lima, peru
Stunning scenery around Apu Ausangate
May 20, 2016
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Finally in Lima, I am enjoying a “Libanes sanguch” in a modern café in Miraflores, the neighborhood-to-be in Peru´s capital. It´s lunch time and the place is packed. Everyone around me gestures hectically and is dressed nicely, I am glad I changed from my pyjama pants into my jeans before leaving the 21h bus from Cusco.

While I am waiting for my next couchsurfing host to finish work and meet me, I quickly pass all stages of just another culture shock. I have a hard time believing that I spent the last week trekking and sharing a tent at -10º between green valleys, countless alpacas, snow-capped peaks, and blue lagoons.

Stunning Scenery Ausangate Trekking
I was swept off my feet by beauty all around Apu Ausangate

A few days earlier my friend Jette and I had called up Hernan, a local guide who lives 2km outside of Tinqui, the start and end point of the Ausangate trek. Hernan doesn´t have email (yet) and solely relies on references to capture new customers, so we were lucky to find his phone number (984134098) published on Tripadvisor.

After a 3-hour-10-soles bus ride from Cusco Hernan picked us up at the main square of Tinqui. I was able to rent hiking poles and a warmer sleeping bag from him, and we agreed to to do a 7-day-tour around Ausangate with a detour to Rainbow Mountains.
(In retrospect, Ausangate incl. Rainbow Mountain can be trekked in 5 days).

Ausangate Trek in Peru
Our day 1 & day 7 consisted in traveling between Cusco and Tinqui as well as relaxing at Hernan´s home.

 

Stop at Abra Arapa in Peru
Day 2. We headed out from our guide´s place in Rudeana towards Upis and eventually reached the Arapa Pass (4.800m). It feels like luxury to the both of us to have 2 mulas carry our stuff after Jette crossing Patagonia by bike and me solo trekking in New Zealand.

Approaching Apu Ausangate, alpacas blocking the way
Campamento Puka Cocha near Ausangate
Day 3. We set up our tents at the Puka Cocha camp (4.500m). The temperatures go down well below zero at night and I didn´t mind getting up early. The breathtaking scenery made up for the lack of sleep.

 

Across Abra Apacheta during Ausangate Trek Peru
Amazing views during the Ausangate trek after crossing the Apacheta Pass (4.800m).

 

Alpacas around Lago Ausangate Cocha and Apu Ausangate in Peru
Zen total at Lago Ausangate Cocha (4.600m). Only alpacas around Apu Ausangate.

 

Trek up Rainbow Mountain in Peru
Day 4. By 5am we left our camp in Chillca (4.500m) and reached the beginning of the trail up to Cierro Colorado hike just when the sun came up.

 

Hiking up Rainbow Mountain in Peru
Hiking the last kilometers up Rainbow Mountain. No day-tourists from Cusco to be seen yet.

 

Cierro Colorado during Ausangate Trek in Peru
All worth it! Overlooking the valley of Cerro Colorado, one of the most beautiful places ever.

Rainbow Mountain from all angles.
Campamento de Soracuchumpa on Ausangate Trek
Physically the most challenging day of our Ausangate trek! It was hailing and raining when we crossed the Jampa sector that afternoon. We finally set up camp at the Soracuchumpa campsite (4.700m), and I couldn´t believe my luck to find an unlocked hut there to sleep in and stay warm that night 😀

 

Hiking in Jampa sector in Ausangate
Day 5. Endspurt! No blue sky needed to enjoy the views around the Jampa Sector.

 

Jampa Sector of Ausangate Trek Peru
We made it!!! On top of the Camp Pass (4.900m), our last pass to cross during the Ausangate trek before we got to enjoy the hot springs in Pacchanta.

 

Ausangate Trek in Peru
Day 6. The sun is back! Before returning to Rudeana, we backtracked our steps from Pacchanta (4.200m) and paid the 7 lagoons around Ausangate another visit.

 

Azucocha lagoon in Ausangate, South America
Taking in the views of Ausangate and connecting with nature one more time at the Azucocha lagoon.

As much as I enjoy being in the city and all the comfort that comes with it, it´s escapes to nature like this one that make my RTW trip truly inspiring. After two chilly months in South America I am craving the heat and tropical climate, but I still haven´t had my share of trekking in Peru. Next stop: Huaraz!