One of the world’s classic treks! This 5-day circuit, that includes views of both the highest tropical peak in the world, Huascaran (6768 m / 22,204 ft) and one of the most beautiful mountains on the planet (Alpamayo), takes us through three valleys (Llanganuco, Huaripampa, and Santa Cruz). We’ll enjoy stunning Andean views, dramatic natural scenery, and distinctive, vibrant cultures. Ranking: easy to moderate with just one high mountain pass, you’ll experience an abundance of diverse regions and immerse in spectacular beauty on this unforgettable journey amidst glacial mountains, pristine wilderness, and crystal-pure lakes.
Duration: 5 days / 4 nights
Departures: Every Tuesday
Season: April to October
Difficulty: 1 2 3 4 5
Minimum: 4 passengers
Prices start at $572 USD Per person
Duration: 4 Days/ 3 Nights Season: April to October
Group Departures: Every Tuesday
Day 1: Huaraz – Cebollapampa – Lake 69 – Yuraccorral
Leaving early in the morning, we drive along the Santa Valley, passing several villages until we reach present-day Yungay, at the foot of Mt. Huascaran. The road winds slowly up into the gulley between the Huascaran massif and the Huandoy three-pronged peak. Soon we arrive at the boundary of Huascaran National Park, home to the Cordillera Blanca, the highest tropical mountain range in the world. Llanganuco, as the area is known, has two lakes, Chinancocha and Orconcocha, each with sparkling, crystalline waters. Chinancocha or “female lake” has an intense turquoise hue, while Orconcocha, “male lake” has sky blue waters. When we reach Cebollapampa, (3900 m / 12,795 ft) we will begin our trek to Lake 69.
We’ll begin with an easy trek on more or less level ground for about an hour, passing through Quenual, also known as Paper Bark forests. We will enjoy a panoramic view of Huascaran Mountain, the highest peak in the Cordillera Blanca, along with Chopicalqui, and Yanapaccha. Now, we ascend a well-marked path that zigzags up to the first small lake, whilst viewing the glacier-topped peaks of Chacraraju, Yanapaccha, Huascaran, and Chopicalqui and pristine waterfalls cascading below. Finally, we’ll reach one last winding section of trail that will lead us to Lake 69. This last section can be challenging for some, but it will be worth it as the lovely lake comes into view, nestled at the base of Pisco and Chacraraju Mountains. We will relax, take pictures, and enjoy lunch amidst the beauty of nature. We’ll descend by the same route to Yuraccorral, where we’ll spend our first night at 3900 m (12,795 ft).
(L / D)
Driving distance: 80 km (50 mi) – Time: 3 hours
Trekking distance: 13.5 km (8.4 mi) – Time: 5-6 hours
Day 2: Yuraccorral – Portachuelo de Llanganuco – Paria
Today we depart early by private bus for the drive to Llanganuco lookout (45 min.), where we will have the privilege of viewing an amazing sunrise over the great panorama of the northern Cordillera Blanca, including Huascarán (6768 m / 22,204 ft), Huandoy (6395 m / 20,981 ft), Pisco (5752 m / 18,871 ft), and Chopicalqui (6354 m / 20,846 ft). Then, we drive up to Portachuelo de Llanganuco Pass (4750 m / 15,583 ft) and down to Vaqueria (3750 m / 12,303 ft) where we’ll find the trailhead and begin our trek.
We’ll start with a descending hike on a leftward-winding trail, which skirts a small ridge and trickles down into the Huaripampa Valley. As we slowly make our way up this valley, we’ll pass a small settlement of farmers, going about their agricultural activities amidst verdant Andean vegetation. The snow-capped peaks of Chacraraju (6112 m / 20,052 ft) and Taulliraju (5830 m / 19,127 ft) loom majestically into view, dwarfing us as we pass through the meadows and fields nestled at their feet. Camp in Paria Valley at 3875 masl (12,713 fasl).
(B / L / D)
Driving distance: 36 km (22.4 mi) – Time: 2 hours
Trekking distance: 8.6 km (5.3 mi) – Time: 5 hours
Day 3: Paria – Punta Union Pass – Taullipampa
We start on an ascending trail towards Punta Union Pass at 4750 m (15,583 ft) This ancient trail saw heavy traffic in pre-Columbian and Colonial times as a route for transporting goods from the eastern side of the Andes to the main valley. As we approach the pass, Mt. Taulliraju will loom above us, and on the other side, a pristine glacial lake and bright white glacier will add color and contrast to the amazing views down the Santa Cruz Valley. The peaks of Quitaraju, Artesonaju, and Rinrijirca will come into view as well as the two lakes of Ichiccocha and Jatuncocha. The trail descends into Taullipampa, where we will spend the night at 4180 m (13,713 ft).
(B / L / D)
Trekking distance: 11 km (6.8 mi) – Time: 7-8 hours
Day 4: Taullipampa – Alpamayo Lookout – Llamaccorral
Today we continue our hike down the Santa Cruz Valley, past the side-valley of Arhuaycocha, with great views of snow-capped mountain peaks, including Mt. Alpamayo. We’ll ascend to an amazing viewpoint to observe the majestic Alpamayo Mountain in all its glory. The landscape changes and scree slopes appear on each side of the marshy meadow as well as a smattering of boulders fallen from the eroded walls above us. Finally, towards the end of the day, we hike out of the ever-narrowing canyon into Llamacorral, where we will camp at 3783 m (12,411 ft).
(B / L / D)
Trekking distance: 14 km (8.7 mi) – Time: 6-7 hours
Day 5: Llamaccorral – Cashapampa – Caraz – Huaraz
A steep descent brings us to Cashapampa (2944 m / 9658 ft) in the early morning. We’ll meet with our private vehicle that will take us back to Huaraz; we’ll take our leave of our team of helpers and relax as the road winds slowly down to the main valley, arriving in Huaraz in the afternoon, where we’ll unwind after a memorable journey amidst some of the most spectacular terrain on earth.
Trekking distance: 7 km (4.3 mi) – Time: 4 hours
Driving distance: 96 km (60 mi) – Time: 3 hours
End of services
B – Breakfast / BL – Box Lunch / L – Lunch / D – Dinner
Lake 69 and the Santa Cruz Trek 4D / 3N
Permits are not confirmed until confirmation from tour company.
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Why we love Explorandes
Explorandes (1975) has been a pioneer in adventure travel. We were the first company to operate the Inca Trail trek, spearheading tourism in remote and rural regions of Peru. Our founders discovered ancient ruins, hidden trails, and the last uncharted rivers in the most fantastic and varied natural landscapes of the Andes. As innovators and passionate adventure enthusiasts, Explorandes gives back to the places we love exploring by creating top quality tailor-made travel experiences.
Explorandes is certified by the Rainforest Alliance and has a proven track record of promoting sustainability in every outing.
What’s Included on your trek?
- Professional bilingual guide
- Double occupancy tents with Thermarest sleeping pads
- All meals during trek
- Non-alcoholic drinks
- Kitchen and dining tents
- Cook and field staff
- Horses and drivers
- Entrance tickets
- Solar energy lamps
- Eco toilets
- Adequate garbage disposal
- First aid kit and oxygen tank
- Personal travel insurance
- Laundry service
- Airline tickets
- Sleeping bags (rent available)
- Personal gear
- Alcoholic beverages
- Additional services
- Regular and long wicking first layer for cold weather, like polyester, nylon, or merino wool
- Short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts, breathable fabrics, like nylon and polyester
- Light-colored long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts
- QuickDry Pants, trekking pants, and shorts
- Insulated long-sleeve jacket (fleece, synthetic, down, merino wool)
- Liner gloves
- Light cap and beany
- Rain jacket (in the rainy season, bring rain pants)
- Breathable sports socks or hiking socks
- Warm socks for nights
- Multifunctional headwear (e.g. Buff)
- Waterproof and breathable hiking boots
- Comfortable and lightweight shoes for campsite
- Sleeping Bag (0°/32° to -15°/ 5°) (rent available)
- Day Pack (preferably with rain cover)
- Trekking Poles (available to rent)
- Waterproof duffle bag
- Microfiber towel
- Sunblock, lip balm, and insect repellent
- Reusable water bottle or vacuum bottle
- Portable Power Bank (to charge lamps, etc)
- Personal First Aid Kit (recommended)
On each trip we carry a medical kit, but we suggest you bring a small personal First-Aid Kit for bruises and blisters. Knee and ankle braces are sometimes useful especially if you suffer from weak knees or ankles. Include any special medication your doctor might suggest for you.
Terms & Conditions
All prices hold for the duration of the calendar year in which they were set. At the end of each calendar year, all prices are reevaluated and/or adjusted. Due in large part to our good relations with hotels, transport companies and operators, we are able to maintain competitive prices. All of our prices include administrative and operational costs.
IMPORTANT: Some properties and third party providers do increase their rates around special holidays and dates, including, for example, Christmas, New Year’s, Inti Raymi, and any other national holiday or special date. In these situations, the price may be higher than the prices we have set and listed for the calendar year.
Payment & Booking:
In order for us to guarantee the highest quality guides, space in the best hotels, and many other ancillary services for your trip, our policy is that we pre-pay for any contracted services before the passenger’s arrival date. Additionally, a large portion of the passenger’s deposit goes towards acquiring the necessary permits required by the governments of the destinations they will be visiting, which is usually a non-refundable fee.
For these reasons, we have set the following payment policies:
– Deposit: Upon booking with Explorandes, $500 deposit per person. Subject to booking value, an additional deposit may be required and we will advise at the time of quotation.
– Balance Due in full: 60 days prior to arrival.
Cancellations & Refunds
In the event that a passenger needs to cancel their trip with Explorandes, a cancellation fee will be charged to the passenger. The amount of the cancellation fee is set according to the number of days in advance of the passenger’s arrival that Explorandes was notified of the cancellation. The amount of the cancellation fee is also dependent on the policies of each provider to whom Explorandes has already issued payment in preparation for the passenger’s trip. Some third-party providers do require Explorandes to pre-pay well in advance of a trip to confirm space and services, and many times these payments are non-refundable.
Explorandes’ cancellation refund policy is as follows:
Cancel 0 – 30 days prior to arrival = 100% non-refundable of total trip cost.
Cancel 31-45 days prior to arrival = 75% non-refundable of total trip cost.
Cancel 46-59 days prior to arrival = 50% non-refundable of total trip cost.
Cancel 60 or more days prior to arrival = loss of deposit
Insurance & Medical
We strongly recommend that every passenger that travels with Explorandes purchase a travel/medical insurance plan before their trip. The passenger can purchase an insurance plan directly through an insurance company of his/her preference at home. If a member of the group gets sick or is incapacitated, Explorandes will help the sick or injured passenger by getting them to a qualified doctor. Any extra costs associated with hospitalization, emergency evacuation, and/or any other costs associated with the illness or injury will be assumed by, and the responsibility of, the individual passenger.
Important – Please read carefully We, Explorandes SAC, reserve the right to modify or withdraw from any travel arrangements when deemed necessary, and when it is in the best interest of our clients. Any bags or luggage are carried at the owner’s own risk throughout the entire duration of the tour. Explorandes SAC acts only in the capacity of an AGENT upon the legal conditions that, while exercising every possible precaution, Explorandes is not responsible for injury, sickness, damage, loss, additional expenses, accidental delay, or other irregularities which may be caused either through willful or negligent acts or omissions on the part of companies or individuals providing or engaged in transportation, accommodation, or other services related to the accomplishment of the tour, or through natural disasters, social upheavals or acts of nature. On day trips, you will sometimes be asked to sign an affidavit, which acts as a release form for risks incurred during your excursion, which is a usual practice for some operators.