This trek offers a truly marvellous trekking experience, way up in the high Andes where the mountain tops loom majestically. A fatastic landscape of llama strewn pampas, lagoons and bizarre rock formations. Yet, despite the remoteness of this trek, you can do it in comfort: after a long day's hike at high altitude a comfortable bed and nourishing 3 course meal awaits you.
This trekking project has been realized as a joined effort between the trekking company and local highland people who have long eked out a living in this remote wilderness. The 'tambos' (guesthouses) are jointly run with the local communities.
The hiking is truly magnificent - but what a difference it makes to be able to retire to a comfortable bed at the end of the night instead of crawling into a tent! Now you can have both - and the whole thing run in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner - what more could you want?
Note: Be aware that hiking at high altitude is very demanding. Participants must be in excellent shape and should be well acclimatized before attempting this trek.
We depart early in the morning from Cusco, traveling along the fertile Vilcanota Valley to the town of Checacupe. After a visit to the colonial 'temple of the Immaculate', we begin to climb up the Pitumarca valley, through the spectacular Japura gorge that leads to Chillca. Upon arrival we will be greeted by the community. From there it is a short and easy walk to the first 'Tambo.' Once at the lodge there will be time to relax and enjoy the music provided by the locals of Chillca. Eight twin and double bedrooms with private bathrooms are available.
Driving time:ca. 4h
Our hike begins in the wide valley of Upis where impressive glaciated mountains tower above the valley offering majestic views. The trail narrows as we make our way towards the waterfalls that descend from the Santa Catalina mountain. This path is mostly used by the roaming llamas of the area. Once we reach the small Paloma lagoon we will see many of these animals, as well as a large number of alpacas. After a while we reach a second lagoon and then start to cross a long series of moraines. Finally we will reach Machuracay Tambo, located right at the base of Apu Ausangate.
Hiking: 8 hours
After a demanding ascent of the Palomani pass at an elevation of 5,200 m. / 17,000 ft., we will descend to Ausangatecocha. Tremendous views of the glaciated south face of the 'apu' will inspire us as we continue towards the red sandstone formations of the 'Nevado del Inca'. Overnight stay in the Anantapata Tambo.
Hiking: 8 hours
A spectacular part of the trail: today we will be hiking amidst otherworldly mountains with red, ochre, and blue strata. This section offers a glimpse of marvelous geological wonders and natural beauty. Also, be on the lookout for groups of gracious vicuñas, as they are frequently spotted in this isolated area. We will sleep that night in the Huampococha Tambo, right among the large rock formations and near a lagoon where 'huallatas' (Andean geese) make their nests.
Hiking: 7 hours
After a final climb to cross the Anta pass, we will gradually make our descent. In this section the first crops and houses come into view. The landscape changes quickly as the red sandstone formations are followed by the carsten erosion of limestone, forming a spectacular 'stone forest', and a perfect habitat for 'vizcacha' (members of the chinchilla family). By the time reach the valley, our bus will be waiting for the return trip to Cusco.
Driving: ca 3 hours
Hiking: 7 hours
Does Not Include:
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