Cordillera Ausangate Lodge trek, Peru

“A five-day hiking tour in the Andes that blends cultural immersion with awe-inspiring scenery, this guided expedition through the Cordillera Vilcanota raises the bar in every way. ”


Cusco | Cordillera Vilcanota | Vilcanota Valley | Checacupe Temple of the Immaculate | Japura Gorge | Chillca | Upis Valley | Ausangatecocha | Nevado del Inca | Rainbow Mountain | Andean mountain lodges |

Description of Cordillera Ausangate Lodge trek, Peru

Trek through the Cordillera Vilcanota, staying in cosy Andean lodges run by the local Chillca community. Over the following five days you'll pass the Rainbow Mountain as well as Ausangate, the most sacred mountain in the Cusco region and guardian of this pristine ecosystem.

Due to the altitude, you値l need to spend a few days acclimatising beforehand in Cusco before heading to Chillca, via the Temple of the Immaculate in Checacupe. Here you値l have your first taste of community life as you stay in your first tambo, a mountain lodge, with a relaxed evening of hearty Andean cuisine and entertainment from local musicians.

in fact you'll enjoy the warm welcome of a cosy, community-owned lodge every night on this trek. Comfortable double or twin rooms with private bathrooms and hot showers will leave you feeling refreshed for the day ahead, even if you've spent the night dancing and singing with your local hosts.

Day two takes you to the Upis Valley, shadowed by majestic glaciated mountains, and lined with waterfalls. The surrounding landscape is dotted with llamas and alpacas. The following day you値l make a demanding crossing of the Palomani pass, heading down towards Ausangatecocha and the stunning red sandstone formations of the Nevado del Inca.

On day four you値l get your first sight of the 然ainbow Mountain, in an area of immense geological splendour that痴 rife with colour. You値l overnight next to a lagoon where Andean geese nest, and on the final day descend from the mountains into a 鼠imestone forest where chinchillas poke their curious faces out to monitor your progress. Even hardened trekkers will find this trip difficult to forget.

Best time for trekking: April to October
Average daily hikes of six hours, covering approximately 15km
Recommended to spend 3-4 days in Cusco before you begin

Travel Team

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Check dates

Departs every Friday throughout the year. Best trekking season April to October.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

From the outset, while building the lodges, the main concern was how to reduce environmental impact to a minimum, by using alternative and eco-friendly technologies.

Bio-degradable detergents are used in bathrooms and restaurants, and all human waste is processed in 澱io-digesters (which, as a side product, leave an excellent fertilizer). These anaerobic digestion tanks could also be used in the future to produce bio-gas (methane). Organic residues are collected in the community of Chillca and treated for compost. All inorganic material is taken out to the recycling plant located near Cusco.

By teaching the locals the values of their environment the lodges and their staff are protecting and preserving biodiversity. For example, as llamas are employed as cargo animals, we are supporting traditional methods of transport and providing job opportunities.

We buy fresh local produce. In preference we choose local over imported goods, encouraging the use of Andean products in our cooking.

Because the trek uses lodges and not camp sites, this helps to reduce the impact. We minimize waste by using products with minimum packaging, leaving no litter and keeping all water sources clean. And because we are not using seasonal campsites, your trace is merely your footprint, which is following ancient herding paths.

We are planting trees as part of a reforestation project in Peru. The aim is to replant one million native trees on Andean slopes to fight deforestation and retain the Andes forests.

The Impacts of this Trip

This trek is one of very few projects in Latin America that directly involves peasant and shepherding communities as equal partners in a commercial enterprise. The Chillca community, due to labour contributions, land valuation and direct investment, owns almost a fifth of the shares of the company. The profits generated will be used by the community to improve education and living conditions. The project has created 24 full-time jobs and 30 or more temporal employment opportunities. Furthermore, it creates a market for the alpaca meat and fleece products, as well as traditional woven textiles, manufactured by the women of Chillca and Osefina. The direct jobs created the first year will represent some 60,000 dollars in salaries.

In five years all professional services should be provided by the community members.

We actively support several community projects in Peru.

Currently we donate in the region of USD$1000 at the start of each school year to a school near Cusco. We ask the community what is most needed and usually we are asked to provide materials (books, pencils, paper etc.) for the children and the local school.

Also, since 2006 we have been able to support the Huchuy Yachaq community project in the marginalised neighbourhood of Hermanos Ayar, on the outskirts of Cusco, with the help of everybody who has travelled with us. We donate USD $3000 a year to this community project.

The project has been set up by volunteer social workers and teachers to provide much needed social and educational support to the children and families of this neighbourhood. Children are encouraged to attend study and games sessions held each afternoon and participate in holiday projects. Our contributions so far have paid for educational books and games, tables and chairs, improvements to the structure of the basic community owned building and the addition of functioning toilets, materials for the children to take to school, school books, holiday programmes.


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