April 27 - May 8, 2018
The Rainbow Mountain – Ausangate Loop Trek & Machu Picchu - the best of both worlds: a stunning, remote trek past snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes, glacial peaks, and colorful striated Rainbow mountains, including a tour of one of the 7 man-made wonders of the world, Machu Picchu!
This beautiful extended multi-day hike is tucked away in a well-hidden section of the Vilcanota Mountain range and includes the entire Ausangate circuit as well as the Rainbow Trail. Surrounded by glacial mountains, this route treks in the shadow of the highest mountain in the Cusco Region, Ausangate (6300m/21,000ft). The route is 100km/62 miles long and goes from 3300m/10,827ft to 5400m/17,717ft. This is a true off the beaten path wilderness trek – above the tree line with incredible views of the Andes and glacial peaks.
Join us for adventure, photography, and giving back in the beautiful country of Peru.
Upis Hot Springs
Pacchanta Hot Springs
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Gear & Gear Related
62 miles of Trekking
Porters Carry Your Gear
Friendly and Local Guides
Solar Panels for Your Gear
Views of Peru's Tallest Peak
Remote Turquoise Lakes
Upis Hot Springs
Pacchanta Hot Springs
April 27 - May 8, 2018
Day 1: April 27th: Cusco
You'll arrive at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) to begin your adventure. A private driver will be waiting for you to help you with your luggage and welcome you to Peru. You'll be whisked away to a local hotel to relax, mingle with the other guests and explore the city at your leisure.
We'll have a welcome reception and dinner.
Day 2: April 28th: Cusco
Today is an acclimatization day. This allows our sea level dwelling bodies to adjust to the higher altitudes we'll experience. Use the day to explore Cusco, relax, shop, or catch up on work before you go off grid.
(B, L, D)
Day 3: April 29th: Cusco - Tinqui Village – Upis Hot Springs
Early transfer from your hotel in Cusco with 6:00 am departure. We drive for 4 hours on a new highway to Tinqui, passing Urcos Pass (4,000 m/13,123 ft ASL) along the way. Tinqui is a village on the high plains “altiplano” east from Cusco and is where we will start our trek. We follow a wide, gently ascending path toward the northwest face of the impressive Ausangate mountain.
We will have a small lunch around noon by the side of the trail. We will continue walking through fields and by scattered stone farm houses, and later in the day we will begin to see llamas and alpacas. We ascend gently to the Upis pass (4,435 m/14,107 ft ASL) and camp at Upis Hot Springs (4,250 m/13,779 ft ASL) where we will be surrounded by snow-capped mountains (Ausangate and Maria Huamantilla).
Happy hour (tea and snacks) at 4:00pm and dinner is at 6:00pm. There are thermal hot springs at Upis where we can enjoy a soak at the end of the day.
Approximate walking distance: 16 km/9.9 miles (6 hour acclimatizing hike). Campsite elevation: 4100m/13,450ft ASL
(B, L, D)
Day 4: April 30th: Upis – Arapa Pass - Pucaccocha
After an early breakfast we begin our second day of the hike. We will hike very close to the Ausangate Glacier Peak and will have incredible views of the mountain as well as many beautiful lakes and waterfalls. We may see some llamas, alpacas and wild vicuñas (the undomesticated ancestor of the alpaca) and perhaps a rare condor soaring above.
We will have a 3-hour uphill hike to reach the first pass (4800m/15,748ft ASL) where you will have magnificent views of the surrounding area. After taking amazing pphotos we will continue hiking gradually downhill for another 1.5 hours to our beautiful lunch spot. After lunch we hike for another 2.5 hours to arrive at our campsite at Puca Ccocha (Red Lake). This spot is one of the most beautiful campsites located at the skirt of the Ausangate peak and at the bank of the lake.
Approximate walking distance: 12km/7.5 miles (7-8 hours). Campsite elevation: 4300m/14,100ft ASL
(B, L, D)
Day 5: May 1st: Pucaccocha – Puca Pass – Anantapata – Warmisaya – Yanacocha
Wake up early with a hot cup of coca tea to start one of the most beautiful days of the trek, enjoying majestic views of some of the highest peaks in the Andes and depths of the beautiful valleys. This morning we will summit the Puca Pass.
After an early breakfast we begin our 2-hour steep climb to the Puca Pass at (5050m/16,568ft). Along the way we have gorgeous views of turquoise lakes and the Ausangate glacier. Once you reach the summit of this mountain, you will be located right in front of the Ausangate Mountain and you can enjoy the views of Chillca Valley, with alpaca grazing along these hills. Also, from this pass you will see the beginning of the Rainbow Mountain range with their strikingly striated colors.
After some epic photos we will continue gradually downhill for another 2 hours until we reach our lunch spot located at Anantapata 4400m/14,435ft ASL with amazing views of green hills and snow-capped peaks. After lunch and a little rest and relaxation, we will hike gradually uphill for 1.5 hours until we reach the the Warmisaya (aka Pitumarca) pass 5050m/16,568ft ASL. After enjoying the views at the top we descend for 20 minutes to Yanacocha Lake where we set up camp for the night.
After dropping our bags we take our gradual 1 hour sunset hike to the Rainbow Mountain Pass and watch as the sun sets over the stunning Rainbow Valley. Once we have finished enjoying the view, we hike 45 minutes back down to camp at Yanacocha to have happy hour (tea and snacks) followed by a hearty dinner.
Approximate walking distance: 17.7 km/11 miles (about 7.5-8 hours). Campsite elevation: 4400m/14,435ft ASL
(B, L, D)
Day 6: May 2nd: Warmisaya – Rainbow Mountains – Quesouno - Ausangatecocha
After a very early breakfast (5am) we hike 1 hour up to the Rainbow Mountains (Vinicunca Mountains or Montañas de Colores) again to see the beautiful Rainbow Valley at sunrise! Enjoy the view for an hour without the crowds as we are one of the first groups to arrive. We will be in the the best spots to get the perfect postcard photographs of these incredible mountains and the other surrounding peaks.
We will learn about the local geology and what creates the incredible and colorful striations. This is definitely one of the most stunning places in South America and one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Peru. In fact, there are only Rainbow Mountains in a few other locations around the world!
After enjoying the sunrise view we hike downhill for approximately 3.5 hours until we reach Quesouno where we stop for lunch. After a hearty lunch and a well-deserved rest, we hike 2 hours uphill to Ausangatecocha (part of the Ausangate Trail). Along the way you will see beautiful mountain scenery, small streams, herds of llamas and alpacas and snow-capped peaks. At Ausangatecocha we camp by a beautiful dark blue/green lake for the night with views of the Ausangate Mountain.
Approximate walking distance: 16 km /9.95 miles (about 6.5 hours). Campsite elevation: 4300m/14,108ft ASL
(B, L, D)
Day 7: May 3rd: Ausangatecocha – Palomani Pass – Comercocha
After breakfast we begin a steep climb for 2-3 hours on glacial moraine to the Palomani Pass (5,350m/17,552ft ASL). From the pass there are extensive views of all the peaks in the Cordillera Vilcanota. We then descend for 2 hours on a steep trail into the Huchuy Finaya Valley where we will stop for lunch, surrounded by beautiful mountain views.
From our lunch stop we will have a view of “Las Dos Gemelas” aka "The Two Twin Mountains." After lunch we hike another 2 hours to our campsite, 45 minutes of which is a steep climb and the rest is a gradually uphill trail. Along the way you will see wild streams and a small waterfall, chinchillas, llamas, alpacas, and snow-capped mountains (the three peaks). We camp tonight at Comercocha 4400m/14,435ft ASL.
Approximate walking distance 16 km/ 9.9 mi (7-8 hour hike). Campsite elevation: 4400m/14,435ft ASL
(B, L, D)
Day 8: May 4th: Pampacancha - Qampa – Pacchanta Hot Springs
After some hot coca tea and a good breakfast we hike for 1 hour on a varied path through the Pampacancha Valley 4,300m/14,107 ASL ft where you will see wide open spaces and lots of llamas and alpacas.
Once we pass through this valley we begin climbing up to the highest point of the trek, the Qampa Pass (5,400m/17,716ft ASL) for 2 hours. At this pass we have incredible views of The Three Peaks, the Pacchanta Valley, and will hopefully get a glimpse of some wild vicuña and deer, and if we are really lucky, a condor.
We then descend gradually through the Pacchanta Valley, walking between Ausangate Mountain and the Two Twin Mountains for 3 hours until we get to our campsite at Pacchanta (4200m/13,780ft ASL). Along the way we see glacial moraines, beautiful lakes, and snowcapped peaks. This campsite is near the Pacchanta Hot Springs where you can take a well-deserved soak with stunning views of the Ausangate Mountain if you wish.
Approximate walking distance: 15 km/ 9.3 mi (6 hour hike). Campsite Elevation: 4200m/13,780ft ASL
(B, L, D)
Day 9: May 5th: Pacchanta – Tinqui - Cusco
After a good breakfast we begin hiking on a wide dirt trail (village road) for 3-4 hours until we reach the small town of Tinqui (3600m/11,811ft). Along the way you will see a lot of local people, farms, farm animals and many children will come running up to greet you. Please do not give them sweets as they do not have access to dental care, but you are welcome to share other items with them (fruit, pencils, etc).
At Tinqui we enjoy a nice lunch, after which we take our private transport back to your hotel in Cusco (arriving around 4pm) - about a 2.5 hour drive that provides nice views of the Andes, passing some traditional villages along the way.
Approximate walking distance 9 km/5.6 mi (3-4 hour hike, 2.5 hour drive). Overnight in Cusco Hotel.
(B, L, D)
Day 10: May 6th: Cusco – Maras – Moray – Salineras – Aguas Calientes
After breakfast at your hotel we take our private transport to Maras Village (3,300m/10,827ft ASL). Maras is a beautiful little colonial town, still boasting some colonial architecture. You will see amazing facades made of thin stone, and lintels with sculptures in bas-relief.
After exploring Maras we continue driving to Moray Ruins located at (3,450m/11,319ft ASL). Moray Ruins consist of circular agricultural terraces at high altitude with a complex system of irrigation. These terraces served as a natural green house to grow an extraordinary variety of crops that would normally only thrive in tropical climates. It has also been suggested that they had a cosmological meaning.
After exploring the terraces we continue to Salineras, which consists of 3,000 small pools, roughly 5 square meters (53.8 square feet) in size. Every three days, during the dry season, workers fill the pools with salt water that comes from local natural springs. When the water evaporates from the pool the salt is left for collection. This process is carried out over a one-month period until the pools reach an approximate volume of solid salt that is 10 centimeters (4 inches) in height. The salt is ground up, treated with iodine, and packaged and sent to the various markets in the region.
After exploring the salt mines of Salineras we take our private transport to Ollantaytambo where we catch the train to Aguas Calientes. Once in Aguas Calientes we check into our comfortable hotel to freshen up and relax before dinner.
You can soak in the local hot springs before or after dinner if you wish. 🙂
(B, L, D)
Day 11: May 7th: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo – Cusco
Breakfast is very early in order for us to take first (5:30am) bus directly to Machu Picchu (2,400 m/7,875 ft ASL). From the entrance it is a 15-minute walk to the famous views from the South Zone of the farming terraces at the end of the Inca trail. Enjoy the early tour of Machu Picchu with our guide who will unfold the mysteries of this magical site, explaining the history and flora/fauna.
He will spend about 2 1/2 hours relating interesting and amazing stories, explaining temples and special sectors. Your tour of Machu Picchu will finish between 9 and 9:30am after which you will have free time to take photos and explore before the 10:30 crowds arrive. After we are done exploring the ruin site, we'll take the bus down to Aguas Calientes.
There are many restaurants to choose from and your guide can also help find a nice place for lunch. After lunch you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo where private transport will take you to your hotel in Cusco where you can freshen up before our celebratory dinner at a nice Cusco restaurant.
Hikes within Machu Picchu: There are hikes within Machu Picchu that you can do on your own if you wish. The hikes that do not require an entrance ticket are The Inka Bridge and the Sun Gate (where the Inka Trail ends with a view of Machu Picchu city). Wayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes both require a paid ticket and there are a limited number of spots (200 at 7am and 200 at 10am). If you want to hike one of these please let us know well in advance as these spots fill up very quickly. We recommend the 10am slot only due to weather and tour times. Price per hike is $25 USD. Please note we cannot guarantee you a spot for the hikes requiring permits and that the Wayna Picchu Mountain trail is very steep and slippery and not for those afraid of heights or with vertigo).
(B, L, D)
Day 12: May 8th: Cusco - Home
After breakfast, you'll gather your things and say farewell and begin the journey home. For those that would like to stay in Peru and explore more of the sites and beautiful landscapes, we can assist with your extended itinerary. Just let us know.
Hotels TBD (3 nights)
4 Season Tents, Sleeping Pads, Sleeping Bags, Wool Blankets
Hotels TBD (1 nights)
John D. Russell is a Commercial Photographer based in Los Angeles, CA.
He has been shooting professionally since 2006 but his interest in photography started at the young age of 13.
Old school, John learned photography in the classroom and spent hours in the darkroom processing black and white film.
Fast forward to today and John works regularly with multinational brands like Toyota and has photographed mega celebrities such as Bruno Mars, Kaley Cuoco, John Legend and many more.
His broad mastery of photography has him shooting diverse assignments all over the globe. His work has been published internationally and John was recruited to be a contributor to Getty Images.
With the encouragement of some close friends, PRSPCTV was born. Each experience combines the things John loves and values the most including Photography, Travel, Adventure, and Giving Back!
We want to reiterate that this adventure is not just for amateur photographers and enthusiasts who own a lot of photography gear. There's an old saying and we're not sure of the origin however it rings true to us -
"The best camera is the one you have with you."
You can take excellent photos with today's mobile devices IF you know what you're doing. Photography fundamentals such as lighting and composition apply no matter what camera or cell phone you are using. We promise you that your photography skills will improve and you'll come away with amazing photos no matter what camera you decide to bring.
That said, if you have gear bring it. Here's an extensive list of gear we recommend..
Recommended Camera Gear
- Cell Phone w/Camera
- dSLR or Mirrorless
- Memory Cards
- Wide Angle Lens (14mm - 24mm)
- Prime Lens (35mm or 50mm or 85mm)
- Telephoto Lens (70mm - 200mm)
- Speedlight / Flash
- GoPro & Mounts
- Tripod and Head
- Wireless Tranceivers
- Appropriate Cords
- Lens Cloth & Air Blaster
- Card Reader
- External Hard Drive
- Extra Batteries
PERU TREKKING ADVENTURE
April 27 - May 8, 2018
COST PER PERSON
$3250 per person based on double occupancy.
A single supplement is available for an additional $1000.
This adventure is limited to a maximum of 10 participants and a minimum of 4 participants.
$1000 Deposit Due March 1, 2018
$1000 2nd Installment Due March 15, 2018
$1250 3rd Installment Due March 31, 2018
No refunds will be given for cancellations after March 31, 2018 due to the proximity of the trip.
- PRSPCTV Workshop Fee
- Pre Trek Briefing
3 Hotel Nights in Cusco
- All listed activities and entrance fees
- 3 meals per day (B, L, D) unless noted otherwise
Personal Porter to Carry Your Gear
4 Season Tents
Sleeping Bag (If needed)
Sleeping Pad (If needed)
Wool blanket, pillow, and hot water bottle
- Toilet Tent
Local and Professional Trekking Guides
- International Flights & Visas
- Airport taxes for International Flights
- Domestic & International Luggage fees
- Alcohol and Souvenirs
Extra hikes within Machu Picchu: Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain ($25 USD per)
Remote, off the beaten path, pristine wilderness, glacial mountains, turquoise lakes,Rainbow Mountains, Ausangate Mountain, and Machu Picchu!
Duration of Trek:
9 Days/8 Nights
Duration of Total Trip:
12 days/11 nights
3300m/10,827ft ASL to 5400m/17,717ft ASL
Adventure Rating ★★★★★
Moderate to strenuous, lengthy, high altitude
Solitude Rating ★★★★★
Quiet, remote, off the beaten track
When to Go:
Best from March to November
Until the adventure begins!
Please note that side trips are available including: trekking, amazon jungle tour, paragliding, shamanic ceremonies, camping and more advanced white water rafting. If interested please let us know and we'll be happy to assist you with your extended itinerary.