Peaceful landscape during the Ausangate trek
10-day adventure

Ausangate Trek

Peru
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Code: PRAG

10 days
3/5

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our UK team

Our local team

Our office in Cuzco was first established in 2012 and now offers a wide range of trekking options in the area including the Inca Trail, Lares Trail, Salkantay Trek and Choquequirao Trek to name just a few. Our team in Peru also provides trips to Lake Titicaca, Rainbow Mountain and the Amazon for those wanting to experience more of the country before travelling home. With quality equipment and highly experienced guides, you are in safe hands from...
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Kandoo's view

The Ausangate trek is an amazing option for those looking for a challenging high altitude hike with several high passes to cross. It is not for the faint hearted and a good level of fitness is required. Lying 100 km south-east of Cuzco is the impressive Cordillera
Vilcanota. The mountain range has several peaks over 6,000 metres, including the sacred Ausangate (6372m) – the highest mountain in the Cuzco region. Ausangate mountain itself is considered a holy mountain (or mountain spirit) by local Peruvians and is the deity of Cusco. Since pre-Inca times the mountain has been a place of worship and offerings.

The trip begins in Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Incan empire. As well as having the opportunity to soak up the local culture, these first three days will also help your body to acclimatise before you begin the trek itself. With five passes over 4500m, this is a pretty difficult trek and is not recommended for first-time trekkers. The trek offers an array of wildlife including soaring condors, vicunas, bobcats and pumas. Camp sites are often beside beautiful blue lakes. You’ll also have the chance to bathe in several hot springs and view the trek’s signature rainbow mountains. And to finish your trek, we travel to Machu Picchu for a tour of the site.

Trip highlights

  • High and wild trekking adventure
  • Visit the Rainbow Mountains of Vinicuna
  • Pre-trek acclimatisation tours in Cuzco and the Sacred Valley

Experiences

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    Hikers in Thorong, during the Annapurnas Tour
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Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Cuzco

    The Kandoo team will meet you at Cuzco airport and transfer you to your pre-trek hotel. Later you will attend a pre-trek briefing with your Lead Guide to prepare you for the challenge ahead

    • Transport: Private transfer
    • Max. altitude: 3400 m
    • Accomodation: Hotel
  • Day 2

    Acclimatisation - Cuzco walking tour

    It is essential that you acclimatise to the altitude before you begin this trek. The city of Cuzco sits at an altitude of 3400m and is a great place to adjust to the altitude. We will take you on a hike to explore the ancient Incan sites around the city to help your acclimatisation. We will pick you up from your hotel and drive to the archeological site of Tambomachay. We will visit the red fort of Puca Pucara, the ceremonial site at Q’enqo and the stunning ruins of Sacsayhuaman as we work our way back to the main plaza in Cuzco

    • Hiking time: 5 - 6 hours
    • Ascent: 200 m
    • Descent: 200 m
    • Max. altitude: 3600 m
    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Acclimatisation - Sacred Valley tour

    We will take a second day to acclimatise and will drive to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, from where we will be able to see the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the snow-capped Mount Salkantay. Our day begins at the ruins of the Inca citadel perched high above the quiet village of Pisaq, a site famous for its agricultural terracing. We move on to Ollantaytambo, the best surviving example of Inca city planning, with narrow cobblestone streets that have been inhabited since the 13th century. Finally we will visit the town of Chinchero where we will meet the indigenous people who still speak the ancient Quechua language and learn about the traditional textile weaving techniques. The church in the main square is built on Incan foundations and houses baroque altars and decorative frescos.

    • Transport: Private transfer (3 hours)
    • Activity time: 5 - 6 hours
    • Ascent: 600 m
    • Descent: 600 m
    • Max. altitude: 3400 m
    • Accomodation: Hotel
    • Meals included: Breakfast
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Trip information

Difficulty

The Ausangate Trek is considered to be a difficult trek. This is mainly because the trail traverses over several high passes, both of which stand above 5,000 metres. The trek is quite long and much of the trail is at high altitude. However, the trail is well defined and no technical climbing is required. A good level of fitness is needed.


Food & drink

Staying well-fed on your trek is absolutely vital, especially when conditions are such that you might not want to eat or drink as much as you should. Because so many trekkers experience a loss of appetite at altitude, our head chef has developed special menu plans that are appealing, healthy, and filled with all the energy you need to make it over so many high passes. By default, our meals include fresh fruit and vegetables every day, as well as fresh meat and fish.


Breakfast is usually fairly hearty. Of course, you’ll also have hot drinks, generally a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Let your guide know if you are still hungry, or even if you think you could ‘pack in a few more bites’. Our cooks always try to provide more food than necessary to ensure everyone gets a good meal. We stop for a freshly-prepared hot lunch which includes soup, a main course with fresh vegetables and a small dessert. You may not want to start walking again afterwards.


Afternoon Tea is served at the end of the day’s walking, once you get to camp. In addition to tea and other hot drinks, there are plenty of snacks to help restore some of the energy you’ve just burned off.


Dinners are quite filling. They usually begin with a nice hearty soup, and then a main course with fresh vegetables, and plenty of rice, pasta or potatoes, followed by a yummy dessert.

On the trek, we filter and boil all the water that we give to you for drinking. You may wish to bring purification tablets as an extra precaution but they are not essential. Every morning we will fill up your water bottles or hydration bladder with at least 2 litres of water.


If you have special dietary requirements or are a vegetarian, you need to let us know when you book so that we can be sure to have a suitable menu planned.

Accommodation

Three nights of hotel stay in Cuzco before your trek, and one after, are included in the price of our Ausangate trek. We include three nights before to let you acclimatise to Cuzco’s already considerable altitude before tackling  the high passes of the Ausangate trek. It also gives you an excellent opportunity to explore the city or do some hiking in surrounding areas.

After completing the Ausangate trek, we will take you to Machu Picchu. We will spend the night at a hotel in Aguas Calientes before heading up to Machu Picchu the following morning.

While we are the trek itself we will be camping. We use only the very best high altitude mountain tents, Eureka K-2 XT, to ensure you stay warm, dry and comfortable on your Ausangate trek. Please bear in mind, these are proper mountain tents, designed to cope with extreme conditions so don’t expect to be able to stand up and walk around inside! Your meals will be taken in a separate mess tent where you will be able to sit comfortably, while you relax and chat to your team mates and enjoy the wholesome food that our cook has freshly prepared for you. Inside, you’ll be pleased to find a table (of course) and a proper, comfortable chair. With a full 2 metres of headroom, even the tallest climbers will be able to stretch a bit, and move about without hunching over. They are fully waterproof, and regularly withstand the worst weather the Andes has to offer. A toilet tent is provided with toilet paper.

Your guide

All Kandoo treks to Machu Picchu are supported by our dedicated and experienced crews. We run high support crew to trekker ratios which allows us to provide a superior service whilst ensuring your safety and comfort throughout the trek. On the Ausangate Trek we use horsemen and mules, to carry gear. All our guides are fluent in English and Spanish.

Transport

We will transfer from Cuzco to the trek start point in Quesiuno by private vehicle.
After the trek, we will drive from Pacchanta to Cuzco, where we will drop off our bags before continuing to Ollantaytambo. From here we will take a train to Aguas Calientes.
The following morning, we will take a public bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.
After our tour of Machu Picchu we will retrace our steps - bus to Aguas Calientes, train to Ollantaytambo and private transfer to Cuzco.

Luggage

Kandoo Adventures operates a strict limit of 7kg for your main equipment bag. This limit includes your sleeping bag, even if it is rented from us. This is more than sufficient for your needs on the trek. Your bag will be weighed before you leave the hotel to start the trek and if it is overweight you will have to take items out and leave them at the hotel. Your main equipment bag will be carried by a mule each day.

How do I get there?

There are two good ways to get to Cuzco from Europe or the UK. The first is to fly KLM to Lima with a stopover in Amsterdam. The second is to fly BA who offer direct flights from Gatwick to Lima or Iberia who fly to Lima via Madrid. From Lima you will have to get a domestic flight to Cuzco. Domestic airlines include LATAM, Avianca, Star Peru or Peruvian Air. We recommend flying with LATAM as their planes have the capability to land in the foggy conditions that can affect Cuzco and Lima. Most flights from Europe land in the evening, local time. Most flights for Cuzco don’t leave until the morning, so if you don’t fancy loitering in the airport all night (which we do not recommend), you’ll need an overnight stay in Lima.

Trekkers starting off in North America have a much wider set of options. American Airlines and US Airways both offer flights into Lima, as do several other carriers. In addition to existing security measures at international airports, passengers MAY be required to show that the electronic devices in their hand luggage are charged up. You may therefore be asked to turn on any electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets, e-books and laptops in front of the security team and/or demonstrate the item’s functionality. We recommend that any electronic devices that you are carrying in your hand luggage are fully charged before you travel. If you have any further questions then you should check with your departure airport.

Tips

We realize that tipping may not be a common practice in all countries but for Peru it is a standard practice that all operators support. The decision on how much to tip should be determined by how well the team served you while you were on the trek. Tips are always discretionary and if you are not happy with the service you have received you do not have to pay tips. Tips can be made in US dollars or Peruvian Sols. It is very important that US bills be new (post 2006), crisp and untorn.


We will provide you with a tip guidance sheet before you travel which will let you know the size of your crew and the recommended tip amount for each crew member.


We say goodbye to our crew at Pacchanta, before we return to Cuzco. Any tips that you wish to give to the cook and arrieros will need to be carried on the trek with you.

Formalities & health

Passport

Unlike many other countries where Kandoo operates, there is no requirement that your passport be valid for 6 months longer than your expected stay. As long as it is valid through your departure date, you are fine.

If you are coming into Peru from Ecuador, get your passport stamped for entry at the local immigration office nearest your border crossing. Most enter this way through Aguas Verdes in the Tumbes region. Make sure you find your way to the immigration office there, as if your passport is not stamped you will have to go back to the Ecuador border if your papers are inspected. You may also have trouble if you do not have a valid exit stamp from the country you left before coming to Peru.

Those entering overland from Columbia generally enter through Leticia. You will need to get your passport stamped in Santa Rosa, on the Columbia/Brazil/Peru border. Please keep in mind that Santa Rosa is rather under-policed, and tourists should avoid isolated places, and travel only in groups.

Lastly, if you are crossing into Peru from Bolivia by road, you will need to visit the immigration office for the Puno region, in Desaguadero.

Visa

British and EU nationals do not need a visa to come to Peru as a tourist. You can get permission to visit upon arrival at the airport, and the duration is usually up to six months. American citizens and nationals do not need a visa either so long as they have a valid US passport, but will generally only get permission to stay as a tourist for 90 days. Still, this is usually plenty of time.

Vaccinations

You must though consult your own GP or medical adviser. Your GP will understand your overall fitness levels and any health issues you may have, and will be able to give you much more specific advice about what vaccinations or other medications you need, and which you should not have. When in doubt, ask your doctor!

That having been said, the following is a list of common vaccinations that are useful to many travellers in Peru and surrounding countries, and some specifics about each.

Hepatitis A and B
Kandoo recommends all travellers to the Andes region are vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B.

Typhoid
Typhoid is also present in the region, and it is a good idea for all travellers to be immunised against it.

Yellow Fever
Yellow fever is a problem in the area, especially in regions like the Amazon, the areas around Cuzco (but not the city itself), Loreto, Madre de Dios, north-eastern Ancash, northern Apurimac, northern and north-eastern Ayacucho, northern and eastern Cajamarca, the far north of Huancavelica, most of Huanuco, the north and east of Junin, the east of La Libertad, most of Pasco eastern Piura and northern Puno, as well as San Martin and Ucayali. Anyone travelling to these areas should be vaccinated against yellow fever, unless given specific medical advice otherwise.

Lambayeque, Tumbes, and certain parts of Cajamarca and Piura are less at risk, and only those who can expect to be bitten by large numbers of mosquitoes specifically need to be vaccinated.

Lastly, you will not need yellow fever vaccination if you will be above 2300 metres of elevation for your whole stay, or if you will only be visiting Cuzco, Lima, Machu Picchu and/or the Inca Trail.

Rabies
Trekkers who will be spending a great deal of time out of doors, who will for some reason be dealing with bats, or who are otherwise at risk of being bitten by animals, should be vaccinated against rabies.

MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
If you have not already had the MMR vaccine and were born after 1956, you should have two doses.

Tetanus-diphtheria
This vaccine should be taken if you have not had the tetanus-diphtheria jab in the last ten years.

Insurance

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully and adequately insured for the duration of your trip. Please ensure that all activities, excursions and destinations in your itinerary are included in your travel insurance policy, in addition to your regular cover for cancellation and medical expenses. Most of our treks in Peru do not exceed 4700m with the exception of the Ausangate Trek which will reach 5200m. Please ensure that your insurance policy covers you for trekking at these altitudes.

We ask that you keep a copy of your policy summary (containing policy number and the emergency contact number for your insurer) in your day sack at all times, so that we can access this information should we need to contact the insurer on your behalf.

Health

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness, called soroche in Peru and also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or hypobaropathy, is an illness caused by exposure to low air pressure, especially low partial pressure of oxygen, which many climbers experience at high altitudes. AMS is caused by exerting yourself at high altitudes, especially if you have not been properly acclimatised. It is most common at altitudes above 2400 metres. Our routes have been designed to aid your acclimatisation wherever possible, but the following will also help your body adjust:

Slow and steady. You need to keep your respiration rate low enough to maintain a normal conversation. If you are panting or breathing hard, you must slow down. There is no pressure on you to keep up with other members of your group.

Drink much more water than you think you need. Proper hydration helps acclimatisation dramatically. You need to drink at least three litres each day.

Diamox

There has been a lot of research on Diamox that shows is that it has been reasonably well proven to be helpful in avoiding AMS by speeding up the acclimatisation process. In the UK it is a prescription drug which must be prescribed by a doctor, but some doctors are reluctant to prescribe it. The concern is that by taking Diamox, people believe that they are immune from AMS and can ignore the symptoms. In reality, although Diamox can help prevent the symptoms, should symptoms still develop it means that you are not acclimatising and you have to take notice. Diamox is taken before you start the trek to prevent altitude sickness, not once symptoms have developed.

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in Cuzco or on our treks due to the altitude. However, there is a risk of malaria in rural areas of Peru below 2,000m. This would include Tambopata National Park, so if you are planning an extension to the Amazon Rainforest, you need to plan anti-malarial medication for this part of your trip. In addition to taking medication, we would recommend you take every precaution to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved trousers and shirts at dusk and dawn when the mosquitos are active, and by using a DEET based mosquito repellent.

Dehydration

You can easily become dehydrated at high altitudes. The lower air pressure forces you to breathe more quickly and deeply, and you lose a lot of water through your lungs. You will also be exerting yourself, and sweating, and may even suffer from diarrhoea. As a result, you will have to drink much more water than you normally would and you should drink at least 3 litres of fluids every day while climbing. Even when you do not feel thirsty you have to drink this amount as a minimum – preferably more. Stay on the look-out for signs of dehydration in yourself and your fellow climbers. The most common symptoms include thirst, dry lips, nose or mouth, headache and feeling fatigued or lethargic.

Equipment & clothing

Equipment supplied by Kandoo Adventures

Sleeping tent
Insulated sleeping mat

Clothing to bring

HEADGEAR
  • Warm beanie style hat – knitted or fleece
  • Neck gaiter or scarf - comes in useful for keeping dust out and can double as a warm layer for your neck / face
  • Sun hat – preferably wide-brimmed for protection
  • Sunglasses – high UV protection
  • Headlamp (plus extra batteries)

UPPER BODY
  • Thermal or fleece base layer (x1)
  • Long sleeve shirt/tshirt – light or medium weight, moisture wicking (x 1)
  • Short sleeved shirt/tshirt – lightweight, moisture wicking (x2)
  • Fleece or soft shell jacket (x1)
  • Insulated jacket – down or primaloft
  • Lightweight water/windproof hard shell outer jacket
  • Poncho – a cheap plastic poncho is the best way to cope with a sudden downpour
  • Gloves – lightweight, fleece or quick drying fabric

LEGS
  • Trekking shorts (x1)
  • Trekking trousers - light or medium weight (x1)
  • Waterproof hard shell trousers

FEET
  • Trekking boots – mid weight with good ankle support
  • Training shoe or similar – to wear around camp
  • Mid-weight trekking socks (x3 pairs)
  • Breathable, high-wicking liner socks (x2 pairs)

Equipment to bring

  • Small Rucksack or Daypack (25-30 litres) - to carry water and personal items
  • Lightweight duffle bag (approx 50 litres) – max weight when full should be 7kg. This weight restriction includes your sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag (3 season or 0 Deg C) and compression sack
  • Trekking poles
  • Water bottle or hydration bag – must be able to carry 1.5-2L of water
  • Sunscreen high SPF
  • Toiletries, including toilet paper, wet wipes and hand sanitiser – please carry all rubbish back off the trek
  • Camera and spare batteries
  • Personal medication and first aid kit
  • Insect repellent – ideally contains DEET
  • Personal snacks and energy bars – dried fruit and nuts are also a good source of energy
  • Isotonic drink powder / energy drink powder to mix in with your water. This improves flavour and helps replace electrolytes
  • Microfibre towel for wiping hands and face each day
  • Ear plugs, if you are a light sleeper
  • Pee bottle, if you prefer not leaving the tent at night
  • Dry bag (only required if your main duffle bag is not waterproof)

Price

Ideal travel time:
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
Prices start from £1499 / $1885 per person

Want to add flights or create a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!

Contact us

Price includes

  • Hotel accommodation for three nights before and one night after your trek on a B&B basis
  • Prices are based on 2 people sharing a twin room and tent
  • Transfers to and from your trek start point
  • Service of our qualified guides, cooks and horsemen
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner on the trek. Drinking water on the trek
  • Private toilet tent for use by the group
  • Access to emergency oxygen and first aid kit
  • Inflatable sleeping mat
  • Standard return train between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes
  • Hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes for one night on a B&B basis
  • Machu Picchu entrance fee
  • Return airport transfers

Price does not include

  • International airfare and departure taxes
  • Entry visa for Peru (not required for UK, USA, Canadian, Australian or EU passport holder. Other nationalities may require a visa)
  • Personal trekking insurance (must cover trekking to 5200m)
  • Permit to climb Huayna Picchu is not included but can be booked separately
  • Single tent and hotel occupancy requires an additional supplement and must be requested at time of booking
  • Tips for the crew
  • Personal hiking/trekking gear/ sleeping bags (sleeping bags available to rent in Peru)
  • Meals, snacks and drinks not specified
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Personal medicine

Options

If you’ve decided to rent gear, then below is a list of equipment available. Just let our team know what you’d like to hire at your Pre-Trek Briefing. 


All payments are made locally in US Dollars (cash only):

  • 0° Sleeping Bags - $15 per trek
  • Trekking Poles - $10 per trek
  • Duffle Bag - $5 per trek