Peru adventure tour
Ausangate Trek in the Wild Backcountry of Peru
Haku Expeditions’ Ausangate Trek of the Andes is an off-the-beaten path trip full of glacial lakes, authentic encounters and unforgettable, high-elevation mountain vistas. This Ausangate trek combines local homestays, camping, hot springs and a Pachamanca dinner – the full Andean experience! After a private tour of the historical and cultural treasures of the South Valley, you’ll get up close and personal with the dramatic, rugged beauty of the Vilcanota Mountain Range, with knowledgeable, bilingual Haku guides leading the way.
Ausangate Trek Description:
This Ausangate trek in Peru is a supported backpacking trip, which means much of the major camp gear (such as tents, sleeping bags, food, etc.) will be carried by horses, while local horsemen go ahead on the hiking trail to set up camp. That means that our campsites will be ready on arrival and you’ll only carry a minimal amount of personal gear and snacks, so you can enjoy the Ausangate trek to the fullest.
Why choose Haku’s Ausangate trek?
In Incan mythology, Ausangate is home to Apu, the spirit of the sacred mountain. In Haku fashion we have searched out the best, yet least used trekking routes in this area in order to give you an authentic, off-the-beaten-path hiking adventure in Peru. Our Ausangate trek of the Andes gives you 5 days on a hiking route through majestic Peru, where you can see for yourself why the Incas chose this area as a place of worship and peace. Expect to hike, camp, and soak in thermal hot springs far from other people, in one of the most beautiful trekking destinations on planet Earth.
Dates for Stunning Ausangate 5-Day Trek in Peru.
What you can expect
Ausangate Trek Highlights
Some highlights to look forward to on your Peru 5-Day Ausangate Trek:
Full Ausangate Trek Details
Today we will leave Cusco between 8-9 a.m. We will drive towards the South Valley, stopping along the way to visit local towns and discover what they are famous for.
We’ll have a chance to taste the chicharrones of Saylla, to tryPan de Oro, a homemade Peruvian bread, in Oropesa and marvel at the stunning Temple of San Pedro de Andahuaylillas, also known as the “Sistine Chapel of the Americas.” If we have time we will stop at the ruins of Tipon along the way as well!
In Andahuaylillas, we will enjoy a local lunch before finishing out our journey to the mighty Ausangate.
Once we arrive at the base of Ausangate we’ll enjoy a warm cup of tea and an authentic Peruvian dinner with the locals.
We will stay with a local family and begin to acclimate for our hike tomorrow.
Ausangate Trek Stats:
Lodging: Local homestay
Meals: L, D
Note: The ruins of Tipon require a tourist ticket which is not included. (s/70 Soles)
Today we’ll wake up bright and early to begin our Ausangate Trek of the Andes! We will rise for a 6:30 am breakfast and head out between 7-8 am. As we leave our local homestay we will say goodbye to the many alpacas waiting to go out and graze on the high alpine grass of Ausangate.
After hiking for about 2 hours we we’ll come across the calm, emerald beauty of the first of many stunning glacial lakes of the day. The backdrop of this first one is a hulking glacier just on the other side of it. As we continue trekking, high alpine alpacas will be grazing on either side of us. We will enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking aqua green glacial lakes with huge black scree fields above them.
As we continue our hiking adventure we’ll pass by even more glacial lakes of all colors, blue, green, red, aqua and teal along with stunning views of towering, 6,096 m/20,000 ft snow-capped mountains.
We will end the trail at hot springs where we can relax and enjoy a nice cold beer before heading to our local homestay.
Ausangate Trek Stats:
Distance: 20 km/12.4 mi
Altitude: Max elevation of 4876 m/15,997 ft
Lodging: Local homestay
Meals: B, L, D
Yesterday was our longest hiking day with 20 km/15.5 miles. We will wake a bit later today, allowing ourselves to recover before we begin hiking again.
We will wake and have an 8 a.m. breakfast before packing up and loading our horses. We can stop once again in the hot springs if you would like before we begin the trek to our campsite for the night.
Today’s trekking takes us in front of the Ausangate range and along the Callangate snowcapped peaks. Alpacas dot the high alpine terrain and if we are lucky we may see a herd of wild vicuñas! We will hike down to a beautiful valley with a small river where a few local alpaca farmers live. In order to give you a very typical Peruvian experience we will purchase an alpaca from our farming friends and have an authentic pachamanca dinner tomorrow. This also helps to economically support the local indigenous community of the area.
Once at camp, you can either relax or go explore the surrounding mountains in search of amazing photographs and magical Andean moments. Quite possibly you will get to see local women weaving textiles. If you have some cash on hand now would be a good time to pick up some authentic Peruvian souvenirs.
We will relax and watch the sun setting on the Vilcanota Mountains as we eat a delicious camp dinner.
Ausangate Trek Stats:
Distance: 6 km/3.7 mi
Max elevation: 4704 m/15433 ft
Meals: B, L, D
There’s nothing quite like waking up in the Andes.
Today we’ll take a beautiful hike up to a mountain pass and then follow as it winds downhill to a huge alpine glacial lake. By now you will have become very accustomed to seeing alpacas everywhere! We will stop and eat a picnic lunch before arriving at the large, aqua-colored glacial lake where we will camp.
When we arrival, our camp will be set up with hot tea and snacks awaiting us. Tonight we will have a “Pachamanca” dinner with our team. We will build an oven out of the earth and rocks. Once the “oven” is heated we will smash down the rocks and lay the meat, potatoes and veggies on the hot rocks. We will continue covering the food in this way. Once all the food is laid on hot rocks and covered with other hot rocks we will cover the entire thing with earth and hay to allow it to cook. Tonight’s meal will be a favorite of the locals and hopefully yours as well!
Ausangate Trail Stats:
Distance: 8 km/5 mi
Max Elevation: 4815 m/15,800 ft
Food included: B, L, D
Today we’ll finish out our Ausangate Trek of the Andes with a beautiful hike along the alpine lake Sigrenecocha. The day is not especially long, but the views are especially gorgeous! Take in your last experience of the remote Andes as you reflect on an incredible backpacking trip.
Your transport back to Cusco will be waiting at the end of the trail and you are typically back in Cusco around 5 p.m. We will drop you off at your hotel where you can take a much-anticipated hot shower!
Ausangate Trek Stats:
Distance: 8 km/5 mi
Altitude: 4348 m/14,270 ft
Lodging: Not Included
Meals: B, L
What’s the price of this 5-day Ausangate Trek in Peru? And what’s included?
The Price for this 5-day trekking adventure to Ausangate is $1995 pp with a three person minimum to run.
This Ausangate Trek includes:
- South Valley tour
- Entrance into the Sistine Chapel of the Andes
- Entrances and fees into the Ausangate park
- Local homestay for two nights
- Two nights camping
- English speaking guide for 5 days plus all his expenses
- All food, water, and snacks from day 1 lunch to day 5 lunch
- Cook and cook tent
- Horses and arrieros (horse wranglers) to carry the gear and food
- Transport to and from Cusco
- Pachamanca dinner
- Entrance into the hot springs
- Sleeping bags
- Sleeping Pads
For this 5-day Ausangate Trek of the Andes you can be a novice trekker, adventure trekker or advanced trekker.
Your fitness level should be at least 3
Fitness level 3: You exercise one to two times a week but do not have a normal schedule that keeps you biking/hiking or doing other activities weekly. You don’t go to the gym or train for any specific sports but you lead a relatively active lifestyle by biking, hiking, skiing, or whatever it may be.
Note: If you would like to join us on our Ausangate Trek in Peru and are not at a level three fitness, you can sign up if you begin a weekly exercise routine for two months before you come.
All international flights require a layover. Most layovers will be through Lima, Peru or Bogota, Colombia. In the case of flying through Lima most flights will arrive late at night in Lima and flights to Cusco will fly out in the morning. Many people get arrivals at 3-4 am and flights out around 5-6 am.
Your options for layovers in Lima, Peru.
- Choose a flight that has a late arrival and early departure and sleep in the airport for a few hours (most common choice)
- Choose a flight that has a semi-late arrival like 11 pm and a very late morning departure like 10 am and get an airbnb with airport pickup near the airport. (Choose something 5 min from the airport so you can sleep)
- Get a room at the hotel connected to the airport. This hotel is called the Wyndham Costa del Sol
- Purchase two separate flights. One to Lima and stay the night in Miraflores. Visit Lima a bit for the day and fly out on a later flight to Cusco.
Things to note when arriving in Lima:
- On arrival you will need to pass through migrations. These are very long lines and can take more than an hour sometimes. If you have young children up to two years old, are over 65 or handicapped, by law, you can use the preferential line
- After passing migrations you will need to pass through customs and declare any goods you may have brought
- Once through migrations and customs you must recover your checked bags, leave the international arrivals part of the airport and then re-check your bags at the check-in. Here there are often extremely long lines. If you have paid for extra baggage or oversized baggage make sure you have the receipt so they do not charge you a second time. Also, oversized bags are dropped off in a special line so ask before you wait in the normal line
- Once the baggage is checked you can go through the normal process and screening to get to your national flight to Cusco
As you can see there is a lot that you must do on arrival to Lima. You will need a bare minimum of two hours (if you have only carry-on luggage) in between flights.
The Ausangate Trek does not include airport pickup or dropoff.
You will want to arrive in Cusco and depart from Cusco for this tour.
What to bring:
- Water bottle or two for refilling with hot water, OR
- Camelbak bladder in your day pack/hiking pack
- Rain jacket
- Waterproof hiking boots
- Hiking poles
- Down jacket, hat, gloves, scarf and neck buff
- Hiking clothes such as:
- Wool or fleece sweater
- Wool base layers, top and bottom
- Wool socks and lots of them
- Quick-dry layers
- Quick-dry towel and bathing suit
- Sunscreen, Sunhat, Sunglasses
- Ear plugs and eye mask for sleeping
- A book, cards or something for evening entertainment
- Any medicines you may need: epi-pens, inhalers etc
- Camera or phone
- Charging devices for phones and camera
- Daypack for carrying water, camera, snacks, medicines
- 0 degreeF/-18C Sleeping bags and foam mattress (Do not use blow up mattresses as the grass is thorn-like!)
- Ibuprofen, aspirin, or something similar for headaches or muscle pain
- If you think you will want high altitude medication, Diamox is what many people use
Each person is required to have a specific travel/trip insurance outside of your credit card or regular medical insurance. You should get comprehensive coverage that includes trip interruption/cancellation and personal liability. Mention all activities that you will be involved in such as mountain biking, hiking at high altitude and whatever other activities you may have planned.
We do not provide refunds. If you should get hurt or sick not only will travel insurance cover your medical expenses, it will also cover the lost portion of the guided hiking tour. Make sure you have trip interruption or trip cancellation included! South America is famous for people striking and shutting down all activities. If you miss your Machu Picchu trip, your Amazon trip or your flight due to strikes, the insurance will cover the loss or additional costs that are incurred.
Check out our blog on travel insurance and why it is a must for any South America Vacation!
Peru’s currency is called the Nuevo Sol. You’ll be able to exchange US currency for the Sol easily in Cusco. The exchange rate often fluctuates between 3.29-3.33 sol per US dollar.
We recommend you bring cash. Peru is still a cash society. Most people don’t have bank accounts as Peruvian banks charge up to $15 per month just to have the account open. So, services like Venmo, Pay-Pal, and Apple Pay aren’t used here. Most local stores, taxis, and local restaurants are cash only.
ATMS charge around $8 to take out $60-200. Banks only allow a limited withdrawal daily. Thus, it’s probably a good idea to withdraw a good sum of cash before you come to Peru, unless your bank returns ATM fees. You can also try the app called ATM hero and do a little research before you come to decide if an ATM card or cash is best for you.
The USD, EURO, CAD cash you bring should be unripped bills. Small tears or bills that are written on are not accepted for exchange.
As Peru is a cash society and it is difficult to withdraw large amounts of cash, we require your balance be brought in cash.
TIPPING: Local restaurants generally do not require a tip, however, leaving a few soles is a nice gesture. Tourist restaurants are generally a 10% tip. Tipping your guide in Peru is generally 5-10% of the price you paid for the tour.
Trip of a Lifetime!!!"My wife and I, along with our two children (ages 6 & 8) traveled to Peru for 15 days over Christmas and thanks to Bill and Nicole it was an adventure we will never forget. From the epic mountain biking to the breathtaking views on our three day trek, Haku saw to it that every aspect of our vacation met our needs perfectly. Their knowledge of the local culture and surroundings paired with their outstanding customer service left us wishing we could have stayed even longer. What was originally dubbed our once in a lifetime trip will definitely have a sequel or two or three!!! Thank you for the wonderful memories Bill and Nic!"
Amazing adventure that could never be duplicated.If your looking to Travel away from the beaten path of life, Haku Expeditions is able to arrange your wildest fantasy. We signed up for a 3 day/2 night expedition in search of the Andean Condor. The trek was masterly arranged by Haku Expeditions !!! Prior to departing Cusco, we were educated by this wonderful outfit on what to expect along the way. We ventured off into the Andes Mountains with a pair of binoculars and not a worry in the world. I can not describe the scenery nor the emotions which flooded our senses throughout every minute of this expedition. It was truly Amazing and my soul yearns to get back asap and do it all over again. I can not praise Nicole and William Koch (Owners of Haku Expeditions) enough, they are true experts in their field and super knowledgeable about this entire area. This boutique outfit has something very special to offer for any inquiry or requests you might have. They have changed the way we look at life going forward:) So Much Love, Joseph and Carly Stevenson
You need to be acclimatized for this trip; this means that if you live at low altitude, you should probably arrive in Cusco two to three days before beginning your guided hiking tour.
We also recommend you take vitamin C supplements and probiotics before you come and while here. As great as Peru’s food is, it’s probably different from what your body is used to, so it’s important to make sure your body is ready for the transition.
Out in the Ausangate region there is nowhere to get cash, exchange cash, or use a credit card. Make sure to have some low-denomination cash in Peruvian soles for small things like beer or locally made handicrafts.
For the Cusco area we recommend you bring cash. Peru is still a cash society. Most people don’t have bank accounts as Peruvian banks charge up to $15 per month just to have the account open. So, services like Venmo, Pay-Pal, and Apple Pay aren’t used here. Drivers, guides, local restaurants — all will be expecting cash.
We too will ask for the balance of your trip in cash for the simple reason that we must pay everyone we work with in cash.
ATMS charge around $8 to take out $60-200. Banks only allow a small withdrawal daily. Thus, it’s probably a good idea to withdraw a good sum of cash before your flight to Peru or do some research before you come with apps like ATM Hero.
Peru’s currency is called the Sol. You’ll be able to exchange most international currency for the Sol easily if you need to in Cusco.
Each group should have at least 2 people with a max of 7 trekkers. If you are alone and have specific dates outside of our trip dates, contact us — we are flexible and will make sure we can get you out exploring in Peru.
Generally 25-60. We expect you to be able to handle strenuous, rugged hiking. If you’re under 18, you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
This trip has horses to help us carry the heavy or bulky gear. You will only need to carry your personal gear for the day – extra layers, water, and snacks. Everything else goes on the horses!
We have a great group of guides. Check out our team page to see who may be leading your trip
This trip is a mix of local homestays and camping.
We will be staying with locals in their home. It will feel essentially like a step above camping; you’ll have a small, shared quaint room with a simple bed. There is no shower and the bathroom is shared. The hot springs however are only a 10 minute walk away!
So that you can have an authentic experience we ask the families to keep the homes and meals just like they would for themselves.
All meals from lunch on day one to lunch on day five.
Additional luggage can remain at your hotel or we are happy to take care of it for you at our office.
You will get a tourist visa on arrival at the airport.
It will be very cold, as we are always at 14,000 ft/4000 meters and above. Be prepared with down jackets, and good quality wool hats, gloves, etc.
Beyond that, though: we don’t know! We are at a base altitude of 14,000 ft/ 4000 meters. When you’re that high up, the weather is constantly changing. We recommend that you don’t look at the forecast because, frankly, it’s always wrong. Peru’s dry season is between mid-May and late September. The shoulder seasons are April and October, and the rainy season is between November and March with the heaviest rains December through February.
We recommend visiting Peru between May-September but will take you if you prefer on another date knowing it may be wet or snowy.
This trip is $1995 pp with a three person minimum. If you are a solo hiker we will inform you before the trip if there are other hikers who have joined the trip. If there are two trekkers we can offer to run the trip with a small increase to the price.
This trip is based on shared rooms and shared tents.
The single supplement will allow you your own tent.
Bringing more gear means bringing more horses and horsemen.
Price: $200 USD
All add-ons can be purchased at checkout.
Sleeping bag rental
Price: $25 USD
All add-ons can be purchased at checkout.
Seeing this iconic 15th century Incan citadel is a more than worthy bucket list item for most people that come to Peru. If you’d like, we’ll organize a tour of the site that includes a round-trip train ticket, entrance to the sanctuary, and an English-speaking guide.
Archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as a palace for the Incan emperor Pachacuti in the 15th century. They abandoned it after roughly a century, during the Spanish conquest, and it then remained virtually unknown until 1911, when American historian Hiram Bingham made Machu Picchu’s existence public. In 1983, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and since then it has captured the imagination and awe of the millions of people who travel to experience its magic.
Price: $350 per person.
- Entrance into Machu Picchu
- Round-trip train ticket on Peru rail
- An English-speaking guide
- Two-hour tour
- Taxi to the train station in Cusco
- Bus up to the ruins ($15 USD, available to purchase at checkout)
- Entrance into Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain
- Taxi to train station in Ollantaytambo
All add-ons can be purchased at checkout.
Hotel in Aguas Calientes, Ollantaytambo or Cusco
Make your vacation even easier! Let us book additional hotels or airbnbs for you!
We make sure to book you a place that has a central location.
We also make sure you have a place that has real hot water as many places in Peru only offer cold water or luke warm showers at best!
Hotels include breakfast. Private apartment airbnbs do not.
Price: $60 USD for 1-2 person group
All add-ons will be offered to you at checkout
Is This 5-Day Ausangate Trek For You?
This 5-day Ausangate trek of the Andes is demanding due to the high altitude, but not extremely technical. The hiking days range between 4-6 hours of trekking daily and allow for beautiful photographs of the many glacial lakes you will see.
If you are looking for a shorter version of this trip check out our 3-day Ausangate Adventure Vacation. On the other hand if you are looking for a harder or longer trek, check out our 7-day Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu.
Our 5-day Ausangate Trek in Peru is ideal for you if:
- You are looking for scenic glacial lakes, snowcaps and high alpine terrain
- You would like to see alpacas or quite possibly a herd of vicuñas in the wild
- You are looking for a challenge without extremely long hiking days
- You are in search for a guided backpacking trip for families
- You like to avoid overcrowded hiking trails, and enjoy having the wild backcountry to yourself
- You enjoy local homestays and camping adventures