Trek Around Sacred Apu Auzangate Mountain

Around "Apu" Auzangate Trek 7D/6N

This trek is considered one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in the southern Andes of Perú. This is the highest mountain in the Cusco region where rich traditions are evident amongst the people that live near the Sacred "Apu" Auzangate Mountain (Apu means God in the native Quechua language). Natural hot springs are available next to two of our campsites where we can luxuriate and relax after a hard day's walk, in the midst of incredible views.

Photo: Renate Eder, Germany
Photo: Ian Wilson, Canada
Photo: Ian Wilson, Canada
Photo: Ian Wilson, Canada

We pick you up from your hotel for an early start for our six- to eight-hour drive up into the southern highlands. Along the way, we get our first look at the small Andean highland settlements where villagers in traditional dress work their herds of alpacas and llamas, with our first spectacular views of the Vilcanota Range and Ausangate. We arrive at the small village of Tinki at 12,300 feet, meet our trekking crew and pack animals, and set off for a short walk to our first campsite. B,L,D.

Today’s trail takes us uphill through open, rolling grasslands known as puna. We hike uphill all day making a 2,200-foot gain in elevation. We will have a chance to talk to the local people as we move closer to the high mountains, pass the local school at Upis, and follow the Upis Valley, where large herds of animals graze. Our campsite is at 14,500 feet at the foot of Ausangate. Hot springs are nearby and local Quechua speaking people often come to visit our camp dressed in traditional clothing, with examples of their fine textiles to share with us. B,L,D.

As we leave Upis Valley, we climb uphill with greater views of Ausangate on our left and scattered houses with stone corrals. We arrive at Arapa Pass at 15, 250 feet, enjoying the long vistas and the Apacheta stones left by previous travelers in gratitude to the mountain gods. We pass high sand dunes near the pass, and continue traversing down the long valley before turning up towards the Pukaqocha lakes. The glacier melt gives each lake its own coloration, making them a glistening treat to the eyes. Camp at 15,000 feet. B,L,D.

After asceding alongside the glacier for several hours in the morning, we descend near the crystalclear, aqua lake called Ausangateqocha before making the long and spectacular ascent to our highest pass, Palomani Pass at 16,600 feet. The long, distant views from the high pass are worth the effort, with fantastic vistas towards Carabaya, Colquecruz (19,550’), Tres Picos (19,990’), and other snow-capped Vilcanota giants. On our descent, we see the southeast side of the Ausangate massif as we arrive in a high valley with huge herds of alpacas and llamas. We end our day’s journey at Uchuy Finaya, with its lovely pink stone houses and friendly families. We camp here at 14,500 feet. B,L,D.

We ascend slowly from Uchuy Finaya, passing waterfalls and entering a high valley with large rock outcrops that are home to numerous vizcachas. After passing the small Jampa village, we slowly wind up the long Jampa Pass at 16,400 feet, with grand views of ice-clad peaks and glaciers with huge icefalls. As we descend, we enjoy views of the lake called Alkacocha, then cross over to the spectacular lakes at Ninaparayoq, where we camp at 15,500 feet. B,L,D.

In the morning, we descend gradually to the village of Pacchanta at 14,500 feet. Local weavers will come to show their llicllas, bags, and kaypina textiles they have for sale. There is a rural school here, and we have community hot springs close to camp. In the late afternoon, our crew will prepare a special pachamanka dinner for our last dinner at camp. Pachamanka is a traditional Quechua-style earthen oven with meat and vegetables cooked slowly underground by hot stones. B,L,D.

We ascend slightly to climb out of the Pacchanta Valley, then hike steadily downhill for several hours with more strikingly impressive views of Ausangate. The trail ends at Tinki in the late morning, where we bid farewell to our crew, meet our vehicles, and drive back to Cusco, arriving in the late afternoon. Overnight at your Hotel. B,L.

Price Includes:

* All meals marked as B,L,D at the end of each day in the itinerary.
* Service of local official guides.
* Service of camp staff: Cook, assistants, mule skinners.
* All group camping and cooking equipment: Passenger tents based in double occupancy. Dinning tent with tables, silverware and chairs. Toilet tent with toilet seat.

Price Does Not Include:
Any meals not specified after each itinerary day, optional tipping or gratuities to staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, and other expenses of a personal nature (liquor, laundry, and so on.) Trip member must provide sleeping bag. (Please note that sleeping bags can also be rented for $4 per day).