Without a doubt, the 7 day / 6 night Ausangate trail offers some of the most wonderful scenery in the whole of the Cusco area, with many birds, wildlife, 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 kilometers 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, worshiped 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.
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 scenery here is truly amazing.
On this amazing 7 day 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 – and for good reason!