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AUSANGATE TREK Visit the incredible Rainbow Mountains of Vinicunca KANDOO | AUSANGATE

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.

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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 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.

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 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 3Drive from Cuzco to K’airahuiri Alto, trek to Albergue via Rainbow Mountains

We leave Cuzco early as we have a 4 hour drive to reach the starting point of our trek at K’airahuiri Alto where we will meet our team on local horsemen. While the horsemen prepare the bags and equipment, we will take breakfast.

After breakfast we will begin trekking, taking 2-3 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 or 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 Warmysaya Pass (4800m) where will take a picnic lunch. After lunch it is downhill for 2-3 hours to our campsite at Albergue.

  • Elevation: From 3400 metres to 4000 metres
  • Trekking distance: 14 kilometres
  • Trek time: 7-8 hours
  • Highest point: 4800 metres (Warmysaya Pass)
Day 4From Albergue 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 4000 metres to 4200 metres
  • Trekking distance: 14 kilometres
  • Trek time: 7 to 8 hours
  • Highest point: 4900 metres (Pucacocha Pass)
Day 5From Ausangate Cocha to Sorapampa

Leaving the beautiful azure Laguna Ausangatecocha lies behind we climb 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 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 6From 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 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.

  • Elevation: From 4000 metres to 4000 metres
  • Trekking distance: 16 kilometres
  • Trek time: 8 to 9 hours
  • Highest point: 5000 metres (Q'ampa Pass)
Day 7From Pacchanta to Aguas Calientes

We will trek for around 3 hours to the village of Tinqui, where we say goodbye to our horsemen. Our driver will meet us to take us to Ollantaytambo which will take around 5 hours. From here we will take the train for 90 minutes 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
  • Trekking distance: 16 kilometres
  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
Day 8Tour 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. In the afternoon we will take the train back to Ollantaytambo and drive back to your hotel in Cuzco.

Day 9Departure

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.

Availability and prices

Last Updated June 14 2019
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Arrival: July 26 2019
Days: 9
Price: £1149 $1494 €0
Comment: OFFER Save £50 was £1199
Arrival: September 28 2019
Days: 9
Price: £1199 $1559 €0
Comment: Minimum 2 people
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