Note: The 5-day group departures listed above include the Ausangate Trek portion of the itinerary below (days 3-7). Our specialists can help you plan the rest of the trip around your chosen departure date.
- Explore Lima and Cusco's historic streets and cultural sites
- Stay in comfortable, traditional tambo lodges each night of the trek
- Travel the Camino del Apu Ausangate
- Indulge in traditional Peruvian meals every day
- Hike through stunning scenery and past sacred mountains
|Trek fast facts|
|Trek duration||5 days|
|Max. elevation||16,817 ft (5,126 m)|
|Start/finish||Chillca / Trapiche|
|Best season||March to November|
The Ausangate lodge-to-lodge trek is a group trek that departs every Friday from March to November (the drier, winter season). Private groups can depart any day in the year. The main attraction of this route is experiencing the local cultures, people, and seeing a more remote, beautiful part of the Andes whilst staying in comfortable lodges each night. Keep in mind, you'll be consistently trekking above 4000 m so please ensure that you have properly acclimatized before embarking on this adventure.
|Day 1||Arrival in Lima||--||Lima|
|Day 2||Arrival in Cusco, Exploring the City||--||Cusco|
|Day 3||Ausangate Trek Day 1/5: Drive from Cusco to Japura, Trek to Chillca||2 hour||Chillca|
|Day 4||Ausangate Trek Day 2/5: Trek from Chillca to Machuracay||7 hours||Machuracay|
|Day 5||Ausangate Trek Day 3/5: Trek from Machuracay to Anantapata||7 hours||Anantapata|
|Day 6||Ausangate Trek Day 4/5: Trek from Anantapata to Huampococha||7 hours||Huampococha|
|Day 7||Ausangate Trek Day 5/5: Trek from Huampococha to Trapiche, Drive to Cusco||2 hours||Cusco|
Day 1: Arrival in Lima
¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru's largest city and central metropolitan hub, and home to one-third of the country's population. Located at the site of a pre-Columbian indigenous Ychsma settlement, which was conquered by the Inca empire in the 15th century and later by the Spanish conquistadores, Lima has a fascinating history and a diverse mix of cultures. Amerindian, European, Afro-Peruvian, and Asian—especially Chinese and Japanese—influences make Lima a dynamic and exciting city to explore.
Lima's breezy location on the Pacific Ocean and mild desert climate make it the perfect city for exploring on foot. Head downtown to mingle with locals, stretch your legs, and grab a bite to eat in one of the many award-winning restaurants.
Suggested activities include:
Explore the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with fascinating Spanish architecture. Start with a scenic tour of the colonial downtown, which emanates from the main square. Stroll over to the 16th-century Cathedral, which took 80 years to construct and was built in the grandiose style of the Spanish Empire.
Visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of his captains, in 1535. This is the only house from that era that still belongs to the same family.
Stroll around the Pueblo Libre district to the privately owned Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art, housed in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. The museum boasts a vast pre-Colonial collection of gold and silver artifacts, as well as pieces of erotic art.
- In the evening, head to the eclectic "Love Park" in the upscale coastal district of Miraflores, where you can admire a huge kissing statue and beautiful mosaic walls. The park is built on the cliffs of Chorrillos and is a perfect place to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Pacific.
- Enjoy a nightcap at an open-air cafe or restaurant in the diverse Miraflores neighborhood.
Day 2: Arrival in Cusco, Exploring the City
Head to the Lima airport for your transfer flight to Cusco. This ancient city is the former capital of the Inca empire, which reigned from the 13th to 16th centuries after conquering the Killke settlement on the same location.
Remember: you will be 11,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, so take it easy and remember to drink lots of water. Since Cusco was designed by the Incas as a city for walking, start your exploration of the narrow stone alleyways on foot. Take a walk through the plaza — if the weather is beautiful, it's a perfect place to sit on a balcony and have a cup of coca tea while adjusting to the elevation.
Suggested activities include:
Visit the Coricancha, also known as "The Temple of the Sun." The temple was built by the Incan Emperor Pachacutec (1438 - 1572), and after the arrival of the Spaniards became the basis for the construction of the Santo Domingo Convent.
See the Cathedral, the most imposing monument in the central Plaza de Armas and a repository for Cusco's colonial art. Its construction lasted for almost 100 years, beginning in 1560 and ending in 1654.
Walk to Sacsayhuamán and next-door Quenqo, both archaeological complexes used mostly for religious and agricultural rituals, located 2.5 miles (4 km) from the city of Cusco. Built by the Killke people, Sacsayhuamán is a marvel of ancient architecture, a monolithic fortress built from giant blocks of stone, the origins and assembly of which remain a mystery.
Discover the elaborate Puca Pucara ruins—an architectural complex of alleged military use with multiple plazas, baths, aqueducts, walls, and towers. It is believed that the entourage of the Incan emperor used it while he stayed at Tambomachay, the elaborate estate and baths nearby.
Explore San Blas, an old bohemian quarter famous for its picturesque white walls, blue doors, and creative artisan community.
Experience the legendary Mercado Central de San Pedro, a large and diverse market famous for its mouth-watering fruit juices, home-style meals, medicinal herb stalls, and rows of various meats, breads, vegetables, and other necessities.
- Eat lunch at a local Peruvian restaurant and sample local flavors and cooking techniques—crackling pork, pickled vegetables, seasonal flavors, bread baked in earthen ovens, roasted vegetables, and sweet donuts make for a delicious and filling meal.
Day 3: Ausangate Trek Day 1/5: Drive from Cusco to Japura, Trek to Chillca
Welcome to the Cordillera Vilcanota mountain range! On your first day, wave farewell to charming, cobblestoned Cusco and make your way southeast by car along the Vilcanota River. Along the way, you'll find the impressive Temple of Checacupe — the perfect spot to stop for photos. Continue to the upper valley of Pitumarca, then the hamlet of Japura, where you'll start the day's trek to the musical, charming town of Chillca.
Arrive at Chillca Tambo to the sounds of local music and the taste of traditional coca tea, which is said to help with altitude sickness. Here you'll find some of the highest potato fields in the world, as well as a sweeping view of the Phinaya Glacial Valley where thousands of llamas and Alpacas from the community graze. In the distance, impressive, snow-capped Mount Jatun Jampa stands tall and strong.
Driving time: 3 hours
Hiking distance: 2 miles (3.2 km)
Day 4: Ausangate Trek Day 2/5: Trek from Chillca to Machuracay
Lace up those hiking boots and load up your llamas for your second day of trekking! Hike into the Phinaya Glacial Valley — home to thousands of llamas and alpacas — as you make your way toward the Santa Catalina Glaciers. Climb alongside the Pjachaj Waterfalls. Pause for a traditional lunch just above the falls. And then continue trekking on paths surrounded by moraine walls, glaciers, and lagoons in a land that witnessed the beginnings of ancient cultural settlement in the Andes.
Your final destination of the day is Machuraccay Tambo — a traditional lodge that happens to also be one of the highest lodges in the world. Drift to sleep at the foot of Mount Ausangate, the Incas’ most sacred mountain and the highest peak in the mountain range.
Hiking distance: 6.6 miles (10.6 km)
Day 5: Ausangate Trek Day 3/5: Trek from Machuracay to Anantapata
Start the day by tackling your first mountain pass, where spectacular panoramic views await. (Don't forget your camera!) Then make your way down through red sandstone formations, heavily eroded by ice. Keep an eye out for vicuñas and condors — they're sometimes spotted here! Your final destination of the day is Anantapata Tambo, where a spectacular sunset view over Ausangate Mountain is your reward at the end of a long day of trekking.
Hiking distance: 7 miles (11.3 km)
Day 6: Ausangate Trek Day 4/5: Trek from Anantapata to Huampococha
On your fourth day in the mountains, wind your way through the brilliantly colorful sedimentary soils of Vinicunca Mountain — also known as Rainbow Mountain. Hundreds of Andean geese nest on the nearby cliffs of Anta and the massive Glacier del Inca is on the way, so keep your camera handy. Pass the flat formations of Apu Labrayani and make your way down to Huampococha Tambo lodge — where a local weaving demonstration awaits!
Hiking distance: 6.5 miles (10.5 km)
Day 7: Ausangate Trek Day 5/5: Trek from Huampococha to Trapiche, Drive to Cusco
On your final day of trekking, hike uphill for sweeping mountain views, cross twisted limestone formations that date back to the Cretaceous Period, and cross a final mountain pass. It's all downhill from here as you make your way to the trail's end at Congomire and board a bus bound for Cusco.
Hiking distance: 5 miles (8 km)
Drive time: 3 hours
Day 8: Departure
Today is your last day in Peru! You will be met at your hotel for a transfer to the airport, where you will connect to your departure flight. ¡Buen viaje!
About the lodges
Each night of the trek, you'll be staying in a lodge nestled at the head of a valley or with a commanding view of the glaciers. Each lodge was built in partnership with the local communities and is maintained by them, as well. The lodges have 8 rooms with private bathrooms and a common area for dining, relaxing, and gathering around the fireplace at night.
Breakfast at the lodge