Mount Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain

Mount Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain 4 days 3 nights

Trek around the base of the highest mountain in Cusco’s Andes, and visit the multicolored Rainbow Mountain. Dominating the horizon south of Cusco, the magnificent peak of Ausangate (6,333 meters) is the highest and most sacred mountain in southern Peru. The scenery is spectacular. Snow-capped peaks look down on seemingly endless grasslands studded with turquoise lakes, thermal pools, and herds of llamas and alpacas. Rainbow Mountain is one of the Cusco region’s most unusual natural attractions, where layers of accumulated sediment have created a multicolored mountain peak.

YOUR DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY AND SERVICES:

Day 1: Cusco – Ocongate – Tinki - Upis

Driving south of the city of Cusco, the landscape will begin to change as we climb from the green Vilcanota valley up to the high plains of the Andes, inhabited by rural communities who live from livestock herding and farming. Our trek will begin in the village of Tinki. An easy first day will take us across the Mapocho River, and over Andean plains of coarse grass. Along the way we will pass homes that will be of interest to photographers, as we approach the Ausangate massif, a mighty peak sacred to local people. We will camp close to the Upis thermal baths, where you can bathe in the medicinal waters.

Day 2: Upis – Lake Pucacocha

Accompanied by our trekking personnel and pack animals, and escorted by our experienced professional mountain guide, today we will continue trekking through spectacular high Andean scenery, crossing the first pass on our route at 4500 meters (14,760 feet). From the high pass, we will descend to Lake Pucacocha (“Red Lake”, in Quechua), at 4459 meters (14,625 feet), where we will camp for the night. 

Day 3: Lake Pucacocha – High pass - Ananta

Today we will cross a high pass (4882 m / 16,012 feet). We will set off early, keeping Ausangate to our left and passing groups of grazing llamas and alpacas. As we cross the pass we will be met by spectacular views of the southeast mountain range, and if we are lucky we may even spot condors in the skies above the Andes. 

Day 4: Ananta – Rainbow Mountain - Cusco

At daybreak we will begin our day’s hike. The first section of our route this morning will take us to Vinicunca, known by local people as the “Rainbow Mountain”. Vinicunca is a truly extraordinary sight: layers of different colored sediments have created bands of bright colors at the summit of this mountain, spread across the horizon. At 5000 meters / 16,400 feet above sea level, you will have a 360-degree view of this part of Peru’s high Andes, with snowcapped Mount Ausangate to one side and the multicolored summit of Vinicunca to the other. This is a truly magical high Andes mountain setting! The descent down the other side of the mountain will feel easier as the oxygen returns to your lungs and you reflect on the previous days’ experiences in Peru’s high Andes. The final section of our trek walk will offer us further views of Mount Ausangate and other snow peaks, after which our vehicle will be waiting to take us back to the city of Cusco. 

EXTENSIONS: DO YOU HAVE MORE TIME TO SPEND IN PERU?

Other travelers added the following extension to this Peru itinerary...

CUSCO CITY TOUR Half day 
Explore historic Cusco and its major attractions during a half-day excursion: Colonial-era Cusco, with its cathedral and the Inca Temple of the Sun, or Qorikancha. The enormous Inca temple complex of Sacsayhuaman, located at the top of the hill overlooking Cusco’s main square, and other archaeological sites in the hills around the city. 


CHECK TO SEE WHAT'S INCLUDED AND WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING...

Included
  • Private vehicle outbound and return.
  • 4-person tents for every two participants, single tents (upon request)
  • Air mattresses
  • Kitchen set, complete table service, chairs and tables
  • Dining tent and kitchen tent
  • Latrine tent
  • First aid kit and emergency oxygen bottle

Team

  • English-speaking guide
  • Cook
  • Pack animals and mule drivers, camp assistant(s). Mules carry up to 8 kg of the personal gear of each participant

Meals

  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinking water to fill your water bottle (from natural sources, filtered and boiled)
  • Snacks in the morning and afternoon (fruit, cookies, chocolate and energy bars, candy)
  • Hot drinks such as tea and coffee
Not included
  • Sleeping bags (we can provide sleeping bags at an additional cost of US$30 per person)
  • Participants are expected to carry their own sleeping bag, clothing and other items of a personal nature, including personal medical supplies
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Personal items, including personal medical supplies
  • Tips
What to bring:
  • Passport (pack additional photocopies of your passport)
  • Daypack for daily personal gear (to be carried by each participant)
  • Warm clothing for high Andean region
  • Rain jacket
  • Long sleeved shirts (cotton)
  • Shorts for walking (optional)
  • Cap and sunglasses
  • Sun block
  • Camera
  • Binoculars for birdwatching enthusiasts
  • Good hiking boots 
  • Swimsuit for thermal pools
  • Walking poles (ensure they are not metal tipped)
  • Flashlight
FAQs - Frequently asked questions

How far in advance do I need to book a trek or hike?

For trekking and hiking routes other than the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you should make your booking at least five days in advance, so we can make the necessary preparations, although we recommend that you make your booking up to 90 days in advance. Full refunds (minus administration costs) can be offered 45 days before your scheduled departure date. After 45 days, only partial refunds will be given. 

I would like to trek with my friends, can I book now and my friends book later?
Yes, for trekking and hiking routes other than the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you can add other travelers to your group before departure. Write to us for more information on the treks, hikes and tours we have available. 

What is the maximum group size? Is there a maximum?
The maximum group size is 16 persons. For more than 16 persons, a second group must be organized. A single guide travels with 8 participants. For larger groups, an assistant guide will also accompany the participants.

If I am traveling alone can I have my own tent / hotel room?
If you are traveling alone and are willing to share a tent, with a member of the same sex or partner, family member or friend, then there is no additional cost. If, however, you would like your own private tent an additional supplement will be payable. Please contact us in advance, because on some trekking and hiking routes this option may depend on the availability of spaces at campsites designated by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.

What do we do for water?
Use of plastic bottles on the network of Inca Trails to Machu Picchu is not permitted. Other treks and hikes do not have this restriction, but we always recommend and encourage our travelers to use reusable canteens or second use plastic water bottles. Our cook will provide you with boiled water to refill your bottle at all the campsites.

What food safety processes do you have in place?
All foodstuffs are purchased immediately before departure to guarantee freshness, and they are correctly packaged and handled by our trained staff to ensure food safety. We use cloth bags when making our purchases, rather than plastic. The produce is fresh and bought directly from local farmers. Also, we pack the produce in cloth bags and hermetic multiuse containers, avoiding the use of plastic in order to make our operations as green as possible. 

What do I need to carry?
You will need to carry your daypack with all the personal items you need during the day. The rest of your luggage will be transported by us (van / porters). Porters are only permitted to carry 8 kilos for each person (including sleeping bag). As a company, Andean Adventures Peru is committed to the well-being of its porters during treks and hikes, ensuring that they are properly paid, well fed, and comfortable at our campsites. On some of our trekking and hiking routes, pack animals are used. 

What type of camping gear is used for treks and hikes?
We supply all the camping equipment needed for groups to enjoy the great outdoors safely and comfortably: 4-person tents for every two participants; air mattresses; complete table service; dining tent, chairs and tables; kitchen tent; latrine tent; sleeping bags on request (many travelers choose to bring their own sleeping bag; however, we also offer sleeping bags for hire at an additional cost). 

What processes are in place to ensure the equipment is always in perfect condition?
Our full time logistics staff continuously maintain and/or replace all our equipment. To ensure proper use of our equipment, all gear is handled by our trained field crew during treks and hikes.

Do you provide sleeping pads?
Yes.

What food safety processes do you have in place?
All foodstuffs are purchased immediately before departure to guarantee freshness, and they are correctly packaged and handled by our trained staff to ensure food safety. We use cloth bags when making our purchases, rather than plastic. The produce is fresh and bought directly from local farmers. Also, we pack the produce in cloth bags and hermetic multiuse containers, avoiding the use of plastic in order to make our operations as green as possible. 

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