Located about 100 km. southeast of the city of Cusco, this route covers a daily distance of about 10 to 12 kilometers, at an elevation between 4,300 and 5,200 meters above sea level.
Four comfortable cozy Eco-lodges designed in harmony with the surroundings and strategically located for great views complement this adventure. These are some of the highest altitude lodges in the world that are well-appointed with quality features. In these unique “Tambos” or Andean Lodges, daily meals will be prepared by experienced chefs who will introduce you to a great variety of delicious Peruvian dishes and produce. For your entertainment, musicians from the neighbouring communities will liven up some of our evenings at the “tambos” with traditional music.
Llamas and horses that will carry our gear will accompany our treks. These are owned by herders of the community of Chillca who will show their innate loving care, meanwhile, they actively participate in all the operations and proudly share their land with us, as well as the Spirit of their inspiring world.
An early departure to travel in our comfortable coach bus along the Vilcanota River to visit the temple of Checacupe, then through the upper valley of Pitumarca. At Japura, we’ll trek a short distance to Chillca. Community members and local musicians greet us at our first Andean Lodge, sharing their native Andean music as we sip coca tea. Our 8 double rooms have hot showers and full bathrooms. The lodge features tasty, healthy Andean cuisine, such as Alpaca steak, with vegetarian dishes and other dining options available.
After breakfast, we trek along the glacier valley of Phinaya, seeing hundreds of alpacas and llamas. On the way to the glaciers at Mt. Santa Catalina, the trail climbs past the breathtaking Pjachaj waterfall. Our picnic lunch awaits us above. Then, surrounded by moraine walls, glaciers and lakes, we walk about 5 hours to Machuracay Lodge. Your bags are carried by llama caravan. At the lodge, we’re met by the native family that manages it.
Today we take on our first mountain pass (16,587 ft./ 5,100 m.) enjoying spectacular panoramic views. Descending alongside the glaciers, we hike to Ausangate Cocha Lake where we’ll have lunch. Here, the landscape shifts dramatically, with red sandstone formations where we’ll see vicuñas and occasional condors. After a great day of hiking, we arrive at the third Andean Lodge to relax, take in the splendid views and enjoy a restful night.
After breakfast, we hike the trail up to the next mountain pass. Dropping down, we hike past Lake Kayrawiri, surrounded by rugged mountain peaks and the great valley below. Colorful bands of soil adorn the hillsides. Then, we continue on to Laya Grande Hill via massive Glacier del Inca, to encounter the amazing colors of soil strata at Mt. Vinicunca (the world-renowned “Rainbow Mountain”). We have lunch there, with time for photos and a rest stop in this spectacular landscape. On our way to our fourth Andean Lodge we might see hundreds of Andean geese nesting in the cliffs of Anta. Hiking past the flatiron formations of Mt. Apu Labrayani, we arrive at Huampococha Lodge, where we’ll spend the night in comfort.
We hike up enjoying an outstanding view of the mountains to reach the top of the last pass. It’s an easy downhill from here. We hike past the strange shapes of a Karst limestone rock forest and continue to the end of the trail at Trapiche. There, we have lunch and return by bus to Cusco, reminiscing about the unforgettable experiences we’ve shared in the Andes.
I was born and raised in Cusco. I am a tourism professional, passionate about traveling and exploring new environments and cultures. In regard to this tour, I will be your point of contact. ¡Mucho gusto!
I love sharing the inspiring world of my culture with visitors, those memorable and authentic adventures, which at the same time generate benefits for local populations.
I had the opportunity to spend a part of my childhood near the indigenous communities of Ausangate in Cusco and to be part of their customs and lifestyle. I believe that responsible tourism is an excellent tool to support the sustainable development of high Andean vulnerable populations.