Our classic circuit around Ausangate Mountain still offers the most spectacular views of this sacred Andean mountain, leaving tourist crowds behind and entering an almost uninhabited area where you can truly commune with nature.
You will be picked up at your hotel and we’ll drive along the Puerto Maldonado road, now known as the Trans-Oceanic Highway, towards Tinqui (3 800 meters above sea level). We’ll stop at Urcos, a major bus junction, where we’ll take pictures and enjoy the colour market. We will hop back on the bus and go on to Cattca, an agricultural and cattle raising community where we can appreciate the region’s spectacular views. Finally, we’ll pass through Ocongate, the capital of the district. After a three-hour drive we will arrive in Tinki where we will have lunch. After our lunch break the trek begins and we’ll hike for approximately three hours towards Pacchanta (4 100 meters in altitude) where we will stop and camp for the night. Pacchanta is a rural community that boasts some well-know thermal baths where we can enjoy a nice dip and it offers great views of the Ausangate Mountain.
This morning’s hike is a slight climb up through the Paccanta valley where we’ll spot llamas and alpacas along the way until we reach the beautiful Quomercocha lagoon where we will have lunch. This is a spectacular spot with amazing views of Ansangate, Santa Catalina, Maria Huamantiqlla, Pucapunta and Colquecruz snow-capped mountains. After lunch, we will continue towards the first mountain pass of our trek, the Abra de Q’ampa (Jampa) at 5 080 meters which we will reach in approximately three hours. We then descend towards Ticllaquocha lagoons, a beautiful group of little turquoise lagoon . We’ll continue our hike in the afternoon for an additional two hours until we reach Jamba Pampa where we will camp for the night. This spot overlooks the valley and boasts impressive views of the huge and awesome Tres Picos, Colquecruz and Pucapunta peaks.
After breakfast we’ll take to the trail and start a gradual climb up towards Yanaquocha or ‘Black Lagoon’ its name given due to the dark color of its waters. Here we can appreciate the volcanic soil whose color turns from dark red to black, as well as moraines is any glacially formed accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris (regolith and rock) which is proof of the presence of glaciers in this region long ago. We will go over the Yanaquocha mountain pass which is at 5 050 meters in elevation to discover a surprisingly beautiful valley with an explosion of colored mountains, three spectacular lagoons as well as the local llamas and alpacas that populate the region. We’ll cross this valley and head towards our next mountain pass which is 5 100 meters. From this point on, we’ll hike for approximately one-hour to reach Condorpaso our next campsite located very close to the mountain pass by the same name which will be our challenge for the next day.
After breakfast, we continue a gradual climb up the valley for two hours that takes us to the mountain pass Abra del Condor at 5 200 meters of elevation. From the pass, the highest point of our trek, may not only enjoy spectacular views of the Vilcanota mountain range and the Sibinacocha Lagoon, our next milestone, but we’ll also hopefully see vicuñas (Vicugna vicugna) or vicuna is one of the two wild South American camelids which live in the high alpine areas of the Ande and we’ll continue hiking for an additional three hours crossing another mountain pass on the way and descending into the valley of the Sibinacocha lake’s source. We will camp next to the lagoon and very close to its source where an impressive glacier stands and nourishes the lake with its turquoise waters that contrast with the dark blue pure color of the lagoon. The lagoon boasts a wide bio-diversity and with any luck we will most likely be able to spot Andean Coots ‘Huallatas’ or Andean geese as well as Andean ducks from our camp. (when is lunch, dinner – both at the campsite)?
Today we depart early to walk along the shores of the Sibinacocha Lagoon for about three hours until we reach the Yayamari community, next to the mountain of the same name, an impressive rocky peak overlooking the lagoon at 5 500 meters above sea level. We then continue crossing a pampa (what is this?) where we wil most probably see hundreds of llamas, alpacas and hopefully vicunas. We will then continue along the trail towards Abra Ccascana at 5 000 meters which will lead us to the lagoon of the same name, in which area we will set up our last camp. In this spot inhabited by small rural communities and surrounded by impressive snow-capped peaks such as Montura and Chumpi, we may have the chance to spot ‘Huallatas’ or Andean geese and maybe even flamingos.
After breakfast we will leave Ccascana and hike for three and a half hours towards Phinaya. This is a small Andean community with a beautiful little church where the only transportation you’ll see are bicycles and horses. It’s also our lunch stop after which we will drive back to Cusco.
Pre-departure briefing with your guide
Professional trek guide fluent in English, Spanish and Quechua
Transportation: Private transportation to and from Cusco
Horsemen and mules to carry all camping gear, cooking and dinning tent and equipment and bathroom tent as well as guests’ luggage (up to 8 kg per person)
Additional horse if group is more than six people
Chef and cooking equipment
Spacious tents – 2 people in each 4-person capacity tent to allow for greater comfort
Basic sleeping mat – if you require greater comfort you can rent an inflatable mattress (eg. Thermarest)
Duffle bag to transport your personal items (maximum of 7 kg per person including sleeping bag and mat)
Excellent Peruvian meals which include 5 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners *Vegetarian, vegan and special dietary needs can be accommodated upon request at no additional cost.
Bowls of hot water for washing in your tent every day, morning and night, and at lunch time if requested in advance
Biodegradable soap and hand sanitizer
Your guide will be equipped with a walkie-talkie as well as an Oxygen tank and first aid kit
Sleeping bag (available for rent at $5 US/day). Our sleeping bags are rated for -200C (00F) and include a sleeping liner.
Walking poles (available for rent at $3 US/day)
Breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last day
Tips for the staff (guide, chef, assistant cook and horsemen)
Day pack with a waterproof cover and a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek – prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature (i.e. layers)
Warm clothes, including a jacket, fleece, gloves, scarf and harm hat or toque. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco for approximately $1.
Trekking/hiking shoes, waterproof is recommended
Micro fiber or wool socks (extra socks are a must)
Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings
Small towel or sarong
Swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in the lagoons)
Sunscreen and sun glasses as well as a hat
Insect repellent (minimum recommended 20% DEET)
Toilet paper (must be carried out with other garbage)
Passport and International Student Identity Card (ISIC – if you have one)
Water purification tablets
Reusable water bottle and water bladder for your day pack
Snacks (energy bars, nuts, chocolate, etc.)
Personal hygiene items
Small first aid kit with any special medications you might require and “Mole Skin” for blisters, etc.
Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
Sleeping bag (available for rent)
Walking poles (available for rent)
Cash for snacks, tips and souvenirs