, and other Andean fauna such as vicuña, vizcacha (a rabbit-like chinchilla), and birds like geese, puna ibis, caracara hawks and torrent ducks.
You will have the chance to meet the indigenous residents of the Andes, living at elevations as high as 4,267 m (14,000 feet). Most of these local inhabitants do not speak Spanish, only the ancient Quechua language. They dress in beautiful hand woven ponchos and tend their herds of llamas and alpacas very much as their ancestors have done for generations.
We have pack animals to carry all your luggage, plus the food and camping equipment to make this adventure a comfortable one.
Day 1: Cusco - Tinki
In the morning we pick you up at your Cusco hotel and drive in our private bus to the head of the trail at the town of Tinki (also spelt Tinqui). We pass several small villages along the way where we can stop for lunch, sightseeing, shopping and to stretch our legs. In Tinki we join our pack animals, have dinner and camp for the night (at 3,800 m / 12,467 ft).
Day 2: Tinki - Upispampa
After a hearty breakfast we start the trek around Mount Ausangante. We have lunch along the way and have dinner and camp for the evening by the hot springs of Upispampa. From there we have a spectacular view of the highest peak in the Vilcanota Range, regarded as an Apu (Great Spirit) by the local natives.
Day 3, 4: Upispampa - Finaya - Pacchanta
After breakfast, we continue our trek around this great mountain. We'll pass by pristine lakes, sparkling glaciers and over a couple of 5,000 m (16,404 m) passes. The journey is basically a circuit around the base of Ausungate, with various camping options along the route. The 4th night we camp by the hamlet of Pacchanta (4,300 m / 14,100 ft) where you can relax in the local hot springs.
Day 5: Tinki - Cusco
The final day is fairly relaxing, with a relatively short, 3-hour walk to arrive back to Tinki, where our transportation will be waiting to take us back to Cusco.
- Transportation between Cusco and the trailhead and back
- All meals and snacks during the trek
- Cook, horses, horsemen and a saddle horse for emergency use
- Professional guide (fluent in English, Spanish, Quechua, German)
- All camping gear, plus first aid kit (including oxygen bottle)
- Sleeping bag
- Discretionary spending, tips
For tips on what to bring, check our Travel Tips page.