I was thinking of doing one of two trekking trips in Peru next year: is there any real difference between HuayHuash and Ausungate: I had read former is a bit harder walking, a bit more scenic but busier and the locals are grumpier: is there anything else
Although the technicalities of walking in Ausangate and Huayhuash are pretty similar, the Ausangate trek we offer is tougher than the Huayhuash Circuit due to the average altitude of the trek (approx. 5000m compared to 4200m in Huayhuash) and the maximum altitude reached (5400m). We have included several walks in and around Cuzco of gradually increasing length and altitude before you start on the main trek to aid acclimatisation.
It is true that the "classic" Ausangate trek, which just skirts around the southern flanks of Ausangate, isn't as scenically impressive as Huayhuash, but our trek takes you deeper into the Cordillera Vilcanota so you are surrounded by many snowy peaks, glaciers and glacial lakes which makes it pretty similar to the scenery on the Huayhuash Circuit. Overall though, for the sheer beauty of jagged icy peaks, the Huayhuash Range is probably a little better.
As for the locals being grumpier in Huayhuash, this is probably due to the numbers of people trekking in each area - Huayhuash is definitely busier and one of the real appeals of Ausangate is the much smaller number of trekkers. The locals near Ausangate are more open to visitors as they have not faced the problems of large groups (not from Exodus, I hasten to add) walking across their properties, camping in inappropriate places and distrubing their animals. This said, you will find that people living in isolated Andean communities are generally quite reserved, and the fact that many of them will only speak Quechua and a smattering of Spanish can make them unwilling to talk to tourists, but if you treat them with respect (and try out a few phrases of Spanish too!) you should encounter friendly people wherever you trek.
I hope this helps you make your decision, but if you need any more advice before booking either trek, then please feel free to call us and chat to one of our trekking experts.
Tim (Exodus trip manager)
I have been away: thanks
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