Carabaya trek

Carabaya trek

This truly off the beaten track adventure takes you into Carabaya, a remote and incredibly scenic province with unmatched opportunities for true high-altitude exploration. This hike is offered only by few companies, and is possibly one of the most off the beaten track and challenging alternatives treks in the region. You are greeted by spectacular snow covered landscapes and massives, and your breath will be taken away - literally and figuratively! This is a high altitude trek and you should be well acclimatised. We can offer you this trek starting in Puno or starting in Cusco.

Carabaya Trek - at a glance

> View Full Itinerary (Code CCA10 from Cusco / Code PCA9 from Puno)

Highlight: Spending eight days at over 4750m (15584 feet) in incredible isolation while passing through jaw-dropping mountain scenery

Location: Starts Puno or Cusco (one day Altiplano extension if starting from Cusco) . Ends Cusco.

Duration: 9 days/ 8 nights(10days/ 9 nights if starting in Cusco)

Level: Moderate  trek but at very high altitude.

Adventure Rating: One of the least known routes around Cusco, this is very adventurous and tough. High Altitude. You should be well acclimatised and fit.

Inka Trail alternative: No, but can be combined with a separate Machu Picchu excursion.

Departure Dates: any day with two people. We offer affordably priced tours for 2 people so that you can depart when it suits you best. NOT RECOMMENDED in December, January or February (weather conditions).

Acclimatisation: Minimum 3 days at altitude recommended.

Combos & Upgrades: Combine with one of our tours for a complete Peru experience, try Comfort Camping or choose an Aguas Calientes upgrade.

Trekkers Wanted: If you wish to join a group tour, please see Trekkers Wanted.You can also form your own tour to be advertised on this page. Maximum group size 12.



# of People

2 3 4 5-6 7-8 9-12

Price USD (per person)

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The Carabaya trek (Code CCA10 from Cusco / Code PCA9 from Puno) Full itinerary and inclusions

Day 1 Puno to Veloyuc

We leave Puno early for the four hour drive to our hike starting point. There’s plenty to see as we pass rock gardens, giant bromeliads and locals tending their crops and animals. We’ll look down into the stupendous river canyon of the Rio Corani before turning off onto a back road with incredible views of the glacial valley that takes us to Aimaña. Here we’ll stop to check out the amazing rock formations before driving another 10 minutes to our first campsite, Veloyuc. Here with luck we’ll see bizcachas (native rabbit-like animals) and views of snowcapped Quelqaya peak.
Walking time 5-6 hours
Minimum Altitude –3,800ms, 12467 feet  /Maximum Altitude –5000m, 16404 feet.
Altitude of camp – 4536ms, 14882 feet.
Approx night temperature: Between -5 and 5 degrees celsius (23-41f).

Day 2 Veloyuc to Hidroelectrica

After an early start we’ll head out east, spending five or six hours gently ascending 600 metres (1970 feet) , through open valleys, past immense rivers and more bosques de piedra (rock forests) to the small valley where a scenic campsite near some hydroelectric infrastructure awaits.

Walking time 5-6 hours
Minimum Altitude – 4536ms  14882 feet / Maximum Altitude –4700m, 15420 feet.
Altitude of camp – 4655m,  15272 feet.
Approx night temperature: Between -5 and 5 degrees celsius (23-41f).

Day 3 Hidroelectrica to Chimboya

Today we climb to and camp at our first high pass, Chimboya, at 5122m (16800 ft). It takes about six hours to complete the ascent. In the pass we’ll enjoy well-deserved views of the Vilcanota range against the endless backdrop of the main Cordillera of the Andes, accompanied by curious llamas, alpacas and vicuñas.
Walking time 5-6 hours
Minimum Altitude – 4655m,  15272 feet / Maximum Altitude –5122 m, 16800 feet.
Altitude of camp –5122 m, 16800 feet.
Approx night temperature: Between -5 and 5 degrees celsius (23-41f).

Day 4 Chimboya to Hacienda Mates

We continue to enjoy spectacular views of the glacier-topped Vilcanota range as we make our way through a varied landscape of swamp and open pampas (flat grasslands) to Hacienda Mates, our campsite for the night in a sheltered valley surrounded by steep slopes.
Walking time 5-6 hours
Minimum Altitude – –4773 m, 15660 feet/ Maximum Altitude –5122 m, 16800 feet.
Altitude of camp –4773 m, 15660 feet.
Approx night temperature: Between -5 and 5 degrees celsius (23-41f).

Day 5 Hacienda Mates to Cascara

Today a rewarding seven hour walk first brings us up to a breathtaking altitude of more than 5000m (16400 ft). From here we’ll have equally breathtaking views of the Nudo del Vilcanota (knot of the Vilcanota) and our first glimpses of the mysterious lakes, Sibinacocha and Cascara. We’ll see pink flamingoes and vicuñas as we cross the Pucamayu river and make our way to our campsite at Cascara. Here we can fish in the lake and observe migrating ducks and other wetlands birds.
Walking time 6-7 hours
Minimum Altitude – 4773 m, 15660 feet/ Maximum Altitude –5000 m, 16404 feet.
Altitude of camp –4900m, 16076 feet
Approx night temperature: Between -5 and 5 degrees celsius (23-41f).

Day 6 Cascara to Sibinacocha

Another big pass awaits us, Yayamari, at 5100m (16730 ft). From here we’ll experience the most stunning views yet with lakes, nearby towering rock outcrops, many massive peaks, and Sibinacocha lake, to which we will descend to camp.

*Optional extra: If you wish to extend your trek by one day you can do a "scramble" (ie non technical climb on loose volcanic rock) up Cerro Yayamari (5500m/18040ft) snow-covered peak in the centre of this breathtaking panorama of lakes and glaciated summits. This should be booked when you are booking your trek, and is for fit people looking for a challenge. From our campsite at Yayamari, its about 4 km to the base of the mountain where we start the scramble.  The scramble is tough and physically challenging and takes about 4 hours to go up and 3 to go down.  Added to the time it takes to hike to and from the campsite at Yayamari community, this is a 10 hour, challenging day.

Walking time about 7 hours
Minimum Altitude – 4900m, 16076 feet/ Maximum Altitude –5100 m, 16732 feet.
Approx night temperature: Between -5 and 5 degrees celsius (23-41f).

Day 7 Sibinacocha to Killita

After a morning walking through the gentle pampas of Sibinacocha, we’ll ascend about an hour to the important Condor pass at a massive 5235m (17175 ft). From here we’ll see magnificent views which include the even higher, ice-covered Acero Pass (5500m, 18050 ft), before descending for half an hour and walking another hour or so of ‘Andean flat’ to our campsite at Killita.
Walking time about 7 hours
Minimum Altitude –4735 m, 15540 feet / Maximum Altitude –5235  17175 feet
Altitude of camp –4735 m, 15540 feet.
Approx night temperature: Between -5 and 5 degrees celsius (23-41f).

Day 8 Killita to Ninapara

This morning we’ll walk around two hours to Paso Falso (False Pass) from where we’ll take in the magnificence of the towering Ausangate, the highest peak in the Cusco department and its most important apu (God). Then it’s an afternoon of ups and downs. First we’ll descend to the community of Ccampa, then climb back up to Ccampa Pass (5080m, 16666 ft), then descend again to Ninapara where we’ll camp.
Walking time 6-7 hours
Minimum Altitude –4656 m, 15275 feet.
Maximum Altitude –5080m,  16666 feet
Altitude of camp –4656 m, 15275 feet.
Approx night temperature: Between -5 and 5 degrees celsius (23-41f).

Day 9 Ninapara to Cusco

We start our last day with an up and a down on our final walk past the awesome Ausangate, and three hours down to Pacchanta where we’ll enjoy lunch and a soak in the local natural hot springs! After lunch we’ll drive for about four hours back to Cusco. 
Walking time about 4 hours
Minimum Altitude –4336m  14225 feet/ Maximum Altitude –4656 m, 15275 feet.

Itinerary starting in Cusco

If you wish to begin this trip in Cusco, making the trip 10days/ 9 nights, day 1 of the itinerary follows the following.  (then Day 1 of the above itinerary becomes Day 2, etc)

Day 1 Cusco-Puno

You will be picked  up at around 8am in your private car and begin heading south towards Puno.
The trip to Puno takes about 10 hours - it's a seven hour drive - and includes a buffet lunch.  Your Carabaya trek guide and cook will be travelling with you.

Your first stop will be Pikillacta (a pre-Inca city whose name means ‘Place of the Flea’ in the Inca language, Quechua!)  where you can stand in an Inca gate that separated out Collasuyo of the Incas.  Then you continue on to the colonial church of Andahuaylillas, known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Americas, it has to be seen to be believed!  The spectacular Inca ruin of Raqchi are another highlight, and the incredibly ancient remains of Pukara round out the day.

Tonight, your meal is included at a Puno restaurant, and accommodation in a three star hotel (for example Hotel Intiqa or Hotel Puno Plaza.  You should enjoy an early night and hot shower before setting out for Carabaya the next day!

Itinerary Notes - Carabaya Trek

  • The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group and the guide can change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group. Each guide has their own preferred route and it might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
  • The Ausangate/Carabaya region is very high, plus you are close to a snow covered massif. Temperatures are cold, and can fall well below freezing in the nights. You should travel well prepared for cold temperatures. Hire/or carry sleeping bags for temperatures less than freezing (minus 10 celsius or more).
  • If required, riding horses or horses to carry luggage can be arranged at a reasonable daily rate.
  • This region is not frequently visited by tourists, therefore tourist infrastructure is limited. This tour makes use of local facilities. Visitors should be aware that things change, or may not go to plan. This is all part of the adventure, and visitors to Peru are encouraged to have an open mind and be open to the differences in the way things are done in another culture.

Practical Information

What's included?

For complete facts about many aspects of Apus Peru tours, check out our FAQs page!

  • Pre trek briefing
  • Collection from your hotel in the morning of trek departure.
  • Transport from Puno (or Cusco) to the trailhead at the beginning of the trek in private vehicle.
  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 6 people).
  • Tents - 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks.
  • Basic foam mattress. If you require greater comfort during the trek we can hire you an inflatable mattress (eg. Thermarest)
  • Cook and Cooking equipment (Assistants are provided for larger groups)
  • Toilet tent
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. (Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes). Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water.
  • Horses (for equipment and personal items) including horsemen. They carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7 kg/15 lbs per person).
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & Kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
  • Tents for our staff to sleep in
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle

Ex. Cusco inclusions

  • Private transport from Cusco to Puno
  • guided visits (entry fees not included)
  • Buffet lunch en route
  • Overnight in nice 3 star hotel
  • Dinner in Puno

What is not included?

  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Lunch on the last day
  • Sleeping bags. If you haven't got a sleeping bag or you don't want the hassle of bringing one all the way to Peru with you, then we have sleeping bags for hire.
  • Tips for the guide, cook and porters
  • Additional horses for passengers luggage. If there are any substantial items or backpacks, passengers will need to hire an additional mule

You should bring:

  • A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek - prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco .
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended. Extra socks are a must.
  • Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings if you wish to carry them.
  • Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping. ** this is a very cold trek, you should be very well prepared for below freezing weather.
  • Sleeping bag (we can hire these to you)
  • Torch/ Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Camera, films 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
  • Insect repellent - minimum recommended 20% DEET - although no malaria risk has been reported
  • Toilet paper, pack in & pack out
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
  • Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
  • We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
  • Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
  • Small towel or sarong
  • Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs )
  • Cash - sufficient for your final lunch in Aguas Calientes, tips and souvenirs.
  • Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you have one.
  • Walking sticks or poles (we can hire these to you. Please note poles with metal tips cannot be carried into Machu Picchu and should be left at your hotel on the final day)
  • Binoculars (if you have them)

optional extras

We can hire the following to you - please contact your Travel Consultant / or our booking forms for the current rates.

  • Extra mule to carry YOUR things
  • Extra riding mule and muleteer to lead it
  • Sleeping Bag suitable for – 10deg
  • Deluxe Sleeping Bag suitable for -15deg.
  • Walking stick lightweight aluminum - Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
  • Thermarest inflatable mattress -
  • Thermarest Inflatable pillow
  • Comforting Camping trek upgrade - bigger tents, camp beds, includes sleeping bag, thermarest, and walking stick.
  • Single tent supplement (ie you don’t want to share a tent)


  • When calculating costs for hire of walking stick, sleeping bag, calculate using the length of the tour. Even though you won’t use the equipment on the final day it will still be ‘on the road’ and ‘occupied.’
  • If you hire equipment and break it – you are responsible for price of replacement /or repair. (please do the right thing!)

AVAILABLE DISCOUNTS (these discounts are not cumulative)

  • 5% discount on treks only for members of South American Explorers Club (SAE)
  • Students: US$ 20.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card and must be below 26 years of age. Please beware that Youth Travel Cards are not valid
  • Teenagers: US$ 20.00 (up to 15 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
  • Children: US$ 45.00 (up to 10 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)


Please visit our Make a Booking page.

You will need to email us to check availability, receive booking forms and then make your deposit. For our payment conditions and booking please refer to our Make a Booking page. * For organisational reasons, we require one week to organise your booking, prior to departure.