A five-day breathtaking trek in the Cordillera Vilcanota, on a route we call the “Camino Del Apu Ausangate” located in close proximity to the highest sacred mountain in the Cusco region. The “Apu” is the bearer of life and the guardian of one of the most pristine mountain ecosystems in the world. Our treks will be accompanied by llamas and horses that will carry our gear, and are owned by shepherds of the community of Chillca, who are proud to share their land with us, as well as the Spirit of their inspiring world.
Our treks will be accompanied by llamas and horses that will carry our gear. These are owned by shepherds of the community of Chillca who are proud to share their land with us, as well as the Spirit of their inspiring world. On our hikes and in our unique “Tambos” or Andean Lodges, daily meals will be prepared by experienced chefs who will introduce you to a great variety of delicious Peruvian dishes and produce, and for your entertainment: authentic vernacular music, played by local inhabitants, will liven up some of our evenings at the “tambos.”
DAY 1: CUSCO - CHILLCA
An early departure to travel in our comfortable coach bus along the Vilcanota River to visit the temple of Checacupe, then through the upper valley of Pitumarca. At Japura, we'll trek a short distance to Chillca. Community members and local musicians greet us at our first Andean Lodge, sharing their native Andean music as we sip coca tea. Our 8 double rooms have hot showers and full bathrooms. The lodge features tasty, healthy Andean cuisine, such as Alpaca steak, with vegetarian dishes and other dining options available.
DAY 2: CHILLCA – MACHURACAY
After breakfast, we trek along the glacier valley of Phinaya, seeing hundreds of alpacas and llamas. On the way to the glaciers at Mt. Santa Catalina, the trail climbs past the breathtaking Pjachaj waterfall. Our picnic lunch awaits us above. Then, surrounded by moraine walls, glaciers and lakes, we walk about 5 hours to Machuracay Lodge. Your bags are carried by llama caravan. At the lodge, we’re met by the native family that manages it.
DAY 3: MACHURACAY-ANANTAPATA
Today we take on our first mountain pass (16,587 ft./ 5,100 m.) enjoying spectacular panoramic views. Descending alongside the glaciers, we hike to Ausangate Cocha Lake where we’ll have lunch. Here, the landscape shifts dramatically, with red sandstone formations where we’ll see vicuñas and occasional condors. After a great day of hiking we arrive at the third Andean Lodge to relax, take in the splendid views and enjoy a restful night.
DAY 4: ANANTAPATA-HUAMPOCOCHA
After breakfast, we hike the trail up to the next mountain pass. Dropping down, we hike past Lake Kayrawiri, surrounded by rugged mountain peaks and the great valley below. Colorful bands of soil adorn the hillsides. Then, we continue on to Laya Grande Hill via massive Glacier del Inca, to encounter the amazing colors of soil strata at Mt. Vinicunca (the world-renowned “Rainbow Mountain”). We have lunch there, with time for photos and a rest stop in this spectacular landscape. On our way to our fourth Andean Lodge we might see hundreds of Andean geese nesting in the cliffs of Anta. Hiking past the flatiron formations of Mt. Apu Labrayani, we arrive at Huampococha Lodge, where we’ll spend the night in comfort.
DAY 5: HUAMPOCOCHA-CUSCO
We hike up enjoying an outstanding view of the mountains to reach the top of the last pass. It’s an easy downhill from here. We hike past the strange shapes of a Karst limestone rock forest and continue to the end of the trail at Trapiche. There, we have lunch and return by bus to Cusco, reminiscing about the unforgettable experiences we’ve shared in the Andes.
Services of expert guides in high mountain hiking
Private transport to Chillca and back to Cusco
Accommodation in double rooms
Breakfast and dinner served in the lodges, snacks and lunches served on the way
First aid kit and oxygen
Waterproof bags for the baggage carried by llamas
We had the absolute privilege of trekking the Trail of the Apu with the Andean Lodges team. Bruno, our guide, was amazing. He was knowledgeable about the geography, the people, the challenges of altitude, and the amazing history of the region. His pop culture knowledge was pretty impressive too! We had a ton of fun and lots of laughs.
Nico, Nellie, Jorge, and Senor Kruz took incredible care of us throughout our five days. We had delicious three-course meals every evening, comfortable beds with fresh sheets (and warm water bottles), and a llama herd that did all of the heavy liftings. It's rare today to go somewhere that is so uniquely beautiful in every way. Thank you, Andean Lodges team, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Date of experience: June 2011
This trek exceeded our expectations! It is in a remote location with few other tourists and the hiking is spectacular. Our guide, Alfredo, was excellent. He judged the group well and added on some side trips that made the trip extra special, especially an amazing ridge walk on a clear day. Our cook, Esteban, was also excellent and the entire crew was friendly and helpful. The lodges have no electricity or central heating but are comfortable with private bedrooms and bathrooms. We enjoyed being "off the grid" and eating by candlelight. It is chilly in the bedrooms at night but hot water bottles tucked in the beds help with that. Warm showers were much appreciated. We highly recommend a long acclimatization period or taking prophylactic altitude drugs so that you can enjoy the trek without worrying about altitude sickness.
Date of experience: May 2018
It was an amazing experience, the whole trip was great, we began with a comfortable trip around the Vilcanota Valley (cool views) then we have lunch made by the local people of Chillca's Town. During the following days, we hiked around the Ausangate, you can get great shots, the views are awesome. Totally recommended.
Date of experience: June 2011
A climatization period is essential for enjoying adventures in high mountains. We can help you to make the best of your time during this initial phase, and to stay healthy throughout the trip.
All travelers who trek the Apu Ausangate Route must take a prior 3 to 4-day climatization period to allow for enjoying the trek at over 5,000 m. without experiencing any health problems. Additionally, hike participants must be in good health and physically fit to carry out trekking activities. Symptoms of altitude sickness, known in Peru as soroche, can sometimes occur at altitudes above 3,000 meters. The most common symptoms include: headache, loss of appetite, dizziness and difficulty sleeping, among others. To alleviate such ailments, you can follow these simple but important suggestions for the climatization phase: get good rest, take light walks, eat a light diet and drink large amounts of water, along with coca leaf tea; avoiding alcohol consumption during the first few days is also very important.
Prior to your departure, we suggest you consult with your doctor to ask about medicinal products recommended for high altitude, such as Diamox. If you’d like to obtain more detailed information and suggestions regarding medical issues during travel, please contact us
These departures can leave any day and without a minimum of travelers. The price per person depends on the number of participants in a group.
A challenging, and occasionally harsh climate; a perfect setting for adventures in high mountains.
In the high Andean zone, days are mostly beautiful and sunny, with light to swift winds in the mornings. Temperatures range between 0° to 23 ° C during the day, and travelers must be prepared to experience changing temperatures and diverse weather conditions.
At this latitude only two climate seasons occur: dry season from June through September, and rainy season, which is subject to heavy rains from November through April. Due to seasonal conditions, we recommend that you travel between April and November, when you’ll have the best chances for excellent weather - perfect for enjoying hikes and other activities.
During the dry season, temperatures below zero are frequent at night, with milder temperatures during the day.
Maximum daytime temperatures during dry season: Between 12 C° and 20 C°.
Minimum nighttime temperatures: between 5 C° and -5 C°.
Our four ecolodges along the Ausangate Route are well-equipped with all the necessary safeguards and everything our travelers need to enjoy a comfortable rest under most any weather conditions.
- Hiking boots (it’s important to wear in new boots before hiking, to avoid blisters).
- Long sleeve t-shirts (one per day).
- Walking pants.
- Thermal hiking undergarments.
- Wool sweater or down vest.
- Insulated parka or down jacket.
- Thermal sleeping clothes.
- Long cotton pants.
- Wool gloves.
- Wool socks.
- Wool cap, and hat or cap for shade.
- Waterproof Gore-Tex jacket and pants, or rain poncho.
- Comfortable sandals or slippers (for use at the lodges).
- Small towel.
- Additional gear: Hiking poles are very useful for providing balance and walking ease on hikes.
- Flashlight or headlamp.
- Pocket knife.
- Water bottle or canteen.
- Plastic baggies, for batteries and other items.
- Plastic bags for dirty or wet clothing.
- Daypack for short hikes (large enough for snacks, a change of clothing, water).
- Spare memory cards and batteries for your cameras (batteries can lose their charge due to low temperatures, and there is no current to charge them along the mountain route).
- Toiletries and first aid kit.
- Money belt.