Without a doubt the Ausangate trail offers some of the most wonderful scenery in the whole of the Cusco area, with many birds and wildlife and also glaciers and high alpine lakes. Its also one of the most challenging in the region with three high passes over 5,000 metres/ 16000 feet. On a clear day, Apu Ausangate dominates Cusco's southern skyline. As we draw closer to this massive massif (6,380 metres/ 20 926 feet) one becomes increasingly impressed and understands fully why the ancient Incas held this spectacular mountain in such high regard. During the whole Ausangate trek circuit we pass local villages where the people dress in their typical attire - the women in beautiful flatboard hats with trimmings - and llamas graze freely.
DAY 1: CUSCO - TINQUI - UPISWe depart Cusco early the morning for our three hour ride in private transport to the small village of Tinqui (3800 metres/ 12 464 feet). As Tinqui is located on the new Interoceanic highway we can now arrive here much more quickly that in previous years. We pass through beautiful countryside and several traditional villages including Urcos, Cattca and Ocangate. After lunch in Tinqui the first 3 hours on the trail are are wonderful prelude to the magnificent scenery of the Cordillera Vilcanota, with great views of Ausangate. We will trek for two hours more until we reach the hot springs at Upis (4,400 metres/ 14432 feet) which offer fantastic views of Ausangate at the end of the valley. We will camp here for the night.
DAY 2: UPIS TO LAKE AUSANGATE Q’OCHADuring our morning's trek, we will cross our the Arapa pass (4,850 metres/ 15908 feet). From here, we continue 3½ hours down the valley, passing the green lake of Puqa Q'ocha until we reach the turquoise Lake Jatun Puqa Q'ocha. We then ascend the second pass of Apuchata (4,900 metres/ 16 072 feet) with the stunning turquoise blue Laguna Ausangate Q'ocha below. This lake is fed from the melting snow of Ausangate. We will camp here for the second night.
DAY 3:LAKE AUSANGATE Q’OCHA TO QAMPAFrom the lake we ascend to the Palomani pass (5,200 metres/ 17 056 feet); the highest point of the trek. From the pass we follow the trail into the valley where we'll rest and have lunch. During the afternoon we can enjoy views of the snowcapped Tres Picos and Puca Punta. We will continue through the broad green valley of Pampa Jutunpata and up the Rio Q'ampa valley. We will spent night 3 in this vicinity
DAY 4: Q’AMPA TO PACCHANTAAfter passing through the small community of Q'ampa we will head North west to the last pass of this hike, the Q'ampa pass (5000 metres/ 16400 feet). We will see several different coloured lakes and lunch beside Q'oma Q'ocha. We hike for several hours before arriving at the small village of Pacchanta. We can soak in the thermal springs for a couple of hours, and even have a well-deserved beer! We will set up camp near Pacchanta and you will have the afternoon free to explore this interesting Andean village. (You have the option of staying in a basic hostal this night)
DAY 5:PACCHANTA TO CUSCOIt's 3 hours trek back to Tinqui where we will have time to explore this traditional Andean village before taking our private car back to Cusco, arriving at about 18.00.
- For complete facts about many aspects of AUSANGATE TREK, check out our FAQs page!
- Pre trek briefing
- Collection from your hotel in the morning of trek departure.
- Transport private from Cusco to and Phinaya to cusco.
- English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 6 people).
- Tents - 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks.
- Basic foam mattress. If you require greater comfort during the trek we can hire you an inflatable mattress (eg. Thermarest).
- Cook and Cooking equipment (Assistants are provided for larger groups)
- Toilet tent
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. (Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes). Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water.
- Horses (for equipment and personal items) including horsemen. They carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7 kg/15lbs per person).
- 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower
- Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & Kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
- Tents for our staff to sleep in
- First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Breakfast on the first morning.
- Sleeping bags If you haven't got a sleeping bag or you don't want the hassle of bringing one all the way to Peru with you, then we have sleeping bags for hire.For this trek you should hire minus 15 or warmer bags.
- Tips for the guide, cook and porters
- Additional horses for passengers luggage.
What you need to take
- A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek - prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco .
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended. Extra socks are a must.
- Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings if you wish to carry them.
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping. * This is a particularly cold trek, you should make sure you have a lot of very warm clothes.
- Sleeping bag (we can hire these to you)
- Torch/ Flashlight and spare batteries
- Camera, batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Toilet paper, pack in & pack out
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
- Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
- We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
- Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
- Small towel or sarong
- Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs )
- Cash - sufficient for snacks, tips and souvenirs.
- Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you have one.
- Binoculars (if you have them)
Our TeamOur people set us apart.
Our team is composed of some of the most responsible, efficient, and knowledgeable professionals, experts in their area, that will make unforgettable experiences in the routes of Cusco.
OUR OFFICE STAFFOur office is in Cusco, Tupac Amaru urbanization,D-2, San Sabastian.
Please feel at home when you visit us. Our office staff will be willing to provide you with all information and help you may need. We are the following:
General Management and Administration:
- Edwin chara chilo
- Jhon Junior Laurente C.
OUR GUIDES:CUSCO EXPLORER relies on an extensive network of highly trained guides and expert ambassadors as a premise to guarantee excellence in our services. We are fully conscious that an excellent guide is key to making your trip a memorable experience, which is why we are extremely demanding when recruiting and regularly training our guides.
Our team is composed of whom we consider to be the best guides in the region, all officially licensed and holding Tourism Degrees. The superiority of our team is backed both by excellent tourist reports, which are available at our office in Cusco and some online on this website, as well as by their expertise earned from several years of experience in leading a wide array of different guests and profiles.
Knowledge, leadership, enthusiasm, availability and help, communication skills, language proficiency, empathy and interpersonal skills, friendliness and sense of humor, punctuality and an excellent treatment to our team of chefs, porters and wranglers are a must. Our guests evaluate their guide after each service and your constructive critiques help us to keep improving constantly. We have guides fluent in English and Spanish, but also in other languages, the most commonly requested being French, Italian and German. We will always consider the language as an integral part of the quality of the guided service, so when the language is beyond the scope of our guides, we can offer a translator.
Our team is also composed of specialized guides: bird watching, spiritualism, flora & fauna, archaeology, history, architecture, anthropology. These guides are not just available for specialized trips but have also been trained to run our treks and traditional programs, adding a wonderful value to their general knowledge and explanations.
Finally, more than 80% of our guides have now already been internationally trained in Advanced First Aid & Rescue, making this one of our most significant advantages of our guided services. Our team is regularly updated through seminars and courses in their respective fields.
OUR COOKS:In all of our trekking trips, the chef ensures high-quality meals on time, and manages the team of porters.
An adequate diet both in its quality and quantity is essential in high-energy trips such as the adventure programs we run. CUSCO EXPLORER has already become renowned for its outstanding menus and food quality. The secret lies in the careful selection of our team of chefs, whose top-quality restaurant background, creativity and passion for their jobs provide an unequalled touch to all of our meals. We do not have set menus since we wish to give our chefs the chance to create, innovate and surprise our clients through delicious dishes in every trip.
Additionally, the chef manages the team of porters and/or wranglers. Every person has a role in the team and is very aware of the team’s responsibility, and only excellent logistics will allow for an outstanding travel.
OUR PORTERS AND HORSEMEN.Porters and horsemen are an essential element in any trekking organization.
The porters carry all the collective equipment; some depart early before the group to make sure we get a good location at the campsite and to have everything ready and set up by the time you get to the lunch spot or campsite. Porters carry up to 20kg of load according to the Inca Trail regulation, which we fully respect by giving them a maximum of just 18kg each. In all treks other than the Inca Trail, wranglers are in charge of the horses or mules that carry the equipment.
Our porters are not numbers; they are our friends. We provide our team with excellent meals along the route, convenient accommodation, equipment, life and medical insurance and, most importantly, with one high wage.
our people are happy, enthusiastic, extremely helpful and simply exceptional. They are proud of working for us and of their absolutely outstanding working performance. And we are also very proud of having them with us.
The Horsemen are an essential element in any agency dedicated to hiking.
Our Horsemen are in charge of the horses or mules that carry camping equipment. Our carriers are trained in relief and rescue in high mountain. Our wranglers have sufficient knowledge of safe zones and camping places, they are precisely the people who installed the camps in safe areas for your comfort. If your concerns are the mules feel sure they are well treated, since charge between 20 to 15 kg. And are very well fed with forage in the camps.