Unlike most of the other hikes in Cusco, the Ausangate Trek is not so much about Inca ruins, but all about spectacular scenery; snow peaks, glaciers, colorful mountain lakes, and The Rainbow Mountain. If you appreciate stunning remote nature, going off the beaten track, and hiking, then this trek is for you. Just so you don´t miss out, we have added the extension to Machu Picchu to the remote nature of the Ausangate region, where we combine off-the-beaten-track mountainous terrains with the architectural masterpiece of The Incas, Machu Picchu. Read on for more information.
The Ausangate Trek is a spectacular 70km trek around Nevado Ausangate, typically taking 4-5 days for a complete loop. Unlike the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek, though, Ausangate remains delightfully off the standard tourist track, which means you’ll often enjoy these alpine vistas entirely to yourself and your trekking group. Coupled with the high altitude (rising up to 5,050m and rarely dipping below 4,000m), this is a journey that will delight keen hikers with its remarkable scenery as much as with its physical challenge. This trek takes intrepid hikers through the stunning Andes Mountains, glaciers, and turquoise lagoons, and to the summit of Ausangate Mountain, where they can experience an incredible landscape view.
Rainbow Mountain is now one of Peru’s most popular natural wonders, Vinicunca wasn’t on anyone’s radar until mid-2015 when a massive thaw revealed a rainbow-striped mountain that had been hidden for centuries beneath the ice. Dangerous warning of climate change aside, Rainbow Mountain is one of the most impressive displays of Peru’s geological diversity— and thankfully it links up perfectly with the equally amazing Ausangate trek. This trek will take you back in time to a place where the locals still wear traditional ponchos and hats and reward you with remote, uncrowded trails, spectacular glacial lakes, stunning snow-capped peaks, and the unusual stripey landscapes of The Rainbow Mountain.
This is a full-service trek. A duffel bag will be provided before hiking for your items and our staff will transport the bag and all other equipment (tents, food, cooking supplies) from campsite to campsite using mules. All you will need to carry is your day pack!
It’s a high-altitude trek good acclimatization is essential. Maybe do another hike with lower altitudes to acclimatize and to see your body's reaction. We recommend at least 3 days of acclimatization in Cusco prior to the trek for optimum acclimatization and less chance of suffering from altitude symptoms on the trek.
Drink enough water it’s important when hiking at high altitudes.
There are many rivers on the route but we recommend bringing a Lifestraw bottle or water purifying tablets due to the huge number of alpacas walking all over the mountains you can’t know how clean is the water. Nothing can be worse than getting sick at a high altitude!
There are no established campsites with facilities you must be self-sufficient.
There is very limited/no cell phone reception.
Your camping gear must be reliable and suitable for low temperatures, at night it can go down below 0°C.
Expect to see many people at Rainbow Mountain if you want to keep the trek more authentic you can skip it and rather visit as a day trip from Cusco. The Rainbow Mountain attracts many tourists, and locals with decorated alpacas, etc. all the normal stuff you see on the streets of Cusco or around Machu Picchu. This can be a shock after experiencing the solitude of the Ausangate region.
This trek also has the added bonus of visiting Machu Picchu! Pacchanta village is the final point of the hiking trail, where we’ll have a chance to soak into the hot springs and where we will eat our last lunch on the trek. We will transfer you from Pacchanta by private car for 4 hours to Ollantaytambo, driving through the true Sacred Valley of The Incas. On arrival, we will explore this stunning cobbled-stone Inca town, before we take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes, below Machu Picchu. In the evening we’ll have our dinner and celebrate our awe-inspiring trek before an early night and a real bed (and shower) in a hotel!
The final day of this tour is arguably the most important day of the Ausangate Trek! Because we’ll conquer Machu Picchu, Peru’s most emblematic ruins. So we will wake up very early to have breakfast at the hotel, and take the first bus up to the Inca citadel. Once in Machu Picchu, your guide will introduce you to the Sacred City of Machu Picchu, where we will watch the spectacular sunrise over Machu Picchu and take photographs. Your guide will take you to the most important temples and other parts of this iconic site, and explain to you the history, mysteries, and the great Inca technology used to build Machu Picchu for a 2-3 hour guided tour of the citadel. Once you finish the sightseeing at Machu Picchu you will have enough time to explore the sacred city before you head back down to Aguas Calientes and for your onward train back to the city of Cusco.