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Ausangate Llama Trekking

Highlights

  • Highest trek in Peru
  • Two sets of hot springs
  • Stunning "Rainbow Mountain"
  • Classic Peruvian llama trekking
  • A full day at Machu Picchu
  • Breathtaking mountain views
  • High mountain lakes and wildlife
  • Top notch cuisine and service


Description

Our Ausangate Llama Trek is one of the most special and memorable hikes in the world, and is truly one not to be missed! It combines the uniqueness and cultural significance of Peruvian llama trekking with high Andes hiking, Rainbow mountain and Machu Picchu. It also includes towering snow-capped peaks, high mountain passes (our high point is 16,900 feet!), mountain lakes, wildlife, hot springs, and cultural experiences. This trek is the triple crown adventure of Peru!
Our trek takes place south of Cusco around the sacred mountain of Ausangate, which was one of the most important to the Inca. This trip is also one of the best undiscovered treks in the world, and provides wonderful solace from the bigger crowds that plague the more famous trails. It has amazing views of snowcapped mountains, starry night skies, and gets you up close and personal with the sacred animal of the Inca, the llama! To hike through the Andes, following in the exact footsteps of the ancient Inca with llamas in tow is amazing.
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Trip Dates

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Trip Itinerary

Day 1

On this guided Peru trek we start by picking you up from the airport in Cusco. We will drive to our hotel, have showers and meet for our orientation meeting to get acquainted with our group, itinerary and gear for the trek. After our orientation meeting we will go to our favorite, local Peruvian restaurant for dinner in Cusco. Be sure to drink copious amounts of water throughout today, as flying and traveling will certainly dehydrate you. Cusco is over 11,000 feet in elevation and being hydrated (lots of water and limiting alcohol) is a critical component of dealing with significant elevation changes. Self-care begins immediately.
Day 2

This morning we will enjoy our first Peruvian breakfast in Cusco. After breakfast, we will meet for our educational and historical visit to the ruin of Saksaywaman, the ancient cathedral in Cusco, and the Qoricancha (Sun Temple). For lunch we will meet our chef for the week and enjoy the organic and local foods of Cusco. After the tour, we have some free time to relax before dinner. At dinner your guides will provide the plan for the following day and answer any last minute questions.
Day 3

Today will serve as an additional acclimatization day. After breakfast we will drive to the village of Chinchero, where we will visit a Wildland-supported weaving center. The Chincherinas (local women) will show us the process of weaving beautiful blankets, dying with colors and making clothes. Subsequently, we will head towards the salt mines / Salineras that date back over 2,000 years with over 3,000 salt pools carved into the mountain side. After the Salineras visit, we will go to an amazing lunch spot with phenomenal mountain views. After lunch we will move on to the fascinating terraces of Moray, once used for agricultural experimentation by the Incas. After Moray we will head back to Cusco and enjoy free time until we meet for dinner. Your guides will deliver the plan for the following day.
Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
  • Lowest Elevation: 12,800 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 15,000 feet
  • Trekking Duration: 6 hours
This morning we will leave the hotel at approximately 5 A.M. and eat breakfast en route to our hike. We have a 3.5-hour drive to the town of Upis, south of Cusco. Once we arrive in Upis, we will meet our llama wrangler, the rest of our support crew and our llamas for the start of our trek. After packing, we will begin by hiking gradually uphill through many small villages, farms and high grasslands with views of the Vilcanota Range (home to the Cusco area's highest peaks).

Tonight's camp sits below towering and glaciated Mount Ausangate (20,945'), a deeply sacred mountain to the Inca and the highest peak in the range. We'll also be able to see Colqe Cruz peak (20,020'). Our camp has one more very special treat - hot springs! We'll enjoy a soak in the thermal baths that many claim have medicinal effects. A wonderful Peruvian dinner and great night's sleep cap off our first day of trekking.
Day 5
  • Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
  • Lowest Elevation: 15,000 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 16,500 feet
  • Trekking Duration: 8-9 hours
This morning we will wake up with a warm up of coca tea delivered to us in our tents by the cook crew. We will then have coffee and breakfast and begin walking by 8 A.M. Our hike starts slowly up to our first pass, Arapa (16,000'), then down to Pukacocha Lake, where we'll relax over a lakeside picnic lunch. After lunch we hike up to another high mountain pass (16,500') with breathtaking views down onto our picnic lake and beyond. We continue down from the pass into a broad, picturesque valley with grand views of the surrounding peaks. In this valley we set up camp and enjoy a much deserved feast and good night's sleep.
Day 6
  • Hiking Mileage: 10 miles
  • Lowest Elevation: 15,000 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 17,060 feet
  • Trekking Duration: 10 hours
Today we pack up our gear and have a hearty breakfast before beginning the day's hike to a world-class site: famous "Rainbow "Mountain". We start our trek up a steep hill to a pass that presents amazing views of Ausangate, which is the Peruvian name for "Rainbow Mountain". We hike 30 minutes down and then 1 hour up a gradual hill to reach the spectacularly photogenic, kaleidoscope-colored landscape of ridges, folds and basins of Rainbow Mountain. After having tea and taking photos of this stunning and other-worldly landscape, we head back to camp for lunch around 2 P.M. We then hike approximately 3 hours to our next camp at Ausangate Cocha, a beautiful mountain lake.
Day 7
  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Lowest Elevation: 15,000 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 16,900 feet
  • Trekking Duration: 8 hours
This morning we wake up early, have breakfast and hike up to Palomani Pass, which soars at a towering elevation of 16,900 ft. We'll soak up amazing views of the high peaks of this range, which stays just to our left, and keep an eye out for giant condors. We'll then descend to our lunch spot at lower elevations. After lunch we continue hiking for a couple more hours and follow the scenic Jampamayo River until we reach tonight's camp. At camp we will have free time until dinner is served. Our guides will deliver the plan for the next day.
Day 8
  • Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
  • Lowest Elevation: 15,500 feet
  • Highest Elevation: 16,500 feet
  • Trekking Duration: 6 hours
This morning after breakfast we cover the last section of the Ausangate Circuit. We trek through the Pampa Jutunpata valley, and along the shores of Lake Ticllacocha, keeping an eye out for wildlife. Possible sightings include bobcats, condors, vicunyas (short-haired ungulate related to alpacas), and vizcacha (similar to chinchillas). We'll go over a pass and see several turquoise lakes down in the valleys. We'll continue our descent all the way to the village of Pajchanta where more thermal pools soak our tired bones and muscles. It feels so good! We'll enjoy a celebratory dinner and good night's sleep.
Day 9

This morning we pack up our gear, have breakfast and get picked up by our van. We will drive approximately 4 hours to the town of Urubamba in the Sacred Valley. In Urubamba we will have lunch then continue on to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival in Ollantaytambo we will board the train to Aguas Calientes, where we will go out to an amazing dinner at our favorite local restaurant. We will enjoy the luxury of warm showers and comfortable beds at Tierra Viva hotel.
Day 10

This morning we have some flexibility and a couple of different options depending on how the group is feeling. One option is to wake up early and take the tourist bus to Machu Picchu for the sunrise. Another option is to sleep in a bit, let the tourist crowds subside and take the bus to Machu Picchu around 10 am. We will discuss the options the night before and decide as a group which strategy we want to use. 

At Machu Picchu our local Peruvian guide will lead us on a thorough and fascinating tour of the ancient Inca city for 3-4 hours. We will learn about the amazing cultural history of the Inca and their ancient city, and delve into some of the mysteries that surround Machu Picchu. After the Machu Picchu tour we head back to Aguas Calientes for lunch. We then board a train back to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival in Ollantaytambo, we board our private van to the town of Urubamba. Depending on the time, we may have dinner in Urubamba or continue on to Cusco where we will have dinner and check into our hotel. What a week it's been!
Day 11

This morning we will have our last Peruvian breakfast in Cusco and say our good-byes before heading to the airport. From here it's of course your option to continue exploring Peru on your own or have a flight booked to return home. For our Machu Picchu Treks you can depart Cusco any time on this final day. Service ends after transportation to the airport.



Add-on Rooms: If you'd like to extend your stay, we are happy to book extra room nights at some destinations (not available at all destinations) before and/or after your trip at our preferred hotel for an additional 30% service fee.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however occasionally trips are subject to itinerary changes based on a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to: extreme weather, political or bureacratic obstacles, earthquakes, fires, flooding and more.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • A detailed trip packet that takes the guesswork out of your travel, training, packing, and preparing for the trip
  • Access to our Adventure Consultant team 7 days a week
  • A professional Wildland guide, trained in 1st Aid, risk management and assessment and responsibility to provide overall standard of excellence in service quality.
  • Local Peruvian guide(s), expert in cultural and natural history, the local area, fauna and flora, etc.
  • Transportation for the duration of the tour starting on Day 1 and ending on the day you depart
  • Luxury Vistadome train tickets from Aguas Calientes to Cusco
  • Last night hotel at Aguas Calientes, a 3-star hotel. (If you would prefer a higher quality hotel, we can arrange that for the difference in price.)
  • Lodging before and after the trekking portion of the trip
  • All camping gear and supplies (including a dining tent and kitchen tent)
  • Llamas to transport all gear, food, and most personal items
  • Professional camp chef
  • Drinking water and hot water for washing face, hands...etc.
  • Use of a day pack and trekking poles
  • Gratuity for in-country crew: Porters, Chefs, Waiters, and Drivers. *Please Note: Gratuities for Guide(s) are not included in trip rate.
  • All meals for the duration of the tour
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Transportation to Cusco, Peru
  • Trip insurance that includes medical coverage and at least $200,000 in evacuation and repatriation coverage (strongly encouraged)
  • Bar bills, drink bills, extra snacks, telephone bills , wifi bills and other personal expenses (shopping/ laundry)
  • All expenses due to unavoidable events e.g. flight cancellation, personal illness, strikes, etc. (we recommend trip insurance coverage for these variables)
  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Gratuity for guide(s) (industry recommendation is 10-20% of total trip cost; USD is recommended.) *Please Note: Gratuities for Porters, Chefs, Waiters, and Drivers are included in the trip rate.
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

This Peru hiking tour features a combination of in-town meals and meals prepared by your guide. We'll have dinners at carefully selected, wonderful restaurants in Cusco as well as meals prepared on the trail by a professional camp chef. Some staples you may find are potatoes (papas), quinoa, rice, beans, meat, fish, various grains and vegetables.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We can often accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee, and in some countries may be more difficult to accommodate than others. Please inquire with us for more information about the specific trip you're interested in.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Backpacks
  • Trekking poles
  • Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

We will meet you at the airport on Day 1 and transport you to the first night's hotel (included), where we'll conduct an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the first evening (your flight should arrive before 3PM). Your guide will be in contact approximately 4 weeks before your trip to coordinate your rendezvous and answer any last-minute questions you have.


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our Global Destination trips are led by professional hiking guides along with additional support staff. All of our guides are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Finally, we've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and all tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) for more information.

In the interest of your safety, it's important to refer to the Center for Disease Control website for up-to-date recommendations on immunizations before your trip.


Guides

Your tour will be led by trained, experienced professionals with solid guiding backgrounds, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on this hiking tour is 12 guests and 2 guides, with a minimum of 2 guests and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-888-966-TREK (8735) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Trip Insurance

For your protection, we strongly recommend the purchase of field evacuation, repatriation, and medical trip insurance. International travel is expensive, and the modest cost of trip insurance is a sound investment in an uncertain world.

If you wish to purchase trip insurance, we recommend IMG/iTravelinsured. They are one of the world’s leading providers of travel insurance.

For information on recommended IMG/iTravelinsured policies please click here.

For even greater information, or if you simply prefer communicating with a real, live person, feel free to contact our exclusive agent Michael Bennett. Michael will help you identify the best product for your needs, and there is no cost associated with his assistance. You may contact him at:

Email: WildLandTrekking@EasyToInsureME.com
US by Phone: 877-305-9083
Direct/International by Phone: 702-448-3664
If you already have insurance or wish to purchase from anyone other than IMG/iTravelinsured, we recommend careful consultation with the provider to ensure appropriate coverage. This is because many providers have a number of policy exclusions.

If you secure an insurance policy please bring a copy of it to provide to your guides at the orientation meeting.


Weather in Peru

Peru is home to part of the Amazon Rainforest as well as the towering Andes Mountains. Machu Picchu is at an elevation of 7,710 feet (2,350 meters), but most of our treks in the region reach elevations well above 10,000 feet, some reaching nearly 17,000 feet. Because of the significant elevation changes and alpine hiking, the temperatures and weather can also vary widely. At elevations above 10,000 feet you can expect cold temperatures.

The average temperatures and precipitation in the Machu Picchu region are:

Month Hi Low Precip
March 70° F 45° F 11 days
April 72° F 40° F 8 days
May 70° F 36° F 3 days
June 70° F 34° F 2 days
July 70° F 30° F 2 days
August 70° F 34° F 2 days
September 72° F 40° F 7 days
October 72° F 43° F 8 days