Ausangate Trek 5D/4N

 
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Ausangate Trek

Ausangate is the ultimate trekking destination in the Cusco area. This beautiful snow-capped peak is one of the main features of the Cusco skyline but very few people actually ever see it up close. The area around Ausangate is full of natural beauty; with azure lakes and the majestic snow-capped peak ever present, the trekking here is truly amazing.

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. It is 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.

Ausangate  is a mountain of the Willkanuta mountain range in the Andes of Peru. With an elevation of 6,384 metres it is situated around 100 kilometres southeast of Cusco.

The mountain has significance in Incan mythology: In the Andes of Southern Peru, the high mountains are considered the most powerful of the traditional deities. Ausangate is the highest and the most respected mountain worshipped from Cuzco to Lake Titicaca. From its snows, sacred waters flow past Machu Picchu to the Amazon. Quechua people who live on the slopes of Ausangate have maintained their way of life largely unknown to the outside world and in close relationship to the mountain, much as their ancestors did before them. Ausangate, at 20,800’ is a sacred peak or Apu, a powerful mountain inspiring the lives and rituals of the Quechua. Qoyllulr Rit’I, the largest pilgrimage in Peru, draws thousands of people to Ausangate each year to make offerings and in return to receive the mountain’s blessings.

On this trek we will pass by llama and alpaca herding communities, as it constitutes one of the few remaining pastoralist societies in the world. High mountain trails are used by these herders to trade with agricultural communities at lower elevations. Currently, one of these trails, “the road of the Apu Ausangate”, is one of the most renowned treks in Peru.

We will enjoy the amazing major geological features as we trek: the Andean uplift formed by Granits, the hanging glaciers and glacial erosional valleys, the Permian formation with its singular colors: red, ochre, and turquoise and the Cretaceous, limestone forests. This trek is truly a one-of-a-kind trek because of the unusual terrain and geology that we will pass.

Our trek includes the following locations:

DAY ONE: Cusco – Tinqui – Upis
DAY TWO: Upis – Lake Ausangate – Q’ocha
DAY THREE: Lake Ausangate Q’ocha – Qampa
DAY FOUR: Q’ampa – Pacchanta
DAY FIVE: Pacchanta – Cusco

 
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The 5 day Ausangate trek really allows you to see a part of Peru few ever visit. This unforgettable trail is perfect for people who want to get away from it all.
By booking the Ausangate Trek with Puma Path you are choosing the best company to start your journey with.

Useful Information

  • Starting Altitude – 3800m / 12,467ft.
  • Highest Altitude – 5200m / 17,056ft.
  • Walking Distance – 55km
  • Overall Difficulty – Very difficult

DAY ONE: Cusco – Tinqui – Upis

Departing Cusco early the morning, we’ll ride in private transport for three hours to the small village of Tinqui (3800m). As Tinqui is located on the new Inter-oceanic Highway, we can reach it much easier than before! After lunch in Tinqui, we’ll begin to hike along the trail for several hours until we reach the hot springs at Upis (4,400 m). We will camp here for the night.

DAY TWO: Upis – Lake Ausangate – Q’ocha

During the morning, we will cross our the Arapa pass (4,850m). From here, we’ll continue 3½ hours down into 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 m) 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 THREE: Lake Ausangate Q’ocha – Qampa

From the lake we’ll ascend to the Palomani Pass (5,200m); the highest point of the trek. From the pass we’ll follow the trail into the valley where we’ll rest and have lunch. During the afternoon we’ll have views of the snow-capped 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 spend our third night camping here.

DAY FOUR: Q’ampa – Pacchanta

After passing through the small community of Q’ampa, we will head northwest to the last pass of this hike- Q’ampa Pass (5000m). We will see several different colored lakes and lunch beside Q’oma Q’ocha. We’ll hike for several hours before arriving at the small village of Pacchanta. Here 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 whole afternoon to explore this interesting Andean village. You have the option of staying in a basic hostel on this night.

DAY FIVE: Pacchanta – Cusco

In the morning we’ll begin trekking back to Tinqui, which will take roughly three hours. You’ll have a little free time to explore this Andean village before our private car arrives to take us back to Cusco. Scheduled arrival time in Cusco is approximately 6:00pm.
ITINERARY NOTES: The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group and the guide. Lunch spots and campsites are subject to change. Each guide has their own preferred route and it might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
Temperatures are cold and can fall well below freezing at night. You should be well prepared for cold temperatures. This region has limited tourist infrastructure and this tour makes use of local facilities. Visitors should be aware that things change, or may not go to plan. This is all part of the adventure! Visitors to Peru are encouraged to have an open mind and be open to the differences in the way things are done in another culture.

Included:

  • Ceremony with your tour guide and locals
  • Collection from your hotel in the morning of departure.
  • Private transport from Cusco to Tinqui (the trailhead) and return at the end of the trek
  • Entry fee to the Ausangate mountain.
  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 8 people).
  • Tents – 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks. .
  • 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) and 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). .
  • Emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
  • Tents for our staff to sleep in, sleeping bags & mattresses plus a budget for their meals.
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle

Not Included:

  • Breakfast on the first morning
  • Tips for the guide, cook and porters. Tips are not mandatory but are a great gesture of gratitude.
  • Additional horses for luggage

Trekker’s Packing List:

  • A day pack with a change of clothes – 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 $ 2 in Cusco.
  • Strong footwear– waterproof trekking boots recommended. Extra socks are a must.
  • Sandals or flip-flops to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings
  • Warm clothes: jacket, fleece, gloves, scarf and hat. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping. ** This is a particularly cold trek, make sure you have very warm clothes!**
  • Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Camera, films and batteries
  • Sun block
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
  • Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – although no malaria risk has been reported
  • 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 bringing 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 – extra food, tips, and souvenirs.
  • Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card)
  • Walking sticks or poles (we can hire these to you)

Optional extras:

  • Extra mule to carry your things
  • Extra riding mule and muleteer to lead it.
  • Walking stick lightweight aluminum – Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
  • Thermarest inflatable mattress
  • Thermarest Inflatable pillow
  • Comforting Camping trek upgrade – bigger tents, camp beds, includes sleeping bag, thermarest, and walking stick.
  • Single tent supplement (if you don’t want to share a tent)

At Puma Path, your comfort and safety are of our utmost concern. Therefore, we provide all necessary camping equipment for your trek. Included in prices are: sleeping tent, rollmat and pillow for your comfort. Please feel free to bring your own sleeping bag if you prefer.

Private Service Prices

  • 2 people : US$650 per person

Discounts:

  • Student Discount: US$20 (Requires ISIC Card to qualify)
  • Under 18’s Discount: US$20

Optional Extras:

  • Sleeping Bag US$35
  • Inflatable Mattress US$30
  • Single Tent Supplement US$75
  • Mule to carry extra 7kg of personal items US$90

Extras:

  • Single tent: US$ 75
  • Personal mule (half) to carry extra 7kg of personal items: US$ 75
  • Full mule to carry 14kg of personal items: US$ 150
  • Walking Pole: US$ 20

IMPORTANT NOTES

HORSES OR PORTERS: On this trek we provide horses to carry food and camping equipment. There will be one cook, his assistant, two horsemen, and one porter who will be picking up trash on the trail. You will have a personal allowance of 7kg for your gear. This will not be available during the day as the horsemen will be ahead of the group.

OUR GUIDES: Most of our guides began as porters before they went to Cusco University and Institute where they learned about the Inca history. They are always learning in order to be the best guide. They each speak English fluently, along with Spanish and Quechuan, the Inca Language. They are all able to communicate with natives from around the area and have lots of history to share with you.

OUR FOOD: Definitely one of the highlights of the tour is the food. It is always fresh and most of it is organic. There is always a lot to eat and a variety of options including vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and other types of protein and carbohydrates. Everyone sits down to eat together and we go out of our way to accommodate all dietary requirements including vegetarian options and any food allergies. We do not provide any alcoholic drinks on the trek but if you would like you can bring your own.

OUR EQUIPMENT: We provide 4 man tents for only 2 people and foam mattresses for everyone. Our dining equipment includes a spacious dining tent, tables and chairs, plates and utensils. We do not supply walking sticks, but they can be rented from Puma Path. We bring an extra blanket for all our hikers for those especially cold nights. Just ask and your guide will provide you with this.

Please note that if you are over 1.95 meters / 6´4″ tall then you won´t be able to rent a sleeping bag in Cusco. In this case it is recommended to bring your own.

WE ARE SUSTAINABLE: We always pick up waste along the trail as we go. We respect the local people, teach them to keep the land clean, and help the local children. We always take one extra porter who will be on the trail just to clean up the bottles and plastic bags that those who came before us threw away.

WE ARE RESPONSIBLE: We treat our hikers, porters and all the local people from the villages with the utmost respect. We travel in small groups to give personalized tours to each traveler. We pay good salaries to our porters and follow the Porter’s Law. We provide all our porters with their hiking gear such as shoes, pants, jackets, t-shirts, hats, sleeping bags and most importantly, health insurance.

FITNESS: The trek is certainly not easy but you do not need to be an athlete or a trekking expert to complete it. Fitness is naturally important but this is the kind of trek that anyone with a positive attitude and determination can do. Obviously the more fit you are the more you will enjoy the trail and the more chance you will have to take in the scenery and appreciate the Inca ruins dotted along the way. If you do not exercise regularly, it is advisable to do some extra walking or some kind of aerobic activity in the months leading up to your trip.

Many people worry whether they will be able to cope physically but complete failure is rare and would usually only result from severe altitude sickness or a person lacking even a basic level of fitness. People of all ages (from teenagers to pensioners) complete the trek and age itself is no barrier if you are positive minded and live an active lifestyle. Before departing for your tour, we recommend visiting your doctor who will be able to provide you with more information.

STORAGE DURING THE TREK: During the trek your main luggage will be stored in Cusco and you will receive a small duffel bag at your trail briefing (briefings are normally set for the evening before the trek) to pack clothes for 3-4 days. Your team of porters will carry these bags together with the food and equipment. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day as the porters will always be ahead of the group. You should therefore bring a day pack in which you can carry personal belongings such as your camera, water, sun screen, etc. By Peruvian law the duffel bag carried by the porters must not weigh more than 7kg (14pounds). You can either store your luggage at your hotel or you can leave it with us.

BOOKING: The Ausangate is available to depart any day of the week so long as we have two people. You still need to book in advance.

Thanks for traveling with Puma Path, a 100% local company!

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