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Rainbow Mountain Trek

5 Days FROM USD 1,550

Overview

Trek for five days along the “Camino del Apu Ausangate” route in Vilcanota’s Cordillera, in the shadow of the sacred snow-capped Apu Ausangate that rises to 6,372 metres. This breathtaking trek takes you through one of the most pristine mountain ecosystems in the world, past glaciers, snow-capped peaks, rivers and alongside herds of llamas and alpacas and to the incredibly beautiful Rainbow Mountain.

Llamas and horses owned by the shepherds of the Chillca community accompany us on our trek carrying our trek gear. Each night is spent in an eco-friendly Andean Lodge or “Tambo” with meals prepared by experienced chefs who serve up a variety of delicious Peruvian dishes using local produce. On some evenings, the local villagers entertain us with authentic traditional music.

Trip Code: PETSANT

Location: Peru

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

We set off from Cusco by comfortable coach, heading along the Vilcanota River to visit the Temple of Checacupe. We continue to the upper valley of Pitumarca and from Japura, we trek the short distance to Chillca.

Our first Andean Lodge is Chillca Tambo, situated at 4,300m and nestled in the glacial valley of Quencomayo, surrounded by beautiful scenery. Hot showers and full bathrooms as well as 8 twin and double bedrooms are available. Tasty and nutritious local cuisine (such as Alpaca meat) is served, but vegetarian options can be provided. On arrival there is time to relax or explore the surroundings. In the evening, local community members entertain us with traditional music.

The lodges used on the trek are all eco-friendly and part of the Andean Lodge Project. Bio-degradable detergents are used in the bathrooms and kitchens and all human waste is processed by “bio-digesters” and the by-products used as organic fertilizers. Other organic waste is used by the community for compost. All inorganic material is taken away to the recycling plant located near Cusco. The lodges aim to teach the locals the value of their environment, thereby protecting and preserving its biodiversity. Llamas are used as pack animals, supporting traditional means of transportation and providing job opportunities to local people.

Cusco - Chillca

After breakfast we continue our trek in the glacial valley of Phinaya, surrounded by herds of alpacas and llamas. Our climb takes us past the beautiful Pjachaj waterfalls and on towards Santa Catalina where more glaciers await. After a picnic lunch, we continue walking for around 5 hours to Machuracay Tambo, surrounded by moraine walls, glaciers and lagoons.

Our bags that have been carried by the llama caravan, meet us at the lodge. Machuracay Tambo is the highest lodge on the trek, situated at 4,600m at the foot of Mount Ausangate, the most sacred mountain of the Incas.

Chillca - Machuracay

Today we trek over our first mountain pass, the Palomani Mountain Pass with its panoramic and spectacular views. At 5,055m, this is the highest point of the trek. Descending alongside the glaciers, we continue walking to Ausangate Cocha Lake where we have lunch. The trek continues through red sandstone sediment formations, where we may see vicuñas and sometimes Andean condors. At the end of our day’s hike, we arrive at our lodge where we relax for the evening.

Anantapata Tambo differs from the other three lodges on the trek. The building is a pre-fabricated wooden structure erected on a solid stone base that was built by members of the Chillca community with financial support from a government grant.

Machuracay - Anantapata

After breakfast, we set out along a trail to another mountain pass. As we descend, we hike alongside Lake Kayrawiri, surrounded by rugged mountain peaks and the great valley below. Striations of colour are embedded in the hillsides. We continue on to Cerro Laya Grande via the massive Glacier del Inca, and past the striking colours of the sediments of Yauricunca, also known as Vinicunca. We lunch here in this unique landscape. Rainbow Mountain is a multi-coloured peak set amongst other beautifully colourful hills and framed by steep snow-capped peaks. It is one of the most impressive wonders of Peru.

On our way to the fourth “Andean Lodge”, we see hundreds of Andean geese nesting in the cliffs of Anta, and the formations of Apu Labrayani near Huampococha Tambo, where we will spend our last night on the Camino del Apu Ausangate.

Huampococha Tambo lies within the community of Osefina. The people of Osefina are expert weavers and participate in the Andean Lodge Project along with their distant neighbours of Chillca.

Anantapata - Huampococha

Leaving after breakfast, there are great views of the mountains as we ascend to our final pass. From here it is all downhill, and along the way we encounter some of the most amazing limestone formations. The trail ends in Trapiche, where we have lunch and then return by coach to Cusco, to reflect on our unique Andean experience.

Huampococha - Cusco
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Pricing & date

Travel Style Departing Duration PRICE FROM
Standard Daily 5 USD 1,550
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Important Information

  • Services of expert guides in high mountain trek.
    Private transport to Chillca and back to Cusco.

    Accommodation in double rooms.
    Breakfast and dinner served in the lodges, snacks and lunches served on the way.
    Waterproof bags for the baggage carried by llamas.
    First aid kit and oxygen.

     

    NOT INCLUDED: 

    Flights to and from Peru / Cusco, or any kind of transport before or after completion of the program.
    Tipping staff

  • 4 (Good fitness level required)
  • FROM US$5,750 - Subject to season and availability, contact us for more details. 

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:

1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.

2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.

3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.

4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.

5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.

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