- 6 DAYS/ 5 NIGHTS
First Day: Cusco – Tinqui
This morning, we are picked up at the hotel for a 5:30 hour drive to the trailhead of the Ausangate circuit, in the highland village of Tinqui at 3750 m. /12,310 feet. We drive by the Andean towns of Andahuaylillas, Urcos, Ccatca and finally Ocongate before reaching the village of Tinqui. Overnight in a basic hostel. (L, D).
Second Day: Tinqui – Upis
We start our uphill crossing the Mapacho river. The terrain turns into open arid grasslands known as puna. Scattered clumps of coarse grasses, collectively called Ichu characterize the treeless puna. This highland grass is used for roof thatch and fodder for grazing llamas and alpacas. We will be over rolling hills passing by stone walls and a few thatched houses. The trail continues up toward the north face of Mount Ausangate (6370 m. /20,905 ft.), considered by these highlanders as the sacred Apu “Mountain spirit”. We camp by the thermal pools at Upis Camp (4390 m./14,400 ft.). (B, L, D)
Third Day: Upis – Ausangatecocha
We start early this morning crossing the green Upismayo valley, filled with grazing llamas and alpacas. We begin our climb up to the Arapa pass at 4750 m. /15,585 ft. and descent to Laguna Pucacocha at 4600 m. /15,080 ft. Excellent views of the surrounding lakes and the glaciated west face of Mount Ausangate. We will continue up the Apacheta pass at 4800 m./15,750 ft. and descent to our camp in Lake Ausangatecocha at about 4560 m./14,950 ft. (B, L, D).
Fourth Day: Ausangatecocha – Jampa
We start today going up Palomani Pass at 5150 m./16,896 ft. our highest pass. From the southern face of Ausangate we will have a fantastic view of Ausangate 6370 m./20,905 ft. and Santa Catalina 5800 m./19,055 ft. In these high mountains, we might see the giant condor soaring high in the blue skies, and a variety of highland birds like coots, Andean goose, Caracara, hawks, puna ibis as well as the marmot-like Vizcacha and others. These remote mountains areas are also refuges for the vicuña.. We descend towards Pampacancha at 4550 m./14,900 ft. We continue our descent to Uchuy Finaya on the south side of Mount Ausangate, passing the remote village of Jampa. The views are overwhelming with the glaciers and the snow-capped mountains surrounding you. Mount Yanajata, Maria Huamantilla on our left and Colque-Cruz (5960 m./19,554 ft.), Puca Punta and Tres Picos (6090 m./19,990 ft.) on our right. A short climb brings us to Jampa, our highest camp at 4730 m./15,500 ft. (B, L, D).
Fifth Day: Jampa – Pacchanta
Today we climb the Jampa pass (5000 m./16,400 ft.), where we will be surrounded by spectacular views of glaciers and ice covered peaks. Looking down on our descending trail, we will see Lakes Comercocha and Caycocha. From the pass, we descend to Lake Minaparayoc. A moderate downhill takes us to the village of Pacchanta at 4250 m./13,950 ft. We will enjoy a specially prepared traditional “Pachamanca” dinner feast, prepared in an ancient Quechua method of cooking meat and vegetables underground with heated stones.(B,L,D).
Sixth Day: Tinqui / Cusco
Our last day on the circuit we continue to enjoy magnificent alpine scenery, with views of Mount Ausangate and the nearby snow-capped peaks of the Vilcanota range. We will visit the small communities of Cullpacata, Yanama, Mojonpata and Quimsapuccio giving us our last chance to see remote Andean villagers. Herds of llamas, alpacas and their herders, in their colourful traditional clothing, work along the hillsides. Most speak no Spanish, only the ancient Quechua language. After returning to Tinqui we drive to Cusco. (B, L).
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