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Ausangate trek Visit the incredible Rainbow Mountains of Vinicunca Hike to the rainbow mountains on the Ausanage trek

Highlights of the Ausangate, Rainbow mountains trek

High and wild “off the beaten track” challenging trekking adventure
Visit the incredible, colourful, candy-striped Rainbow Mountains of Vinicunca
Explore the city of Cuzco, the capital of the Incan empire
*A guided tour of the famous lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu (on selected dates only, see availability schedule)
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Ausangate rainbow mountain
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8 days

About the Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain Trek 

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.

Detailed Itinerary for the Ausangate Trek with Rainbow Mountain Extension

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 in Cuzco

The city of Cuzco sits at an altitude of 3400m and is a great place to acclimatise before you start your Ausangate trek. You’ll have plenty of time to explore this charming city and soak up the local atmosphere.

Day 3Cuzco - K’airahuiri Alto

We leave Cuzco early as we have a 4 hour drive to reach the starting point of our trek. On the way we will stop at the village of Checacupe, where we can visit the Church of the Immaculate Conception, one of the oldest of its kind in Peru. We continue driving up the valley to Pitumarka, where we stop for a short rest and you will be able to buy some drinks and snacks if you wish. Finally we will reach our trek start point at Hanchi Pacha, where we will meet our team of local horsemen. While the horsemen prepare the bags and equipment, we will take a picnic lunch.

After lunch we will begin trekking, climbing steadily for 2-3 hours to the village of K’airahuiri Bajo (4550m). It will take about another hour to reach the higher village – K’airahuiri Alto – at 4700m, where we will be camping tonight.

Day 4K’airahuiri Alto - Rainbow Mountain – Pucacocha

After an early breakfast, it will take 1-2 hours to trek to the Vinicunca Pass, 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 now have two high passes to cross – Menos Ponco(4900m) and Chillca (5100m) – which will take around 4-5 hours. We will then descend to our campsite at Pucacocha Lake (4556m).

Day 5Pucacocha - Palomani Pass - Q'ampa

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. Today we have two more passes to cross. We begin by ascending the Apacheta Pass (4600m). The beautiful azure Laguna Ausangatecocha lies below and we descend to the lake before climbing to our second pass, and the highest point of our trek, the Palomani, 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 Pampa Jutunpata and continue into the Rio Q’ampa Valley, where we will camp for the night.

Day 6Q'ampa - Pacchanta

We pass through the small community of Q’ampa and head to the final pass of our trek, the Q’ampa Pass at 5000m. 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.

Day 7Pacchanta - Cuzco

This morning you will drive from Pacchanta to Cuzco where you will have free time to rest and relax or explore the city.

Day 8Depart Cuzco

We will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Cuzco Airport for your departing flight.

Open group availability for the Ausangate trek

Last Updated August 15 2017
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Ref: MT180323KG
Arrival: March 21 2018
Days: 8
Price: £899 $1169 €0
Comment: Spaces
Ref: MT180615KG
Arrival: June 13 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1199 $1559 €0
Comment: Spaces
Ref: MT180914KG
Arrival: September 12 2018
Days: 8
Price: £899 $1169 €0
Comment: Spaces

FAQs about the Ausangate trek


The Ausangate Trek is considered to be a fairly 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.

Speak with an expert Start planning your next adventure by contacting one of our destination experts.
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Rachael Bode

Destination expert

Phone: + 44 (0) 1283 499982

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Sharon King

Destination expert

Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499981

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