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Kandoo Adventures: June 1st 2020

Plan your trek on the Ausangate trail

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. You will be rewarded by quiet, uncrowded trails, spectacular glacial lakes, stunning snow-capped peaks and the unusual red scree landscapes of the Rainbow Mountains of Vinicuna. And with this tour, we will drive you from the end of the trek to visit Machu Picchu. 

We offer the Ausangate trek as a private tour only. No open groups.

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Trip dossier, route maps and profile

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Ausangate Trek Animated Route Map
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Ausangate trek and The Rainbow Mountain - Kandoo Adventures Route Profile

Frequently asked questions

The questions and answers below specifically relate to the Ausangate trail. For more general questions about trekking to Machu Picchu see here.


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.


The total trek distance is 28 miles or 46 kilometres.


The Ausangate trek passes through some of the wildest and rarely hiked areas of Peru. The trail traverses the Cordillera Vilcanota – a group of mountains lying south-east of Cusco. Snow-capped peaks, low alpine valleys, stunning blue lakes and traditional Peruvian villages are just some of the things you can expect to see. The highlight is the colourful patterns that can be seen on some of the lower mountains deep into the trek.


No permit is required for the Ausangate trek.


The Ausangate trek is one of the quietest treks in the region, however, we still recommend booking at least 1 month in advance.


The trail is generally quiet throughout the year. The best time to trek is during the dry season from May to September.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1Arrive 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.

Day 2Acclimatisation day - Cuzco walking tour

On the Ausangate trek we will be trekking at 5000m on most days, so it is essential that you acclimatise to the altitude before you begin the 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, where we will begin our hike.  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.

  • Elevation: From 3400 metres to 3600 metres
  • Trekking distance: 7 kilometres
  • Trekking time: 5 to 6 hours
Day 3Acclimatisation day - 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.

Day 4Drive from Cuzco to Quesiuno, trek to Anantapata via Rainbow Mountains

We leave Cuzco around 6:00 am as we have a 3½ hour drive to reach the starting point of our trek at Quesiuno where we will meet our team of local horsemen. Once the horsemen have prepared the bags and equipment, we will begin trekking. It will take us 2-3 hours to trek to the Vinicunca Pass (5000m), where we will have our first sight of the famous Rainbow Mountains of Vinicunca, with their multi-coloured layers of rock sediment. On a clear day, we will also have amazing views of the snow-capped Apu Ausangate. There will be time to rest and take plenty of photographs before we continue our trek. We will hike for 2 hours to the Surimani Ccocha where we will stop for lunch. We will then ascend again to cross Warmysaya Pass (5000m) before our final downhill trek for 2-3 hours to our campsite at Anantapata.

  • Elevation: From 3400 metres to 4700 metres
  • Trekking sitance: 16 kilometres
  • Trekking time: 7 to 8 hours
  • Highest point: 5000 metres (Vinicunca Pass)
Day 5From Anantapata to Ausangate Cocha

After an early breakfast, it will take 3 hours to trek to the Pucacocha Pass (4900m). Today is another day of spectacular views, as we are surrounded by stunning scenery – glacial lakes and high mountains, including the mighty Apu Ausangate (6384m). We may come across herds of llamas and alpacas, as the herdsmen use these trails to trade with agricultural farmers. We will descend close to Pucacocha Lake where we will stop to have lunch. After lunch we continue trekking for another 4 hours to arrive to Ausangate Cocha campsite.

  • Elevation: From 4700 metres to 4200 metres
  • Trekking distance: 14 kilometres
  • Trek time: 7 to 8 hours
  • Highest point: 4900 metres (Pucacocha Pass)
Day 6From Ausangate Cocha to Sorapampa

Leaving the beautiful azure Laguna Ausangatecocha behind we climb to our second pass, and the highest point of our trek, the Palomani Pass, at 5200 metres. From here we can see the Cordillera Vilcanota mountain range, including the peaks of Caracol and Mariposa. We descend from the pass into the broad green valley of Pampacancha, which is set amongst glacial moraines at an altitude of 4510 metres. Here, we are close to the base camp that is used for expeditions to Mount Ausangate. We continue to our campsite at Sorapampa.

  • Elevation: From 4200 metres to 4000 metres
  • Trekking distance: 16 kilometres
  • Trek time: 8 to 9 hours
  • Highest point: 5200 metres (Palomani Pass)
Day 7From Sorapampa to Pacchanta

We pass through the small community of Q’ampa and head to the final pass of our trek, the Q’ampa Pass at 5100m. We will pass several coloured lakes before stopping for lunch by the turquoise Lake Q’omercocha. We continue to descend for several hours until we reach the Andean village of Pacchanta. The village is inhabited by local herdsmen and their families who give demonstrations of traditional weaving techniques. We have plenty of free time to explore the village and can visit the hot springs to soak our tired muscles.

  • Elevation: From 4000 metres to 4000 metres
  • Trekking distance: 20 kilometres
  • Trek time: 8 to 9 hours
  • Highest point: 5100 metres (Q'ampa Pass)
Day 8From Pacchanta to Aguas Calientes

Our driver will meet us to take us to Ollantaytambo which will take around 5 hours. On the way we will drop off our bags at the hotel in Cuzco. From Ollantaytambo we will take the train for 1¾ hours to Aguas Calientes. We will stay at a hotel in Aguas Calientes and will appreciate a hot shower and a comfortable bed.

  • Elevation: From 4000 metres to 2050 metres
  • Driving time: 5 hours
Day 9Tour of the ruins at Machu Picchu

A short bus journey takes us up to the main Machu Picchu site for a full guided tour, which will last for around 2½ to 3 hours. There is also an option to climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain behind Machu Picchu, but you will need to book a permit in advance. In the afternoon we will take the train back to Ollantaytambo and drive back to your hotel in Cuzco.

Day 10Departure

After a shower and a good night's sleep, it will be time to leave. We will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Cuzco Airport for your departing flight.

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