11 Day Carabaya Trek
Mountain guide Alfredo Fisher will guide this trip. After many adventures in the area, Alfredo is still enchanted by the legendary Carabaya. Rising just north of Lake Titicaca and merging into the dramatic Cordillera Vilcanota, the Carabaya is an Andean dreamscape of golden pampas, turquoise lakes, and large herds of llamas and alpacas, all framed by a spectacular backdrop of knife-edged, 18,000-foot ice peaks. While the Carabaya is incredibly scenic, it’s still far enough off the beaten path to be rarely frequented by mountaineers and trekkers. With Alfredo, you will hike for 10 high-altitude days, crossing passes with panoramas of the Andean ice cap and a sea of glaciated peaks, meeting traditional Quechua herders, and appreciating that there are still such wild places in the world. “I like remote places and I love the Andes,” says Alfredo. “And the Carabaya is about as wild and remote as it gets. There are huge valleys that run south to north through the cordillera, filled with herds of vicunas and localpeoples who have seen few outsiders. Back in the ’80s, this was considered the best trip in the catalog. I think it still is!”
TRIP DATES: No group departures are scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, depending on availability. Please contact us for scheduling.
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Ultimate challenge. Enjoy high-altitude trekking in a wild Andean dreamscape; visit remote villages and crystal lakes.
We will leave Cuzco early and travel to Aymana Bosque de Piedra. On the way we will pass by several small archaeological sites, traditional towns and beautiful landscapes. We will camp in Bosque de Piedras (3,600m / 11,850ft).
After a good breakfast we will hike west through spacious stone forests. We will be at altitudes over 4,200 meters or 13,760 feet from now until Day 9. Tonight, we will camp at Queqaya. Estimated hiking time: 7hours
After enjoy sunrise and breakfast we will start our adventure climbing to enjoy the amazing views of Quellaqaya. We will cross Sayri pass, (5,550m / 17,700ft) and spend the night close to an alpaca farm at 4,700m. Estimated hiking time: 7 hours
This day we will follow a grassy valley and continue slowly uphill passing small settlements with great views of the extensive ice cap and pampas. Passing countless llama and alpaca herds we will camp at Wancani at (4,786m / 15,700ft), a marshy plateau in the midst of rolling hills. Estimated hiking time: 7 hours
We will cross high rolling hills with 360-degree views of ice peaks. There is the possibility of seeing vicuña and Andean flamingo. We will have lunch at a 5,030m (16,500ft) pass with some of the most spacious views on the trip. We will reach Qasqara Lake with its hundreds of waterbirds and camp on its shores at about 4,878m (16,000ft), surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Estimated hiking time: 6 hours.
After a good breakfast we will Cross over the Yayamari Pass (4,900m / 16,072ft) and reach Lake Sibinacocha, where buff-necked ibis, Andean geese and gulls can be observed. There are incredible views of the lake and towering ice peaks all around. We will camp at the upper inlet (4,786m / 15,700 ft).
We will hike uphill to the pass of Palomani (5,400m / 17,716ft) where we will see herds of alpacas and the rarely seen vicuñas. Estimated hiking time: 6 hours
After a good breakfast we will start our adventure to high passes Ccampa, Acero (over 5,400m / 17,716feet) and enjoy the landscapes. Estimated hiking time: 6 hours.
After trekking approximately 2.5 hours, we get to our first pass, Arapa pass (over 5,000m) From the pass we enjoy wonderful vistas not only of Ausangate itself, but of many other nearby snow peaks. We continue down the corridor past small, multi-colored lagoons until we reach the larger Lake Vinococha, where we have lunch. A short walk in the afternoon brings us to the red-colored Lake Pucacocha (4,700m / 15,420ft), our campsite for the night. From here we get a dramatic, close-up view of Mount Ausangate and may even hear ice falling into the lake from its sides. Estimated hiking time: 7 hours.
We will hike down through the valley passing many herds of grazing llamas and alpacas until we get to the hot springs at Upis. Here we will have lunch, and enjoy a soak in the soothing thermal water. We will camp here so we can enjoy the hot springs late into the night (3,800m / 12,470ft). Estimated hiking time: 6 hours.
Today our vehicle will pick us up at the road head near Pacchanta. From here, we will ride back to Cuzco and then have a Farewell Dinner in a local restaurant with a live folk dancing show.
- Pre-trek briefing.
- Collection from your hotel on the morning of trek departure.
- Transport from Puno (or Cuzco) 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 canrent you an inflatable mattress (e.g. 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. Let us know if you want to hire your own personal horse.
- Dining tent with camp tables and chairs and kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals.
- Tents for our staff to sleep.
- First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.
- 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.
- Gratuities for the staff
- If you want to take more substantial items or backpacks, you will need to hire an additional mule. Also if you might want to hire a personal riding hourse or mule.