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Ascascocha trek: It is known for its rich beautiful landscape

Ancascocha Trek Information

Written by: Incatrailhikeperu May 7, 2022

Get way off the beaten path with this challenging trek.  Have the trail to yourself as you climb 2 big mountain passes and get rewarded with unbelievable views of the milky way, Humantay Lake, rivers, and the Ancascocha Lake and Valley.  

One of the Sacred Valley’s best kept secrets, this trek takes you through local communities, passed stunning waterfalls, and offers some of the most spectacular 360 degree views in all of Peru. 

The Ancascocha Trek

Named after a reservoir lake, this trek is doable in 4 or 5 days and is the choice for those seeking solitude from the crowded trails. Starting in the town of Soraypampa, the first day has almost 8 hours of hiking through strenuous terrain with a maximum altitude of 5000 meters. The second day does its best to outdo the first with 10 hours of hiking at altitude. As difficult as it may be, the views are second to none and the crisp air is as fresh as it gets. You may be ready for a descent at this point but that’s still one day away. The third day is another one spent at altitude, albeit less tiring than the previous two. Passing through huge valleys and red tinted mountains is a unique way that many will never have the chance to see.

Across the range is the famous Inca Trail surrounded by the sacred mountains of Salktantay, Humantay, Huayanay, and Huacaywilka. The day ends with a 1.5 hour descent towards the campsite of Ancascocha. Your wishes for an easy hike finally come true on the fourth day. Descending next to orchids and bromeliads you’ll head towards Ollantaytambo to catch a train towards Aguas Calientes where you’ll be treated to a comfy bed and celebratory dinner. On day 5 you’ll reach the pinnacle of everything you’ve worked for by heading to Machu Picchu. 

What to see in the Ancascocha trek?

Humantay Lake

Humantay sits snugly between Humantay Mountain and Salkantay Mountain. In fact, it is a popular branch-off hike when trekking along the Salkantay Trail, an incredibly scenic alternative to the Inca Trail. Humantay falls along the Vilcabamba mountain range

Humantay Lake is most well known for its insanely bright blue and green water and its snow-capped mountain backdrop. These colors come from the mineral filled runoff from the melting glaciers around the Humantay and Salkantay Mountains.

Off the Betan track!

This is off a beaten path trek with its spectacular scenery and views of the colorful valley landscapes, with multiple high passes, rocky terrain, turquoise lakes, and snow peaks. See traditional Stone houses in local farming villages where people keep the culture alive and of course Machu Picchu.

Salkantay Mountain: The “Savage Mountain”

The massive Salkantay Mountain is the highest point of the Peruvian Andes Mountains. “Salkantay” is a Quechua word meaning “savage mountain.” Though somewhat lesser-known, the Salkantay Mountain trek is amazing. Travelers take a remote footpath through lush rainforests on the way to Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Mountain Trek is ranked by hikers and travel publications as one of the best treks in the world.

Further Information

After the famed Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek is regarded as the second most stunning trek to Machu Picchu. The significant difference is that the Inca Trail is the only way that reaches Machu Picchu through the top part of the mountain, that is, through the old gate utilized by the Incas, the ‘Intipunku’. All other hikes, including the ‘Salkantay,’ reach the Inca city via Aguas Calientes.

Another distinction between the ‘Salkantay trek’ and the Inca Trail is that the latter cannot be completed alone, whereas the ‘Salkantay’ route can. Although it is not encouraged, some travelers travel this trip on their own, carrying only the necessities in their backpacks.

The traditional ‘Salkantay journey’ to Machu Picchu takes 5 days and 4 nights. There are, however, some shorter (and less challenging) variations that endure 4 days and 3 nights. These routes are quite similar to the original route, except that they use transportation to arrive to the Hydroelectric station early and then to Aguas Calientes. If you don’t have the five days for the walk, this is an excellent alternative.

Some suggestions
Every day of the year, the ‘Salkantay trek’ can be completed. However, according to many who have already traveled this path, the dry season months (April to October) are the best. Keep in mind that the rainiest months are January, February, and March, making walking more challenging.

It is usual for tourists to experience nausea, headaches, rapid breathing, and other symptoms while walking in high altitude regions. These are the signs of altitude sickness, which is also known as soroche or mountain sickness. These symptoms will gradually fade as your body adjusts to the high altitude. Drinking enough of water is a good idea.

Before you begin your trek, pack a backpack with the following supplies:

A sleeping bag, waterproof clothing, sunscreen, rehydrating water, a rain poncho, snacks, personal hygiene items, and whatever else you believe is required.


Have a trip to Peru coming up? Well, it’s time to brush up on your Machu Picchu facts!

Machu Picchu is the most well known historic site in all of Peru, maybe even in all of South America. It’s also on many globetrotters’ bucket lists of travel destinations. But how much do we really know about the site? We are here to shine some light on the mystery and amazing surrounding Peru’s greatest archaeological treasure.

The Best Ancascocha Trek Operator Operators in 2023

The following Ancaschocha Trek tour operators are listed in order of price, not comparative quality, from the least expensive to the most luxurious options. Rates are for the classic 5 day Ancascocha trek (group tour) unless otherwise stated. Prices can change quickly, especially at the start of the year, but I’ll try to keep these updates as often as possible.

Packing list for Inca Trail and other 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 day treks

During the Alternative Trek or Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu, your main luggage can be stored at our office in Cusco or at your Cusco hotel. You will receive a small duffel bag at your briefing in which you can pack your clothes and sleeping bag for 3-4 days. Your team of porters or horses (depending on which trek you are on) will carry these bags together with the food and equipment for the trek. Please note: you will not have access to these items until the end of each day as the porters or pack horses will always be ahead of the group. Please plan to carry your day backpack containing your personal belongings such as your camera, water and sunscreen, etc.

Peruvian law

By Peruvian law, a duffel bag must not weigh more than 7 kilograms (15 lbs). This limit is set to protect the health of the porters or horses. All bags will be weighed before being accepted. If you require more than 7 kilograms, it will then be your responsibility to carry the extra weight with your day pack. In these 7 kilos, please count 2 kilos for your sleeping bag and 1 kilo for your sleeping pad. This leaves you about 4 kilos for your personal gear.

Please Note: This packing list is only for overnight treks.


You MUST take your original passport, a photocopy is not acceptable. (Keep it in a plastic bag, in case of rain).


You will need a good warm sleeping bag for the Inca Trail trek. We recommend you bring your own sleeping bag. However, you can rent one from SAM Travel for $20 USD per person, which is guaranteed to be warm and professionally cleaned. If you are planning to purchase a sleeping bag, it is a good idea to purchase a four season (or -10 C) sleeping bag during the winter months. For other months, you will probably be fine in a 3 season (or -4/-5 C) sleeping bag, although this depends on how much you feel the cold and is given as a guideline only.


It is recommended to have an inflatable mattress for comfort but not required. SAM Travel Peru foam mattresses are included in the package price. If you would like to rent an inflatable high quality Thermarest mattress, we have them available to rent for $20 USD per person. If you rent the air mattress, you still get the foam mattress to put under it.


 It is highly recommended that you have walking poles for your trek. SAM Travel Peru has professional extendable poles available to rent for $15 USD a pair, per person.


Good quality, comfortable footwear is essential. Whatever you wear on your feet, the most important thing is comfort. It is vital to ensure your boots are well worn and lightweight. Ankle support and waterproofing are recommended but if you already have something comfortable with a good grip, then don’t go rushing out to buy new boots – you are better off with your well worn in pair!


A plastic poncho is recommended, which is provided by SAM during your briefing. Some trekkers also like to bring waterproof trousers, however, a poncho will be sufficient if it covers your bag, body, and most of your legs.


Keep your belongings and clothes dry inside the duffel. Bags are included in your duffel, which you receive during your briefing. We recommend that you wrap everything in plastic because the duffels are not waterproof.


This is a crucial item to bring during the trek! Bring small plastic bags for rubbish, which can be thrown in the main rubbish bag provided by the porters at camp.


There are showers available at the campsite on the third night. Bring travel size shampoo and shower gel, if you would like to use it, plus wet wipes for the rest of the trek.


Bring one large (1.5 liters) or two or three small reusable water bottles that can be refilled on the trail with boiled water, which will be supplied when possible, usually after meal times. Please do not bring disposable bottles!


 Fleece, long pants, woolen hat, gloves.


Bring 5 or 6 undergarments; always bring an extra set since you may need more than one during the day if it becomes wet. You just need one or two different types since you need to make way for others. Bring sports bras and sports underwear.


 e.g. zip off trousers, fleece, T-shirts.


Band aids, blister kit, Imodium, Panadol, rehydration salts, and any other medication prescribed by your doctor.


 Please note: there are no electrical outlets on the Inca Trail so make sure you fully charge up/or have spare batteries!


Chocolates, chips, crackers, granola bars, or energy bars, etc. Additional snacks are provided during the trek, but you may like to bring some extras, just in case.


This is very important! (and extra batteries)


 Sunscreen, sunglasses, and sunhat


Tropical strength


Towels can be rented for 5 soles.


If you wish to have a shower on the third night.

Plugs for your ears
Just in case your tent buddy snores.

Trekking poles

Trekking poles (with rubber tips): Bring lightweight adjustable trekking poles for the trek; if you don’t have one, your local tour operator can rent one for you. For more information, please visit the “orange nation peru” website.

Portable charger/power bank:

Bring a high-quality power bank or extra batteries.

First-aid Kit for the Inca Trek

Pills: Bring enough pills to treat common health conditions that may occur throughout the walk, such as Diamox, Pepto-Bismol, Imodium, and Ciprofloxacin. Pack a basic first aid kit including pain remedies (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen), antihistamines (for allergies), electrolyte rehydration salts (for dehydration), and any personal prescriptions you may require.

Blister Plasters: Blister plasters, also known as blister pads or hydrocolloid dressings, are vital for trekkers to prevent and treat blisters on lengthy walks. They provide cushioning, minimize friction, and facilitate healing.

Antiseptic cream: An antiseptic cream is vital for any expedition since it helps prevent infection in minor cuts, scrapes, and blisters.

Women must take feminine hygiene items that are comfortable, reliable, and easy to handle for the Inca Trail. Cloth pads, tampons, personal wipes, and pain relief.

Snack during the day:

One or two energy bars each day
Mixture of Trail Mixes
Fruits that are dry
Beef Jerky
Powdered electrolytes or tablets
Optional: water purification pills or a water filter
Optional: tea bags or instant coffee


For tips, extra drinks, and souvenirs.

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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