Ausangate To Rainbow Mountain Trek Comprehensive Hiking Guide in Cusco Peru. The Ausangate Trek is a high-altitude 70km hike in the Peruvian mountains near Cusco with an average altitude of over 4000m. Unlike most other hikes in the region, Ausangate is not about Inca ruins, it’s all about beautiful scenery; snow peaks, glaciers, colorful mountain lakes, and Rainbow mountains.
-If you like beautiful nature, going off the beaten track and hiking this trek is for you.
-Ausangate is one of the most challenging hikes around Cusco but at the same time one of the most rewarding in sense of scenery.
-Any doubts about hiking Ausangate on your own, read this article. We hope it’ll help you decide whether to do an independent or guided trek.
For more info on all our favorite hikes in Peru, check out our blog!
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Ausangate Best Time For Trekking
If you’re thinking of trekking in Cusco, there are a few things to consider. The main seasons are the dry season (May to September) and the rainy season (November to March). Here’s a quick guide to help you decide when is the best time for you to go: – Dry season (May to September): almost no rain, quite cold, especially at night in the mountains. – April and October: chances of rain are higher though it’s warmer.
Due to the high altitude in the winter months, from June to August, some parts of the trek might be covered in snow. – Rainy season (November to March): it’s warmer and rains a lot. The period from December to February is the worst time for hiking in the region as it rains the most.
So, When Should You Go?
If you don’t mind cold weather and some rain, then the months of April and October are ideal as you’ll have fewer crowds on the trails. If you want to avoid the rain, then plan your trip for May-September. Just keep in mind that June-August can be cold, so come prepared!
What You Need To Know About The Ausangate Trek
Are you considering the Ausangate Trek or Rainbow Mountain? Here’s what you need to know!
The Ausangate Trek is a high-altitude trek, so acclimatization is essential. You may want to do another lower-altitude hike first to see how your body reacts.
Drinking enough water is key when hiking at high altitudes. There are creeks and rivers on the route, but we recommend bringing a Lifestraw bottle or water purifying tablets, just to be safe.
There are no lodges or established campsites with facilities along the trek, so you must be self-sufficient.
A good map or GPS navigation is highly recommended for this trek. Cell phone reception is very limited, if available at all.
Your camping gear must be reliable and suitable for low temperatures. At night, it can get below freezing.
The Mountains add one extra day to the itinerary, plus there will be many tourists, locals with decorated alpacas, etc. But if you want to see the more authentic side of things, Rainbow Mountain is worth the visit.
How We Rank The Ausangate Trek Peru.
The Ausangate trek is one of the most beautiful, remote, and difficult hikes in all of Peru. It’s perfect for those who love being in nature and enjoying the amazing scenery. Here are a few things to know about this fantastic trek:
Difficulty level: 5 out of 5. The Ausangate trek is not for the faint of heart. It’s remote, high altitude, and has several steep ascents and descents.
Scenery: 5 out of 5. The scenery on the Ausangate trek is stunning. From colorful lakes to snow-capped peaks to Rainbow Mountain, this hike has it all.
Touristy: 2 out of 5. The Ausangate trek is one of the less touristy hikes around Cusco. The only time you’ll see other tourists is at colorful Rainbow Mountain.
So, if you’re looking for an amazing, remote hike with incredible scenery, the Ausangate trek is perfect for you. Just be sure to come prepared for a challenging hike.
Ausangate is a high-altitude trek that goes over 4000m. Good acclimatization is key to enjoying the trek.-Many people arriving in Cusco by bus from Lima or the Amazon get altitude sickness. It is normal if you fly or go by bus from a low altitude to a location more than 3000m above it.
There are three types of altitude sickness;
Mild Altitude Sickness, HAPE, and HACE – the last two are lethal. Mild Sickness is the first stage and if you don’t take precautions, it can develop into one of the lethal types. Having Mild Altitude Sickness is similar to having a hangover; headache, nausea, and fatigue. Many people feel it for the first couple of days in Cusco.-You can avoid or lessen the effects of altitude sickness by drinking coca tea, staying hydrated, and avoiding alcohol.
Acclimatization is key when trekking at high altitudes
If you are coming from a lower altitude, it is normal to experience some effects of altitude sickness. These can include a headache, nausea, and fatigue. To avoid or lessen the effects of altitude sickness, be sure to drink coca tea, stay hydrated, and avoid alcohol. By following these simple tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience on the Ausangate Trek or Rainbow Mountain.
How To Prevent Altitude Sickness For Ausansate Trail
If you’re planning on trekking to Ausangate or Rainbow Mountain, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and how to prevent it. Here are a few tips:
– Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol
– Acclimatize gradually by “climbing high and sleeping low”
– Consider taking Diamox if recommended by your doctor
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trekking experience.
Travel Insurance For The Trek
Hiking like any outdoor activity involves risks of getting injured, losing or breaking gear, cancellation of the trip due to bad weather, etc. The Ausangate Trek is a high-altitude route through remote areas of the Andes it’s highly recommended to have travel insurance that covers you for the period of the hike.
Choosing an insurance company that you can realy in case of emergency is very important, we recommend World Nomads. The company focuses on covering outdoor activities including trekking. Peru is one of their top hiking destinations which means they have experience working with local companies.
A great thing about World Nomads is that you can buy insurance online while traveling, it takes only a couple of minutes. Their insurance policy is very flexible-you can buy insurance to cover the whole period of the trip or only the hiking part of it, even if it’s one or two days.
Ausangate Trek Packing List
Are you planning on trekking to Ausangate or Rainbow Mountain in Peru? If so, then you’ll need to make sure you have the proper gear. In this guide, we’ll go over what you need to pack for the trek, including a detailed packing list.
Here’s what you need to know about packing for the Ausangate Trek or Rainbow Mountain:
Sleeping Tent: A good, reliable tent is essential. It should be waterproof and windproof, and easy to pitch.
Sleeping bag: Synthetic bags are a good option because they dry quickly and last long. Down bags are also an option, but they can be difficult if they get wet.
Sleeping Mat: Inflatable mattresses are a good option because they are small, light, and easy to pack.
Other essentials: Be sure to pack plenty of warm clothing, as well as food and water for the trek.
For more detailed information on what to pack, be sure to check out our Peru complete packing list.
Comparison With Guided Tour Operators And Independent Hikers
Ausangate is one of the most remote and tough hikes in the region. If you’re a hiking newbie, it’s strongly recommended that you do the trek with the company.
-Let them guide you through the route and arrange everything. This way, you can focus on enjoying the hike.
-However, if you’re an experienced hiker with proper acclimatization, then going on your own is possible.
Here are the pros and cons of both an independent and guided hike. This way, you can make the best decision for your Ausangate trek!
Without Tour Operator?
If you’re looking for a real adventure, Ausangate Trek and Rainbow Mountain is the perfect option for you. Here are some of the benefits of going on an independent hike:
– It’s much cheaper
– You’re very flexible with distances and times; start and finish when you want, stop where you like, etc.
– You have to carry all your gear and food.
– You can rely only on yourself there is no backup.
– It’s not always fun to pitch a tent and make food after a long and tough walking day.
However, the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel afterward is unlike any other feeling.
So if you’re up for a challenge and want to explore Ausangate Trek and Rainbow Mountain at your own pace, an independent hike is the perfect option for you.
Ausangate Guided Tours
-Hiking Ausangate on your own is a true adventure, we saw nobody else for a whole week, being at a high altitude the trek is quite tough, and since the route is not always very well marked navigation can be challenging.
Many hikers are more comfortable leaving planning and logistics to an experienced company that knows the area. Runnatrip is a group of professional trekkers that can guide you to experience the beauty of this amazing trek! Check them out for an organized Ausangate Trek, all you have to do is reserve your spot!
Note: If you don’t have time to complete the route you can do a day tour from Cusco to Rainbow Mountain and hike to the top of it from where you can see Ausangate mountain.
Benefits of Going on a Guided Tour
-It’s less stressful, no planning or preparation involved, just find a good reliable company and they will arrange everything for you.
-The walk is easier you carry only your day-pack the rest is transferred by horses.
-It’s more fun to hike in a group than wander on your own in the mountains (not for everybody).
-Part of the money you spend goes to the local community; guides, cook, muleteer (though the small part).
Downsides of Going on a Guided Tour
-It’s more expensive, a lot more actually.
-You might be unlucky with a group or a guide and it will spoil your hike.
Ausangate Trek Cost
Are you looking for an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trekking experience in Peru? If so, the Ausangate Trek is definitely for you! This incredible trek takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in all of Peru, including Rainbow Mountain.
Here Are Some Things To Keep in Mind When Planning Your Ausangate Trek:
The cost of the trek will vary depending on whether you go with a guide or not. Expect to pay around US$680 if you go with a company, which includes transport, food, and tents.
If you decide to do the trek independently, it is possible to do it very cheaply. The only expenses you will have are transport to get there and back, and food for the hike.
Without a Guide, Per Person
If you do it independently it’s very cheap especially if you have your camping gear; no paid accommodation, no big entrance fees, and the only expenses; are transport to get there and back (public bus) and food for the hike.
Transport (bus Cusco – Tinqui – Cusco) – 30 Sol/US$6 return.
Shopping (food, gas) – 120 Sol/US$40.
Entrance fee – 15 Sol/US$5 at the exit from Tinqui there is a small kiosk where you pay the park entry fee, not sure what park but looked more or less official.
Gear rental (optional) – depending on what you’re going to rent it will cost you between 180 Sol/US$90 to 300 Sol/US$100. If you’re planning to do several hikes in Peru or South America we’d suggest bringing your gear if it’s only one or two hikes rather rent it there.
-The Ausangate Trek is challenging, so make sure you are prepared physically and mentally before undertaking it. However, the rewards are more than worth it!
How to Get to Ausangate (Tinqui) From Cusco?
The Ausangate Trek is one of the most popular treks near Cusco. It takes you through some of the most stunning scenery in the area, including Rainbow Mountain.
– The trek starts in the small town of Tinqui (sometimes spelled Tinki), 100km from Cusco. It’s very easy to get here by public bus from Cusco.
– The bus leaves from Terminal Paradero Livitaca (easy to find on Google maps), which is near Coliseo Cerrado, a modern stadium. The ticket costs 10 Sol/US$3, and the ride takes about 2.5 hours.
– Once you’re on the trek, you can expect to see some amazing scenery, including glaciers, lakes, and of course, Rainbow Mountain.
– The trek takes about 4 days to complete, and you can camp along the way or stay in one of the many available lodges.
– Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-timer, the Ausangate Trek is an amazing experience that you won’t want to miss!
Ausangate Trek Map
You can use this Ausangate Trek Map to help plan your hike through the Ausangate region. This map shows the main trails and attractions in the area, as well as some of the best camping spots.
6 Days Ausangate Guided Trek – Itinerary
-The Ausangate Trek is a 6-day trekking itinerary that is quite demanding, requiring good physical condition and acclimatization.
-The whole route is above 4000m, with two passes over 5000m. So it is recommended to do one of the easier treks first, for example, Salkantay or Choquequirao.
-What is especially liked about the trek is that there were no tourists, actually no people at all, some days we met one or two local shepherds.
-Drinking water is not a problem once you have purification tablets or a Lifestraw, there are many lakes, rivers, and creeks.
-To prevent getting lost it is highly recommended to ask the way every person you meet and have GPS or an old-style compass. If you meet a group with a guide just follow them, it’ll make you wandering around much easier.
Day 1. Bus Cusco – Tinqui, walk Tinqui – Upis, 100km drive/7km walk
We will pick you up at 6 am and go by private van to the trailhead of our hike at the base of the majestic Mountain Ausangate. We will start the hike From Upis Pampa. You will hike through many remote villages with many stream crossings until you get to the Upis Campsite. Here we spend the night in our private Camping spot.
While you are exploring Our cook will prepare a delicious lunch. After eating, you have the option to hike to Upis lake which takes 2 hours or you can take a bath in the hot spring all afternoon. At night you will have a chance to enjoy the first starry night, and you will remember it for life.
- Distance: 7 km/ 4.34 miles.
- Campsite elevation: 4400 m/ 14,450 ft.
- Hiking time: 3 hours.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Accommodation: Tents
Day 2: Upis – Puca Cocha
Upis (4100m) – Arapa pass (4850m) – Puca Cocha lake (4600m)
We will begin the day with a delicious breakfast served in your tents at 5 am. You will then hike up to Arapa pass (4968m) with an English-speaking guide who will point out the local flora, fauna, and landmarks along the way. With Ausangate snow-capped on your left, you might also be lucky enough to spot condors, chinchillas, and vicuñas during the journey.
Later, we will find ourselves at Pucacocha surrounded by high mountains and unbelievable hanging glaciers. Tents inside the Mountain huts are going to be set up for us to change clothes, take a nap, and have our lunch and dinner prepared by our professional chef. In the afternoon, you have a chance to go down to the lakes or hike to the viewpoint of Pucacocha from where you will snap an amazing photo of Ausangate Mountain with all of its beautiful surrounding lakes.
- Distance: 15 km.
- Campsite elevation: 4600 m/ 15,100 ft
- Hiking time: 7-8 hours.
- Difficulty: moderate.
- Accommodation: Camping in huts
- Several turquoise color lakes; Puca Cocha, Japu Cocha
- A couple of waterfalls
- Hundreds of alpacas
- Beautiful sunset from the campsite
- Ascend to Arapa Pass from Upis – 700m up.
- Descend to Puca Cocha lakes – 300m down.
Day 3: Puca Cocha – Ananta – Qeullacocha
Puca Cocha (4600m) – Puca Cocha Pass (5051m) – Ananta (4400m)
Puca Qocha Pass (5051) is our first stop today, and the very colorful mountains will surround you. In addition to having a spectacular view of Mount Ausangate, we’ll also see glacier lakes in vivid colors. We’ll enter the Red Mountain valley next, which is an intact landscape with vibrant hues all around us. You might even see llamas eating grass close by as we approach the lunch spot! And once we’re there, you can enjoy lunch while taking in Rocky Mountains views at Ananta.”
After lunch, we’ll make our way up to Surini Pass at 15,090ft (4500m or 14,000feet), where you’ll see Rainbow Mountain in the distance. But don’t get too excited – there’s still some walking to do! We’ll go downhill and circle the lake before making camp for the night. If you’re feeling energetic after all that hiking, you can head over to Rainbow Mountain for sunset.
- Distance: 14km / 8.65 miles.
- Campsite elevation: 4900 m/ 10,090 ft.
- Hiking time: 7-8 hours.
- Difficulty: difficult.
- Accommodation: Camping in huts
- Colorful mountains on the way to Puca Cocha Pass
- Many viscachas and alpacas
- View from the pass; Ausangate mountain, colorful Cocha lakes
- Rainbow Mountain
- Steep ascend from Puca Cocha campsite to the pass, 500m up
- Long descent to Ananta campsite, 600m down
Day 4: Qeullacocha – Rainbow Mountain – Alqatari – Ausangate Lake
Ananta (4400m) – Ananta Pass (4500m) – Vinicunca valley (4300m) – Rainbow Mountain (5000m) – Vinicunca valley (4300m) – Ananta Pass (4500m) – Ananta (4400m) – Ausangate lake (4300m)
Today is the day you have been waiting for. We will wake you up at 6:00 am with coca tea delivered to your tent then you will hike for about 45 minutes until Rainbow Mountain. You will have time to explore the area and take pictures.
The trek will take approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your speed and the weather conditions. After enjoying Rainbow Mountain for about one hour, we’ll go to visit the Red Valley, which is another 1-hour round trip. Then we’ll hike down for 3 hours to Alqatari campsite where we have lunch and spend the night in our Campsite.
- Distance: 14 km / 8.69 miles.
- Campsite elevation: 4500 m / 14,790ft.
- Hiking time: 5-6 hours.
- Difficulty: moderate.
- Accommodation: Camping Tents
- Rainbow Mountain
- Ausangate mountain and lake
- Ascend to Ananta Pass from the campsite – 100m up
- Ascend from the valley to Rainbow Mountain – 700m up
- Descend from Rainbow Mountain to the valley – 700m down
- Ascend from the valley to Ananta Pass – 200m up
Day 5: Alqatari – Lake Ausangate – Palomani Pass – Jutumpata
Ausangate lake (4300m) – Palomani Pass (5200m) – Jutumpata (4400m)
After a delicious breakfast, you will begin your ascent to Palomani pass, the highest point of today’s hike. Along the way, you can expect to see stunning colorful lakes, lush green pampas, small villages, and friendly locals in traditional dress. Alpacas and llamas are also common sights in this part of the world!
After we arrive in Palomani and spend 3 hours there, we will see the red lake. The view of Vilcanota from this location is amazing before we hike down to Huchuy Pinaya where we will have lunch. Then, we will keep hiking for 2 more hours to reach Surapampa where we will camp for the night. Our campsite is located close to a rocky place full of viscachas sitting on top of the rocks.
- Distance: 15 km (9.32 miles).
- Campsite elevation: 4600 m/ 15,000 ft.
- Hiking time: 6-7 hours.
- Difficulty: difficult.
- Accommodation: Camping in Tents.
Day 6: Surapamapa – 7 Lakes of Ausangate – Pacchanta – Cusco
Jutumpata (4400m) – Qampa Pass (5000m) – Pacchanta village (4100m) – Tinqui (4000m)
We set our alarms early to return to Cusco today. 7 Lakes of Ausangate is too beautiful not to enjoy, and the scenery surrounding it is breathtaking. At least once in your life, you deserve the experience of jumping into one of these lakes to cool off.
The journey to the hot springs of Pacchanta will be our last chance to see the Ausangate mount from a close and new angle. Our guides’ purpose is to get us there so we can relax in the hot water and take in views of the mountain above. Today, after our last supper together, we say goodbye to our horsemen and chef and begin heading back to Cusco. We should arrive by 6:00 pm tonight.
- Distance: 12 km.
- Hiking time: 5-7 hours.
- Difficulty: moderate/difficult
- Ausangate lake and glacier
- View from the top of Palomani Pass
- Pink lake
- Steep and very long ascend from Ausangate lake to Palomani Pass – 900m up.
- Steep descend from Palomani Pass into the valley – 800m down.
- Colorful lakes
- Beautiful green valley near Pacchanta
- Steep ascent to Qampa Pass – 600m up
- The long descent from Qampa Pass to the valley – 900m
Places To Stay In Cusco, Peru
Cusco is a beautiful city in Peru that is rich in culture and history. There are many great places to stay while visiting this amazing place. Here are some of the best places to stay in Cusco, Peru:1. The El Dorado Hotel – This hotel is located in the heart of Cusco and is within walking distance to many of the city’s attractions. The El Dorado Hotel offers comfortable accommodations and great service.
2. The Andean Lodge – The Andean Lodge is a great place to stay if you want to be close to nature. This lodge is located in the mountains outside of Cusco and offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The lodge also has a variety of activities to keep you busy, such as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
3. The Inkaterra La Casona – The Inkaterra La Casona is a luxury hotel located in the historic center of Cusco. This hotel offers luxurious accommodations and top-notch service. The hotel is also home to a spa, restaurant, and bar.
4. The Palacio del Inka – The Palacio del Inka is a luxury hotel located in the heart of Cusco. This hotel offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains. The Palacio del Inka also has a variety of upscale amenities, such as a spa, restaurant, and bar.
5. The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco – The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco is a luxury hotel located in the heart of the city. This hotel offers luxurious accommodations and stunning views of the surrounding area. The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco also has a variety of upscale amenities, such as a spa, restaurant, and bar.
These are just a few of the great places to stay while visiting Cusco, Peru. No matter what your budget or preferences are, you will be able to find a place to stay that meets your needs.
Machu Picchu Guided Books
A helpful guidebook for a self-guided walk at Machu Picchu would be The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour by Alfredo Valencia Zegarra (in paper form) or Lonely Planet Peru (both in paper and Kindle versions).
If you’re interested in reading about the discovery of Machu Picchu hiking & Camping Tours, check out Lost City of the Incas. It’s available in both Kindle and paperback form.
Another fun read is Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams. This book tries to answer the question “What is Machu Picchu?”Purchase it on Kindle or as a paperback.
Looking to expand your literary horizons and read some works by local authors? Then we recommend picking up a copy of Death in the Andes by world-renowned Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa. The novel tells the story of mystical events that take place in the picturesque Andes mountains, not far from Cusco and Machu Picchu. Available in both Kindle and paperback formats.
There are many great places to stay in Cusco, Peru. No matter what your budget or preferences are, you will be able to find a place to stay that meets your needs. Whether you want to be close to the action in the city or surrounded by nature in the mountains, there is a place for you. So start planning your trip to Cusco, Peru today!