AUSANGATE TREK FAQ
AUSANGATE TREK – COMPLETE GUIDE TO THE HIGHEST TREK IN PERU
WHAT IS THE ALTITUDE WHILE HIKING THE AUSANGATE TREK?
During the tours in our 3,4,5 or 6 day programs, we ascend to more than 5,000 meters. And the minimum height is 4,300 meters.
Cusco is at 11,089 feet/3380 meters so if you are or think you are susceptible to altitude sickness please be sure to arrive 2-3 days prior to your trek, rest the first few days in Cusco, drink plenty of water (and coca tea, a local remedy), and eat lots of carbohydrates. These three things help prevent and combat altitude sickness. Please consult your doctor if you have concerns about being at altitude. There are many medications that they can provide (example: anti nausea medication, diuretics, etc).
ACCLIMATISATION AND ALTITUDE SICKNESS
The Ausangate trek is one of the highest altitude treks in Peru and obviously comes with certain altitude sickness risks. Altitude acclimatization is the key factor in ensuring you have a safe and enjoyable trek.
Most of our tours take place anywhere from 9,000 feet up to 16,500 feet. To prevent altitude sickness we really recommend you to get Cusco at least 3 days prior to your trek to get used to the altitude. Drink plenty of water or coca tea while staying in high altitude. Local people has been using coca tea since ancient times to help with altitude sickness.Coca leaves have alkaloids which make your blood circulate quick so your blood takes oxigen to your brain. Your doctor may prescribe you medicines, such as: acetazolamide and dexamethasone to prevent altitude sickness. Start taking those 2 days prior to your trek. Continue taking them while you are at high elevation.
It is important that you understand these risks so that you can take the best preventative actions, as well as be well-informed on how to deal with altitude sickness symptoms, and it’s severe variants – High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).
HOW DIFFICULT IS THE AUSANGATE TREK?
With several high passes over 5,000 metres, the Ausangate Trek is considered fairly difficult.
The trek is classified as grade C; which means the trek is fairly long and many sections are at high altitude. You’ll need a good level of fitness and stamina as you’ll be trekking over many steep sections in which the altitude changes significantly over a short space of time.The trail itself is fairly good and well defined.
This trek is probably not suited to first time trekkers. If you are a strong walker and have completed some moderate treks prior to this then you should be fine. Often weather can get quite rough in the higher regions and blizzards are certainly not uncommon.
HOW MANY MILES IS THE AUSANGATE TREK
We have different distances from the ausangate trek, the shortest is 15 km = 9.3 miles. And the longest 6-day trek has more than 85 km = 52 miles.
The classic 4-day Ausangate Trek tour is 36 km approx. = 22.3 miles
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO DO THE AUSANGATE TREK
Like most trek in the region, the best time to do the Ausangate trek is in the dry months between May and September. Unlike other popular treks, the Ausangate trek is very quiet, even in peak season.
In the shoulder months of April and October weather is still pleasant and the trek is very possible. However, because of its altitude you’ll have to contend with freezing nights, even in the dry season.
Because of the altitude and snow, the trek is best avoided in the wetter colder season between November and February.
WHAT ARE THE TEMPERATURES ON THE AUSANGATE TREK
The temperatures in the mountains of the Ausangate Trek are very changing, so you must be very well equipped for all types of scenarios, in a day it can be sunny, raining, snowing or windy.
- During the drought season from May to October the minimum temperature can be up to -10 C ° or 14F °. And the maximum temperature is 16 C ° or 60 F °.
- In the rainy season from November to April the minimum temperature is -2 C ° or 28F ° and the maximum is 18 C ° or 64 F °.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD THERE IS ON THE AUSANGATE TREK
Eco Path Trek is proud to have the best staff of chefs specialized in high mountains, with more than 15 years of experience, in the different trekking routes in Cusco. On our Ausangate route we provide you with the best food service every day, our chefs will prepare meals with 100% fresh and organic foods, since our company is focused on community work and support for farmers who provide us with their best fruits. You can taste the best Peruvian and Cusquenian cuisine, during the breakfast we will have pancakes, omelettes, coffee, milk,butter, cereals, and very nutritious breakfast of Cusco based on oatmeal, quinoa, wheat, etc.
Lunches and dinners are served buffet style, such as sauteed loin, quinoa chaufa, salads, vegetable soups and products from the Andes, chicken, steak, alpaca.
If you are allergic to any type of food or do not consume gluten, or are vegetarian, it is no difficulty for us as we are trained to provide food under these food standards.
In general, Eco Path Trek handles an order and quality in the handling of the products, taking care of their safety so that no illness or discomfort happens during the days of hiking on the Ausangate mountain.
DO I NEED A TREKKING INSURANCE
Insurance for your trek to Ausangae Trek is a must. As most trails to Ausangate Trek go over high 4,000m passes, you will need to make sure your insurance covers you for high altitude hiking (up to 6,000m). We have reviewed a number of travel insurance providers. The most affordable and best by far is World Nomads.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I’M NOT ABLE TO COMPLETE THE AUSANGATE TREK
If you could not complete your Ausangate Trek program, because of health problems or any other circunstances, in the first instance you will be evaluated your vital signs, then you will be evacuated as soon as possible to a nearby place with highway, and once there you will be transported in local mobility to Cusco. Since there are no well-equipped hospitals in the Ausangate Mountains, these expenses will be covered by you. So it is suggested to have travel insurance that covers such incidents. In adition our company will not refund the tour cost already payed.
WHAT ARE THE GROUP SIZES ON THE AUSANGATE TREK?
Eco Path Trek groups depart with a minimum of 2 hikers and maximum 8 persons. For groups of over 8 hikers we provide an assistant guide to help out.
HOW ARE THE CAMPING TENTS USED FOR THE AUSANGATE TREK?
Our trekking tents are from reputable brands, such as Doite, Noth Face, Salewa, Eureka. Which is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. Each has a capacity for 4 people, but that is used only by two hikers, and thus have more space for their things. You will also be provided with a blanket and a foam floor mat.
To take food we have kitchen and dining tents, which have enough space, where you will have your table and chairs well accommodated.
WHAT KIND OF HIKING EQUIPMENT DO I BRING TO THE AUSANGATE TREK?
Asungate trek is recommended to bring high quality mountain equipment.
- A good coat, whose filling is made of synthetic fiber or goose feathers.
- A good jacket of polar tec, since this helps a lot against the cold and the winds.
- Rain jacket with Gore-Tex technology
- Trekking shoes, with good sole, and waterproof
- Cold and wind insulating cap
- Sunglasses with UV protection, as you know the radion in the Andes of Cusco is very extreme
- A good sunscreen, and lip stick
- Set of socks, poles, depending on the number of days you will do the trekking in Ausangate.
- Trekking backpack with a capacity of 30 to 40 liters
- A canteen or camel back to carry water during your stay in the mountains of Ausangate.
- Trekking poles, since these will be very helpful during the ascents and descents, many parts of the trekking are well inclined.
- A rain poncho is a good team that will keep it dry if there is rain or snowfall.
- Personal medical equipment, preferably take your own medication, since in those places there is no option to be treated in a medical center.
- Set of toiletries, a roll of toilet paper, gel gel.
- A wide-brimmed hat
- Trekking pants and waterproof pants.
- It is also recommended to bring some snacks such as dried fruits, chocolates, candies.
THE TOUR GUIDES SPEAK ENGLISH?
Eco Path Trek has professional, knowledgeable, dependable and experienced guides, who all are well trained for us every year. All of our guides have spent years exploring the mountains and studied in Universities and Institutes of Cusco. All guides speak fluent English and have a great knowledge of the various trekking routes. Our Guides will have the pleasure of guiding you in the most beautiful trails in the Ausangate Trek, Inca Trail, Lares Trek, which will enhance your holiday experience and make it a real success. Our guides are trained in first aid and know how to do in any emergency situation. And most importantly our guides are very friendly and enjoyable and want to share with you the faith of Peru.
DO YOU BRING OXIGEN TANK, FIRST AID KIT?
Eco Path Trek is a serious and formal tour operator travel agency. As such, in all our Trekking and Ausangate Trek activities we normally carry the oxygen tank, which can be used if one of our clients requires it. Remember, it is a medium oxygen tank, which is used as an emergency mediation to stabilize the tourist, if it still requires more oxygen, you will be evacuated to a closer control point where a vehicle passes, and will also descend to a lower height, to avoid altitude sickness or a tachycardia.
A first aid kit is also carried, which serves to help tourists in emergency circumstances. But have this information: No person who does not have the certification of a doctor, pharmacist or nurse can prescribe any medication, since we do not know the true medical history of the patient, which instead of improvement can worsen their situation. That is why we suggest as an important measure, if possible, bring your own first aid kit with the pills that a doctor has prescribed before starting the Ausangate Trek.
IF I CAN’T HIKE VERY FAST I CAN RENT A HORSE?
Eco Path Trek organizes the Ausangate treks with a responsible and serious team of muleteers. Those who are in charge of their times and walk controls on the Ausangate Trek route. If you have a deficit in the pace of the walk, you will be given an assistance horse, which you can use, until you recover and you can continue the trek normally. Attention that our programs do not include horse rides during the whole journey, if in case you wish to do the tour on a horse you must communicate it at the time of your orientation in Cusco, and the guide will tell you how much it will cost and how is the service. For reasons of animal protection our company has some restrictions on the weight that you must carry or of the same person, Eco Path Trek does not allow animal abuse under any circumstances. Remember that we do the Ausangate trek to walk and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the mountains and lakes, which will surely be a unique experience in your life.
IN THE AUSANGATE TREK, IS THERE ELECTRICITY, MOBILE SIGNAL?
The Ausangate Trek takes place in quite distant mountains of civilization, which is why you can not have any telephone signal in most of the circuit, the only place where you can have a signal is the town of Tinki the first day in the morning . In the same way it is not possible to have electricity in the camps, if you have a solar charger it is a very good option that you can take it, since in ausangate in the dry season there is good weather and more time with hours of sun.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO I BRING TO THE AUSANGATE TREK?
We recommend carrying in Peruvian soles in cash. Since if you would like to tip or buy some crafts from the families of the communities, they would appreciate it. Or use in emergencies, the amount to take on average is 300 to 400 soles.
DO I NEED REALLY THE TREKKING POLES ON THE AUSANGATE TREK
The answer is that if, since having trekking poles on the Ausangate Trek route is vital, this instrument will help you overcome very difficult barriers, and have it in good balance during well-sloped descents. The type of cane that is recommended is of free will for you, since these define according to the food you are going to provide, it can be aluminum, carbon fiber, or other material, but if it has a good resistance When hiking, another no less important detail is that you must have the metal protectors at their tips, usually you will be accommodated with rubber soles. Preferably those that can be easily packed and tied.
IF I DON’T HAVE A GOOD SLEEPING BAG , CAN I RENT IN CUSCO
If you can rent a sleeping bag in our office in Cusco. For the Ausangate Trek it is necessary to have a sleeping bag that has the resistance specification at -15 C ° to -20 C °. Because otherwise you will feel very uncomfortable with the icy weather of the Ausangate Mountains.
HOW ARETHE TOILETS ON THE AUSANGATE TREK
Our company takes portable toilets to the Ausangate Trek route, since in those landscapes there are still no large towns and they maintain the entire pristine circuit. Do not forget to bring your hygienic pale roll, and leave the waste generated in the container according to the classification according to its colors. Avoid throwing them during the walks, as you also there are many hikers who would like to find these circuits free of garbage.
At the end of the tour our guides and chefs are responsible for returning all the waste generated to the city of Cusco.
ARE THERE SHOWERS ON THE AUSANGATE TREK
There are no showers on the Ausangate Trek route, it is generally not advisable to take baths above that height, as you could fall ill with the flu or pneumonia. Eco Path Trek will provide you in the morning at waking time and in the afternoons after completing the trekking activities a bucket of hot water, with which you can clean your face and feet.
THE WATER TO DRINK IS SAFE ON THE AUSANGATE TREK
On the Ausangate Trek trek it is possible to find shops to be able to supply water on the first day. You will then be provided with water that is boiled and then filtered, to avoid any kind of illness or discomfort. It is not a good idea to drink water from waterfalls, lagoons or streams, as many of them could contain toxic minerals or bacteria that are harmful to human health.
I WILL BE ABLE TO CONTACT WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES ALONG THE AUSANGATE TREK
On all Ausangate Trek routes, you will cross many indigenous communities, who will receive you very happy for your visit, and will also offer you their handicrafts that they produce, if you want to support these people, do it, since the little, that they produce in their crop fields, it is not enough to lead a comfortable quality of life. Our friends of the high Andean communities are also very kind, do not worry when conducting an interview or a photograph, since your guide will be the one who can translate it so you can establish a conversation and thus learn more about their experiences and customs. It should be understood that these communities on the Ausangate Trek route are considered one of the last that still practice the traditions inherited from the Incas. They still perform ceremonies of offerings to the Pachamana or Mother Earth, coca leaf ceremony and the most important festivals according to the Quechua calendar.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE WASTE GENERATED ON THE AUSANGATE TREK
All waste generated in the Ausangate Trek, are carefully selected and classified, so as not to be thrown into the beautiful ecosystem. We carry four types of biodegradable bags for segregation and subsequent delivery to garbage trucks in Cusco. Please for no reason throw organic or inorganic waste on the ausangate trek route, if you observe someone throwing along the route, let him know that this is bad behavior, since we are all committed to the care and protection of the environment. Let’s leave this beautiful landscape of Ausangate Trek as we found it when doing the trek.
We provide a good working environment to all our collaborators, guides, carriers and porters, are paid according to the current regulations of the Ministry of Labor. You are not really obliged to give tips to the staff, since this is a will, which will depend on how you felt with the work performed by our collaborators. The quantity is not established either. Be it a lot or a little if you make it from the heart every tip is welcome, and they will be grateful to you in person.