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Warning: This is a very high altitude trek with few options for emergency exit.


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one of the best hikes in the world

Update. This site is no longer being updated. Instead, check our NEW page: Ausangate Circuit

At a glance:

  • this site helps independent hikers organize
  • one of the highest, coldest, best hikes in South America
  • near Cuzco & Machu Picchu
  • circuit the Ausangate massif (6372m), the highest in the region
  • altitude sickness is a big risk. You must be acclimatized.
  • passes over 5100m, camp over 4600m!
  • we recommend 4-5 nights in the tent, 70+ km
  • hot springs at the start & finish of the hike
  • May through September are the best months
  • Qoyllur Rit'i festival held nearby, May-June each year
  • warning - hikers extorted to pay cash in 2004
  • trailhead at Tinqui is 5-8 hours by bus S.E. of Cuzco
  • new flights Lima>Cuzco up to US$80 or more one way
  • also spelled Auzangate

eyeball to eyeball with huge Ausangate glaciers

Ausangate is longer, tougher & more remote than the much more famous Inca Trail. You have more contact with the indigenous Quechua people, still brightly dressed in traditional costume. Many do not yet speak Spanish!

Ausangate is a sacred mountain to the these herders who believe this is where llamas & alpacas originated.

Most hikers hire mules to carry food & gear but it is certainly possible to carry your own pack. You have the freedom then to camp wherever you choose.

We loved this hike: glacial lakes, huge alpaca herds, pastel desert sections, photogenic peaks. The vistas are expansive — there are no trees.

Some claim this the highest trek in Peru but Alpamayo & Huayhuash are similarly high & dangerous. Ausangate is in the Cordillera Vilcanota, the second most glaciated in Peru after the Cordillera Blanco near Huaraz.

Certainly Ausangate is as cold as any hike in the country with 13-hour nights in the tent. Bring enough warm clothes & an excellent sleeping bag!

Want to know more? Check our FAQS (frequently asked questions).

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This page last modified Thursday, January 21, 2010