The Ausangate Trek to Machu Picchu is a challenging and off-the-beaten-path trek that takes you through the breathtaking Andean landscape, with views of the magnificent Ausangate mountain, glaciers, high mountain passes, and turquoise lakes. The trek typically doesn't include Machu Picchu directly, but you can combine it with a visit to Machu Picchu on the fifth day. Below is a suggested itinerary for a 4-day Ausangate Trek followed by a visit to Machu Picchu on the fifth day.
Ausangate Trek takes you on a unique adventure around the Cusco region's highest mountain, the Asusangate Mountain (6,384 m / 20,945 ft). This mountain is considered sacred by local villagers. Visit local communities, lakes, llamas, alpacas, and the well-known Rainbow Mountain, and finish the tour in Machu Picchu
- Get off the beaten path and discover the colored mountains
- Visit the glaciers and alpine lakes
- Soak in the natural hot springs at Upis
- Beat the crowds to Rainbow Mountain
- Explore Machu Picchu with a private guide
Ausangate Trek to Machu Picchu at a Glance
- Day 1: Cusco - Tinki - Upis - Hot Springs
- Day 2: Upis Village - Pucacocha Lake - Ananta
- Day 3: Ananta - Rainbow Mountain - Aguas Calientes
- Day 4: Explore Machu Picchu - Return to Cusco
Important to know before booking
- Minimum 2 people are required per booking
The day starts with an early morning pick-up from your hotel in Cusco, followed by a scenic drive to the small village of Tinki.
Tinki is a charming village situated at an elevation of approximately 3,800 meters (12,467 feet). This is the starting point of the trek, and here you'll have the chance to meet your trekking team, which usually includes a guide, cook, and horsemen to help carry the camping equipment.
Once everything is set, you'll begin your hike toward Upis, a small village at the base of the Ausangate mountain range. The trek to Upis takes about 4 to 5 hours and gradually ascends through picturesque landscapes of rolling hills, local farmlands, and traditional villages. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to see the impressive Mount Ausangate towering in the distance and herds of llamas and alpacas grazing on the vast grasslands.
Upon arrival in Upis, you will be greeted by the sight of natural hot springs, a perfect spot to relax and unwind after the day's trek. The hot springs offer stunning views of the snow-capped Ausangate Mountain, making this a unique and memorable experience. You'll set up camp nearby and enjoy a delicious dinner your trekking team prepares.
After a hearty breakfast, you will prepare for the day's trekking, which will take you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Andes.
The first part of the day involves hiking up to Arapa Pass, which is located at an elevation of approximately 4,850 meters (15,912 feet). The trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and glacial lakes. After reaching the top of the pass, you will begin your descent toward Pucacocha Lake.
Pucacocha Lake is a stunning glacial lake with crystal-clear waters reflecting the majestic Ausangate Mountain, making it a perfect spot to take a break and admire the scenery. Make sure to capture some incredible photos of the snow-capped peaks and the lake's brilliant turquoise color.
From Pucacocha Lake, you will continue your trek towards Ananta, a picturesque campsite where you will spend the night. The journey to Ananta will take you through more striking landscapes, including grasslands, wetlands, and rocky terrain. Along the way, you may also encounter some fascinating wildlife, such as llamas, alpacas, and Andean geese.
After breakfast, you will prepare for a day filled with more stunning landscapes and visit one of the region's most famous attractions: Rainbow Mountain.
The trek to Rainbow Mountain, also known as Vinicunca or Montaña de Siete Colores, begins with a gradual ascent. Along the way, you'll pass through lush valleys and unique geological formations, including red sandstone cliffs and colorful mineral deposits. The trail offers more chances to spot local wildlife, such as vicuñas, chinchillas, and a variety of bird species.
Upon arrival at Rainbow Mountain, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the vividly colored slopes resulting from natural mineral deposits and weathering processes over millions of years. Take some time to explore the area, capture stunning photographs, and appreciate the sheer beauty of this unique natural wonder.
After enjoying Rainbow Mountain, you'll start your descent and head toward the small village of Aguas Calientes. This village, not to be confused with the town near Machu Picchu, serves as the perfect spot to set up camp for the night. Here, you can rest and recover from the day's trek, enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by your trekking team, and prepare for the final day of the Ausangate Trek.
You'll start your day early with breakfast and then board a bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. This UNESCO World Heritage site, often referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas," is an iconic symbol of the Inca civilization and a must-see destination in Peru.
Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, you'll have a guided tour of the archaeological site, which typically lasts around 2 hours. Your guide will walk you through the main areas, such as the Temple of the Sun, the Royal Tomb, and the Intihuatana stone, sharing the history and significance of each. After the guided tour, you'll have some free time to explore the site on your own, capture photographs, or hike up to Huayna Picchu for an amazing panoramic view of the ruins (if time permits and if you have secured permits in advance).
Once you have finished exploring Machu Picchu, you will return to Aguas Calientes and board a train back to Ollantaytambo. From there, a vehicle will take you back to Cusco on the final leg of your journey. This marks the end of your unforgettable Ausangate Trek and Machu Picchu adventure.
- Pre- Departure briefing the night before the trek
- Collection from your hotel on the morning of the trek
- Private Transportation for all four days
- Duffle bags to your overnight gearÂ for up to 8 kilos
- Four men Eureka tents for each two travelers
- Sleeping foam mattress, pillows, hot water bags, warm blankets
- Dining tent, kitchen tents, portable toilet
- Professional English-speaking guide
- All meals during the trek except last-day dinner
- First-aid kit, oxygen tank, satellite phones, and emergency horse
- Trekking chef, porter, and muleteers
- Cargo mule to carry food and equipment
- Comfortable camping equipment (table, chairs)
- Dietary needs provided (Veg, Vegan, GF)
- Drinkable Water provided after the first-day lunch
- War water every morning and evening for hand washing
- Entrance to the Ausangate trail and Rainbow Mountain
- All Taxes and booking fees Included
- Sleeping bags, air mattress, trekking poles
- Dinner on the last day
- Travel insurance (required)
- Gratuities (Optional)
Can I combine the Ausangate Trek with a visit to Machu Picchu?
Yes, you can combine the Ausangate Trek with a visit to Machu Picchu. However, this is not a standard option offered by all tour operators. You will need to find a tour operator that offers a combined itinerary or customize your trip to include both experiences.
How long is the Ausangate Trek?
The standard Ausangate Trek is typically a 4 to 7-day trek, depending on the specific itinerary chosen. It covers a distance of approximately 43 miles (70 km) and offers a challenging and rewarding adventure through the Andes.
What is the best time of year to do the Ausangate Trek?
The best time of year to do the Ausangate Trek is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. During this time, you can expect clear skies and generally good weather conditions, making it ideal for trekking. However, the months of June, July, and August are the most popular and can be crowded.
Do I need a permit for the Ausangate Trek?
Unlike the Inca Trail, you do not need a permit to do the Ausangate Trek. However, it is highly recommended to book your trek with a reputable tour operator to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Do I need to be in good physical condition to do the Ausangate Trek?
Yes, you should be in good physical condition to undertake the Ausangate Trek. The trek involves multiple days of hiking at high elevations, with challenging ascents and descents. It is essential to prepare for the trek with regular exercise, including cardio and strength training, as well as acclimatizing to the high altitude before starting the trek.
How do I get to Machu Picchu after the Ausangate Trek?
After completing the Ausangate Trek, you will need to arrange transportation to Machu Picchu. This typically involves traveling back to Cusco and then taking a train to Aguas Calientes, the town closest to Machu Picchu. From Aguas Calientes, you can take a bus or hike up to the Machu Picchu archaeological site.