Ausangate Trek

Ausangate Trek : The Complete Guide

Ausangate mountain is the most beautiful of Mountains and stands tall among the mountains of the Andes. Ausangate was one of the most spiritual places in the Inca civilization, with many festivals that still take place today. The trek takes you through the Vilcanota mountain range where you will see spectacular mountain snow covered peaks, glaciers and colorful lakes. Pass hidden Andean villages and maybe see wildlife like Andean Condors, chinchillas, just as you are guaranteed to see vicunas and alpacas.

Spiritual History

In Inca spirituality the mountains were believed to have a spirit that protected the people. Ausangate stands with 11 other sacred mountains which are Salkantay, Simona, Pillku Urqu, Manuel Pinta, Wanakawri, Pachatusan, Pikchu, Saksaywaman, Viraqochan, Pukin and Sinqa. The Ausangate trek, is the most profound pilgrimage in the Andes and one of the best hikes in Peru. Today the festival of Qoyllur Riti is celebrated in late May or early June when there is a full moon and the beginning of the harvest season.

Best time to go

For the Ausangate trek, the best time to go is in the dry season, which is from May to September. The dry season means clean skies and beautiful scenery. This also means that it is the high tourist season so you will see more people on the trek, but not in the same access of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The wet season in the Andes is from October to April. It is not recommended to do the trek in from January to March as this is the peak of the wet season and parts of the trek can be closed.


The Ausangate hike traces through high elevation landscapes ranging between 10,334 ft (3150mts) to as high as 16,800 ft (5120mts) above sea level. You will need to acclimatize before attempting the Ausangate trek. It is preferred that you spend at least 2 days in Cusco or the Sacred Valley to acclimatize and rest.

The Hike

The Ausangate Trek is a mix of challenging days with a few moderate days. The trek is a Grade C trek, which means high altitudes and more than 6 hours hiking per day. There are steep sections that increase altitude in a short amount of time. This hike is suited for people who have experience hiking or for people who are fit and healthy as the hike can be challenging at best. Another important factor is the weather, which can be unpredictable and blizzards at high altitudes are not uncommon. Consider your tolerance to the cold before booking this trek.

What you will see on the Ausangate Trek

Rainbow Mountain

This wonder of mother nature is a highlight of the Ausangate Trek, Rainbow Mountain features mineral stripes of Turquoise, Scarlet, Mustard and Brown. The views from the summit are unforgettable of Rainbow Mountain and surrounds that look like you have landed on the red moon.

Ausangate Mountain

The Inca believed that mountains where the connection between the middle and upper worlds. Ausangate is the tallest mountain in the Vilcanota Mountain Range on the trek you will get the best views of the spectacular mountain.

Glaciers and Lakes

Ausangate is also called Creator of the Water because of the many surrounding glaciers. These glaciers are the source of the many lakes that surround Ausangate. See many gorgeous lakes each with unique colors like green, blue, turquoise and sometimes red.

Andean Culture

Pass many different Andean villages, these remote villages continue their rich culture and traditions. Every year many thousands gather and climb Ausangate to celebrate Qoyllur Riti. If you are lucky enough to trek at this time of year you will be welcome to join the festivities.

Guided Tour v Independent Travel

The Ausangate trek can be done independently, only around 5 percent of trekkers do so. It is only advised if you are a professional hiker and you are acclimatized to the altitude and have experience in hiking at high altitudes in extreme weather conditions. We would always recommend doing this trek with a guide on a tour, you will receive the guides knowledge, cooked meals and your camping tents will be set up by the porters. Taking a tour helps the local economy and giving jobs to the local porters.


How many days do I need to acclimatize in Cusco before the trek?

It is very important to acclimatize before attempting any trek in Cusco. You will need at least 2 or 3 days before the trek to rest and acclimatize to avoid problems on the trek.

Do I need my original passport on the trek?

Yes, for any trek in Peru you will need your passport. It is a good ideal to carry your important documents in a resealable plastic bag.

Do I take my suitcase on the trek with me?

No, you will receive a duffle bag to take with you on the trek, the porters or horses will carry your duffle bag. You will receive your duffle bag at the briefing the night before your trek starts. Remember the duffle can only weigh 7kilos and this includes your sleeping bag and sleeping mat, you will only take necessary items with you on your trek. You can store your suitcase at the hotel or at your trekking specialist’s office.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?

You can bring your own sleeping bag, make sure it is a minus 15C all weather bag, or if you prefer you can hire a sleeping bag on arrival in Cusco with your trekking company, all are dry cleaned after use.

Where will I sleep and what will I eat?

You will sleep in top quality 4 person tents, for 2 people only, there will be plenty of space to spread out, there is a space in front of the tent for your walking sticks and you dirty boots. Each meal on the trek is prepared by a chef so you will receive a range of Peruvian and international cuisine as well as snacks to munch while waiting for dinner. If you have a special diet please advise at the time of booking.

Packing List

On any trekking holiday there are essential items that you will need to take with you for a comfortable and rewarding journey. Your travel company will supply you with a duffel bag, this is a maximum of 7 kilos. Please remember that your sleeping bag and mat will weigh 3 kilos leaving you 4 kilos for your belongings.

What to put in your DUFFEL BAG?

  • 2 t-shirts
  • 2 hiking pants
  • 4 sets of undergarments
  • 3 sets of hiking socks
  • Fleece/ Thermals
  • Warm clothes, down jacket — 2nd campsite temp around 3º C
  • Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
  • Comfortable shoes for camp
  • Quick dry towel. We provide small ones; you might prefer something larger
  • Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to wash
  • Battery Charger: No electricity along the trek
  • Large plastic bags will be provided at the office to line your duffel
  • Sleeping bag: It has to be at least -15ºC – This can be rented from us for $20 USD

What to put in you DAY PACK?

  • Passport or Identification (you will not be allowed to enter the hike without this)
  • Water: Please supply your own water until the first lunch spot, then we will provide you with cold boiled water at every meal time. Please bring your canteens.
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Headlamp
  • Wool hat and gloves
  • Wet Weather clothes
  • Fleece or warm layer
  • Snacks like chocolate bars, cereal bars or any dry fruits
  • Personal First Aid kit and personal medications
  • Camera
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
  • Valuables

Travel Tips

Advanced Booking Is a Must

It’s very important to buy your tickets for the Ausangate trek in advance. Early planning does always not guarantee a spot, but greatly increases your chance of securing the trekking dates you want. During high season, from April through October, permits can sell out 6 months beforehand.

Before the Trek, Adjust to the Altitude

We recommend spending a few days in Cusco before your trek begins to give your body plenty of time to adjust to the high-altitude region. Cusco is a city that resides at 4800 mts above sea level. The highest mountain pass along the Ausangate Trail is at a soaring 13,830 ft (4,214 m).

Tips for the Trekking Staff

The guides, porters and chefs on the Ausangate Trek work very hard to give you the best trek experience. They are paid for the work but if you feel you have had a good experience it is your choice to whether you tip or not. A general guide for tipping is $50 to $70 per person, which will include all the Ausangate Trek staff.

Ausangate, the adventure of a life time, nowhere will you see such natural beauty, experience such challenging mountain trails and leave with such a sense of achievement. Ausangate is a photographer’s dream, a bird lovers paradise and the adventure lovers first stop in Peru.

What Defines Us !