Trekking in the Ausangate Circuit’s beautiful glacial lakes
30 June 2019
As you hike along the trails that circle magnificent Mt. Ausangate, some of the places that will most entice and enchant you are the many Andean lakes that you’ll come across.
These pristine bodies of glacial waters remain pure, unpolluted and splendidly beautiful. And they present you with unforgettable moments of joy and relaxation, as you stop linger along their shores and gaze at the reflections of the high snowcapped mountains that surround them.
Water is life, and Mt. Ausangate is considered an Apu, a sacred Quechua deity that protects both life and waters. The spiritual and practical significance of Apu Ausangate in the lives of local Quechua people is very deep.
Cultural and religious perspective
Their herds of llamas and alpacas depend on the icy water that flows down from high glaciers to fill Ausangate’s stream-fed lakes and to irrigate the high mountain meadows.
Without the benefit of these lakes, which serve as essential natural reservoirs, probably nobody could live at these high altitudes of the Andes.
Thus, the local Quechua people, just as the Incas did, venerate the great Apu Ausangate, and thank and honor him with blessings of coca leaves.
The Ausangate fauna
Ausangate’s glacial lakes are also key habitats for numerous species of wild waterfowl, including Andean geese, ducks, grebes and many other migrating bird species that nest and feed in the lakes’ surroundings.
You may even see an occasional flock of flamingos standing in the shallows. Visiting birders are always delighted!
Admire their beauty
As for opportunities for photography- just picture massive snowcapped Andean mountains and clear blue skies perfectly mirrored on motionless lake waters.
And there is so much more to see! Please do bring a good camera (battery chargers are recommended, since there is no electricity available at our lodges). At Ausangate, you’ll take some of your most beautiful pictures ever.
One of our ecolodges, Huampococha Tambo, is located facing a glacial lake, so you’ll have time after a long day of hiking to take relaxing strolls around the lake’s shores.
Mind you, these glacial lakes are not ideal for swimming- they are cold waters indeed! Only daring human “polar bears” would possibly attempt such a feat.
Trekking along Ausangate’s trails, you’ll see more glimmering Andean lakes. Their Quechua names are intriguing- Lake Kayrawiri, Lake Ausangate Cocha, Lake Yanacocha. “Cocha” in Quechua means lake.
And one is named in Spanish, small Lake Paloma, or “Dove Lake”. Each lake here is unique, and each seems as if it has been here forever, waiting for your arrival.
Andean trekking adventures with Andean Lodges take you to places where nature reigns, where your connection to the Earth is renewed, where your spirit soars and you feel more alive than ever.
Come to Cusco , come trek the trails at Mt. Ausangate, and stand by the shores of its sparkling glacial lakes. Please visit our website at andeanlodges.comto find out more about our trekking programs in the Andes.