Cusco and Ausangate Private Trekking Tour

Cusco | Peru
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Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to hike the Ausangate Trek in Peru

  • Trip Highlight

    The trek’s remoteness makes it devoid of crowds

  • Trip Highlight

    14-16,000 ft altitudes will make you feel like a mountaineer

  • Trip Highlight

    The area is considered one of the holiest places in the Andes

The Ausangate Mountain is equally venerated by the native Quechua people and seasoned high-altitude hikers. The eponymous Ausangate Trek is a 70-mile stretch of wilderness in  Cordillera Vilcanota that can be best described as a collection of glacial valleys, thermal lakes, and sublime mountain landscapes. Starting in the ancient Incan capital of Cusco, you’ll embark on a 5-day trek boasting centuries-old Andean villages, interesting wildlife, and moss-covered passes. What differentiates Ausangate from other famous Peruvian treks is minimal foot traffic, which maximizes its off-the-beaten-track appeal. Join your guide and get enthralled by the mystical side of the Andes.

Season

Year-round

Nearest city

Cusco, Peru is the tour’s starting and ending point

Duration

8 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced

Itineraries

Book this adventure

Cusco and the Mystical Andes Trekking Tour

8 days

Starting in the ancient Incan capital of Cusco, this 8-day private guided adventure will take you through some of the most magnificent places in Peru’s Andes. Camp by the shores of mountain lakes, relax in the natural hot springs and get swept away by views of lofty, glaciated peaks—all while avoiding the crowds (alpacas and vicuñas don’t count). Challenge yourself with high-altitude hiking and make lifelong memories by joining this remarkable Trek. 

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Lima and transfer to Cusco

Upon your arrival in Peru’s capital, you will either be transferred directly to Cusco via domestic flight (for early arrivals) or stay in Lima for the night and take a flight to Cusco the next morning (for those who arrive later in the day). Once in Cusco, settle in your hotel and get some rest to get ready for a day of sightseeing.

Accommodation: 3* hotel in Cusco

View of the central square in Cusco, Peru with a large baroque church from the Spanish colonial period.

Day 2: Exploring Cusco

Cusco was Peru’s capital during the height of the Incan Empire between the 13th and 16th centuries. Here you can see Incan archeological sites and Spanish colonial architecture from the baroque period. Apart from sightseeing, take this day to acclimate yourself, remember to drink a lot of water, and try the traditional coca tea used in the area to prevent altitude sickness.

Accommodation: 3* hotel in Cusco
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

A church cloister in Cusco, Peru.

Day 3: Starting the Ausangate Trek

Your day starts with a scenic three-hour drive to Tinki (12,470 ft/3,800 m)—a quaint Andean village where you will meet with mule handlers who will follow you along the Trek. During your drive to Tinki, you’ll be able to see Peruvian rural areas and alpaca flocks. The first section of the Ausangate Trek will take you from Tinki through hilly grasslands and ultimately to Upis. This campsite is famous for views of Ausangate glaciers and nearby hot springs where you can discharge after a day of hiking. 

Accommodation: Camping in Upis
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Ausangate trek trekking trail, Ausangate circuit, Cordillera Vilcanota, Cuzco region, Peru, Peruvian Andes mountains landscape, South America

Day 4: Upis to the “Big Red Lake”

Prepare for a more intense day of trekking. Today’s section of the Trek includes climbing through the Arapa Pass (15,750 ft/4,800 m) before reaching the Uchuy Pucacocha (the Little Red Lake) lake and finally the Jatun Pucacocha (the Big Red Lake). You will camp by the shores of this dazzling mountain lake, one of the dozens that you can find in the region. 

Accommodation: Camping by the shores of the Jatun Pucacocha
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Shores of the crystal-clear lake Jatun Pucacocha in the Andes.

Day 5: Jatun Pucacocha to Ausangate Base Camp

Your third day of trekking begins with a hike to the Apuchata Pass (16,080 ft/4,900 m). Afterward, you will make a descent to the turquoise Laguna Ausangate Q’ocha followed by another pass—Palamani (17,060 ft/5,200 m)—the highest one in the entire Trek. The ascent is challenging, but views of the snow capped peaks make it worthwhile. You will set a camp at the Ausangate Base Camp (14,800 ft/4,510 m) situated amidst the highlands meadows and icy moraines.

Accommodation: Ausangate Base Camp
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Tents in the Ausangete Base Camp, the area is dominated by a lofty Andean peak.

Day 6: Ausangate Base Camp to Pacchanta

Another day of trekking begins with a hike to Lake Ticllacocha after which you will conquer the Q’ampa pass (16,570 ft/5050 m) and be swept away by strikingly beautiful glaciers and the lofty Apu Salkantay. Descend the pass and set your camp for the last time—this time at Pacchanta (14,305 ft/4,305 m). After a strenuous day of trekking, relax in the nearby hot springs. 

Accommodation: Pacchanta
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Tents set up at Pacchanta, a campsite along the Ausangate Trek with views of fog-covered glaciated peaks.

Day 7: The last day of trekking

On the last day of the Trek, you’ll hike downhill for 3-4 hours, going back to the village of Tinki. After lunch, say goodbye to the muleteers and take a ride back to Cusco. After taking a well-deserved rest in your hotel, treat yourself with dinner in the city to celebrate your trekking achievements. 

Accommodation: 3* hotel in Cusco
Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Plaza de Armas at sunset. It is a central square in Cusco, Peru.

Day 8: Transfer from Cusco to Lima

Start your last day of the trip with a hearty breakfast in your hotel. You will later get transferred to the Cusco Airport and board your plane back to Lima. Say goodbye to Peru or continue touring on your own.

Meals: Breakfast

Reviews

Reviews (1)

Jeppe H about Unu Raymi Expeditions on Tripadvisor

Did 8 days with Unu raymi. Very well planned by James, and just as enjoyful with Edu and Theo as guide and cook. Would definitely be back for some more climbing at some point!

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Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Cusco, Peru

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Cusco, Peru please refer to the official Peru Travel website

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

  • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
  • 7 days of hiking through Peru
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • A private cook
  • Horsemen and mules
  • All camping equipment (sleeping bags and trekking poles can be rented)
  • Hotel accommodation in Cusco
  • Domestic flights from between Lima and Cusco
  • Private transport to and from the airport in Cusco
  • Private transportation during the trip

Your guides can accommodate almost all dietary requirements. Let us know if you have any meal restrictions during the booking process. 

What’s not included:

  • International airfare 
  • Accommodation in Lima (applicable only for those arriving late in the city—others take a direct flight to Cusco upon arrival in Lima)
  • Anything not mentioned above

How fit do I need to be?

The Ausangate Trek is a challenging hike recommended only for hikers with extensive hiking experience, especially in high-elevation locations. Apart from hiking with a daypack for up to 8-9 hours a day in different terrains, one of the biggest challenges of this trek is altitude sickness. You will have a chance to acclimate before the trek, but you should still make sure to avoid smoking and alcohol, stay hydrated and take many breaks along the way.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

  • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (50-70 L)
  • Hiking boots
  • Sandals
  • Comfortable shoes for camp
  • Trekking socks (synthetic fibers)
  • Thermal clothing and socks for sleeping
  • Microfiber shirts and thermal
  • Fleece jacket
  • Trekking pants
  • Waterproof jacket and pant (Gore-Tex or other)
  • Rain cover for the backpack 
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves
  • Sun hat
  • Hat for cold weather (fleece)
  • Headlamp (with extra batteries and bulbs)
  • Washbag and towel
  • Trekking poles (can be rented from the guides)
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
  • Sleeping bag (can be rented from the guide)
  • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Earplugs
  • Battery charger (there is no place to plug in while trekking)
  • Camera—optional (but recommended)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

  • For this private adventure, the maximum number of participants is 15. 
  • The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family! 

Hiking the Ausangate Trek can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

  • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
  • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Deposits and cancellation policy

A 50% deposit to secure your place upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 2 months (60 days) prior to departure or once your guide confirms the trip. For bookings within 5 weeks of the departure, full payment is required. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies. 

  • If Client cancels the Booking seventy (70) or more days prior to the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is obliged to pay the trip cancellation fee of $50.
  • If Client cancels the Booking sixty-nine (69) days to fifty (50) prior to the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a 70% refund of the full ticket price.
  • For cancellations forty-nine (49) to thirty-one (31) days in advance, Client is entitled to a 50% refund of the full ticket price.
  • For cancellations thirty (30) to eight (8) days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of forty percent (40%) of the full ticket price. 
  • After that deadline (seven days or less prior to departure), Client is not entitled to any refund.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Cusco, most people fly into Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima. From there, you can board a direct domestic flight to Cusco the same day (for early arrivals in Lima), or the next morning (for late arrivals to Lima). Domestic flight is included in the price. Upon your arrival in Cusco, you will be greeted by your guides and transferred to your hotel.  

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