The Cordillera Vilcanota is an impressive range of mountains which include the massive Nevado de Ausangate (6,385m) and three others over 6000m. It’s excellent trekking country offering the traveller everything you could want: spectacular mountain scenery, snow-capped peaks, hot springs, turquoise lakes, glaciers, herds of llamas and alpacas, picturesque villages and traditionally dressed Indians. It’s also high, tough and cold, so be prepared
Day 1: Cusco to Tinqui (3,800m)
It’s a 7 hour bus ride out to the village of Tinqui, the starting point of the trek, passing through some of the most beautiful scenery that Peru has to offer. Several traditional villages along the route include Urcos, Cattca and Ocongate. The night will probably be spent in a small and very basic hostal in Tinqui.
Day 2: Tinqui to Urpis (4,400m)
After packing the equipment and getting acquainted with your horses you’ll spend about 5 hours trekking to the camp close to the hot springs of Urpis. The springs are a bit run-down but have great views of Ausangate at the end of the valley. Better hot springs can be found at Pacchanta on day six of the trek.
Day 3: Urpis to Lake Jatun Puqa Q’ocha.
You’ll hike to the first pass, the Arapa pass (4,850m), in the morning, continuing down the valley in the afternoon to the camp at the turquoise Lake Jatun Puqa Q’ocha. You’ll pass the green lake of Puqa Q’ocha on the way.
From the campsite you can climb the small ridge north of the camp to see Lake Vino Q’ocha (named by the locals because it is sometimes red like wine due to glacial sediment coming down from nearby red mountains.) Sometimes, as you camp beside the lake at night, you can hear the eiree sound of ice breaking away from a nearby glacier and falling into the water.
Day 4: Lake Jatun Puqa Q’ocha to Pampacancha
In the morning you’ll ascend the second pass of Apuchata (4,900m) with the turquoise Laguna Ausangate below. This lake is fed from the melting snow of Ausangate. From the lake you’ll then climb again to the Palomani pass (5,200m), the highest point of the trek. Following the trail into the next valley for an hour or so brings you to the campsite at Pampacancha.
Day 5: Pampacancha to Q’omer Q’ocha.
Compared to the previous days, this one should prove relatively easy. During the trek the snow-capped peaks of Tres Picos and Puca Punta come into view. The trail between the broad green valley of Pampa Jutunpata and the Rio Q’ampa valley are an excellent place to observe the delightful viscacha. This small rodent looks like a cross between a squirrel and a rabbit and lives in large family groups amongst the stones and boulders at the foot of the scree slopes. You may also be lucky enough to see groups of vicuña, undoubtedly the most beautiful member of the llama family, with its slender neck, huge eyes and soft golden wool.
After passing through the small community of Q’ampa the trail continues north west to the final pass of this hike, the Q’ampa pass (5,000m). From the top you can see several different colored lakes. You’ll camp beside the final greeny turquoise lake called Q’oma Q’ocha.
Day 6: Q’oma Qocha to Pacchanta
Another fairly easy day today, trekking for about 2½ hours to the small Andean village of Pacchanta. You’ll have the opportunity to rest and relax in the hot thermal springs for a couple of hours and even have a beer in this interesting Andean village. You can spend the night camping close to the village or make the 3 hour trek back to Tinqui to stay the night in a hostal.
Day 7: Pacchanta or Tinqui to Cusco
Leave by bus back to Cusco returning late in the afternoon
- Round trip transportation by private bus to Tinqui village.
- Professional English-speaking guide.
- 1 night hostel, 5 nights camping.
- Horses (for equipment and for each person) incl. horsemen.
- Meals (06B,06L,06D).
- Equipment (tents, mattress, cooking equipment).
- First aid & emergency oxygen bottle.
We Recommend to Bring:
- Personal sleeping bag.
- Back Pack and Day pack.
- Hiking shoes or snow boots.
- Winter coat and poncho.
- Water bottle, flash light, hat, sun block, sunglasses.
- Warm/Termic clothes.
- Chocolates, candies or other snacks.
- Photo Camera + Films.