Cusco to Ausangate Trek – Over the years, archeologists and historians have been searching for clues, trying to understand more about the traditions, religions and daily lives of ancient Peru’s inhabitants. At the Museo Larco and the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History, we’ll see artifacts that tell stories and give us a great deal of insight to these ancient civilizations.
Today, we’ll leave Cusco to Ausangate Trek by van and head east, driving along the Cusco – Puerto Maldonado route. We’ll pass through the native village of Ocongate before arriving at our destination: Tinqui at 3800 meters above sea level (12,470 ft). Here, we’ll set up camp, have dinner and get a good night’s rest.
This morning, we’ll pack up and head out for our first day on the trail as a large herd of alpacas welcomes us to the region. We’ll pass through the communities of Quinsapucyu and Huarmisaya as we forge ahead to Upis, where you’ll experience some spectacular views of the mighty Mount Ausangate.
Today, we’ll make our way to the first mountain pass of the journey, Arapa, which stands at approximately 4958 meters above sea level (16,270 ft). After this physically challenging day, we’ll set up camp and relax near the sparkling blue lagoon of Pukacocha.
This morning, we’ll kick off the day taking in the views of several small, brilliantly-colored lakes, serving as a starting point for our trek to the highest pass of the journey, Palomani Pass, which towers at about 5,100 meters above sea level (16,730 ft). At dusk, we’ll arrive to Jampa, where we’ll set up camp for the night.
Trekking along the crest of the Jampa Valley, today we continue heading northwest to the beautiful Ticllacocha Lagoon. We’ll conquer the last pass of the trek at a height of 4,650 m. (15,250 ft) before arriving to the “pampas” of Pachaspata, where we’ll camp on the banks of the pristine Lake Qomercocha.
This morning, we’ll enjoy a pleasant and relaxed hike as we descend into the valley towards Pachanta. Once in Pachanta, we’ll kick back and take a dip in the soothing thermal waters.
A short walk this morning will bring us back to the highway, where our van will be waiting to bring us back to Cusco, arriving around dusk.
Ausangate or Auzangate (in Hispanicized spellings) is a mountain of the Vilcanota mountain range in the Andes of Peru. With an elevation of 6,384 metres, it is situated around 100 kilometres southeast of Cusco in the Cusco Region, Canchis Province, Pitumarca District, and in the Quispicanchi Province, Ocongate District.
The mountain has significance in Incan mythology.
Every year the Quyllur Rit’i (Quechua for “star snow”) festival which attracts thousands of Quechua pilgrims is celebrated about 20 km north of the Ausangate at the mountain Qullqipunku. It takes place one week before the Corpus Christi feast.
The region is inhabited by llama and alpaca herding communities, and 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.
The area has four major geological features, 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 region has some great remote trekking options and multi day hiking is generally done from tours departing from Cusco.