• Peru
  • 7 Days

The Trail of the Herders

  • Multi Destination Journey
  • Active Adventure
  • 7 days; 6 nights
  • 2 to 10 travelers
  • Begins & ends in Cusco
Experience a breathtaking, seven-day trek in the Peru's Cordillera Vilcanota mountain range. You will journey on a route called the “Camino Del Apu Ausangate” that neighbors the highest sacred mountain in the Cusco region. In the religion and mythology of Peru, “Apu” is the bearer of life and the guardian of one of the most pristine mountain ecosystems in the world. Throughout the trek, your gear will be carried by the llamas and horses that will accompany you. These are owned by shepherds of the community of Chillca who are proud to share their land with us, as well as the Spirit of their inspiring world. On your hikes and in the unique “Tambos” or Andean Lodges, experienced chefs will prepare your daily meals and introduce you to a great variety of delicious Peruvian dishes. Authentic vernacular music, played by local inhabitants, will liven up evenings at the "tambos." Immerse yourself in the local Andean way of life, and learn from the inspiring landscape.read more

At a Glance

Creature comforts


Physical activity


Ground support

fully guided


  • Mountains
  • Lakes
  • Wetlands


  • For ages 12+
  • Fluent english spoken


  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering

Your Local Expert

ALAndean Lodges

We’re a Cusco-based company, founded in 2006 in association with the people of the peasant communities of Chillca and Osefina. Our goal is to offer unique trekking and lodging experiences on the Apu Ausangate Route, with a focus on community-based rural tourism, and to promote the development of these communities. Additionally, we’re proud to count on an operations team composed of trained community members, including guides, kitchen personnel, housekeepers, security guards, and maintenance personnel. We also work with women weavers of the community, who are keepers of ancestral knowledge. Our team has over 30 years of experience in the tourism and Andean mountaineering market and is a pioneer in creating trekking and climbing routes in this amazing natural setting.read more

The Journey

Day 1

Cusco to Chillca

You will have an early morning departure from Cusco along the fertile Vilcanota Valley to the town of Checacupe. After a visit to the colonial Church of the Immaculate Conception you will begin hiking through the Pitumarca Valley and along the spectacular Japura Gorge to reach the town of Chillca, where you'll be greeted by the community. From there it’s a short, easy walk to the first lodge or tambo. At the lodge you’ll have time to relax and enjoy Andean music provided by the local musicians of Chillca.read more

Day 2

After breakfast, you and your guide will begin the ascent to Yanacocha Lake, which abounds with fast, feisty highland lake trout. The community sustainably manages this fish; fishermen use hooks without barb and specifically-measured buckets to avoid damaging the catch. Small fish are promptly returned to the lake. After our picnic lunch, you will return to the lodge on the Vista Trail, enjoying some of the most spectacular views in the Vilcanota Range. You will arrive at the lodge in time for a hot shower and a delicious Andean dinner.read more

Day 3

Chillca to Machurac

Your hike begins at 8:30am in the wide valley of Upis where breathtaking glaciated mountains loom above the valley and offer majestic views. The trail narrows as you make your way toward the waterfall that drops from Mt. Santa Catalina. This trail is mostly used by the area’s wandering llamas. Once you reach small Paloma Lake, the countryside is dotted with llama and alpacas. After hiking along a second lake and crossing a long series of glacial moraines you will arrive for the night at Machuracay Lodge, located at the foot of Mt. Apu Ausangate, Cusco’s sacred mountain.read more

Day 4

Machuracay Lodge was built on the foothills of snowcapped Mount Ausangate and is one of the highest in the world. Today, you will begin hiking toward the slopes of Mt. Ausangate and Mt. Mariposa. On this leg of the trek, neither climbing experience nor snow gear are necessary; even so, you’ll enjoy hiking in the crispness of Andean snow. After lunch, you will hike a couple of hours and return to the Machuracay Lodge.read more

Day 5

Machuracay to Anantapata

After a challenging ascent of Palomani Pass, with an elevation of 17,000 ft./ 5,200 m., you will descend to Lake Ausangate Cocha. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the glaciated south face of the sacred Apu as you continue toward red sandstone formations below snowcapped “Nevado Del Inca”. You will stay overnight at Anantapata Lodge.

Day 6

Anantapata to Huampococha

This spectacular leg of the trail finds us hiking in the midst of mountains adorned by remarkable red, ochre, and blue soil strata, similar to Mt.Vinicunca, the Rainbow Mountain. Views of marvelous geological wonders abound. Be on the lookout for bands of graceful vicuñas, frequently spotted in this isolated area. You will spend the night at Huampococha Lodge, in the heart of impressive rock formations, near a lake where flocks of Andean geese, or huallatas, nest and feed.read more

Day 7

Huampococha to Cusco

After your final climb over the Anta Pass, you will gradually make your descent. On this leg, the first native fields and homes will come into view. The landscape changes quickly as red sandstone formations are followed by a Karst limestone stone forest, an ideal habitat for cute vizcachas (members of the chinchilla family). As we reach the end of the valley, a private bus will be waiting for your return trip to Cusco.read more


  • Lodging

  • Meals

  • Transportation

Not Included

  • Tips for the staff

  • Flights or any transportation before or after the itinerary

  • Travel insurance

Private Departures

Private departures, for just you and your friends or family

Flexible dates

  • 2 travelers$4070 per person
  • 3 travelers$2660 per person
  • 4 travelers$2040 per person
  • 5 travelers$2040 per person
  • 9 travelers$2040 per person
  • 10 travelers$2040 per person
Pricing depends on group size and host availability

Similar journeys

Not quite what you seek?

We'll match you with the right local expert for a free online consult

$4070 / person