4 days / 3 nights – Private Services

Ausangate Vinicunca

4 days / 3 nights – Group Services

Ausangate Sacred Mountain

The Sacred Mountain of Ausangate reigns as the highest peak of the Cusco Region, with an elevation of 8,384 masl (20,939 ft) and located in the Vilcanota Mountain range, about 100 km south of Cusco. This magnificent snow-capped peak, which can be seen from many viewpoints in the city of Cusco, is considered a Sacred Mountain and Spirit (“Apu”) by locals, who have believed in its protection for many generations.

The region is inhabited by llama- and alpaca-herding communities who have Quechua as their mother tongue and constitute one of the few remaining pastoralist societies in the world. They use high mountain trails to trade with agricultural communities at lower elevations. Some of these communities can only be accessed by foot or horse, making the place a truly remote experience.

The area is a geological wonderland: dramatic granite uplifts, powerful glaciers and deep glacial-erosion valleys meet remarkable Permian formations of intense red, ochre and turquoise, and stunning limestone forests.

The sacred festivity of Quyllurit’i is celebrated on Sinakara Mountain, in the same area, a week before Corpus Christi every year, bringing thousands of pilgrims in a colorful and unique five-day gathering.

About this Trek

This stunning hike brings together the scenic beauty offered by the snow-capped Ausangate, known as one of the most important guardian Apus of the Cusco region since the time of the Inca. On the way we will admire turquoise lagoons, and herds of llamas, alpacas and vicuñas that graze freely on the slopes of this majestic mountain. The views are beyond words.

This trek concludes at Vinicunca rainbow mountain, currently known as one of the most important attractions in the region. Its surprising beauty is due to the different layers of soil that create an earthly rainbow, backdropped by snowy peaks and a reddish valley that we will also visit. Our journey will allow us to get to know some of the communities of the high Andean region, with up-close and personal experience of their lifestyle and traditions as well as a picturesque geographical environment with its own unique charm.

Enigma’s experienced trekking guides enrich the days with their knowledge and sharing, covering diverse topics such as Inca history, local lifestyle, social structure, economy, politics, astronomy, and fascinating traditions and beliefs. Lodging is within designated and authorized campsites along the route.

This trek is a real immersion beneath the skin of the rural, high-mountain areas of the Peruvian Andes. Because it runs through high altitude, camping above 4,000 masl (13,120 ft), an adequate acclimatization process prior to the trek is essential to fully enjoy the experience and minimize the risk of suffering from altitude sickness.

Our Insight

This is one of our favorite treks–the beauty and variety of landscapes and the encounter with local people and lifestyle will leave an unforgettable impression. During the entire walk you will be delighted by landscapes taken from a painting, complete with animals of this area: condors, camelids, owls, huallatas, vizcachas, and more. All topped off with the local people who always receive us with a smile.

Additionally, this hike allows us to tour the Vinicunca (Rainbow) mountain early in the morning without the presence of the hundreds of visitors who make the one-day hike to see this important attraction. We will be able to enjoy the natural tranquility of this magical place and soak up uninterrupted views.

This route runs south from Cusco and does not get close to Machupicchu nor does it include the visit of the famous Inca citadel, for which you will need to save additional days.


Day 1 Cusco to Accopata

We will depart Cusco in private transport in the direction of Pacchanta (4,100m/ 13,451ft). On the way we will pass through Urcos, a town with a beautiful lagoon; Cattca, a cattle community that offers exceptional views of the mountains and crops; and Ocongate, capital of the district of the same name. Finally, we will arrive at Tinki, a small community from where we can appreciate the Ausangate peak. After approximately 4.5 hours, we will arrive at Pacchanta, a rural community that offers thermal baths where we can enjoy our breakfast with a view of the snow-capped peak, and our point from which we will start our trek. We will start the ascent walk towards the Qomercocha lagoon, whose meaning in Quecha is green lagoon (Qomer = green // Cocha = lagoon), where we will have lunch contemplating the landscape of the lagoon and the surrounding snow-capped mountains, such as Santa Catalina , María Huamantiqlla, Pucapunta and Colquecruz. In the afternoon, we will continue our hike uphill, crossing pampas with the presence of llamas, alpacas and small lagoons with turquoise and crystalline waters until we reach our camp, Accopata (4,750m/ 15,583ft).

Meals: B, L, D

Total distance 9 km (5,10 miles)
Estimated hiking time  7 hours
Maximum altitude point 4,750m (15,583ft)
Campsite altitude 4,750m (15,583ft)

Day 2 Accopata to Yawarqocha

We will leave our camp around 6:00 a.m. to begin our ascent towards the Abra de Q’ampa (5,000m/ 16,404 ft), then we will descend for approximately 2.5 hours until we reach a small esplanade that offers us spectacular views of the Andes. Here we will set up camp temporarily to recover strength with our lunch. We will continue our trek downhill towards a red lagoon, hence the name Yawarcocha (blood lagoon), surrounded by impressive mountains and some snow-capped mountains. We will camp near the lagoon an–if the weather allows–at night we will be able to appreciate the constellations.

Meals: B, L, D

Total distance 7 km (4,62 miles)
Estimated hiking time 7 hours
Maximum altitude point 5,000 m (16,400 ft)
Campsite altitude 4,600 m (15,088 ft)

Day 3 Yawarqocha to Warmisaya Lagoon

Today’s hike will begin with a small ascent of an hour and a half towards the Abra de Palomani (5,200m / 17,056ft), which is the highest point of today’s hike. Then we will descend for approximately 3 hours through a green valley in which we will be able to see alpacas, llamas and vizcachas, until we reach the place where we will have our delicious lunch. In the afternoon we will ascend again towards the Abra Apacheta (5000m/ 16,404 ft) and then start a descent path, sighting local birds like huallatas and perhaps even the majestic condor. We will continue along a steep path that will lead us to a place called Warmisaya, and then descend for an hour towards the lagoon that bears the same name, where we will camp.

Meals: B, L, D

Total distance 10 km (6,37 miles)
Estimated hiking time  8-9 hours
Maximum altitude point 5,200m (17,056ft),
Campsite altitude 4,800m (15,748 ft)

Day 4 Warmisaya Lagoon to Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain)

Today we will start our hike early to get to rainbow mountain and have this wonderful place to ourselves. We will leave around 5:00 am with a two-hour hike up until we reach Rainbow Mountain – Vinicunca (5,200m/17,060ft). Here we will be able to enjoy this spectacular geological formation in all its splendor without the crowds that will arrive a little later, and we can capture some fantastic photographs. Next we will begin the hike down through the Red Valley, another attraction of this wonderful place consisting of small red and ocher hills. We will continue the descent through the community of Qesiuno, where our transport will wait for us to take us back to the city of Cusco.

Meals: B, L (boxed lunch)

Total distance 5 km (3,19 miles)
Estimated hiking time  6 hours
Maximum altitude point 5,200m (17,060 ft)

* Departure and arrival times are approximate
** Campsites are subject to change according to the designation of the governmental institution regulating the use of the Inca Trail, as well as to our guide’s criteria and the group progress



Challenging due to the altitude: we recommend a period of at least three days for acclimatization in Cusco or over 3000m/9840ft.

Departure Dates

Daily departures are available throughout the year, although due to weather conditions, the recommended period for this trek is April to November.

All private service departure dates are adapted to your request.

Group Size

Size requested by client

Price Information

Price per person
Prices per person depend on the group size, the larger the group the lower the price per person.

Please contact us to check our prices, specifying:

  • trekking program
  • number of people in the trek
  • departure date

Additional discounts (may be added to the above)

  • Early bookings: 5% on full program price for all bookings confirmed at least six months in advance. This discount may not be applicable in case a promotional price is offered.

What’s Included

  • Pre-departure briefing
  • Pick up from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transport to Tinki (starting point of the trek)
  • Tinki visitor fee
  • Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain entrance fee
  • Campsite fees
  • Personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks. Our tents are 3-season, highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance in the field. Eureka Timberline 4 Outfitter tents are employed when double accommodation is requested and Eureka Timberline 2XT for single travelers. In case of severe climate, we employ 4-season tents.
  • One inflatable sleeping pad per person
  • One sleeping bag per person: our sleeping bags are -18ºC-comfort (0ºF), mummy form and include a sleeping liner. They are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips
  • One pillow per person
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Kitchen tent
  • Toilet tent with bio-degradable toilet facilities
  • English-speaking, professional, and official tourist guide (2 guides for groups of over 8 people)
  • Chef and cooking equipment
  • Pack animals (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment)
  • Pack animals to carry personal gear up to a maximum of 10kg per person (including sleeping bag and sleeping pad)
  • 1 emergency horse for every 6 persons
  • Wranglers
  • Accommodation for all our staff
  • Meals (04B, 05L, 04D + daily morning snack + daily tea service except last day). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
  • One textile snack bag per person, to avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment
  • Filtered boiled water from lunch time on first day onwards
  • Bio-degradable personal hand soaps
  • Bio-degradable dishwashing detergents used by our kitchen staff
  • Other things: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunch time if requested with enough advance notice
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Private transport from Qesiunu to your hotel in Cusco
  • 24-hour guest service: please ask for the emergency number available during your time of visit

What’s Not Included

  • Breakfast on the first day
  • Dinner on the last day
  • Tips: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish

Optional services at additional cost

This private service already includes a porter to carry up to 9kg of personal items, a personal sleeping bag and a personal sleeping pad.

Please contact us should you require additional services.



Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 ºC at night.

Along the Ausangate and Vinicunca trek, temperatures range from 10-20ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 05-10ºC during the day if not sunny. Given the high altitude of the campsites, temperatures drop significantly in the evening and especially at night, where they may get down to -10ºC or even lower in the dry season. Warm clothes are therefore especially requested for this hike.

Appropriate clothing along the Inca Trail

Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required along the whole route, down jackets, down sleeping bags and thermal clothes being highly recommended. The rest of necessary implements are included in the Pack List.

Recommended Pack List

  • A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
  • Sandals or jogging shoes for a higher comfort while at camp
  • Warm clothes, including jacket and fleeces. Thermal clothing is recommended, especially for sleeping
  • Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
  • Camera and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
  • Sun block
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
  • Toilet paper and tissues
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, dried fruits, muesli, etc. Please note that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. This recommendation applies for all clients being used to a specific snack, as it may happen that it is not included in our selection.
  • Water container and water for the first morning. Important notice: plastic water bottles are no longer allowed on the Inca Trail.
  • Optionally: water-sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has never reported any health issues.
  • Small towel
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to take a dip at the hot springs along the route)
  • Cash in soles and/or US$
  • Copt of original passport
  • Optional: walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage the Inca Trail)


If you would like to make a reservation for this trek, please follow the process below:

  1. Please make sure to read and agree with the Booking Terms & Conditions as your booking is subject to these terms.
  2. Then click on the Book Now button below. This will lead you to a Reservation Form that we kindly request you to fill out and submit.
  3. Once received by us, one of our travel consultants will reply within 48 hours to confirm or discuss options available for your booking.
  4. When your booking is confirmed, a money deposit will be requested within a specific time frame to secure your reservation.
  5. Once we have received your deposit and if received in time, your booking is secured and confirmed. A service confirmation form will be sent to you including all the details of your program.

In case you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us, we will be very glad to assist you.


  • Because all our treks are only and strictly operated by Enigma and its very professional staff. Other agents claiming daily departures operate their treks jointly with other companies in service rotation. Hence, you book a departure with tour operator A, which risks being operated by tour operator B without you knowing. ENIGMA has a high quality of service and a great reputation, which is only possible by ensuring that only ENIGMA staff operates ENIGMA treks. Even if we only have a single traveller for a set departure date, we will operate this trek.
  • Because we have and can prove an excellent treatment of our staff, including chefs, porters, and wranglers. ENIGMA not only complies with the Porter Law and Regulation, but our wages are above the minimum requested by law and above the average paid by most of the tour operators. All our staff eats well and more than enough, they are provided with sleeping bags, thermal clothes, sleeping tents, trekking boots, thick rain ponchos, harnesses, and lumbar support for their duty on field. Most importantly, they have a program ensuring them a minimum number of departures per month and hence, a minimum income per month as well.
  • Because we are very careful to choose and train the best guides for each group. About 80% of our guides work exclusively for ENIGMA and are highly trained, have excellent language proficiency and communication skills, and are regularly evaluated by the reports each guest fills out after each service. We have specific guides for special requests (ornithology, history and archaeology, flora and fauna, and also generalist guides). Our guides have been trained in Wilderness First Response and/or Advanced First Aid by NOLS and are updated every two years by local authorized schools. We also have guides proficient in several languages besides English and Spanish, including French, Italian, German, Chinese and Japanese. In all of our treks, not only on the Inca Trail, there will be a guide for every 8 guests with one of them being the head guide. This ensures a higher safety and attention to guests versus other operators.
  • Because we have some of the best equipment in field, renewed every year, employing excellent brand and performance tents, surgical steel vaiselle for best hygiene, the best water filters, therm-a-rest sleeping systems, with adequate-warmth bags and inflatable and high-isolation pads, and orthopedic foamy three-level base sleeping pads, among others.
  • Because we have one of the best in-field meal services in the area: throughout our decades of operation, our chefs have been trained by several institutes in Lima and Cusco, with chefs coming from the NY Culinary Institute and renowned chefs from Lima as well, with whom menus have been designed and implemented. Their operation ensures maximum hygiene. Above all, be prepared to not only have a superb trekking experience but also a culinary one, including generous and delicious breakfasts, snacks, lunches, tea services and dinners that we can adapt to your very specific requests. Our menus include a variety of Peruvian and international food and also cater to vegetarian, vegan and special dietary requests (Atkins, Gluten-free, etc.), all at no extra cost. ENIGMA is recognized for its gourmet meals, the quantity and quality of food, as well as for its outstanding menu design. We take natural, locally sourced ingredients on the treks and prepare them in the field; we do not take prepared low-quality food, the meals being an added experience in all of our programs.
  • Because ENIGMA’s responsible operation makes sure to have a minimal impact on the environment of the natural protected areas in which it runs. We train all our staff in our environmental policy, and while ENIGMA used to be the only Inca Trail Official Operator to run a yearly Inca Trail Clean-Up, this initiative has now been taken over by the government, and we continue to participate actively.
    • Because we pay legal taxes on all services contributing to the country’s growth and development. Other tour operators do not declare their sales or most of their earnings, or declare them with a lower value, thus allowing them to lower their prices through a dishonest competition. We always declare our earnings and pay the appropriate taxes.
  • Because all our Group Services have a maximum group size of 12, whereas most tour operators work with a maximum of 16 on the Inca Trail, since this is the number authorized by law, or even higher on other routes. We have established 12 as a maximum since this increases the quality of our service, as there are spots along the treks where being 16 makes it impossible to provide a personalized service.
  • Private Services have no size limit. Enigma guarantees to assign 1 guide for each 8 trekking guests, which means an additional guide is added as of guest number 9.
  • Also, our excellent treatment to our staff is not reduced in the low season: porter wages and guide fees are maintained throughout the rainy season, a gesture highly appreciated by our staff.
  • Finally, due to all of the above, we have very highly satisfied guests, as our numerous testimonials prove. In our Testimonials section of our website, you may find reports dating from 2003 (when we started our operation) to today. The original reports are available at our office in Cusco.
  • We are aware other operators may offer the Inca Trail or other programs at a lower price. This does not mean they are offering the same program at a lower price: the level of service will not be the same. We understand price is an issue, but we kindly request our potential guests and clients to choose a responsible tour operator as otherwise, you risk indirectly promoting the exploitation of rural communities and the growth of informal and illegal operators that do not support the country’s development and growth.

“Lugares unicos y espectaculares.

Todo perfecto no se puede pedir mas cambiamos el itinerario el ultimo dia por dar la posibilidad a nuestro compañero de visitar la montaña de siete colores y JC Corimanya nos ayudo”

Stefano Boetto / Italy
Ausangate 6d/5n
July 2022