EXTENDED AUSANGATE RAINBOW TREK + MACHU PICCHU PACKAGE
9 Days 8 Nights
The EXTENDED AUSANGATE – RAINBOW TREK & MACHU PICCHU PACKAGE is our most epic adventure!
Enjoy stunning views of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, lakes, wildlife, and the amazing Vinicunca Rainbow Mountains, all ending with a tour of Machu Picchu. You’ll see the highest peak (Ausangate 6,385 m/20,948 ft) in the Cusco region. This adventurous trek is approximately 100 km/62 mi and goes up to 5,400 m/17,716 ft. Ausangate is an excellent and quiet/remote trekking circuit offering stunning features such as spectacular mountain scenery, snow-capped peaks, hot springs, turquoise lakes, glaciers, herds of llamas, alpacas, and wild vicuña, picturesque villages, and traditionally dressed Quechua people.
This is a moderate to challenging trek, not technical, with several high passes and below freezing nights. This beautiful 9 day package starts in the small Andean village of Tinqui and takes you around Ausangate mountain and over multiple high passes. It is essential to be properly acclimatized for this hike, spending at least two or three days in Cusco (or equivalent altitude) before starting. The campsites are at high elevations and therefore will be quite cold in the evenings. Minimum passengers necessary for trek departure: 2 people (1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).
The Nitty Gritty Trek Details
3300m/10,827ft to 5400m/17,717ft
Strenuous, lengthy, high altitude
Quiet, Off the beaten track
When to Go
DAY 1: CUSCO – TINQUI VILLAGE – UPIS (camping at hot springs)
Early transfer from your hotel in Cusco with 6:00 am departure. We drive for 4 hours on a new highway to Tinqui, passing Urcos Pass (4,000 m/13,123 ft) along the way. Tinqui is a village on the high plains “altiplano” east from Cusco and is where we will start our trek. We follow a wide, gently ascending path toward the northwest face of the impressive Ausangate mountain. We will have a small lunch around noon by the side of the trail. We will continue walking through fields and by scattered stone farm houses, and later in the day we will begin to see llamas and alpacas. We ascend gently to the Upis pass (4,435 m/14,107 ft) and camp at Upis Hot Springs (4,250 m/13,779 ft) where we will be surrounded by snow capped mountains (Ausangate and Maria Huamantilla).There are thermal springs at Upis where we can enjoy a soak at the end of the day. Happy hour at 4:00pm and dinner at 6:00pm. Walking distance approximately 16 km/9.9 miles (6 hour acclimatizing hike).
DAY 2: UPIS – ARAPA PASS – PUCACCOCHA
After an early breakfast we begin our second day of the hike. You will hike very close to the
Ausangate Glacier Peak and will have incredible views of this mountain as well as beautiful lakes and waterfalls. We may see some llamas, alpacas and wild vicuñas (the undomesticated ancestor of
the alpaca) and perhaps a rare condor soaring above. We will have a 3-hour uphill hike to reach the
first pass (4800m/15,748ft) where you will have magnificent views of the surrounding area. After
taking a few amazing pictures we continue hiking gradually downhill for another 11⁄2 hours to our
beautiful lunch spot. After lunch we hike for another 21⁄2 hours to arrive at our campsite at Puca
Ccocha (Red Lake). This spot is one of the most beautiful campsites located at the skirt of the
Ausangate peak and at the bank of the lake.
Approximate walking distance: 12km/7.5 miles (7-8 hours). Campsite elevation: 4300m/14,100ft
DAY 3: PUCACCOCHA – PUCA PASS – ANANTAPATA – WARMISAYA – YANACOCHA (Sunset hike to Rainbow Mountain Pass)
Wake up early with a hot cup of coca tea to start one of the most beautiful days of the trek, enjoying majestic views of some of the highest peaks in the Andes and depths of the beautiful valleys. This morning we will summit the Puca Pass. After an early breakfast we begin our 2-hour steep climb to the Puca Pass at (5050m/16,568ft). Along the way we have gorgeous views of turquoise lakes and the Ausangate glacier. Once you reach the summit of this mountain, you will be located right in front of the Ausangate Mountain and you can enjoy the views of Chillca Valley, with alpaca grazing along these hills. Also, from this pass you will see the beginning of the Rainbow Mountain range with their strikingly striated colors. After taking some great pictures we continue gradually downhill for another 2 hours until we reach our lunch spot located at Anantapata 4400m/14,435ft with amazing views of green hills and snow-capped peaks. After lunch and a little rest and relaxation, we will hike gradually uphill for 11⁄2 hours until we reach the the Warmisaya (aka Pitumarca) pass 5050m/16,568ft. After enjoying the views at the top we descend for 20 minutes to Yanacocha lake where we set up camp for the night. After dropping our bags we take our gradual 1 hour sunset hike to the Rainbow Mountain Pass and watch as the sun sets over the stunning Rainbow Valley. Once we have finished enjoying the view, we hike 45 minutes back down to camp at Yanacocha to have happy hour (tea and snacks) followed by a hearty dinner.
Approximate walking distance: 17.7 km/11 miles (about 7.5-8 hours). Campsite elevation: 4400m/14,435ft
DAY 4: YANACOCHA – RAINBOW MOUNTAINS (sunrise hike) – QUESOUNO – AUSANGATECOCHA
After a very early breakfast (5am) we hike 1 hour up to the Rainbow Mountains (Vinicunca Mountains or Montañas de Colores) again to see the beautiful Rainbow Valley at sunrise! Enjoy the view for an hour without the crowds as we are one of the first groups to arrive. Your guide will walk you to the best spots to get the perfect postcard pictures of these incredible mountains and the other surrounding peaks. Your guide will explain what makes these mountains so unique: they are composed of various minerals, which make different colors of stone striations. This is definitely one of the most stunning places in South America and one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Peru. There are Rainbow Mountains in only a few other locations in the world. After enjoying the sunrise view we hike downhill for approximately 3.5 hours until we reach Quesouno where we stop for lunch. After a hearty lunch and a well-deserved rest, we hike 2 hours uphill to Ausangatecocha (part of the Ausangate Trail). Along the way you will see beautiful mountain scenery, small streams, herds of llamas and alpacas and snow-capped peaks. At Ausangatecocha we camp by a beautiful dark blue/green lake for the night with views of the Ausangate Mountain.
Approximate walking distance: 16 km /9.95 miles (about 6.5 hours). Campsite elevation: 4300m/14,108ft.
DAY 5: AUSANGATECOCHA – PALOMANI PASS – COMERCOCHA
After breakfast we begin a steep climb for 2-3 hours on glacial moraine to the Palomani Pass (5,350m/17,552ft). From the pass there are extensive views of all the peaks in the Cordillera Vilcanota. We then descend for 2 hours on a steep trail into the Huchuy Finaya Valley where we will stop for lunch, surrounded by beautiful mountain views. From our lunch stop we will have a view of “Las Dos Gemelas” or the two twin mountains. After lunch we hike another 2 hours to our campsite, 45 minutes of which is a steep climb and the rest is a gradually uphill trail. Along the way you see streams and a small waterfall, chinchillas, llamas, alpacas, and snow-capped mountains (the three peaks). We camp tonight at Comercocha 4400m/14,435ft.
Approximate walking distance 16 km/ 9.9 mi (7-8 hour hike). Campsite elevation: 4400m/14,435ft.
DAY 6: COMERCOCHA – PAMPACANCHA – QAMPA – PACCHANTA (Hot Springs)
After some hot coca tea and a good breakfast we hike for 1 hour on a varied path through the Pampacancha Valley 4,300 m/14,107 ft where you will see wide open spaces and lots of llamas and alpacas. Once we pass through this valley we begin climbing up to the highest point of the trek, the Qampa Pass (5,400 m/17,716 ft) for 2 hours. At this pass we have incredible views of The Three Peaks, the Pacchanta Valley, and will hopefully get a glimpse of some wild vicuña and deer, and if we are really lucky, a condor. We then descend gradually through the Pacchanta Valley, walking between Ausangate Mountain and the Two Twin Mountains for 3 hours until we get to our campsite at Pacchanta (4200m/13,780ft). Along the way we see glacial moraines, beautiful lakes, and snow- capped peaks. This campsite is near the Pacchanta hot springs where you can take a well-deserved soak with stunning views of the Ausangate Mountain if you wish to (entrance fee 10 soles).
Approximate walking distance: 15 km/ 9.3 mi (6 hour hike). Campsite Elevation: 4200m/13,780ft.
DAY 7: PACCHANTA – TINQUI – CUSCO
After a good breakfast we begin hiking on a wide dirt trail (village road) for 3-4 hours until we reach the small town of Tinqui (3600m/11,811ft). Along the way you will see a lot of local people, farms, farm animals and many children will come running up to greet you. Please do not give them sweets as they do not have access to dental care, but you are welcome to share other items with them (fruit, pencils, etc). At Tinqui we enjoy a nice lunch, after which we take our private transport back to your hotel in Cusco (arriving around 4pm) – about a 2.5 hour drive that provides nice views of the Andes, passing some traditional villages along the way. Tonight we’ll enjoy a celebration dinner together in Cusco!
Approximate walking distance 9 km/5.6 mi (3-4 hour hike, 2.5 hour drive).
DAY 8: CUSCO – MARAS – MORAY – SALINERAS – AGUAS CALIENTES
After breakfast at our hotel we take our private transport to Maras Village (3,300m/10,827ft). Maras is a beautiful little colonial town, still boasting some colonial architecture. You can see amazing facades made of thin stone, and lintels with sculptures in bas-relief. After exploring Maras we continue driving to Moray ruins located at (3,450m/11,319ft). Moray Ruins consist of circular agricultural terraces at high altitude with a complex system of irrigation. These terraces served as a natural green house to grow an extraordinary variety of crops that would normally only thrive in tropical climates. It has also been suggested that they had a cosmological meaning. After exploring the terraces we continue to Salineras, which consists of 3,000 small pools, roughly 5 square meters (53.8 ft²). Every three days, during the dry season, workers fill the pools with salt water that comes from local natural springs. When the water evaporates from the pool the salt is left for collection. This process is carried out over a one month period until the pools reach an approximate volume of solid salt that is 10 centimeters (4 inches) in height. The salt is ground up, treated with iodine, and packaged and sent to the various markets in the region. After exploring the salt mines of Salineras we take our private transport to Ollantaytambo where we catch the train to Aguas Calientes. Once in Aguas Calientes we check into our comfortable hotel to freshen up before dinner. You can soak in the local hot springs before or after dinner if you wish. Tomorrow we get up early to see the incredible Machu Picchu!
DAY 9: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – OLLANTAYTAMBO – CUSCO
Breakfast is very early in order for us to take first (5:30am) bus directly to Machu Picchu (2,400 m/7,875 ft). Once we arrive at Machu Picchu you will show your entrance ticket and passport. If you are a student you must bring your ISIC card to the entrance or you will not be permitted entrance. You are allowed to take in a small backpack (under 20L). From the entrance it is a 15 minute walk to the famous views from the South Zone of the farming terraces at the end of the Inca trail. Enjoy the early tour of Machu Picchu with your guide who will unfold the mysteries of this magical site, explaining the history and flora/fauna. Your guide will spend about 2 1/2 hours relating interesting and amazing stories, explaining temples and special sectors. Your tour of Machu Picchu will finish between 9 and 9:30am after which you will have free time to take photos and explore before the 10:30 crowds arrive. After you are done exploring the ruin site take the bus down to Aguas Calientes. There are many restaurants to choose from and your guide can also help find a nice place for lunch. After lunch you’ll catch the train back to Ollantaytambo where private transport will take you back to your hotel in Cusco.
NOTE: there are no bathrooms in the ruin site. There are bathrooms right outside the entrance, cost is 1 sol per entrance, and they provide a little toilet paper.
HIKES WITHIN MACHU PICCHU
There are hikes within Machu Picchu that you can do on your own if you wish. The hikes that do not require an entrance ticket are The Inka bridge and the Sun Gate (where the Inka Trail ends with a view of Machu Picchu city). Wayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes both require a paid ticket and there are a limited number of spots (200 at 7am and 200 at 10am). If you want to hike one of these please let us know well in advance as these spots fill up very quickly. Price per hike is 25USD. Please note we cannot guarantee you a spot for the mountains requiring tickets and that the trail is very steep and slippery and not for those afraid of heights or with vertigo).
INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
- Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
- Collection from your hotel in the morning or our departure point (your choice): Plaza Regocijo
- Private bus transport to start of the trek (day 1) and back to Cusco (day 5)
- Private transport through the Sacred Valley (Maras, Moray & Salineras day 8) and on to Ollantaytambo and back to Cusco (day 9)
- Personal porter to carry your overnight gear up to 8kg/17.6lbs
- Dry bag in which to put your overnight gear so it won’t get wet or dusty on the trail
- 3 person, 4 season tents (2 people in large and comfortable Mountain Hardwear Expedition tent)
- One inch thick mattress pad
- English speaking professional guide
- Full meals on trek (3 meals per day, tea time every afternoon, and snacks on the trail)
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank and emergency horse
- Dining tent with tables and stools
- Chef and cooking equipment and kitchen tent
- Toilet, toilet tent, and toilet paper
- Horsemen and horses (to carry tents, food, cooking equipment, and your duffel bags)
- Hot water every morning and evening for hand washing purposes
- Boiled water to fill your water bottle every morning and afternoon
- Entrance to the Ausangate trail
- Hotel (double room) in Cusco (Night 7)
- Celebratory dinner in Cusco (Night 7)
- Round trip train: Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu and back
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex
- Round-trip bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu, plenty of time to explore on your own
- Hotel (double room) and dinner in Aguas Calientes (Night 8)
- Private transport back to your hotel in Cusco
NOT INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
- Hotel before/after
- Lunch on day 8 and lunch and dinner on the last day
- Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Entrance to hot springs (10 soles)
- Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Hike (25USD each) – advanced booking essential
- Travel/medical insurance
- Items of a personal nature and souvenirs
- Tip for your guide(s) and trek staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
ON THE TRAIL
PRICE AND NUMBER OF TREKKERS
WHEN TO GO AND DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR TREK
- Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Recommend a sleeping bag rated for below freezing
- Sleeping bag liner (for your sleeping bag if you wish)
- Mattress pad – while we provide a mattress pad, being rested is essential for a great hiking experience and we find that sleep habits are very individualized. Therefore we recommend bringing your own pad that you know you are comfortable sleeping on, as well as any other sleep items you might want to have (camp pillow, etc).
- Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
- Sun hat
- Lip balm
- Hiking shoes/boots
- Hiking pants and shirts (layers)
- Layers – long underwear and/or warm sleep pants for cold nights
- Hand warmers if you wish
- Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional Peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
- Daypack and rain cover
- Rain gear – rain jacket and rain pants (optional for the pants), can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek
- Cash for tipping porters, cooks, horsemen, guides, buying items along the trail, for in town, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash should be in perfect condition (ripped, damaged soles are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
- Swim suit, flip flops, towel for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes if you wish to go
- Torch/flashlight/headlamp (and batteries)
- Insect repellent
- Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
- E.g. if you have a favorite protein bar as Cusco does not sell items like this
- First aid kit, including blister protection (though your guide will have one, you may wish to carry one of your own)
- Personal medication and toiletries you might want
- Camera, extra memory cards/film, batteries
- Water bottle or water bladder to refill
- Passport (must be valid 6 months past your travel dates for most countries)
- Copies of passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
- Power adapter/converter
- Travel lock(s) approved by TSA (or they cut them off – US only)
- Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information
- Any medications you currently are taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)
- Small quick-dry pak towels and/or wipes for a quick wipe down at the end of the day
What to bring: medications – medications are optional and depend on your specific needs
- Antibiotic for travelers diarrhea or UTI
- Antibiotic for a severe bacterial infection
- Medication for upset stomach/indigestion
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Anti-nausea medication for motion sickness/altitude sickness if needed
- Cold/flu medication
- General pain killer/fever reducer
- Vaccinations – recommend bringing all boosters up to date (MMR, tetanus, etc)
View latest travel advisories and recommended vaccinations and medications for the regions you plan to visit. For Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu there are generally no vaccinations required. If you are going to the jungle or any other higher risk area you may need: yellow fever vaccine, medicine for malaria, typhoid vaccine, etc. Click here for updated info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/peru.aspx NOTE: Please visit your doctor several weeks before your trip to discuss any health restrictions you may have, medications he/she might recommend for you personally, and to seek more information about any vaccinations or medications recommended for Peru (or any of your other destinations). Additionally: speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter and/or prescription medications alone or combined.