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Ascascocha trek: It is known for its rich beautiful landscape

Ancascocha Trek Information

Written by: Incatrailhikeperu May 7, 2022

The Ancascocha trek is by far the least well known hike to Machu Picchu. If you are looking to have a hike all to yourself with no tourists then look no further. Ancascocha part of the Inca Trail network and offers you a different way to get to Machu Picchu. Being much less popular than the Inca trail, Ancascocha has virtually no crowds at all. You’ll pass by remote villages and get the chance to see pristine untouched natural landscapes. You’ll get great views of the starry night sky, Mount Salkantay, Mount Humantay and of the picturesque Humantay Lake. If you are looking for a hike to Machu PIcchu that is not as packed as the Inca Trail then Ancascocha trek is a great option.

Ancascocha Trek

A 4 or 5 day hike depending on your tour operator this hike is named after an alpine lake reservoir. The least known hike to Machu Picchu, Ancascocha will certainly have the least amount of crowds. Considered a difficult hike, Ancascocha is one of the most strenuous hikes in the region rivaled only by the intensive Choquequirao trek. The second day continues the difficult trend. With 10 hours of strenuous hiking to look forward too. Appreciate the stunning mountain landscapes as you push yourself to the limit. The third day you will still be at high altitude make sure you drink coca tea or chew the leaves to help prevent altitude sickness.

You will finally descend at the end of the day as you approach Ancascocha campsite. Enjoy your expertly prepared dinner with you fellow hikers and prepare yourself for the next day. The fourth day is a easiest day. You’ll be descending nearly all day as you head towards the city of Ollantaytambo. Once in Ollantaytambo you will take the train to Aguas Calientes. Explore the small city and have something to eat at one of the local restaurants. Get some good rest and try not to be too excited, tomorrow you’ll be heading to Machu Picchu! The 5th and final day of the trip you’ll awake in Aguas Calientes then take the bus to Machu Picchu.

Climate and location

Situated in the Andean mountains Ancascocha is in the region of Ayacucho in the south of Peru. High in the mountains Ancascocha is at 4.450 m (14.596 ft). The climate is the same as the rest of the region with two distinct season. The rainy season is during the peruvian summer and ranges from November to April during this time of year it will rain every day but the temperatures are a bit more mild than in the winter. In Peru the dry season is in the winter and goes from May to October. Temperatures are more extreme this time of year, it’s hotter during the day and colder at night. Highs average around 77°F during the day and can drop as low as 0°F at night.

What will you see on the Ancascocha trek?

Ancascocha has many attractions and the natural beauty itself makes the experience feel surreal at times. However the main sights of interest are Lake Humantay and the two towering mountains Salkantay and Humantay. You’ll also get the chance to journey through various remote Andean villages where the people are still practicing traditions from the Inca and pre-Inca times. Additionally, there will be llamas and alpacas roaming and grazing the countryside with their shepards always keeping a close eye on them.

Humantay Lake

Nestled between the two mountains of Salkantay and Humantay, Humantay has amazingly beautiful turquoise waters which come from the many minerals that occur naturally. With snow capped peaks in the background Lake Humantay is a well know destination and brings many tourists every day. Considered the main attraction on this hike, other than Machu Picchu, Lake Humantay is truly a sight to behold.

Mount Salkantay: “Savage Mountain”

Salkantay is one of the tallest mountains in the country. Sitting at 6271m Salkantay means “savage mountain” in Quechua. Machu Picchu lies directly north of the mountain and you can access it by taking the Slakantay trek. If you are interested in hiking Salkantay you can do so by hiking the “Salkantay Mountain trek”. Rated one of the best hikes in the country Salkantay Mountain will leave you speechless.

Ancascocha Itinerary

Day 1 – Cusco – Soraypampa – Humantay – Pampa Japonesa

You will start the day at the crack of dawn greeted by your tour guide who will pick you up at your hotel in their private transportation. You’ll then start the 3.5 hour drive to Soraypampa. Try and get some rest if you can or take in the passing landscape. You’ll eat breakfast at the trailhead in Soraypampa then start the hike. It’s a steep 2.5 hour climb to the first destination, Humantay Lake. You will take a break at Humantay, make sure to enjoy the views and take in the pristine scenery.

When you’re ready, you and your group will continue on, descending for 1.5 hours before coming to Salkantay Pampa. At Salkantay Pampa you will have lunch prepared by your tour companies private chef. Once you’re finished with lunch continue for another 3 hours eventually coming to the first campsite Pampa Japonesa which is situated at 4,600m (15,091ft). Enjoy your expertly prepared dinner, relax and gaze at the stars before calling it a night. Prepare yourself, the following day will be the most difficult of the entire journey!

  • Meals: Lunch – Dinner.
  • Accommodation: Camping facilities
  • Time: 10h approximately
  • Difficulty: Very Challenging

Day 2 Pampa Japonesa – Inca Chiriaska – Millpo

Start the day with a nice hot breakfast and get your mind ready for a difficult day. The first place of interest you’ll come to is Chiriaska pass 4,959m (16,269ft), this pass offers stunning views of Mount Salkantay. You’ll cross 4 different mountain pases on this day stopping for lunch after the third pass. Make sure you pace yourself as you will be at high elevation ascending and descending multiple times. After crossing all the mountain the passes continue on for another 4 hours until coming to the second campsite named Millpo. Relax and enjoy your much deserved dinner with you fellow hikers. Take this opportunity to share trail stories or play a game of cards.

  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Time: 8 hours approximately
  • Difficulty: Challenging

Day 3 – Millpo – Yahuarmaky – Raqaypata – Ancascocha Lake

Again, you’ll start the day early. Prepare yourself for another strenuous day of mountain passes. After about one hour of walking you’ll come to the first pass named Chusqenay pass. Shortly after Chusqenay pass you will have to cross Rumi Inca pass afterwards descending into the Valley of Yahuarmaky. Take a break and enjoy the landscape, see if you can spot llamas and alpacas grazing in the valley below. After your all rested up continue the journey for 1,5 hours until coming to Aqocasa pass where you will have views of the Inca Trail.

Descend into the archeological site of Raqaypata a pre Incan and Incan ruin. Raqaypata was previously inhabited by the pre incan Cugmas people before being forcibly taken over by the Incan Empire. Take some time to explore the ruins and ask your guide about the history of the area. Continue on the last leg of the journey hiking 3 hours up one more mountain pass then descending again before reaching the third campsite at Ancascocha Lake 3,700m (12,139ft).H ave dinner with your group and get a good night’s rest, tomorrow will be the final day of hiking.

Day 4 – Ancascocha LakeChillca – ArequipapampaOllantaytambo Aguas Calientes

The final day of hiking starts with a nice pleasant downhill for two hours before coming to the remote villages of Chillca then ArequipapampaDepending on your group, you should reach the end of the trail and take a short 15 minute private van ride to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, take the train to Aguas Calientes arriving at around 4:00pm. Explore the small town of Aguas Calientes and have something to eat at one of the many restaurants. Get some much needed rest and prepare to wake up early in the morning to take the bus to Machu Picchu.

  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch– Dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Time: 10 hours approximately
  • Difficulty: Easy

Day 5 Agaus Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Get breakfast in your hotel and be ready to catch the first bus at 5:30 am in order to make it to Machu Picchu for sunrise. Remember, you will need to have your passport in order to enter Machu Picchu. The guided tour will start once you arrive in Machu Picchu, generally it lasts around 2 hours. If you have a pre purchased ticket to one of the mountain hikes start hiking after the guided tour of Machu Picchu.

Once you have done the hikes and explored all of the citadel of Machu Picchu it’s time to take the bus back to Aguas Calientes. Take the train to Ollantaytambo at either 2:55 or 3:20 pm. Make sure to admire the passing landscape of the sacred valley. Once you arrive in Ollantaytambo your driver will be waiting to take you back to your hotel either in Cusco or Ollantaytambo. You should arrive at your hotel at around 7:00 pm. Take pride in your accomplishment you just finished one of the hardest hikes on the region!

***PLEASE NOTE: If you do not have your passport with you you will NOT BE ABLE TO ENTER MACHU PICCHU!

  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner
  • Accommodation: Your hotel in Cusco or Ollantaytambo
  • Time: 14 hours approximately
  • Difficulty: Easy

Off the Beaten path!

A great getaway from the crowds and tourists of the region. This is one of the least know hikes in the entire region, because of this it really feels like you are hiking in pure wilderness. You’re almost guaranteed to be the only party on the trail and wont see or come into contact with any other hikers. Take in the tranquility of the landscape as you make your way over high mountain passes and through traditional remote Andean villages.

Ancascocha packing list

You’ll have to leave your main bag at your hotel. Only bring what is essential as you will only have a small day bag . Your tour company will provide you with a small duffle bag to put 7kgs worth of items in. This bag will be carried by a pack animal and cannot exceed the 7kgs limit all bags will be weighed before starting the hike so make sure your bag doesn’t exceed the 7kgs limit. Remember 2 kilos will be for your sleeping bag, and 1 kilo for the sleeping pad, leaving 4 kilos for clothes etc.

  • Passport: The same you got your Machu Picchu permits with
  • Day bag: For your snacks, first aid, daily essentials in general
  • Sunscreen: You will be at high altitude where the sun is much stronger
  • Hat and sunglasses: For further sun protection
  • Long pants and long sleeves: For sun and insect protection
  • Insect repellant: The biting insects can be bad especially in the rainy season
  • Camera: To remember the beautiful landscapes
  • Rain gear: The weather can change at any moment always have rain gear
  • Good footwear: Make sure to bring broken in footwear with solid soles
  • Reusable water bottle: Bring around 2 liters of water for the first day
  • Headlamp/flashlight: ONe of the most important items
  • Warm Layers: The night can get especially cold bring a warm fleece or down jacket
  • Personal medication: Let your guide know if you take medication and have it on you at all times
  • Battery Bank: There will be no where to charge your electronics
  • Hand Sanitizer/wet wipes: To keep yourself clean
  • Extra Money: To buy souvenirs
  • First Aid kit: in case of minor injuries

***Please note: You will only have access to your duffle bag when you are at camp. Make sure all your daily essentials are with you in your day bag

The Best Ancascocha Trek Operators

Bellow we have listed the best tour operators that offer hikes to Ancascocha . These companies are picked based on google reviews and customer satisfaction. Prices are for the standard 5 day Ancascocha trek. Price ranges vary from a normal camping experience to complete luxury glamping. Prices are subject to change so make sure you book in advance if you want to get a better price.

  • Orange Nation
  • SAM Travel Peru
  • 69 Explorer
  • Spider Travel Peru
  • Glamping Peru Treks

Please visit the Inca Trail Trek or Alternative Trek to Machu Picchu page for more information about each trek and if you are looking for the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, visit this page for information on securing Inca Trail Permits.

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