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Ausangate Trek

Ausangate Trek

Experience this Ausangate Cusco trek with us as we take you to one of the most pristine landscapes in the country, visiting the most sacred and highest peaks of the Cusco´s region. The trek leads you to the inca mount Ausangate or Apu Ausangate; “apu” means a natural deity or Spirit of the mountain. It is considered the most sacred of the whole region.  In Inka´s mythology, male energy is born exactly from the mountain and the near lagoons to fertilize Pachamama (Mother Earth).


The Ausangate mountain reaching 6,372 m.a.s.l. is the fifth-highest peak of Peru! It is situated about 100 kilometers south of the Cusco City in the Cordillera Vilcanota. It lies in the heartland of the Q'eros people, probably the only contemporary culture of the Inca´s culture that has survived until nowadays!

On the way, you can observe stunning snowy peaks, turquoise mountain lagoons, numerous hot springs, herds of llamas, alpacas and vicuñas (Andean cameloids) and vizcachas (a rodent specie belonging to the family of chinchillas), loads of species of birds such as the Andean Condor or the Andean Geese. We also meet native people of remote Andean communities wearing colorful traditional clothes.


This Ausangate trek in Peru is probably the most challenging hike in Cusco Peru Wikitravel! It is designated for those who have already experienced some hiking; it is not recommended to beginners. You need a sufficient dose of adrenaline as you hike up three passes above 4,500 meters above sea level (15,000 feet)! However, the trip is supported by horses for your convenience! To cope with extreme climatic conditions, we provide you with the most modern quality camping equipment and a very balanced and energetic diet. 

If you like to follow a quite different trek in Cusco, then do not hesitate and join the trek! You will not regret!!!


Ausangate Trek Oveview

Group Size: Min 2 and Max. 8 trekkers.

Sustainable Tourism: Inca Trail Machu is very keen and happy to promote and practice sustainable tourism by being eco-friendly and supporting local communities

Crew: A Inca Trail Machu representative in Cusco and a professional Tour Guide, a Cook, and a Muleteer for the Ausangate Trek.

Accommodation: Campsites (6 nights).

Meals: 6x breakfast, 6x lunch, 6x dinner, 6x afternoon tea (Please allow USD 20 - 40 for meals not included).

Transportation: Transportation by the private van as well as by a local bus.

Camping equipment: You can view our Ausangate Trek camping equipment


Quick Itinerary 

Day 01: Cusco - Ocongate - Tinki 

Day 02: Tinki - Upis - Hot Springs

Day 03: Hot Springs - Pucaqocha Lagoon

Day 04: Pucaqocha Lagoon - Palomani Pass - Jampa Valley

Day 05: Jampa Valley - Pachaspata - Qomercocha Lagoon

Day 06: Qomercocha Lagoon - Pacchanta

Day 07: Pacchanta - Tinki - Cusco


Important info about your Trek:

  • 7 days hiking to the most sacred Inca mountain of the Cusco´s region - Ausangate
  • A genuine outdoor adventure and the most adrenaline trek in Cusco
  • Meeting people of the ancient Q'eros culture
  • A trek with an experienced Tour Guide, a Cook, a Horseman and horses
  • Enjoying spectacular mountain sceneries of high snowy peaks, glaciers, big turquoise lagoons and high passes over 5,000 metres
  • The most pristine nature of Peru
  • Bird-watching
  • Observation of herds of Andean cameloids such as alpacas, lamas and vicuñas as well as vizcachas (a family of chinchillas)  
  • A refresh in many hot springs along the way

What makes the Ausangate trek attractive and important?

It is simply that words are missing, to describe so much natural wonder, far from the city, for a place where the wind whispers to you, the Apu takes care of you, the God Inti guides you and nature shows you all its attributes. That is, this walk has it all, for example: beautiful landscapes, an infinity of flora and fauna, a variety of climates, from cold to warm, from dry to rainy, and all that will be seen on the days of walking.


In addition, on the path of this walk we will visit communities that live high in the high mountains of the Peruvian Andes. It is here where the customs and traditions of the place are still intact.


Highlights by Archaeological Sites 

  • Explore the Sacred Ausangate Mountain 
  • Visit the Wari culture 
  • Visit the Pucaqocha Lagoon 
  • Visit the Jampa Valley 
  • Visit the Qomerqocha Lagoon 
  • Obtain beautiful views from Sacred Ausangate Mountain 
  • Best moment from the Trek 
  • Hiking the challenging tour among lagoons and amazing landscapes

Machu Picchu Extension 

Occasionally we offer the Ausangate trek in conjunction with a visit to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. If you have a little more time on your hands and want to see the magnificent ruins then this a great option for trekkers. The itinerary is almost identical to the one above until you get to the final day when things change slightly. Instead of trekking from Pajchanta to Tinki, you trek from Pajchanta to Laguna Armaccocha. We reccomend to book this tour at least 3 months in advance, since Machu Picchu tickets 2023 sold out faster.


Interesting Information



Day 01: Cusco - Ocongate - Tinki
Inca Trail Machu

We board a private vehicle early in the morning (around 5 am) to set out in travelling to the Andean village of Tinki. First, we follow a road towards Puno passing the Wari´s culture ruins of Pikillacta and later the colonial towns of Andahuaylillas and Huaro (we may spend some time visiting them). Then, we continue to the village of Urcos (a major bus road junction) where we stop for a while to appreciate a colourful local market. Afterwards, we turn on a dusty road (that leads to Puerto Maldonado) to continue uphill until we reach some highland small villages observing shepherds and weavers there. In the afternoon, we continue towards Ocongate, a capital of the district, passing some pitoresque villages along the Watanay River and beautiful areas of cultivated fields. Finally, we get to our first campsite at Tinki (3,850 m) completing a 145 kilometre ride like that.



Estimated trekking time: 1 hour
Trekking distance: 1 km
Max. elevation: 3,850 m (12,631 ft)
Min. elevation: 3,399 m (11,152 ft)
Difficulty: Easy

Day 02: Tinki - Upis - Hot Springs
Inca Trail Machu

Our today´s trail starts crossing the "puna" or highland meadow approaching the foothill of the impressive sacred Ausangate Mountain (or Apu Ausangate; "apu" is a natural deity in Andean mythology) offering amazing views of a rolling landscape. Below, we can view some lamas, alpacas, vicuñas and paqochas (Andean cameloids). Continuing the hike, the trail take us up passing some Andean villages where we can still see many traditional customs. Later on, we reach a small village of Upis (4,140 m), from where we can enjoy stunning views of the Apu Ausangate (6,372 m/20,906 ft)! Afterwards, we walk to nearby hot springs where we set a campsite and obviously enjoy a dip in thermal waters!!

Estimated trekking time: 5 hours
Trekking distance: 16 km
Max. elevation: 4,140 (13,583 ft)
Min. elevation:  3,850 m (12,631 ft)
Difficulty: Difficult

Day 03: Hot Springs - Pucaqocha Lagoon
Inca Trail Machu

After early breakfast, we ascend for two and half an hour towards the high Arapa Pass (4,850 m)! From there, we start descending to the Pucaqocha Lagoon, also called Hatun Pucaqocha (4,605 m) enjoying splendid views of the western iced-fall of Ausangate. Then, we set a campsite on the shores of the lagoon where we have a chance to watch many Andean bird species.

Estimated trekking time: 5 hours
Trekking distance: 16 km
Max. elevation: 4,850 m (15,912 ft)
Min. elevation:  4,140 (13,583 ft)
Difficulty: Difficult

Day 04: Pucaqocha Lagoon - Palomani Pass - Jampa Valley
Inca Trail Machu

After breakfast, we first ascend to the Alcatani Pass (4,650 m) to later descend to the glacier lagoon of Ausangate qocha. Afterwards, we climb up again, this time to reach the highest point of the entire Ausangate Trek which is the Palomani Pass (5,050 m)!! There, we can enjoy magnific views of the south-eastern ridge of the Apu Ausangate! Finally, we climb down to the Jampa Valley (4,600 m) admiring Andean dwellers wearing typical cloths of this region as well as plenty of sheep, lamas, alpacas and paqochas before we get to a place of our today´s camping laying within the valley.

Estimated trekking time: 7 hours
Trekking distance: 20 km
Max. elevation: 5,050 m (16,568 ft)
Min. elevation: 4,600 m (15,092 ft)
Difficulty: Challenging

Day 05: Jampa Valley - Pachaspata - Qomercocha Lagoon
Inca Trail Machu

Today, we circle northwest along the Ticllacocha Lagoon and over the last pass - Jampa (4,650 m). From there, we continue hiking to the Pacchaspata Pampa where we set up a campsite on the shores of the splendid turquoise lagoon of Q'omercocha (4,580 m). 

Estimated trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking distance: 15 km
Max. elevation: 4,650 m (15,256 ft)
Min. elevation: 4,580 m (15,026 ft)
Difficulty: Difficult

Day 06: Qomercocha Lagoon - Pacchanta
Inca Trail Machu

After having breakfast, we start descending towards the small village of Pacchanta (4,300 m) observing spectacular highland sceneries on the way. When we reach Pachanta, we continue to its hot springs to enjoy a dip. From there, we have an opportunity to view the powerful Ausangate mountains. We camp oveernight.

Estimated trekking time: 7 hours
Trekking distance: 15 km
Max. elevation: 4,580 m (15,026 ft)
Min. elevation: 4,300 m (14,108 ft)
Difficulty: Moderate


Day 07: Pacchanta - Tinki - Cusco
Inca Trail Machu

Just a short hike awaits us today to take us back to Tinki (3,850 m) where we board our vehicle bringing us back to Cusco. You get to your hotel in the late afternoon.


Estimated trekking time: 4 hours
Trekking distance: 8 km
Max. elevation: 4,300 m (14,108 ft)
Min. elevation: 3,399 m (11,152 ft)
Difficulty: Easy


What is included in this hike?
Inca Trail Machu

  • Pre-trek briefing with your Tour Guide.
  • Transfer by private vehicle to Tinki - the initial point of the trek.
  • Accommodation: Campsites (6 nights).
  • Meals: 6x breakfast, 6x lunch, 6x dinner, and 6x afternoon hot beverages (Please advice us in advance if you are a vegetarian; this option is for NO extra additional cost).
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide.
  • Professional Cook.
  • A Horseman.
  • Horses to carry food, camping and cooking equipment, and 7 kg of each passenger's belongings.
  • Camping equipment: personal double tents, tables, chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining, toilet tents, and bottled gas.
  • Food.
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C).
  • Inflatable sleeping roll mattress (Air mattress)
  • A pair of Hiking Poles
  • A Blanket (Polar warm)
  • Air Pillow
  • Rain Poncho
  • A Hot-water bottle (In the night our cook will provide this bottle for your sleeping bag, )
  • Return transport from Tinki to Cusco

Not Included:
Inca Trail Machu

  • Breakfast on day 1 and lunch on the last day.
  • International and domestic flights nor airport departure taxes.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Tips to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory).
  • Other extras are not mentioned.

Meal budget: Please allow USD 20-25 for meals not included.

Solo Traveler: Please note that if you have booked the "Solo Traveler" option for this trek, you receive your own single tent for all nights.

Local flights: No local flights are included in the trek´s price.

Ausangate Trek Map
Inca Trail Machu


The snowy Ausangate
Inca Trail Machu

Ausangate is the second-highest mountain in Cusco (and the fifth-largest in Peru). Its top reaches 6,385 meters above sea level. It is approximately 100 kilometers from the city of Cusco. It belongs to the Cordillera del Vilcanota, characteristic geography of colorful mountains and pure-water lagoons. Perhaps the most famous attraction of the place is Vinicunca, the mountain of 7 colors.


The waters of the snowy Ausangate feed the lagoons that are distributed around it. From each of the lagoons of this tourist circuit, part of the immense snow can be seen. For the Incas, Ausangate was sacred. It was a divine being that ruled the life and death of people. Many of these beliefs are still preserved today. The people of Cusco bow humbly before each mountain, just as their Inca ancestors did.

Where is Ausangate located?
Inca Trail Machu

The snowy Ausangate is located about 100 kilometers southeast of the city of Cusco in the district of Ocongate, province of Quispicanquis, department of Cusco, it is also part of the Vilcanota mountain range.

Weather in the Nevado Ausangate in Cusco
Inca Trail Machu

There are only two seasons at this latitude, one dry and one wet with lots of rain (and high-altitude snow) that last roughly from November to March. We normally only operate from April to October when there is a good chance of great weather. Occasional showers can occur at any time of the year.


The temperatures at Nevado Ausangate in Cusco vary very little during the day, but there can be considerable changes between day and night. The temperature in the dry season (our winter) often falls below freezing at night. Although, it can be quite warm and pleasant during the day. The nights are very long and cold at this latitude.

Flora and Fauna in Ausangate in Cusco Peru
Inca Trail Machu

Flora and fauna agriculture is intensive and focuses on the production of a wide variety of tubers, including goose and potatoes. Many llamas can be seen throughout the circuit, offering a unique touch to the local landscape.

Ausangate height
Inca Trail Machu

With an elevation of 6,384 meters, the Ausangate is located about 100 kilometers southeast of the City of Cusco, in the Cusco region, Canchis province, Pitumarca district, and in the Quispicanchi province, Ocongate district.


Heights on the Ausangate trek

Most of the Ausangate trek is at an elevation above 4,000m; it crosses three passes above 5,000m, the highest of which is 5,200m. In the mountains, the weather can change quickly. At this elevation of Ausangate, temperatures can reach lows of -15 ° C and lower at night.

The 7 lagoons in Ausangate
Inca Trail Machu

What are they?

The set of lagoons that make up this tourist attraction are fed by the thaw of the immense Ausangate snow-capped mountain, the highest in Cusco (whose summit reaches 6,384 meters above sea level). The local peoples decided to take advantage of the natural beauty of the place to create a circuit of 7 lagoons that are: the Pucacocha lagoon, the Patacocha lagoon, the Alqacocha lagoon, the Qomercocha lagoon, the orco otorongo lagoon, the Chinese otorongo lagoon and the blue cocha lagoon.


Where are they found?

The circuit of the 7 lagoons is located approximately 100 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco. It belongs to the province of Quispicanchis, in the town of Pacchanta. The town is 4,200 meters above sea level. At the top, the snowy Ausangate stands out, which provides water to the lagoons.


How to get?

The best way to go is through an all-inclusive tour to the 7 lagoons of Cusco. If you decide to go on your own, you must take a public transport to the town of Tinke (just 9 kilometers from the Ocongate district). Once there, you must take a ‘collective taxi’ to the town of Pacchanta. The 2-hour walk begins there, touring the ‘Circuit’.


Circuit of the 7 lagoons

  • Pucacocha Lagoon - The first lagoon of the circuit, which is also known as the chocolate lagoon. This is due to the color of its waters, similar to that of chocolate. It is approximately 4,500 meters above sea level.
  • Patacocha Lagoon - The next lagoon is approximately 4,860 meters above sea level. Its waters are clearer. The snowy Ausangate can be seen more clearly than in the first lagoon.
  • Alqacocha Lagoon - This lagoon is located approximately 4,750 meters above sea level. Due to the altitude, the cold begins to descend. Each lagoon has a spectacular view of the snow-capped mountain and the Vilcanota mountain range.
  • Laguna Qomercocha - The next lagoon in the circuit has a name that, translated from Quechua to Spanish, means 'Green Lagoon'. Its name is due to the turquoise color of its waters. It is 4,666 meters above sea level. It has one of the best views of the place.
  • Orco otorongo lagoon - This small lagoon, due to its shape and surrounding landscape, has the shape and fur (the spots) of an otorongo, a feline that inhabits the jungles of America. The lagoon is located 4,620 meters above sea level. Its name refers to the male otorongo.
  • China otorongo lagoon - Near the previous lagoon is the ‘china otorongo’ lagoon, which refers to the female of this American feline. The panoramic views of both lagoons are impressive. They are ideal for taking pictures.
  • Laguna Azul cocha - The last of the circuit of the 7 lagoons has a dark blue color of its waters. The beauty of this lagoon, as well as its mountainous landscape around it, is highly appreciated by tourists who are often photographed here.


Wildlife in the lagoons

The circuit of the 7 lagoons, and the Vilcanota mountain range, is home to several species of wild and domesticated animals. It should be noted, first of all, the presence of camelids such as the llama and the alpaca (both domestic animals) as well as the vicuña, a wild species with extremely valuable fur. They usually graze in the immense expanses of icchu, or wild straw from the Andes. It should be noted the existence of other species such as the vizcacha (a rabbit-like rodent) and even the Andean condor.


The thermal baths of Pacchanta

The town of Pacchanta offers one of the most famous thermal baths in Cusco. These receive the hot waters of the snowy Ausangate itself. It has only two water wells with temperatures that vary from 40ºC. The wonder of the place are the views towards the snowy Ausangate. The price of the entrance ticket is only 5 Peruvian soles (2 dollars, approximately). It has dressing rooms, sale of snacks, drinks and bathrooms.

Encampment Equipment
Inca Trail Machu

Inca Trail Machu Tour operator will provide the double tent. Our tents are of the brand  EUREKA MOUNTAIN PASS 3XTE designated for 4 seasons. We provide with 3 person-capacity tents; however, just 2 trek participants use it! In this way, we provide you more space and comfort. In case of a single traveler, we provide with a 2-person capacity tent. After each trek, we carefully check our tents and fix them if necessary
Inca Trail Machu will provide a clean Sleeping bag, Inflatable pillow, and blanket. Our porters will leave inside your tent. Once arrived to the camping, you will find inside your all camping equipment.


Packing List:

  • Passport: Carry it is very important 
  • Immigration Card ISIC card: If you booked as a student 
  • Good hiking shoes: Comfortable and useful on all terrain 
  • Sunscreen: Avoid the ultraviolet ray 
  • Coca leaf
  • Clothing required for the 7 days of walking, warm clothes.
  • Jacket or poncho for the rain
  • Camera, camcorder, batteries
  • Hats to protect from the sun, rain, and cold
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper
  • Small towel
  • Cookies, chocolates and candies
  • Mineral water


  • Walking sticks or poles cost $20 to rent.
  • Daypack for your hike U$ 10
  • Rain Poncho U$ 10 
  • There are emergency porters available for rent along this trek if you are unsure you will be able to complete the hike, cost $80.

Best Time to do the Ausangate Trek 

Like most trek in the region, the best time to do the Ausangate trek is in the dry months between May and September. Unlike other popular treks, the Ausangate trek is very quite, even in peak season. In the shoulder months of April and October weather is still pleasant and the trek is very possible. However, because of its altitude you’ll have to contend with freezing nights, even in the dry season.
Because of the altitude and snow, the trek is best avoided in the wetter colder season between November and February. Temperatures during the day in the dry months are usually quite mild and visibility is very high. Because of the height you’ll want to make sure you are wearing layers, especially for the colder nights.

Acclimatisation and Altitude Sickness 

The Ausangate trek is one of the highest altitude treks in Peru and obviously comes with certain altitude sickness risks. Altitude acclimatization is the key factor in ensuring you have a safe and enjoyable trek. We suggest that you take a while to read our detailed guidance article on altitude sickness and acclimatisation.


Acclimatization is necessary in Cusco, two days before starting the tour. For a good acclimatization it is necessary to rest as much as possible, eat little, drink plenty of fluids; especially the mate de coca that has known healing and digestive properties. An adequate acclimatization prevents it from affecting the "soroche" or altitude sickness, which could cause numerous discomforts to health.


Altitudes in Ausangate Trek

During Ausangate Trek, we will find the following altitudes:

  • “Tinki” at 3,850 m.a.s.l.
  • “Upis” at 4,140 m.a.s.l.
  • "Ausangate" at 6,372 m.a.s.l.
  • "Arapa Pass" at 4,850 m.a.s.l.
  • "Hatun Pucaqocha" at 4,605 m.a.s.l.
  • "Alcatani Pass" at 4,650 m.a.s.l.
  • "Palomani Pass" at 5,050 m.a.s.l.
  • “Jampa” at 4,650 m.a.s.l.
  • “Pacchanta” at 4,300 m.a.s.l.

How is the weather during the Ausangate Trek? 

Semi-tropical, warm and humid days and cold nights with constant rain throughout the year-
Minimum temperature: Between -5 ° C to 5 ° C (June) 
Maximum temperature: Between 15ºC to 20ºC (June) 
Rains: November to April

How difficult is the Ausangate Trek?

The route to the Ausangate mountain is a 100 km road, which starts in Cusco and the difficulty of the activity fluctuates between the levels: moderate to difficult. However, the experience of the journey is unique, since it allows to see beautiful snowy peaks, thermal waters, and reach a maximum height of 5 200 meters above sea level, offering a great view of the surroundings.

How many kilometers is walked during the Ausangate Trek and how many hours do we walk per day?

  • Cusco to Tinki: 1 Km (Trekking time: 1 hour)
  • Tinki to Hot Springs: 16 Km (Trekking time: 5 hours)
  • Hot Springs to Pucaqocha Lagoon: 16 Km (Trekking time: 5 hours)
  • Pucaqocha Lagoon to Jampa Valley: 20 Km (Trekking time: 7 hours)
  • Jampa Valley to Qomercocha Lagoon: 15 Km (Trekking time: 6 hours)
  • Qomercocha Lagoon to Pacchanta: 15 km (Trekking time: 7 hours)
  • Pacchanta to Cusco: 8 Km (Trekking time: 4 hours)

Can I do this trek in a shorter time?

The full circuit consists in doing a loop around Ausangate. With honesty, the best scenery is at the back side of Ausangate.  

You can do the trek as short or long as you want which means you can do a 4 day or up to 6 days. I think at least 5 days is better as you will have more time to enjoy the scenery.


How long in advance do I have to book this trek?

Unlike the Inca Trail Book 2023, hikers does not need a permit to do the Ausangate trek. We will start the trek with two people. It is likely that you will see others maybe a couple of other groups doing this trek only but not so many people like in Salkantay Trek 2023 or Inca Trail.


Trekking Insurance 

Insurance for your trek to Ausangate is a must. We require you to carry sufficient travel insurance for your trek. As the trail go over high 6,300 m passes, you will need to make sure your insurance covers you for high altitude hiking (up to 6000m). We have reviewed a number of travel insurance providers. The most affordable and best by far is World Nomads

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