Huayhuash trek and Ausangate lodge to lodge
If you are looking for the most scenic, remote and off-the-beaten trekking routes in Peru then this itinerary is perfect for you. First, travel to the Central Andes of Peru and get ready to hike the Huayhuash Mountain Range, considered as one of the most beautiful hikes of the world. With its breathtaking view of awe-inspiring snow mountain peaks, glaciers, lakes and wildlife, Huayhuash has become a must for trekkers around the globe.
Then travel to Cusco, and trek through an almost unknown region at the foot of the Sacred Ausangate snowcapped Mountain. This trek takes us through extraordinarily beautiful landscapes, inhabited by shepherd communities. It is a demanding hike, but the opportunity to admire snowcapped mountains, Andean wildlife and small remote Andean villages is well worth the effort. This itinerary is only suggested for travelers with a good physical condition and hiking experience.
- Enjoy hiking at the foot of Peru´s highest peaks in the Huayhuash trek
- Get pampered in an unforgettable lodge to lodge journey to Ausangate
- Explore pristine mountain ecosystems, home of alpaca shephers
Heading to Huaraz
Late in the evening we take you to the bus station, from where you’ll take a comfortable bus heading to Huaraz. The bus leaves at around 11pm and the ride takes about 8 hours. We recommend that you relax and sleep as much as possible. You´ll be arriving to Huaraz at approximately 7:00am the next morning.
Arrival to Huaraz and day at leisure
At approximately 7am in the morning you´ll be arriving to the city of Huaraz where you´ll be welcomed by one of our representatives and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day will be free so you can relax and get used to the altitude. We recommend walking in the surroundings of the city and drinking plenty of water so you are well hydrated!
Hike to Lake 69
Today and as we get used to the altitude we will do one of the most popular and beautiful day hikes in the Cordillera Blanca Mountain Range: Lake 69. We´ll pick you from your hotel in Huaraz and drive for about 2.5 hours towards Cebollapampa, starting point of our hike. On route we´ll make a short stop at Llanganuco Lakes. The hike to Lake 69 takes around 4 to 5 hours and we´ll cover a distance of 12km through impressive mountain settings. Once at the lake, we´ll have time to enjoy the turquoise glacial lake and appreciate the impressive snow-capped mountains such as Huascaran North (6655), Pisco (5750) Chacraraju (6112), Huandoy (6395) and Yanapaccha (5347). In the afternoon we return to the hotel in Huaraz to get ready for our upcoming adventure.
Huayhuash trek – Huaraz to Queropalca
Today we will have to get up early and go by private transport to the town of Queropalca in a long journey of 10 hours but with beautiful views of canyons, mountains, cultivated valleys and picturesque towns on route. We´ll be able to appreciate the Puya de Raimondi, the largest species of bromeliad which can grow up to 3 meters and produce an inflorescence of around 5,000 flowers. On route, we´ll also stop at Huanuco Pampa ruins, one of the major Inca settlements outside of Cusco on the main road that leads to Quito. Finally, we´ll reach the community of Queropalca where we´ll set up our campsite and spend the night.
Huayhuash trek – Queropalca to Carhuacocha
Today we´ll start our 5-hour trek heading to Carhuacocha lagoon, which in our opinion is one of the most beautiful destinations in our country. After setting up our campsite, we´ll have enough time to walk around the lagoon with the impressive views of the snow-peak Mountains including the second highest mountain of the country: Yerupaja. We´ll have dinner and make a short briefing for the adventure of the next day.
Huayhuash trek – Carhuacocha to Mitucocha
Enjoy a healthy and hot breakfast while admiring breathtaking views of the Carhuacocha lagoon with the reflection of huge mountains on it. Once ready, we´ll start going up to the Carhuac Pass for about 3 hours , where we´ll enjoy beautiful views of the imposing Mountains (Yerupaja, Rondoy and Ninashanca). We´ll have lunch and then start our way down to Mitucocha lake. We should be arriving in the early afternoon to have enough time to walk around the lake.
Huayhuash trek – Mitucocha to Matacancha
As every day, we´ll leave our campsite in the morning and head towards Cacananpunta Pass at 4,700masl. The trail winds up to the pass, the aquarium divortium and after that we start our descent on the other side, to Cuartelhuain where we have lunch. Finally, we´ll arrive to Matacancha, from where we´ll have a first view of tomorrow´s pass.
Huayhuash trek – Matacancha to Jahuacocha
Today, we´ll continue going up through the Rondoy valley until reaching the Sambuya pass at 4,750 masl, from where we can see the snow-capped peaks of Ninashanca, Rondoy, Jirishanca, Yerupaja, Rasac and Solteracocha. Then we descend towards Jahuacocha where we´ll set our campsite at the shores of the Lake.
Huayhuash trek – Jahuacocha to Huaraz
In our last hiking day, we´ll head out of the valley leaving the Huayhuash Mountain Range in the back.
The valley narrows and we head over a ridge to the west to the Llamac Pass, descending on a winding trail to the village of the same name where we will be met by a vehicle and driven to Huaraz. We should be arriving to Huaraz in the late afternoon where we´ll have a day-use hotel to take a hot shower and maybe have dinner before boarding our night bus heading back to Lima.
Arrival to Cusco and free day
Upon arrival to Lima, at around 6:00am we´ll pick you up and take you to the airport for your flight to Cusco (not included). If possible we will try to get a seat on the left side of the aircraft as some of the best views of the Andes can be seen by this side of the aircraft. Upon arrival to Cusco airport you’ll be met by one of our representatives and taken in private shuttle to your hotel. After the demanding Huayhuash trek and the long bus ride, today you´ll have finally a good rest. You can explore the city at your own pace or just relax and maybe try some massages. In the later afternoon we´ll get together for a short briefing for your next adventure: Ausangate lodge to lodge.
Ausangate lodge to lodge – Cusco to Chilca
Morning departure from Cusco and drive along the fertile Vilcanota Valley heading to Chillca. En route we´ll stop in Checacupe to visit its beautiful colonial church. We´ll continue ascending the Pitumarca valley, along the spectacular Japura gorge that leads to Chillca, where we are welcomed by the local people. From Chillca it is a short 45 minutes’ walk to the first lodge. Upon arrival we have time to explore the surroundings or relax at the cozy lodge. This first day has almost no difficulties and is perfect to get acclimatized to the altitude. By night and after dinner we can enjoy a local music display with an Andean Harp and a charango as the main instruments in our lodge and next to the wood burning stove.
Ausangate trek — Chilca to Machuracay
Our hike starts at 08:30 in the wide valley of Upis where impressive glacier mountains loom above the valley offering majestic views. The trail narrows as we make our way towards the waterfalls descending from the Santa Catalina Mountain. This path is mostly used by the wandering llamas of the area and once we reach the small Paloma lagoon the countryside is dotted with these animals, and also a large number of alpacas. After hiking along a second lagoon and crossing a long series of moraines, we´ll reach the Machuracay Tambo, located right at the bottom of the Apu Ausangate.
Ausangate trek — Machuracay to Anantapata
Today we have a demanding hike ascending to the highest point of the trek, Palomani pass at an elevation of 5,200 m. / 17,000 ft with impressive views of Ausangatecocha Lake and stunning views of the glaciated south face of the “Apu Ausangate”. Afterwards we continue towards the red sandstone formations of the “Nevado del Inca. After exploring the area, we´ll start our way down till we we reach our third lodge where we are pampered by the local family to recover energies. We can light a bonfire, enjoy a delicious meal and have a well-deserved sleep.
Ausangate trek — Anantapata to Huampococha
A spectacular part of the trail finds us hiking in the middle of mountains with red, ochre, and blue strata. This section offers a glimpse of marvelous geological wonder and natural beauty. This area called Vinicunca, has been recently baptized as the “Rainbow Mountain”. If we have a clear and sunny day, we´ll be able to appreciate the different colors of the mountain formed by sedimentary mineral layers that have been exposed to erosion for thousands of years. Vicuñas are frequently spotted in this isolated area. We´ll sleep in the Huampococha Tambo, in the heart of large rock formations near a lagoon where “huallatas” (Andean geese) make their nests.
Ausangate trek — Huampococha to Cusco
After crossing our last mountain pass at Anta (4908masl / 16102ft) we start our descent and the first crops and houses come into view. The landscape changes quickly as the red sandstone formations are followed by the carsten erosion of limestone, forming a one of a kind stone forest, and a perfect habitat for “vizcacha” (members of the chinchilla family). By the time we get down the valley, our bus will be waiting for the return trip to Cusco.
Today, we’ll have some free time to maybe take a last walk around Cusco’s shops and markets and then, at the coordinated time, we’ll head to Cusco’s airport to board your flight to Lima and international connecting flights to your next destination. If you haven´t visited Machu Picchu yet or would like to add some extra days to explore Cusco and the Sacred Valley please let us know in advance so we can help you organizing a nice trip in the area.
- What’s Included
- Brief presentation prior to departure
- All transfers and transports with the exception of domestic flights
- All excursions and entrance fees
- English speaking guide in each destination + staff for the hikes
- Accommodation as detailed in the program
- Meals as detailed in the program (Full board at Huayhuash and Ausangate)
- Entrance tickets to all tourist attractions mentioned in the itinerary
- First aid kit
- Huayhuash - Camping gear (Kitchen-dinning and toilet tent, table and chairs, tableware, gas lamp)
- Huayhuash - Personal gear (Sleeping bag -10°C, mattress and 4 season’s tents)
- Huayhuash - 01 emergency horse every 5 people and mules for the equipment
- Ausangate – Trek in shared service with other travelers departing only on Fridays