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Pacchanta Hot Springs in Ausangate

May 3, 2024
Pacchanta Hot Springs - 69explorer

Deep in the Peruvian Andes lies a hidden gem largely unknown by the public. The volcanic mineral hot springs of Pacchanta are nestled in a mountain valley in the shadow of the sacred mountain Ausangate. Located in southern Peru 140 miles southeast of Cusco, Pacchanta lies in the district of Ocongate, and the province of Quispicanchi. Pacchanta hot springs are situated high in the mountains at an elevation of 4,200m (13,779 ft). Soak in both the soothing mineral waters and the breathtaking views of Mount Ausangate.

In the Shadow of Ausangate

Mount Ausangate is the most sacred mountain in the Quechua culture and one of the “Apus”. Apus are the spirits of the mountains and are believed to reside in the tallest mountains of the country. The Apus are divine protective beings that watch over the Quechua people. However mainly associated with specific mountains or large rocks, some legends say the Apus have the ability to shapeshift and may take human or animal forms in order to interreact or test the kindness of the local villagers. With an elevation of 6314m (20944 ft) Ausangate is the 7th tallest mountain in the country and the tallest mountain in the Cordillera Vilcanota sub mountain range.

The local peoples preform various ritual offerings to the sacred mountain of Ausangate in exchange for its protection and wisdom. While enjoying the hot springs, take the opportunity to connect with the surrounding nature and with this sacred mountain that the local communities have worshipped for thousands of years.

Getting there and Entry

To get to the hot springs of Pacchanta you’ll have to take a private vehicle, public transporting is available but is very complicated and may be more of a headache than its worth. The drive is 3 and a half hours from Cusco and is around 140 km. It’s highly recommended to go with a registered tour guide and hike one of the surrounding trails while your there, it’s generally better to soak after the hike to soothe your sore muscles and aching bones.

Entry

There are a few different entry costs however all fees are extremely reasonably priced.

Hot Springs Entry TypeCost in Peruvian Soles
Foreign Tourists                   S/5
Peruvian National                   S/5
Cusco Resident                   S/3

***PLEASE NOTE: The operating hours are from 8:00am until 6:00pm in the Evening

Hot Springs

There are 7 different pools at the Pacchanta hot springs each differing in temperature and size. It’s thought that the pools have healing properties due to the many natural minerals including sodium, magnesium, bicarbonate, sulfate, calcium and more. Furthermore, the hot temperatures of the water promote blood circulation which can help with aches and pains after a long hike. All the pools have slightly different temperatures that range from 34 C to 36C (93F – 96.8).

Nearby Attractions

There are many different hikes in the surrounding area. If you are planning to visit the hot springs you should seriously consider tackling one of the trails or maybe if you are an extreme adventure seeker summit one of the mountain peaks.

Ausangate

The sacred mountain of Ausangate dominates the region with its daunting snow-covered walls and its intimidating shear norther face. If you are an experienced mountaineer then you should consider summiting this beast of a mountain. Take into consideration the difficulty of summiting Ausangate. The first ascent of the northern face for example, was very recent. A pair of Japanese climbers first summited the north face of the mountain in 2023. Each year only a handful of groups summit the easier south face.

7 Lakes Hike

At the base of Ausangate lies 7 beautiful alpine lakes that can be accessed via a 7.5km 5-hour long day hike.  The hike offers beautiful Andean landscapes and herds of alpacas and llamas. A great option if you are looking for day hike to some alpine lakes. Don’t forget to soak in the Pacchanta hot springs when you’re finished!

Rainbow Mountain

The 2nd most popular tourist attraction in the entire country just behind the world-famous Incan Citadel of Machu Picchu rainbow mountain lie at the base of Ausangate. One of the highest hikes in the region Rainbow Mountain lies at an impressive altitude of 5200m (17,100 ft). The amazing vibrant colorsof the mountain attract tourists from all over the world, make sure to visit this mountain during your trip to Cusco.

Best Time to Visit Pacchanta Hot Springs

The best time to visit the Pacchanta hot springs, like most other places in the region, is in the dry season which takes place in the Peruvian winter. Interestingly, the temperatures are more extreme in winter, hotter during the day because of the strong sun and colder during the night because of the lack of insulating clouds. The dry season is starts in April and continues until late October. Make sure to visit during this time if you want to have the best weather and avoid the rains.

Pacchanta Hot Springs Packing List

Packing lists will vary depending on the activities you plan to do while around the region. Here’s a list of some essential items.

One of the best hot springs in the Cusco area, Pacchanta benefits from being remote, making the crowds here much smaller than at some of the other hot springs in the region. Take a day trip here and relax in the healing pools. Or, better yet, combine a visit to the hot springs with one of the day hikes or multi-day hikes such as 7 lakes hike or Ausangate multi-day trek. However you decide to plan your adventure, rest assured you will be awe stricken by the natural beauty and relaxing properties of the Pachacanta hot springs and Mount Ausangate.