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Ausangate Rainbow Mountains Trek 5D

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Why Book With Us?

  • High quality, personalized experience from start to finish
  • Unique, off-the-beaten track routes
  • Experienced staff
  • Verified sustainability practices
  • $20 of every trek donated to Threads of Peru

Threads of Peru

Martina Puma Ccama – Chaullacocha

Handy in the Andes

handy in the andes

  • Want to give back while on vacation? Do some good while having a blast and join us on one of our Clean Up Treks!                                                                                                  Read More


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5 Days / 4 Nights
Availability : We depart any day during dry season with 2 people. Not available Dec-Mar.
Hanchi Pacha
Difficulty : ★★★ Moderate
Adventure : ★★★ Getting off the beaten path
Solitude : ★★★ Off the beaten path
Min Age : 10
Max People : 12
h per day

Our unique Ausangate Rainbow Mountains trek itinerary combines the untouched wilderness of Ausangate with an insider’s peek at the recently popularized Rainbow Mountain, known locally as Vinicunca. On the Ausangate Rainbow Mountains trek, we start out trekking to Vinicunca, taking a route that keeps us out of sync with the crowds, and then join up with the last part of our Classic Ausangate Trek.  This combination trek is a truly unique way to see both Ausangate and Vinicunca. 

Note: due to the high altitude, you must have at least 3 days of acclimatization at high altitude before embarking on the Ausangate Rainbow Mountains trek.

What to Expect on the Ausangate Rainbow Mountains Trek 5D

Remote, untouched wilderness, stunning high altitude scenery, turquoise lakes, herds of roaming alpaca, and the unparalleled striations of Rainbow Mountain.


Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. We do not have fixed-date group departures. If you do not want to book a private trek, please see our Trekkers Wanted page for a list of open departures within your dates.

2 people


4-6 people


7-8 people


9-12 people


What is Included?

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of your Ausangate Rainbow Mountains trek departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek
  • Entry fee to Ausangate Mountain
  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
  • Tent: 2 people in a 4-person tent, allowing for greater comfort and backpack storage!
  • Basic foam mattress. If you require greater comfort during the trek we can rent you an inflatable mattress. See Optional Extras & Upgrades below.
  • Cook and cooking equipment, plus assistants for larger groups.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary. Our professional cooks prepare a combination of traditional Peruvian and Western cuisine. Talk to your guide if you have certain preferences! Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. When served, salads are washed in boiled water.
  • Toilet tent
  • Horses and horsemen, who carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7kg/15lbs per person).
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if you are a little slower
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs, and kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
  • Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses for our staff to sleep in, plus a budget for their meals
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle

What is Not Included?

  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Dinner on the last day.
  • Sleeping bags. Available for rent if you don’t have one with you. Sleeping bags good to at least -15˚C (5˚F) are recommended.
  • Tips for the guide, cook and porters
  • Additional horses for your personal luggage

You Should Bring

    See What To Bring for our comprehensive recommendations on what to pack for your trek. Note: it gets VERY cold in the Ausangate region! You should be prepared for extra cold temperatures during the evenings. For more great suggestions, check out our blog about How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru.

Optional Extras & Upgrades

    We offer you the opportunity to personalize your trek and make your experience more comfortable through our Optional Extras and Upgrades. All options are available during the reservation process; please ask your sales consultant for more information.

    • Extra horse to carry luggage exceeding the allowed 7kg (15lbs) per person
    • Extra horse for you to ride, and horseman to lead it
    • Sleeping Bag suitable for -5˚C
    • Deluxe sleeping bag suitable for -15˚C
    • Light-weight aluminum walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
    • Thermarest inflatable mattress
    • Thermarest inflatable pillow
    • Single-occupancy tent supplement
    • Comfort Camping Upgrade
    • Combine with a Machu Picchu Trek Extension


    • When calculating the cost of renting equipment, calculate using the length of the entire trip, not just the number of trekking days.
    • Please be careful with rented equipment! You are responsible for the cost of replacement if something is damaged or broken.
    • Any upgrades or trip extensions must be requested at time of booking.

Available Discounts

  • Students: USD $30 off. A valid student card which clearly shows the expiry date must be presented upon booking.
  • Youth 12-17: 5% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 5-11: 15% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 0-4: Free. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group. This discount does not apply to train fares. Children under 2 will not be considered to occupy a seat on any train or bus, and instead must ride on a parent’s lap.

Trekkers Wanted

    Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone! Read More about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!

Important Info

  • Each guide has their own preferred route and so the route you trek might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
  • The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group, and the guide may change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group.
  • The Ausangate Rainbow Mountains trek is at very high altitude, and you’ll be hiking close to glaciers and snow-covered mountains. Translation: it’s very cold! Temperatures can fall well below freezing at night. We strongly recommend using a sleeping bag good for at least -15˚C (5˚F).
  • This is a totally off-the-beaten path trek, and tourist infrastructure is very limited. Instead, we’ll be making use of local facilities where possible.
  • Please note: this is a true adventure and things may not go exactly according to plan! Keep an open mind and let yourself enjoy the cultural differences you may experience. There is always an opportunity to learn something!

Ready to Book?

    Does this trek sound like just what you were looking for? If you’re ready to book or just want to find out a bit more information, fill out the Inquiry Form in the top right-hand corner of this page to get the ball rolling. You’ll be connected with one of our amazing sales people who will be able to turn your dream of hiking in the Andes into a reality. For more information on the entire booking process, please see our How To Book page.

Day 1Cusco - K’airahuiri Alto

    Our journey to the Ausangate Rainbow Mountains begins in the early morning as we leave Cusco behind and head for Checacupe. Traveling on a paved road across the altiplano in the direction of Puno, we make our way through the fertile Vilcanota Valley. Our departure time means that we are out of sync with the crowds (the standard bus tours typically leave at 3am!) and will have plenty of time to enjoy an undisturbed experience of Vinicunca later on. Arriving at Checacupe, we have a chance to visit the Colonial Church of the Immaculate Conception before we start our climb out of the Pitumarka Valley. When we reach the community of Pitumarka, we can rest and buy some snacks before leaving the highway and getting onto the dirt roads that wind through scenic valleys and canyons until we reach Hanchi Pacha, stopping to take photos of interesting rock formations along the way.

    After about 4 hours on the road, we’ll have an open air lunch to refresh and refuel before meeting up with our muleteers and beginning our 2h afternoon hike. We will climb steadily until we reach K’airahuiri Bajo (4300m/14,925ft) where we will have spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and magnificent valley below. From here, it’s just another 40m to our campsite at K’airahuiri Alto (4400m/15,420ft), with views across the verdant valley.

    It’s going to be a cold night, so make sure you have lots of warm clothes and a high quality sleeping bag, good to at least -15˚C (5˚F)!

    Total Walking Distance –
    Total Walking Time – 2-3h
    Minimum Altitude – / Maximum Altitude – 4400m
    Altitude of camp – 4400m
    Approx. night temperature –

Day 2K’airahuiri Alto - Rainbow Mountain - Pucacocha

    After an early breakfast, we will walk for about 1.5h towards Vinicunca Pass, the site of the famous Rainbow Mountains of Peru! At this point, our breathing will become increasingly labored as we gain altitude. Once we arrive at the top of the pass, there may be some frigid gusts of wind, so be sure you are wrapped up warmly and that your head is protected with a woolly hat! Here, we are rewarded for all our efforts with the first views of the spectacular Rainbow Mountain, with its vibrant multi-hued layers of rock sediment: turquoise, orange, brown, and red. For an extra treat and if the day is clear, we will also have majestic views of the snow-capped Apu Ausangate, the most important mountain in Andean cosmology.

    After some time to rest and take photos and the chance to observe a spectacular sunrise, we’ll head on to Pucacocha Lake over two passes – the 4900m Menos Ponco Pass and the 5100m Chillca Pass (altitudes are approximate). It should take between 4 and 5 hours to get to our campsite where we will rest for the evening.

    Total Walking Distance –
    Total Walking Time – 6-7h
    Minimum Altitude – / Maximum Altitude –
    Altitude of camp – 4556m / 14,943ft
    Approx. night temperature –

Day 3Pucacocha - Palomani Pass - Chillca

    We start off today with a stunning morning walk with the great Ausangate Mountain on our left-hand side, passing clear glacial lakes, herds of local alpacas and llamas and, if we’re lucky, maybe even some wild vicuña. We will first reach Apacheta Pass (4600m) before ascending to Palomani Pass (5,050 meters/ 16,568ft), the highest point on the trek. As we cross the pass, we will be met with spectacular views of the southeast mountain range, including Mariposa (“butterfly”) and Caracol (“snail”) Peaks. From here we follow the trail into the valley where we’ll rest and have lunch. During the afternoon we can enjoy views of the snow-capped Tres Picos and Puca Punta. We will continue through the broad green valley of Pampa Jutunpata and up the Rio Q’ampa Valley, where we will spend the night. Another great day on the Ausangate Rainbow Mountains trek!

    Total Walking Distance –
    Total Walking Time –
    Minimum Altitude – / Maximum Altitude – 5,050 meters/ 16,568ft
    Altitude of camp –
    Approx. night temperature –

Day 4Q’ampa - Pacchanta

    Our last day on the Ausangate Rainbow Mountains trek, we start by hiking through the small community of Q’ampa. From there, we head northwest to the last pass of our journey, the Q’ampa Pass (5000m / 16,400ft). We will pass by many different colored lakes and lunch beside the sparkling Q’omercocha Lake (4704m / 15,429 ft), which means “green lake” in Quechua.

    After several hours of hiking through the Andean landscape we reach Pacchanta (4010m / 13,152ft). This traditional, high altitude herding village has been transformed by tourism in recent years, and has adapted its activities to include various community rural tourism initiatives, including homestays and cultural demonstrations.

    As we take in our incredible surroundings, with superb photo ops of Apu Ausangate, we also have the opportunity to soak in the local hot springs, and even treat ourselves to a well-deserved beer! Tonight, we camp in Pacchanta, or, you can choose to stay in a basic hostel in town (please advise us at booking).

    Total Walking Distance –
    Total Walking Time –
    Minimum Altitude – / Maximum Altitude –
    Altitude of camp –
    Approx. night temperature –

Day 5Pacchanta - Cusco

    From Pacchanta, it’s a 3-hour trek to Tinqui where we will have free time to explore this traditional Andean village before taking our private car back to Cusco, arriving late in the day. The scenic drive winds up and over a pass for a last glimpse of the imposing Ausangate Mountain. Take in the view as you marvel at your accomplishment, having just completed the Ausangate Rainbow Mountains trek! You have spent 5 days trekking in this incredible, remote region of the Andes, where few have gone!

    Total Walking Distance –
    Total Walking Time –
    Minimum Altitude – / Maximum Altitude –