Peru trekking is a wonder of South America, and there is no question whatsoever that the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most famous. That said, it’s not the only place in the country where you can find indigenous communities or breathtaking scenery. Get in touch with your wild side and find tranquillity with a different trek, like Ausangate.
Another breathtaking and challenging trek is the Ausangate Circuit. Tinki, a small village, is where this trek tends to start and end during the six day cycle. That said, there are route alternatives. It does not include a visit to Machu Picchu so, if you are planning to include a tour there, you will need to go by train.
This is a spectacular trail including snow capped mountains, gorgeous lagoons, large herds of llamas and alpacas, hot springs and small villages that have retained their traditions throughout the centuries. Consider acclimating to the altitude before hitting the trek by spending up to three days in the city of Cusco. It is also quite cold and requires proper outfitting.
Some agencies will offer tours that are trekking only while others will include horseback riding for part of the journey. In some areas, however, the trail is too steep for riding and it will be necessary to walk. If you have any physical problems or don’t feel like you can engage in steep descents or climbs, you should consider whether or not you should do this.
There are other treks such as Salkantay and Lares which are traveled a lot more commonly than Ausangate. Enjoying a proper feel for the South American country, and getting out into nature, tends to make this trek an enjoyable option. However, it also means that if you’re really set on doing this one, it’s a good idea to book with a reputable agency ahead of time to be sure of your dates.
The excursion begins with a six to seven hour drive to Tinki where you will overnight. The actual trekking doesn’t begin until the following day. The second day will typically involve a stop and perhaps an overnight at some thermal baths.
What comes next is that you will see lagoons alongside wildlife like vizcachas, an Andean rodent and falcons. Negotiating mountain passes can be difficult so remember to take it easy as you climb up and down the trails. On the fourth day, in addition to the continued scenic quality of the route, there’s even a possibility of viewing a puma.
The fifth day, again featuring a trail that goes both up and down, there’s a chance to see Andean deer. Following intense hiking for four days at altitude, a trip to Pacchanta and the hot springs is a usual, welcome treat. A short hike the following morning will bring you back to Tinki and to your transport back to Cusco.
Like any of the treks apart from the Inca Trail, it is possible to do this one unaccompanied by a guide. This is not recommended. Always be vigilant in doing the trek because even when trails were obvious, conditions are able to change very rapidly. An experienced guide may know alternative routes that aren’t obvious to help you out of danger as well as be able to communicate with any local people that you encounter in their native Quechua.