AUSANGATE TREK TO RAINBOW MOUNTAIN (4 Days, 3 Nights)

Ausangate Mountain is 62 miles southeast of Cusco, in the Willkanuta mountain range of the Andes, its peak is 21,000ft (6,384m). The mountain has significance in Incan mythology. The region is inhabited by llama and alpaca herding communities, and constitutes one of the few remaining pastoralist societies in the world. High mountain trails are used by these herders to trade with agricultural communities at lower elevations. Currently, one of these trails, "the road of the Apu Ausangate", is one of the most renowned treks in Peru.

Rainbow Mountain is part of the Vinicunca Mountain range in the Andes. The minerals that make up the soil in this part of the world have combined to transform dull dirt into a masterpiece of colors. We'll spend a full day hiking around this newly discovered area, now dubbed "the Hidden Mountain". 

DURATION: 4 Days, 3 Nights

TYPE: Hiking and camping, tents provided

DIFFICULTY: 3 - Multiple days of hiking. Includes moderate to steep inclines and declines. Preparation is recommended.

MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the Puna region of the Andes
  • Learn about the traditions of the Andean people
  • Be one of the first visitors to explore Rainbow Mountain
  • Enjoy stunning scenery and unique topography
  • Learn historical and archeological facts during a professionally guided tour
  • Only area in the Andes to see the indigenous, Incan habitat of the vicuña, which has the most expensive wool in the world (1 scarf made of this wool costs ~$1,500!) 
  • Note: This Trek does not go to Machu Picchu

PRICE: $575/person


WHAT'S INCLUDED:

TRANSPORTATION: All transportation is included. 

FOOD & WATER: All of your water, meals and snacks are provided. We will travel with a professional chef and his crew, all of your meals are incredibly delicious (not exaggerating!) and packed with nutrients to provide you with energy throughout the trek. Please notify our staff of any food allergies or restrictions and we will ensure that the food is prepared property. 

PROFESSIONAL GUIDES: Kusa Treks strives for greatness and this starts and ends with our people. All of our trek leaders are locals to this region and studied Tourism and/or Archeology in University. They are all fluent in English and are passionate about their work. Trust me when I say, there is no better person to be on the Trail with than a Kusa Treks guide, you are in incredible hands. 

RELIEF HORSE: Horses are not allowed on the Inca Trail, however, on all of our treks that do not use the Inca Trail, Kusa Treks provides a "relief horse" for any trekkers that may need a little break from hiking. 

PERMITS & TICKETS: Once you pay the trip deposit we will purchase your permits and tickets Machu Picchu. The government issues permits in your name, under your passport number and for a specific timeframe; they cannot be changed once confirmed, which is why the initial deposit is non-refundable. We will also secure your train and bus tickets.

TENT and HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS: This trek has 3 nights of camping and one night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, which is the town directly below Machu Picchu. Our hotel will be a 2-star hotel, similar to the Casa Andina

 

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:

HIKING EQUIPMENT: To complete this trek, you will need a sleeping bag, some type of air mattress (ThermaRest), and walking poles (with rubber tips). If you do not wish to purchase or travel with these items, we have high quality equipment you can rent: 

  • Sleeping Bag: $25
  • Inflatable Air Mattress: $15
  • Trekking Poles (2): $20

PERSONAL PORTER: Porters are local men from the Andes who help carry the majority of our supplies during the trek (tents, food, cooking equipment, etc.). You can choose to hire a Porter who will carry up to 19.8lbs. (9kg) of your belongings, we will provide a bag for you to put your belongings in, which the Porter will take and run ahead of our group. If you choose to hire a Porter you will be responsible for carrying the things you need throughout the day (sunscreen, snacks, rain jacket, etc.), you will not have access to the things the Porter carries until we reach camp at night. 

PRICE: $80/Porter.

NOTE: You can always "split" a porter with another trekker, you would each pay $40 and the Porter will carry ~10lbs. of each of your belongings. 

Learn more about Porters on our FAQ page under "Porter's...Men or Superhero's?"


DETAILED ITINERARY:

DAY 1: THE START OF OUR JOURNEY, which includes hot springs...

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 13,451ft. (4,100m)
  • Min Altitude: 12,795ft. (3,900m)
  • Distance Hiked: ~8 miles (13 km)
  • Ascent: 656ft. (200m)
  • Walking Time: 5-6 hours

The early bird gets the worm...and in this case an incredible trekking experience! You will be picked up from your hotel, in private transportation, at 4:00AM  and we'll drive about 3 hours to the Trail Head, which is near the Ocongate Region (12,795ft / 3,900m) of the Andes. We will meet the crew for the first time, including the porters, horsemen, the Chef and all of our guides. Our Professional Chef will have breakfast waiting and we'll enjoy the first of many delicious meals prepared by him and his crew. 

After breakfast we will start our journey with a slight uphill hike with incredible views of the Ausangate Mountain in the distance. We'll hike past several mountain villages, where you can meet with the locals, who dress in unique, bright colored clothing; and may be herding a pack of llamas through the mountains. After 3-4 hours of hiking we will reach our lunch destination, which has amazing views of the Ausangate Glacier. 

Following lunch we'll have another 2-3 hours until we reach our campsite, which is right next to several famous hot springs. We'll get to camp around 3PM and you will have plenty of time to enjoy the thermal baths near our campsite. Every night during our trek we'll enjoy a family tea-time, where we'll congregate in the meal tent and share hot chocolate, a variety of teas, delicious finger foods and conversation, while we wait for our hot and delicious dinner. 

After dinner is served your trek leader will discuss tomorrow's itinerary, after which you can enjoy the incredible display of luminous stars stretching out overhead. 

 

DAY 2: incredible views! 

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 16,404ft. (5,000m)
  • Min Altitude: 12,795ft. (3,900m)
  • Distance Hiked: ~8 miles (13 km)
  • Ascent: 656ft. (200m)
  • Walking Time: 5-6 hours

Today you will be woken up early by a smiling guide and/or al paca, who will bring an invigorating cup of hot tea right to your tent. We will eat a warm and nutritious breakfast and be back on the trail between 7:00AM - 7:30AM. During our hike we'll have views of crystal blue mountain lakes, waterfalls, and herds of wildlife; including llamas, alpacas and vicuña. 

Our hike will start with a 3-hour ascent to reach the first pass of our journey, which has a staggering elevation of 16,404ft (5,000m). We'll take our time and make sure to enjoy the incredible mountainside that surrounds us. In the winter months, we may have to hike through some snowfall, however, the trail is usually kept clear. After taking pictures from the pass of immaculate views below us, we'll have another 2-3 hours of hiking downhill to our lunch spot for the day, where another professionally prepared meal is waiting for us. 

After lunch we have 2.5 more hours of a gradual downhill hike to reach our campsite at the Red Lake. This is one of the most beautiful campsites in the entire Andes, it's located at the bast of the Ausangate peak and right on the shores of a stunningly blue mountain lake. We'll experience a fabulous sunset over the Andes and from our vantage point should see eagles and condors flying through the mountains.

We'll enjoy another family tea-time and delicious dinner and then your guide will point out the Incan constellations through the Milky Way Galaxy that stretches overhead. Sleep well chicos.

 

DAY 3: The longest day of hiking, but more unbelievable views 

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 17,388ft. (5,300m)
  • Min Altitude: 14,435ft. (4,400m)
  • Distance Hiked: ~9.3 miles (15 km)
  • Ascent: 656ft. (200m)
  • Walking Time: 5-6 hours

We will wake you up early with a hot cup of coca tea, to start one of the most beautiful days of the trek. You will enjoy the majestic views of some of the highest peaks in the Andes, and the depths of the beautiful valleys. You will have two mountain passes to make today. We'll hike to the summit of Ausangate, where several alpaca and llamas will be grazing, making for incredible pictures and wonderful memories! 

We'll trek for another 2 hours at a gradual downhill gradient until we reach our lunch spot, which is located at the bottom of Chillca Valley. Our delicious lunch is accompanied with spectacular views of waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and, in the far distance, rolling green hills. After lunch, and maybe a little cat-nap, we'll start back on the trail with another steep uphill climb to reach Vicuña pass (17,388ft. / 5,300m). It will take us about 2 hours from lunch to reach Vicuña Pass, which is the highest peak of our trek. After getting to the top we'll enjoy a well earned cup of traditional coca tea, which will reinvigorate our minds and bodies to complete our day of trekking. 

We'll have another 1-2 hours of hiking downhill to reach our campsite for the night, which is on the banks of Lake Yanacocha. This is another private, and beautiful campsite where we'll enjoy another astounding home-made dinner, and views under the stars. Our campsite is just a few hours away from our destination, Rainbow Mountain. 

 

DAY 4: Rainbow mountain, and back to cusco 

  • Meals: Breakfast and Lunch 
  • Max Altitude: 17,060ft. (5,200m)
  • Min Altitude: 14,435ft. (4,400m)
  • Distance Hiked: ~9.3 miles (15 km)
  • Ascent: 656ft. (200m)
  • Walking Time: 5-6 hours

We'll start the day the day early, with our final breakfast together, after which we'll start our last day of hiking with 1.5 hours of a gradual climb to Rainbow Mountain. Your guide will take you to locations that Kusa Treks has scoped out over the last year that offer incredible photo opportunities and will show you the unique topography and geographical features of this fascinating area. 

After exploring our fill and taking pictures, we'll get back on the trail for a final 3 hours of hiking downhill in the Chillca Valley. After we reach the bottom of the valley we'll share a final delicious lunch and bid each other farewell. It's been an incredible journey! You'll board private transportation for the 4 hour drive back to Cusco and your hotel. The drive home will be through some very gorgeous parts of the Andes and will also pass several mountain villages. Arrival back to Cusco is usually between 6PM and 7PM. 

 

Rainbow Mountain in the Andes
Ausangate to Rainbow Mountain trek