The most beautiful snow-capped mountains of Cusco – Meet the natural destinations

In Cusco, thanks to the extraordinary geography, typical of the Andean Cordillera, you can find beautiful landscapes. These views are the result of the high-altitude snow-capped mountains that can be found in most of the Cusco region. Here, we want to talk about the snow-capped peaks that stand out among the mountains. We will only mention a few because we believe they are the most popular and at the same time representative. In addition, all these mountains have been considered sacred since the early years of the Incas. They were the ones who considerably improved and redesigned this type of worship. For this reason, the high mountains were formerly called Apus. Considered protective deities.

Camelids near Nevado Ausangate
Camelids near Nevado Ausangate

Snowy Ausangate

Ausangate snow-capped mountain
Ausangate snow-capped mountain

The Ausangate is one of the highest peaks in Peru, approximately 6,384 meters high. This snow-capped mountain is part of the mountain range of the Urubamba range. It is located near the mountain of Colors and is also part of trekking routes of several days.

In the Nevado Ausangate, you can also make several trips to other destinations that are located near the snowy. There will highlight the presence of lagoons that are formed by the accumulation of water and the melting of the snowy peaks. In addition to the beautiful landscapes of the route and the place.

How to get there?

Getting there is quite simple, you just have to pay attention. At present there are two ways to get there. The first one will be by the route that connects Cusco with Ocongate. While the second is making the trip through Checacupe and Pitumarca.

If you choose the first option, it is likely that you will have some difficulty in obtaining transportation. Therefore, it is recommended to contact a tourist agency or a transportation company.

The second route will be very similar to the one followed to reach the mountain of Vinicunca or Montaña de Colores. In any case, it is important to know that only one day is very little time to reach the Ausangate snow-capped mountain.

What attractions can be found nearby?

  • Reaching the Ausangate snow-capped mountain is a moderate high challenge. This is because it is at high altitude.
  • You can find some lakes on the way to it. The most representative is the Sibinacocha and Ausangate Lake.
  • It is possible to reach the thermal baths of the place.
  • In order to get to know the snow-capped mountain and other activities, a walking route of more than 2 days is required.
  • There are several alternative tours that also include the Colors Mountain.
  • One of the benefits of these tours is that you will be able to get to the Montaña de Colores early in the morning.
Importance of the Apus, also known as protective mountains.
According to Andean tradition and ancestral cultures, mountains are given special worship. This is because they are granted protective qualities. Many mountains come to be recognized as such. Especially, this quality is attributed to the highest ones. The people who worship them, usually perform rituals and offer the mountains coca leaves, chicha, wine, and even in some cases, animals. This is done to thank him for the blessings and also to ask for more blessings.

Snowy Salkantay

View of the Salkantay snow-capped peak from Soraypampa
View of the Salkantay snow-capped peak from Soraypampa

The Nevado Salkantay is one of the most popular mountains in Cusco. This mainly because it is part of one of the routes to Machu Picchu. It is also part of one of the most beautiful landscapes that can be seen in all of Cusco.

This snow-capped mountain is part of the Vilcabamba mountain range, so it can be estimated that it is the highest of the entire mountain range. Likewise, during the passage to different places it is possible to appreciate it from afar. There are records that it can be seen from the pass to Machu Picchu and also on its way to Vilcabamba.

How to get there?

The Nevado Salkantay is located between the districts of Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Santa Teresa, Limatambo and Mollepata. Precisely for this last district is that it can be reached without much problem.

The ways to get there are simple. The first option is to make the trip on your own. The second option is through a trip with a travel agency. Normally the travel agencies offer the trip to this place to know the Humantay Lagoon and also as a step to Machu Picchu.

Likewise, there are those who choose to climb to the top of this snow-capped mountain. That activity will be very different from what you can expect doing the trekking routes to Machu Picchu or the Humantay Lagoon. It is located only 60 kilometers from Cusco.

What attractions can be found nearby?

  • Many people make this trek just to climb the mountain. This is because it is the second highest in Cusco.
  • Others decide to make the trip to reach the Humantay Lagoon. Doing this activity you can see the top of the mountain and also part of the snowy Humantay.
  • To connect with the other destinations and trips, you must do some hiking.
  • It is possible to do the tours in only one day.
  • There are some other alternatives of more days that aim to reach the summit.
  • It is the step for those who want to reach Machu Picchu, making a trekking route.

Snowy Veronica

Veronica Snow
Veronica Snow

The Nevado Veronica is part of one of the most beautiful legends of Cusco. In this legend you can also find the participation of the aforementioned snow-capped mountains. In the legend they all represent communities and the extreme need to find food.

This snow-capped mountain is located in the Cordillera de Urubamba. The territorial extension of the mountain is 10 kilometers. This makes it quite imposing and from the high jungle you can appreciate its beautiful snow-capped peaks.

The Nevado Veronica, also serves as a territorial boundary between the provinces of Urubamba and La Convención. It is for this reason that the mountain can be seen from the Abra Malaga pass, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and even from the train ride. Thanks to its high altitude, 5 792, it is possible to see it from even the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

How to get there?

The Nevado La Veronica is located 50 kilometers from Cusco. It is located precisely between the border of Urubamba and La Convención. In this sense, it is important to get to the community of Piscacucho, very close to Ollantaytambo, to have an ascent route.

Reaching the community of Piscacucho is easy to do because you only have to follow the road that connects the provinces mentioned above. From Piscacucho, you can start the most popular route to this snow-capped mountain.

The route that follows on foot is 2 kilometers, so you have to make an average walk of 2 to 3 hours. Of course, from the starting point of the hike. To start this adventure, it is advisable to do it with a travel agency. This is the only way to reach the community without problems and in only one trip.

When doing it on your own, you may encounter some difficulties in transportation. However, this option is possible of course, at the responsibility of tourists or adventurers. In any case, the Nevado Veronica offers one of the most beautiful landscapes of the valleys of Cusco.

What attractions can be found nearby?

  • The main attractions that can be found on the way to Nevado Verónica are the beautiful landscapes and the opportunity to observe birds.
  • Those who are encouraged to hike to the Nevado Verónica should keep in mind that you can also do ice climbing on the same ice.
  • During the tour in any of the activities, it is also possible to appreciate the flora of the place, as well as more representations of the fauna.
  • Those who are encouraged to visit this destination, it is recommended to do the tour with appropriate footwear. This is because you can find very steep slopes.
  • The tour can be done in only one day.
  • You will be able to appreciate the Abra Malaga from another perspective.

Snowy Pumasillo

Pumasillo snow-capped peak
Pumasillo snow-capped peak

This is one of the most popular snow-capped mountains in Cusco. This is because it plays a fundamental role as it is located between different Inca constructions. Probably its main link is with the archaeological site of Vilcabamba.

However, there is also a connection with Choquequirao and even with Machu Picchu. It is for this reason that it is thought that Pumasillo was considered one of the most important Apus of the Inca Empire.

The Nevado de Pumasillo is located within the Choquequirao Natural Reserve. The ways to get there are from different points. Although to date it seems extremely complicated to climb to the top of the mountain.

The Nevado Pumasillo is part of the Cordillera Vilcabamba and is located in the province of Urubamba. The altitude of this snow-capped mountain is 5,994 meters above sea level at the western peak, while at the eastern peak, the altitude is 5,887 meters above sea level.

How to get there?

The snow-capped Pumasillo is quite popular among climbers from all over the world. Most of them want to climb here because of its steep geography. This geography allows climbing on the snow, as well as a great challenge.

Several groups of climbers have dared to make the ascent. After several attempts and reiterations, a route was established for those who want to replicate this feat.

En tal sentido, se recomienda a las personas que deseen hacer esta caminata y escalada en roca, que sigan estrictamente dicho proceso. Solamente así, garantizarán de forma adecuada y segura su ascenso hasta la cima del nevado Pumasillo.

What attractions can be found nearby?

  • Many do this route for the challenge it represents. The snowy Pumasillo presents rocks of great size, propitious for climbing.
  • It crosses different geographies, highlighting part of the valleys and high Andean zones.
  • In this sense, during the route, you can appreciate a great diversity of flora and fauna.
  • You can appreciate part of this snowy mountain, following the Salkantay Trek and the Choquequirao Trek. Both routes on the way to Machu Picchu.
  • It is advisable to do the route to the snowy, with the corresponding advice.
  • You will need special footwear to make the ascent safely.

Other names and meanings of the names of the snowy mountains

The snow-capped mountains we are talking about have Quechua names. In the case of Nevado Veronica, it comes from the name Wakaywillque (sacred tears). It was named Veronica because during the colony, the Quechua name was associated with the Spanish legend of Veronica. Next, let’s learn more about these Quechua names of the snow-capped mountains.

Name of the snow-capped mountains in QuechuaName of the snow-capped mountains in Spanish
AusangateRelated to generosity and simplicity
SalkantayMountain wild or arisco
Wakaywillque (Verónica)Sacred tears
PumasilloCougar claws
SahuasiraySilver Cross
QoyllorittiBright snow


By Imachupicchu – Last updated, May 27, 2024

Enjoy the trip to Machu Picchu with the best services

Choose one of the 5 types of tickets

The entrance to Machu Picchu offers discounts for university students, those under 18 years of age and citizens of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. Children under 3 years enter free! Get your entry to 'mapi' here.

We take you wherever you want in Cusco

The private transportation service takes you to any tourist destination in Cusco. Travel with total security in a private service for you, your partner, your friends or family. Includes pick up service from the airport or transfer to Machu Picchu train station, book here!

An unforgettable train trip to Machu Picchu

In total there are four tourist train services to Machu Picchu: Expedition, Vistadome, Vistadome Observatory and the Hiram Bingham luxury train. They all belong to the prestigious Peru Rail company. Buy the tickets here! Take advantage of the discounts!

Get on the final bus to Machu Picchu

The train trip will leave you in the town of Aguas Calientes, 10 kilometers from Machu Picchu. For this last section you must get the bus to Machu Picchu, a comfortable service that takes care of the environment of the wonder of the world. Buy your bus ticket here!

Tour Machu Picchu with a professional guide

In Machu Picchu the tour guide service is not mandatory. However, most tourists decide to go accompanied by a guide. This way they will be able to fully understand the history and importance of the wonder of the Incas.

Machupicchu all inclusive 1 day

If you do not want to buy each ticket to Machu Picchu separately, it is best to hire an all-inclusive tour. Includes: transfer to the station, train ticket, tour guide, entrance fee and lunch option at the best ‘mapi’ restaurant. Book the tour here!