The Cordillera Vilcanota is an impressive range of mountains which includes the highest glacier Ausangate, Peru’s fourth highest mountain with 6.384 meters of altitude, and three others over 6.000 meters. It’s an excellent trekking area offering travellers more than you could ask for, spectacular mountains and glacier scenery, snow-capped peaks, hot springs, turquoise lakes, glaciers, flora (most of the plants are medicinal used by locals) and fauna like condors, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and chinchilas. Picturesque villages and traditionally dressed Indians. Sibinacocha Lake is ranked as the 22nd highest lake in the world, situated at a height of approximately 4.873 meters above sea level, about 15.19 km long and 2.86 km at its widest point. It is high, windy and cold so be prepared.
- Meeting prior to trekking.
- Transportation from Cusco to the starting point of trekking and back to your hotel.
- Professional local guide who speaks English, Spanish and Quechua.
- Tents for 2 people and basic foam mattress.
- Cook and kitchen equipment with a tent to prepare meals. Tent to eat with tables and chairs.
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the traditional diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. Please let us know if you have a preference for a certain type of dish. If salads are served, wash them in boiled water.
- Horses (one for two people, for equipment and personal items) including horseman. These carry camping gear, food and cooking utensils. We provide canvas bags at our briefing for your personal items (up to 7kg / 15lbs per person).
- Emergency horse which can be mounted if you feel sick or if you go a little slower.
- First aid kit including with an emergency oxygen bottle.
- Sanitary tent.
- Breakfast in the first morning.
- Overnight, lunch and dinner of the last day.
- Sleeping bags (We can rent for you).
- Additional horses for passenger luggage.
- All other items not reported in this itinerary.
- Team service fee.
The times quoted in this itinerary are approximate. The hiking times will depend on the group and the guide can change the lunch places and camping sites, depending on the progress of the group. The region of Ausangate is very high, besides that they will be near a snow massif. Temperatures are cold and can drop below freezing at night. You should travel well prepared for low temperatures. Rent or carry sleeping bag for temperatures below zero (-15ºC or more). This region has limited tourist infrastructure and this trek makes use of the local facilities. Visitors should be aware that things can change or not go with the plan. All this is part of the adventure and visitors to Peru are encouraged to have an open mind and be open to differences in how to do things in another culture.
We leave the city of Cusco at 5 am in the direction of Tinqui village (3.700 meters of altitude / 12,139 feet). We then drive gradually up to reach Ccascca where we stop to have our breakfast, there is a magnificent view of the Ausangate glacier snow capped mountain, then we drive one hour and arrive at the trail head where we meet our arrieros and horses, after we prepare our day packs we begin the hike with an impressive view of snow capped mountains similar to Ausangate, Ccolquecruz, Caracol. We stop along on the way to have lunch with our porters and maybe some local kids. Afterwards we begin the hike, on the way we will meet some local people with traditional, colorful Inca clothes, we will also see traditional andean animals like llamas and alpacas. Finally by 5 pm we reach our first campsite where our tents will be already set up by our porters. Before dinner we will visit the most famous natural hot springs called Pacchanta where you can relax and enjoy an amazing view of the evening sky.
After breakfast, we begin our hike slightly uphill for 4 hours to our lunch spot, on the way we will have many breathtaking views of the snow capped mountains beautiful lakes, one of them is called Ccomerccocha a green lake where in the month of August our andean healers have special rituals for the mountain god of Ausangate and for the mother earth Pachamama, requesting to recieve the energy to cure the community with homeopathic andean medicine. By 1pm we reach a place called Puca Mocco (red mountain) to have our lunch with a spectacular view of many huge snow capped peeks which makes your food that much more delicous. Afterwards we begin over our hike with the company of vicuñas and condors, here you will really feel as a part of the andes because the snow caped surrounding mountains will be stunning like Catalina, Maria Huamantilca, Pucapunta and Ccolquecruz and the most famous Ausangate, finally we reach the first pass of our hike Q’ampa (5,000 meters of altitude / 16,400 feet) where we will make an offering of our coca leaves for the mountain god (apu). We also have a magnificent view from this point of the surrounding glacier peaks , then we start decending to reach our camp site which is in the skirts of Ausangate mountain.
After enjoying a very nutritional breakfast we will leave the camp site with a spectacular view of the valley, river and the waterfalls. It is also possible to observe some stunning mountains and some beautiful groups of small turquoise lakes, andean birds inhabit this area such as the Andean geese, Andean gull and some types of ducks. After hiking for about five hours we reach Pampaccawa (panoramic look out point) to enjoy our appetizing lunch with some Andean tea to help our digestion. Afterwards we have some time for fishing in a beautiful river. Then we will begin our hike along the magnificent llama valley , at this time hundreds of llamas, alpacas and sheep are taken back home through the mountains by the quechua farmers, today is also posible to see the famous colurfull mountain peaks across the valley. Finally by 5pm we arrive to our charming campsite near to one the nicest waterfalls and overlooking the huge and awesome snow capped Picks, Colquecruz , Pucapunta and Puma mountains.
This day we have to survive the highest pass of our trek, therefore we will be given a good breakfast by our porters. We begin our hike at 7am with a gentle uphill walk for two hours on soft grass, by this time many animals such as llamas and alpacas have already been taken up here for grazing, if you like you might be able to pet some of them. We then have one hour to walk uphill on soft sand and snow where you can see many wild vicuñas, finally we reach the Condor pass (5.400 meters of altitude / 17,717 feet). Here you will have plenty of time to enjoy the amazing landscape scenery, you will be located higher than the other mountains. A great spot to take photos. Our porters will also provide hot coca tea, we will also leave some rocks and coca leaves as a payment for the mountains for taking us to the summit. During the Inca’s time, people used to leave rocks, jewels, or clothes for success to the mountains and to get nice weather. Afterwards we will carry on walking on the grassy and swampy trail with the company of hundreds of llamas, vicuñas and alpacas, after hiking we reach our lunch place next to a beautiful waterfall and near to the famous lake. After having a nice siesta we will begin our hike for two more hours to our campsite, along the way we will see some traditional houses, a lot of guinea pigs and hundreds of chinchillas. Finally, with spectacular views of glaciers in front of us, we will reach our camp place.
You will be awoken with a traditional hot drink and you’ll be able to enjoy great views of the lake and the glacier from your tent. When you are ready we will enjoy a tasty breakfast then we will begin our hike, this part of the hike until lunch time is very easy, we will walk by the banks of the most famous and the biggest lake called Sibinacocha. Along the way we will make several stops in order to observe and recognize the several kind of local birds inhabiting this lake such as Andean goose and ducks. We may also be able to go fishing if the local people allowed us. Then we arrive to our lunch spot where our porters will serve us meal and have a short siesta. Then we will hike a gradually uphill for two hours to get to the Vicuña Mountain (5.350 meters of altitude / 17,552 feet), the weather changes quickly from sunny day to chilly winds here so it is better to take our group photos when we descend gradually down. There are amazing views of the Andean Puna ecological level where local people farm some types of potatoes. We can also see some natural rock formations and just follow one nice stream down and reach our campsite near to the lake Ccasccara (5.000 meters of altitude / 16,404 feet) where we have a plenty of time to relax after our five day hike. Some local people will come over to our camp and invite us to go fishing or they might invite us to cook a fresh, clean fish for dinner. This is the best camp site along the way due to the lake and the glacier just if front of us which makes it a more enjoyable and magic area.
Our wake up time will be at 7am when we can see a stunning sunrise. Once we are ready we will enjoy our breakfast then we visit a traditional family house to appreciate of their life style and see how the farmers live up here. We will see some mud brick and stone houses still with Incan style architectural. The family has guinea pig in their kitchen to eat. Since they have hundreds of llamas, alpacas and sheep, their main economic activity is textiles. They make the original alpaca, hand made crafts using some natural flowers to get different colors. If you are interested in taking some memories home from the Andes this is the perfect place to buy crafts for a reasonable price. After we have spent time with the quechua speaking family and kids, we will keep going gradually down to reach our lunch place, along the way we will see for the last time some glacier mountains and nice valleys with a nice rivers and waterfalls, some red and green mountains which a long time ago was a glacier too but with a global warming it disappeared, here you will probably understand why the Andes is very important to us and why local people still practice the Inca customs, worshipping the sacred mother earth and the mountains. We will hike down gradually, we might see some more Andean fauna such us birds and llamas and then have the opportunity to take final photos with them. Finally we will arrive at our last camp site of our hike in the little village Phinaya (4.000 meters of altitude / 13,123 feet) where you have free time.
Today is the last day of our hike so we have to prepare our backpacks. In the morning we organize extra walking up to the view point to see the village, or if you want you can just walk around the village and talk to the local people. We can also visit the school where you will see how the kids learn in the quechua language, you have an opportunity to give the kids some gifts you bought in Cusco . Later we will have a small ceremony to say goodbye to our porters , then we will have the last lunch with your guide and porters. By 11am our bus will leave and it will take about four hours on a non paved road to Sicuani, then yourself and all the porters and guides will take another bus to Cusco which will take three more hours so you will arrive in Cusco at the end of the day and we will take you back to your hotel.
You Must Bring
- A light backpack.
- Rainwear (jacket and pants if available). Plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco.
- Waterproof trekking boots. Extra socks can not be missed.
- Sandals are also good to giving your feet the opportunity to breathe at night.
- Warm clothing, including jacket, polar liners, gloves, scarf and hat. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping. Prepare for a wide range of temperature changes.
- Sleeping bag (we can rent it).
- Flashlight or headlamp and spare batteries.
- Camera, rolls and batteries (batteries are consumed more quickly under cold conditions).
- Hat or cap to protect from the sun, rain and cold.
- Sun block and cream for after sunbathing or moisturizing for face and body.
- Insect repellent (although no risk of malaria has been reported).
- Toilet paper, inside and outside the luggage.
- Snacks: cookies, energy bars, chocolates, fruit, granola, etc.
- Water bottle (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
- We suggest you bring pills to sterilize the water in case you collect water from the creeks.
- Your own medical kit with any special medications you may need.
- Small towel and swimsuit, if you intend to take a bath in the hot springs.
- Trekking poles (we can rent them).
- Cash – enough for snacks, tips and souvenirs.
- Original passport and ISIC (International Student Identification Card) if you have one.
We Can Rent
- Extra mule to bring your things: USD10.00 per day of travel.
- Extra mule to ride and muleteer to carry: USD18.00 per day of travel.
- Sleeping bag suitable for -10°C: USD4.00 per day of travel.
- Deluxe sleeping bag suitable for -15°C: USD5.00 per day of travel.
- Individual tent, if you do not want to share the tent: USD25.00 per person.
Important NotesDifficulty Level: Very Hard Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights Total Distance: 80km | 49,7mi Low Altitude: 3.950 meters | 12959 feet High Altitude: 5.400 meters | 17717 feet
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