The Classic Trek to the Imposing Ausangate
The Ausangate Trek is one of Cusco's best options for nature and trekking lovers. It's an epic journey through the foothills of the most important sacred mountain south of Cusco: The incredible Ausangate glacier that sits at 6,372 m / 20,905 ft.
On this amazing journey, you'll visit remote Andean towns, enjoy relaxing hot springs and photograph the turquoise glow of beautiful crystalline lagoons dotted throughout the route. If you're passionate about hiking in the mountains, learning about local customs and traditions, and are looking for an intense experience in remote areas of Peru, this package is perfect for you.
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Whether you’re traveling with a partner or your family or friends, you can join us on this incredible adventure through the mountains of Peru and by the immense glacier Ausangate. This journey is perfect for those who want to get off-the-beaten-path, away from the crowds, and immerse themselves in culture and nature.
The Ausangate glacier is the most sacred in the entire Cusco region, which receives a huge amount of respect, pilgrimages, and offerings from Andean communities. It stands majestically at 6,372 m / 20,905 ft and is Peru’s fifth-highest peak. Being in close proximity to this gigantic Apu will make you feel at peace as you soak up the energy it radiates.
This hike takes you over mountain passes, incredible mountain scenery, remote Andean villages, hot springs, and different colored lakes. You’ll learn customs and traditions from communities that maintain ancient traditions to this day.
So, what are you waiting for? This epic journey awaits in the remote mountain regions of Peru. Travel in peace with Salkantay Trekking knowing that every last detail is planned for you. All you have to do is enjoy your adventure.
Itinerary at a Glance
Cusco | Ocongate - Upis - Huayna Ausangate Lake
This morning you’ll meet the team and then hike to Upis campsite. Enjoy lunch surrounded by mountains. Later we will visit Huayna Ausangate Lake.
Upis | Arapa Pass - Yanacocha – Hatun Pucacocha
Enjoy hiking beside the grand Ausangate today. This afternoon you’ll explore the area by the lagoon Hatun Pucacocha before spending the night nearby.
Hatun Pucacocha | Ausangatecocha - Palomani Pass - Huchuy Phinaya - Sorapata
Spend the morning hiking through astounding landscapes and observing the scenery before lunch. This afternoon, spend time with local families to understand their customs and traditions.
Sorapata | Jampa Pass - Pacchanta
Trek through beautiful scenery and join the trail of the 7 lakes. Observe the lakes and enjoy an Andean ceremony. Enjoy a free afternoon and relax in the hot springs.
Pacchanta | Tinke - Cusco
Relax in the hot springs this morning before trekking to a small community. You’ll learn some more about customs and traditions before boarding our private transport back to Cusco.
What's it like
- Hike through the Cordillera Vilcanota, a breathtakingly beautiful mountain range approximately four hours south of Cusco.
- Enjoy an unforgettable adventure in the middle of the Andean mountain range surrounded by incredible views everywhere you look.
- Contemplate the immensity of the valleys and huge mountains from spectacular viewpoints.
- Marvel at gigantic glaciers and colorful crystalline lagoons.
- Discover the lifestyle of the Andean settlers and take the opportunity to make new friends.
- Learn all about local customs and traditions as well as the local wildlife.
- Get to know the wild fauna of the Andes, including llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, condors, and various water birds.
- Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and get away from the large crowds in the middle of the remote mountains.
Why Travel with us
Cusco | Ocongate - Upis - Huayna Ausangate Lake
Highlight of the day: Submerging yourself in the first views of Vilcanota Mountain Range.
Huayna Ausangate Lake Is Waiting for You
Your mountainous adventure begins early in the morning as we pick you up and take you on a drive through the mountains to Upis. Here, you’ll meet your trekking team, cover any last details, and enjoy a tasty breakfast before you begin hiking. This morning, you’ll be trekking across plains with the Ausangate mountain right in front of you. When we get to the Upis thermal baths, you’ll relax in the water and enjoy lunch.
This afternoon, we’ll walk to Huayna Ausangate lake. Our camp will be set up near the glaciers, and you’ll enjoy a tasty dinner before heading to bed for the night.
Your journey through the stunning Andean landscapes begins today when we pick you up very early from your accommodation at 5 am. We'll travel in our private vehicle to the town of Ocongate (3,500 m / 11,482 ft). On the way, we'll be able to see picturesque villages and beautiful lagoons along the Vilcanota Valley out the window.
We'll continue to Tinke, where you can make any last-minute purchases before reaching the community of Upis (4,250 m / 13,944 ft), the starting point of our trek. We’ll enjoy a tasty breakfast here and meet the team of cooks and horsemen who’ll join us on our adventure.
Our first day begins on a plain-looking directly at the immense Ausangate glacier (6,372 m / 20,905 ft). As we walk, we'll meet local people adorned in beautifully colorful traditional clothes. You’ll also spot lots of herds of llamas and alpacas.
We'll arrive at the thermal baths of Upis (4,400 m / 14,436 ft) to enjoy our first spectacular lunch prepared by our talented chef. Our camp will also be set up here, right in front of Ausangate Mountain.
In the afternoon, we'll walk to Huayna Ausangate lake and enjoy a stunning sunset that’ll cast its pretty light on the snows of the glaciers around us. In the evening, it’ll be time for a tasty dinner and our first night in the mountains.
Upis | Arapa Pass - Yanacocha – Hatun Pucacocha
Highlight of the day: Hiking through some incredible scenery and seeing pretty lakes and waterfalls.
Be Astounded by the Sheer Natural Beauty of Mother Nature
Wake up early to enjoy breakfast before we set off for the day. We’ll hike through a pretty valley to the Arapa pass to enjoy the excellent views. You might even get to see a condor in flight. We’ll then continue to the lagoons of Yanacocha and Pucacocha before continuing onto our camp for lunch.
In the afternoon, we’ll spend time exploring the area around the lakes and learning more about flora and fauna of the area. Ausangate will be by our side all day. In the evening, head back to camp for dinner and a great night’s rest.
We'll wake up early and savor a delicious breakfast in the middle of the cold, high mountains and then begin walking for about two and a half hours through a beautiful, picturesque Andean valley towards the Arapa pass (4,800 m / 15,748 ft). The spectacular Ausangate glacier will be by our side the whole way.
From the top of the pass, the beauty of the landscape multiplies, and you’ll be blown away by the natural beauty of this part of the world. You'll be able to observe the sheer size of the mountain range and if you're lucky, the solemn flight of the condor—the largest flying bird in the world. Our guide will explain a little more about the impressive local flora and fauna as you hike this stretch to help you know more about the area you’re walking through.
Then, we will begin a descent to the beautiful crystalline Yanacocha lagoon (black lagoon); afterward, we will follow the trail for another hour until we reach Hatun Pucacocha to appreciate the scenery and enjoy its glistening waters against the snow-capped mountains.
Later, we will explore the surrounding lagoons and relax with a delicious mate. In the evening, a nutritious dinner will be waiting for you to finally head to your campsite to rest and regain your energy.
Hatun Pucacocha | Ausangatecocha - Palomani Pass - Huchuy Phinaya - Sorapata
Highlight of the day: Hiking through immense landscapes and learning about local customs and traditions.
Immerse Yourself in Local Customs and Traditions
Another tasty breakfast awaits, and then you’ll be on your way to the Ausangate pass to enjoy more astounding sights. We’ll then keep going to the Ausangatecocha lake, where we’ll have a delicious lunch amidst the mountains.
Later, we’ll trek to the Palomani pass and then onto the small community of Huchuy Phinaya. You’ll be able to learn all about local customs and traditions from the local people. We’ll continue then to our camp in Paschaspata.
Just like every other morning, you'll get a fantastic boost of energy to start the day, thanks to a delicious breakfast. Today's hike begins ascending for two and a half hours to the Ausangate Pass (4,750 m / 15,584 ft). From there, the immensity of the mountains will definitely surpass all your expectations.
We'll continue the route downhill for an hour to the Ausangatecocha lagoon. You'll have the opportunity to enjoy your lunch in the middle of an immense landscape—not a bad way to spend your lunch break!
Later, we'll ascend for around two hours until we reach the Palomani pass (5,200 m / 17,060 ft), the highest point of the entire route. After a short rest and enjoying some more astounding views, we'll walk for another hour and a half until we reach the small community of Huchuy Phinaya (4,650 m / 15,256 ft).
We have a lot of respect and consideration for the people of Huchuy Phinaya, who maintain ancient traditions to this day. Learn from them and their admirable lifestyle in complete connection with Mother Nature (Pachamama) and how they respect and live in harmony with her.
Today was the most challenging day, but it was worth it for a real connection with the Andes and Mother Earth. We’ll have a gentle ascend of 2 hours to Sorapata, where our camp will be ready and waiting for your arrival. After a delicious dinner, a peaceful night's rest awaits.
Sorapata | Jampa Pass - Pacchanta
Highlight of the day: Exploring the stunning lakes and performing a small ceremony to Mother Earth.
Pay Homage to Mother Earth and Explore Gorgeous Lakes
This morning, enjoy more hiking through truly beautiful landscapes. Take your camera to snap some pretty shots on the way to our lunch spot. We’ll join the tour of seven lakes and visit some gorgeous bodies of water. You’ll also get the chance to enjoy an Andean ceremony.
You’ll have the afternoon free today and can spend it in the medicinal hot springs in the area. This is a great opportunity to relax tired muscles. After, you’ll savor a tasty dinner before heading to bed.
After another delicious and revitalizing breakfast, we'll begin our uphill walk over two and a half hours toward Jampa pass.
We'll cross the Jampa pass (5,070 m / 16,634 ft) from where you can appreciate the detail of several snow-covered mountains. Remember to always have your camera handy. Then we'll begin our descent for around three hours to our lunch spot at our campsite in Pacchanta. On the way, we’ll connect to the trail of the classical tour of seven lakes.
Next to one of the beautiful and mystical lakes of the place (Qomercocha, Orco Otorongo, or China Otorongo), we’ll have the option to perform a small ceremony on gratitude to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and the surrounding mountains, especially the great Ausangate glacier who’s watched us the entire route.
After our lunch, we’ll have the afternoon free and get the opportunity to revitalize and heal our tired bodies in medicinal hot springs.
We’ll finish the day satisfying our taste buds and hungry bodies with another delicious dinner. You really will be astounded by the delicacies our talented chef conjures up in the mountains.
Pacchanta | Tinke - Cusco
Highlight of the day: Relaxing in the hot springs and learning traditions that have been passed down for generations.
Bid Farewell to Ausangate With One Last Relaxing Day on the Trail
Your last day on the trail begins with another optional rest in the medicinal hot springs. Afterward, we’ll start hiking toward a community where we’ll spend time with another local family and learn more ancient traditions. We’ll then have lunch and say goodbye to our trekking team.
This afternoon, our private transport will drive us back to Cusco. This gives you one last chance to observe the stunning scenery outside before we drop you at your accommodation around 6:00 pm.
The final day is here, and your epic adventure comes to a close today—but not before an optional last visit to the hot springs and a fantastic day on the trail.
After our last breakfast, we'll start a three-hour walk to the community of Tinke (3,800 m / 12,467ft). On the way, we’ll visit an Andean family’s home to learn about several traditions that have been kept alive for generations in the middle of the mountains.
Once in Tinke, we’ll have lunch and say goodbye to the entire trekking support team. At the end of this stretch, our private transport will be waiting to take us back to the city of Cusco. Enjoy looking out the window at the mountains and lagoons during this final drive. We’ll drop you off at the door of your accommodation around 6:00 pm.
At Salkantay Trekking, we specify the included and non-included services under all the tour itineraries listed on our website. We take care of all the logistics, but please pay attention to the details to avoid missing anything. Some items may be different for specific programs, so please read carefully before booking with us.
What Is Included?
High Quality Service & Safety
You’ll meet your trekking guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. There, we’ll provide you with the duffle bags, which our horses will carry. The meeting will be at 5:00 pm the evening before the trip begins.
Experienced Tour Guide
English and spanish speaking official tour guide. All our guides are graduates of the professional career of Tourism of the National University San Antonio Abad of Cusco. We choose them for their professionalism, experience, responsibility, seriousness, unbridled passion for exploring, and sincere desire to proudly share in our culture and history. He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time worry-free!
Medical Kit or First AID Kit
All Salkantay Trekking guides have received specialized training in first aid. We hold mandatory training sessions with our guides every February. Your guide will always carry a first aid kit to face basic emergencies (altitude sickness, travelers' diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) as well as oxygen. If necessary, we’ll evacuate you from the path as quickly as possible and ensure that you arrive at a clinic for treatment.
Private Camping Equipment
You’ll have spacious kitchen and dining tents where you can enjoy your food comfortably. In addition, tables, chairs, and cooking equipment (all carried by our horses).
Portable Travel Toilet
One Duffle Bag
On the trek, you can carry your personal belongings up to a maximum weight of 7 kg / 15.4 lb (this weight includes your sleeping bag).
Our camping mattresses will help you sleep comfortably whilst camping!
Extras Included in our Service
We believe that attention to small details is what sets us apart from other local companies. You’ll receive a cover to protect your backpack on the road and a rain poncho.
24/7 Customer Service
We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for ease of communication with Salkantay Trekking leading up to your trek.
Our main priority will always be the tranquillity of our clients. All of our guides are prepared for emergencies in the mountains; however, being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital, or friend helps you feel more secure. For this reason, each Salkantay Trekking guide has a satellite phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to call anywhere in the world in case of an emergency.
Best Sleeping Tents
Salkantay Trekking uses the best equipment to ensure your safety and comfort. Every 2 people will share Eureka Timberline or Mountain Hard Wear tents with a capacity for 4 people.
5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, and 4 Dinners
Our chef prepares the best dishes in the middle of the mountain. Our passengers love our food! We respect all diets (vegetarian, vegan, or special menus are available at no extra cost), so let us know if you have any particular allergies or restrictions on your reservation form and remind your guide during the briefing. You’ll enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in addition to hot drinks and snacks.
Water on the trail
We’ll provide you boiled, filtered, and cooled water during your trek. For this, you need to bring a camel bag or an empty bottle (we recommend a capacity of 2 liters). You’ll be able to fill your bottles during each meal.
Wake up tea
Every morning at the campsite, you'll be woken up with a cup of hot coca tea. Our staff will bring the tea to your tent so that you will be warmed from inside out before you start your day.
Tea Time or Happy Hour
Every afternoon before dinner, the cooks will provide you popcorn, biscuits/cookies, coffee, hot chocolate, teas, hot water, etc. After a long day of hiking, you won't have to wait until dinner to relax, warm-up, and enjoy a bite to eat!
Snacks on the trail daily
Before starting your trekking, your tour guide will provide you a cloth bag with local fruits, cookies, chocolate, caramels, etc. Every morning, we’ll refill it so that you can enjoy your snacks during the walk.
One cloth snack bag per person
To avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment, we'll give you a cloth bag for your snacks.
You’ll be provided with a small towel and soap before each meal to clean your hands.
- Day 1: You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and will travel by private transportation to Upis, the starting point of the trek.
- Day 5: Once you complete the tour, we will take you back to the door of your hotel in Cusco.
cargo mules will carry all the camping equipment and your baggage allowance (7 kg / 15.4 lb). Muleteers will be responsible for your duffle bag and personal items.
Permits & Entrance Tickets
Entrance for the Ausangate Trek
Entrance to Pacchanta Thermal Baths
What Is Not Included?
You can rent one from our company if you don’t have your own. Our sleeping bags are effective and durable to protect you from temperatures as low as -18ºC (0ºF). They are mummy-form and include a sleeping liner. The bags are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips.
US$ 25.00 per person
Walking Sticks (with rubber tips) can be very useful on rough terrain and for ascending and descending. You can rent a set from our company if you’d like.
US$ 25.00 per person
Day 5 Dinner
Hiking Clothes & Gear
Tips for our staff
Tipping is the norm on any hike in Peru. Although we pay good salaries to our entire team, something extra is always welcome, especially considering the hard work they do. Typically, group participants collect their tips to hand out to the horsemen and chefs together.
Additional costs or delays beyond our control
Landslides, bad weather conditions, itinerary modifications due to a safety concern, illness, pandemia, government policy changes, political instability, strikes, act of God, etc.
We want to make your trip to Peru as memorable and as carefree as possible. In this section, you’ll find the answers to all the questions you have about traveling with Salkantay Trekking in one place. Please read the following information carefully – it will help you with any questions about our services.
Have another question that we haven’t answered here? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap!
How many days do I need to acclimate in Cusco before the Trek?
It’s very important to be well acclimated to the altitude before exerting yourself on a trek. We recommend that you arrive in Cusco at least 2 or 3 days before the trek starts to help you adjust and avoid possible problems with altitude sickness while on the trek.
You might have already been in another area of Peru at a high altitude before arriving in Cusco. In that case, we still recommend you have a whole day in Cusco to rest, recover from your travel, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Cusco before departing for the trek.
Here some suggestions for activities to do in the Cusco vicinity before starting your adventure trek:
Briefing or Informative Meeting
All information meetings and briefings are held in our main office in Cusco (or your hotel) at 5:00 pm, one night before the tour begins. These meetings last approximately 30 to 45 minutes. If you’re unable to attend, you must coordinate another time by email, by phone or at the Salkantay Trekking office.
Trek Balance Payment (in Cusco)
If you still have a pending balance, you must pay it 2 days before your hike/tour. Otherwise, your trip reservation will not be confirmed.
It would be much appreciated if you pay the trek balance in cash US dollars or local currency at our office in Cusco. You can withdraw some money from several ATMs along Avenida Sol (either in US dollars or local Peruvian Soles). You can pay by credit card or PAYPAL online, but you will have to pay an 5% service charge, charged by VISA and PAYPAL. We do not accept bank checks or payment of the balance by traveler’s checks.
Duffel Bag or Canvas Case
You’ll receive a canvas case or duffel bag during your briefing. Our horses will carry them, and the horsemen will hand them to you when you get to each camp. They measure 60 x 24 x 22 cm (23.6 x 9.45 x 8.66 in).
A maximum of 7 kg / 15.4 lb is allowed for each duffel bag, including the weight of your sleeping bag, sleeping mat, clothes, and other personal items.
Can I store my luggage at your office?
Of course! During the trip, your main luggage can be stored at our office (you can organize it with us on the briefing day or by email) or at your hotel, both free of charge.
Any equipment that you won’t need on the trek can be stored safely in your hotel. Nearly every hotel will provide this service. Don’t leave items of value with your bags; put them in the hotel safe and obtain an itemized receipt (in the unlikely case of theft, many insurance companies require that you have a copy of the receipt itemizing everything). It’s best to put items such as credit cards inside a sealed, signed envelope for extra peace of mind.
Pick up of guests
Salkantay Trekking can pick you up from your hotel, as long as it’s in the Historical Center of Cusco. Your guide will coordinate the pickup time in the briefing session, but please keep in mind that the time may vary between 30 and 45 minutes due to traffic.
Cusco is an old city, meaning it has many narrow cobbled streets. Some hotels and Airbnbs may be located on streets without access to cars or on long, steep slopes, making it difficult to transport luggage. We strongly recommend that you book accommodation with good access.
Group tours are made up of different types of people, then physical conditions and ages can vary. By agreeing to be part of a group tour, you also accept that some people may be faster or slower than you. Therefore, each person can go at their own pace on the route.
It may be the case that a group wishes to modify the tour; however, the guide will be the one who decides, after consulting with all the participants, if such modifications are possible.
Strikes and demonstrations
Strikes and demonstrations are common in Peru, and this may interrupt some of our tours. Roads can be blocked, and train tracks can be taken over. However, we will try to keep your trip as originally planned, even if it means leaving the night before the scheduled date.
Under these circumstances, tours may also be canceled. In case of changes or cancellations, everything will be coordinated with you by our operations department. Your safety is our highest priority, and our decisions will be made to protect it.
Please pay attention to where you leave your things and remember to take everything once you leave our transport, tents or restaurants. You’re the only one responsible for your objects during the tour.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING?
"The Classic Ausangate Trek" can leave any day of the week, from March through January. We don’t operate this itinerary in February because of the rainy season & maintenance of the route.
2023 Land Cost
Group Price: US$ 500.00 per person.
Required Pre-payment: US$ 200.00 per person.
Balance (Cusco): US$ 300.00 (Commonly paid in Cusco after the briefing).
This small-group journey is guaranteed to operate with just two guests.
Notice that PayPal charges a fee of 5%, which we ask the client to cover since it's due to the use of its service. This tax is just for online deposits so that you will pay the remaining in cash (the briefing day in Cusco) without charges.
Extensions & Offers
There are several extensions you can include to your Peru Adventure.
- Rainbow Mountain: US$ 100.00 US$ 80.00
- Sacred Valley: US$ 60.00 US$ 50.00
- City Tour: US$ 30.00 US$ 20.00
There are additional items you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices.
- Sleeping bag:: US$ 25.00
- Walking poles (pair): US$ 25.00
Once your booking has been confirmed, we guarantee the price won’t increase, whatever the circumstances. So please, before booking, ensure you’ve read all our important tour information.
Student discounts apply to anyone 17 years old or younger. To receive the discount, we require a copy or clear photo of the passport at the time of booking. It must be valid and not expire within the travel dates. Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your interest in having an adventure travel experience in Peru curated by Salkantay Trekking. Please take a moment to complete our short form, so one our friendly Adventure Consultants could provide you all the information for your trip of a lifetime in Peru.
Our Pledge | Your privacy is respected and protected. The Salkantay Trekking Company will never share, sell, or make public any of your personal contact information to third parties.
Remember | One of our Travel Experts will contact you soon to confirm the availability of the trip you chose, give you more information, and/or provide you alternative options. Once availability is established, we will ask for a deposit and a completed online registration to confirm your spot on the trek. Please call us at (+51) 958 191 179 with any questions or to confirm availability over the phone.
Note | Due to the rainy season and trail maintenance, we don't offer this trek during the whole month of february. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, we are working to provide you a better service!