23 Best Hidden Gem Day Trips From Huaraz Peru
Are you looking for unforgettable adventures amid the stunning landscapes of Huaraz, Peru? Dive into this comprehensive guide on the best day trips, carefully crafted based on our recent exploration of the region!
In this Best Day Trips from Huaraz guide, you’ll discover:
- The iconic Laguna 69, a jewel located in the Cordillera Blanca
- The mesmerizing Laguna Wilcacocha with its unparalleled views
- The breathtaking experience of visiting the retreating Pastoruri Glacier
- Kayaking escapades at the serene Laguna Llanganuco
- Thrilling ice climbing at the summit of Nevado Mateo
- Exploring the ancient Chavin de Huantar ruins, a step back in time
- The off-the-beaten-path allure of Laguna Llaca for the adventurous souls
- The classic Laguna Churup, surrounded by towering peaks
- Relaxing at the soothing Monterrey Hot Springs after a day of exploration
- And many more lesser-known, yet equally enchanting, day trip options
Join us for a virtual journey as you explore the diverse wonders Huaraz has to offer, unlocking the secrets of each spectacular day trip along the way.
Hike to Laguna 69
Don’t miss the breathtaking journey to Laguna 69, an essential experience for any traveler exploring Huaraz. This azure jewel is located in the mountains east of Yungay, and its fame extends beyond the region, making it a must-visit spot in Peru. Wondering why it’s on everyone’s bucket list? The answer lies not only in the lake’s beauty but also in the spectacular hike leading to it.
Embark on the breathtaking journey to Laguna 69, an essential experience for any traveler exploring Huaraz. This azure jewel is nestled in the mountains east of Yungay, and its fame extends beyond the region, making it a must-visit spot in Peru. Wondering why it’s on everyone’s bucket list? The answer lies not only in the lake’s beauty but also in the spectacular hike leading to it.
Situated at a dizzying 4600 meters above sea level, the trek to Laguna 69 is a literal and figurative breath-taker. The 6-kilometer trail, though not extensive, commands respect as it ascends 800 meters. The combination of steep inclines and the challenge of high altitude can slow even the most seasoned hikers. Ensure you acclimate to Huaraz’s elevation before embarking on this adventure; otherwise, the breathtaking views might leave you breathless in more ways than one.
Laguna 69 is the Insta-famous destination that beckons backpackers every morning. The goal? Capture the perfect shot. The hike, though demanding, promises Instagram-worthy vistas. Along the way, you’ll encounter another gem, Laguna Llanganuco. If Laguna 69 feels too ambitious, a Llanganuco Day Tour offers a more leisurely experience, allowing you to revel in the beauty without the demanding ascent.
Tours & Logistics
To maximize your adventure, consider a Laguna 69 Tour. While it’s possible to navigate public transport independently, opting for a tour offers a hassle-free experience at a comparable cost. The tour, beginning with a pickup from your accommodation between 4:30 and 5 AM, ensures you’re in the capable hands of a licensed guide. The journey itself, with stunning views of Huascarán, Huandoy, and Yanapaccha, becomes an integral part of the experience.
The excursion follows a well-planned schedule. After a quick breakfast stop at a local eatery, you’ll commence the hike around 9 or 10 AM, providing ample time to complete the trail within six hours. The guides stress the importance of reaching the lake by 1 PM; otherwise, you’ll need to turn back to ensure the group departs for Huaraz by 3 PM. This punctuality ensures a seamless adventure, allowing you to absorb the beauty of Laguna 69 without worries.
Visit Pastoruri Glacier
A must-visit in Huaraz, Pastoruri Glacier beckons with its breathtaking beauty and a poignant reminder of nature’s delicate balance. Perched at a staggering 5250 meters above sea level, the glacier offers a mesmerizing spectacle. However, time is of the essence, as Pastoruri Glacier is rapidly retreating, and its future existence is uncertain, making a visit now a privileged experience.
Pastoruri Glacier holds a unique status as one of the last glaciers in South America situated in Equatorial areas. Witnessing its decline is a stark reminder of environmental changes. Due to its high altitude, this glacier should be reserved as the final day-trip on your Huaraz itinerary. The relatively moderate hike to the glacier takes around 40 minutes from the parking lot on a paved path, but the elevation poses a challenge.
Tours & Logistics
Currently, public transport to Pastoruri Glacier from Huaraz is unavailable. To access this natural wonder, you can explore local travel agencies offering scheduled trips or opt for a pre-booked Pastoruri Glacier Tour. These tours often include transportation and captivating stops along the way, such as the scenic Patococha Lake, the vast Pumapampa plain, and a glimpse of the Queen of the Andes, a towering plant reaching nearly 15 meters in height.
Once at the glacier, you’re granted approximately an hour to capture its magnificence from every conceivable angle. However, for safety reasons, venturing behind the ropes is discouraged. The high altitude demands warm clothing, as temperatures can plummet, and the weather can be capricious. From morning sun to sudden clouds, hail, and even intense storms, Pastoruri Glacier presents a dynamic and unpredictable environment.
Hike to Laguna Churup
Explore the captivating journey to Laguna Churup, a hidden gem among Huaraz’s day-hike destinations. Despite its lesser-known status, Laguna Churup stands out for its spectacular beauty and unique features. Located at 4450 meters above sea level, the lake offers an elevation adventure that is both invigorating and awe-inspiring.
The trail to Laguna Churup spans a modest 3 kilometers, but don’t let the distance deceive you. The steady climb, gaining 600 meters in elevation, ensures a challenging yet fulfilling two-hour ascent. Along the way, nature unfolds its wonders — majestic mountains, verdant hills, and captivating waterfalls. A touch of excitement is added with a section requiring ropes, providing a thrilling dimension to the hike (though an alternative route is available for those seeking a less challenging path).
Upon reaching Laguna Churup, be prepared for a mystical experience. Clouds and mist may momentarily shroud the lake, creating an ethereal atmosphere. As nature weaves its magic, the clouds lift, revealing the mesmerizing blue-green mirror-like surface of the lake. For the adventurous souls with extra energy, an extension to Laguna Churupita adds another layer of exploration, taking approximately one hour each way.
Tours & Logistics
What makes Laguna Churup truly special is its accessibility for solo travelers. Begin your journey by hopping on a colectivo bound for Pitek in the morning. While the pick-up point requires a bit of a walk from the town center, the early start is key. The colectivo, departing as early as 7 am, might take some time to fill up, but the wait is worth it. The van not only drops you off at the trailhead but also patiently awaits your return to take you back to Huaraz. This self-guided adventure allows you to set your pace and immerse yourself in the natural beauty surrounding Laguna Churup.
For those who prefer a guided experience, Laguna Churup tours can be pre-booked, offering the convenience of organized transportation and expert guidance.
Kayak at Laguna Llanganuco
For those seeking a more relaxed adventure near Huaraz, Laguna Llanganuco provides a serene alternative to the strenuous Laguna 69. Located amidst the breathtaking scenery of the Cordillera Blanca, this vast turquoise lake offers an idyllic setting for kayaking and enjoying the outdoors.
While Laguna Llanganuco might not boast the same adrenaline-pumping challenge as its counterpart, it serves as an excellent option for those with limited physical ability or families traveling with kids. The tranquil waters of the lake invite you to explore at your own pace, providing a more accessible yet equally beautiful experience.
If you’ve already conquered the heights of Laguna 69, the question of whether to venture to Laguna Llanganuco arises. Truthfully, if you’ve made the trek to Laguna 69, the return trip for Llanganuco might not be worth the effort. However, for those seeking a more leisurely day surrounded by natural beauty, Laguna Llanganuco is an excellent choice.
Tours & Logistics
Booking a tour to Laguna Llanganuco is a convenient way to ensure a hassle-free experience. Krusty Travel Hostel is a recommended option, often offering competitive prices and serving as a comfortable place to stay. If they are not offering the tour at the time, various reputable tour groups in town provide similar experiences, so opting for the best price is a sensible choice.
In summary, Laguna Llanganuco stands as a peaceful retreat for those looking to enjoy the outdoors without the physical demands of more challenging hikes. Whether you’re gliding across the turquoise waters in a kayak or simply soaking in the tranquility of the surroundings, Laguna Llanganuco offers a delightful escape amidst the spectacular landscapes of the Cordillera Blanca.
Hike to Laguna Paron
Discover the majesty of Laguna Paron, the largest lake in the Cordillera Blanca, a true gem within Huascaran National Park. Sitting at almost 4200 meters above sea level, this day-trip destination offers a breathtaking experience best enjoyed when well acclimatized to the altitude.
The lake’s mesmerizing light blue hue, a result of melting glaciers, is just the beginning of its allure. Located in a valley sculpted by a long-gone glacier, Laguna Paron provides a stunning backdrop with snow-covered peaks like Chacraraju mountain, Nevado Piramide, and the famous Artesonraju mountain—known as the iconic peak in the Paramount Pictures logo.
Upon reaching Laguna Paron, you’re spoiled for choice on how to spend your time. A lakeside stroll on the left side, a boat ride to appreciate the views from the water, or a climb to the viewpoint on the right side—each option promises extraordinary vistas. Opting for the latter, we found ourselves on the top, even under a slightly cloudy sky, reveling in the perfect views that stretched out before us.
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Tours & Logistics
Getting to Laguna Paron offers two routes. A 10-kilometer hike from Pueblo Paron, where spending a night in the small town of Caraz is recommended for a colectivo journey to Pueblo Paron the next day. Alternatively, a winding unsealed road leads directly to the lake’s shore by car.
When traveling from Huaraz, public transport options involve an early morning colectivo journey from Huaraz to Caraz and then from Caraz to Pueblo Paron. Taxis are also available from Caraz. Opting for a Laguna Paron Tour from Huaraz provides convenience, albeit skipping the hiking part as the van transports you directly to the lake, offering ample time to explore the surroundings.
Despite the time it takes to reach Laguna Paron, its unparalleled beauty has made it one of the most popular day hikes from Huaraz.
Ice Climbing Nevado Mateo
Go on an exhilarating day trip with ice climbing to summit Nevado Mateo, a challenging ascent that promises both minimal effort and maximum rewards. Standing tall at 5,150 meters (16,896 feet), this mountain peak offers an opportunity to experience ice climbing with ice axes and a harness, making it a truly brag-worthy adventure.
A tour to Nevado Mateo Summit typically includes all the necessary equipment for ice climbing, eliminating the need to rent gear. The tour starts early, with a pick-up from your hotel or hostel at 3:00 AM. A 2-hour drive to the trailhead sets the stage for the climb, commencing around 5/5:30 AM. The ascent covers 3 km/1.8 miles with a 400 meter/1,300 feet elevation gain, taking approximately 2 hours to reach the summit. Given the altitude, a slower pace is expected, making the climb a challenging yet achievable feat.
Tours & Logistics
Expect a total trip duration of about 9 hours, ensuring a mid-day return to Huaraz. The experience is not just about conquering the summit; it’s about immersing yourself in the thrill of ice climbing while surrounded by the stunning landscapes of the Cordillera Blanca.
For those considering this icy challenge, booking through Krusty Travel Hostel is recommended. Known for competitive prices, quality gear, and providing a comfortable stay, it’s a convenient option, especially when dealing with a 3:00 AM pick-up. The day before the climb, the hostel ensures you’re well-prepared, allowing you to try on boots and confirming your readiness for the adventure.
Ice-climbing Nevado Mateo Summit comes with a price tag of about S/200 ($50 USD), excluding the entrance fee to Huascaran National Park, which is S/30 ($8 USD). For those planning additional activities within the national park, a 3-day pass is available for S/60 ($15 USD), and a month pass for S/150 ($38 USD).
Hike to Laguna Wilcacocha
Go on a unique adventure with the hike to Laguna Wilcacocha, a hidden gem located in the less-explored Cordillera Negra, a mountain range surrounding Huaraz. Unlike its Cordillera Blanca counterparts, the appeal of Laguna Wilcacocha lies not solely in the lake itself but in the panoramic views that unfold along the journey.
Situated at 3700 meters above sea level, Laguna Wilcacocha offers a different perspective of Peru’s countryside. The trek, taking only half a day from Huaraz, provides an immersive experience into the true Peruvian rural landscape, with the majestic backdrop of the Cordillera Blanca creating a stunning visual contrast.
Tours & Logistics
To reach the trailhead, a 30-minute colectivo ride to Puenta Santa Cruz sets the stage for your adventure. Keep in mind that the path may not always be well-marked, making it advisable to rely on offline maps for navigation. The less structured nature of this hike adds an element of exploration, allowing you to appreciate the authenticity of the Peruvian countryside.
Laguna Wilcacocha is more than just a hike; it’s the perfect excursion for those still adjusting to the altitude. As the trail is at a lower elevation and takes a relatively short half-day, it provides an ideal opportunity for acclimatization, allowing you to ease into the altitude while enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings.
Trail Run or Trek the Santa Cruz Trail
While not technically a day trip unless you’re into trail running like us, don’t miss the breathtaking Santa Cruz Trek, a multi-day adventure through the scenic valleys of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. Named after the prominent 6,259-meter (20,535-foot) Santa Cruz mountain, this trek spans 50 kilometers (31 miles) over typically 3 to 4 days.
Immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes, passing by turquoise and deep blue lakes nestled amidst snow-capped peaks. Each night, you’ll camp under the star-lit sky, creating an unforgettable experience. While the trek is moderate to difficult, with an average altitude of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) and a maximum altitude of 4,750 meters (15,584 feet) at the Punta Union Pass, the natural beauty surrounding you makes every step worthwhile.
For the adventurous souls, independent trekking is an option, provided you have prior trekking experience and your own camping gear. However, if you’re new to the terrain, opting for an experienced guide is highly recommended. Huaraz offers a multitude of trekking companies to choose from, ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey.
Be prepared for the S/. 60 ($17 USD) entry fee, covering a short multi-day pass to Huascaran National Park. Whether you decide to go independently or with a tour, the Santa Cruz Trek promises an unforgettable exploration of Huaraz’s stunning mountainous landscapes.
Visit Hatun Machay Rock Forest
Go on an exhilarating climbing escapade at Hatun Machay Rock Forest, a renowned climbing destination located approximately two hours from Huaraz. Amidst the varied outdoor activities in the region, Hatun Machay stands out as a haven for climbers, offering diverse routes suitable for every skill level.
For those seeking an introduction to climbing, Los Olivos, a mere ten-minute drive from Huaraz, provides an ideal spot for bouldering. This serves as a precursor to the more extensive challenges that await at Hatun Machay. The rock forest is celebrated globally among climbers for its unique and captivating terrain, ensuring an unforgettable experience amid the stunning backdrop of the Andes.
Hatun Machay is not just a climbing destination; it’s a testament to the diversity of outdoor adventures in Huaraz. From introductory bouldering to challenging climbs, the rock forest caters to climbers of all backgrounds and preferences. While Los Olivos offers a taste of climbing excitement close to the city, Hatun Machay expands the horizons, beckoning those with a passion for vertical exploration.
Prepare for an extraordinary journey into the heart of Hatun Machay, where the rugged beauty of the Andes converges with the thrill of rock climbing. Whether you’re a novice seeking a new challenge or an experienced climber looking for uncharted routes, Hatun Machay promises a climbing adventure like no other.
Hike to Laguna 513
Another hidden gem of Huaraz is the hike to Laguna 513, a tranquil alternative to the popular Laguna 69. Offering vibrant blue waters set against the majestic backdrop of Hualcan mountain, Laguna 513 provides a serene experience without the bustling crowds.
Located at an elevation of 4,431 meters (14,537 feet), the hike includes an elevation gain of 865 meters (2,837 feet). The trail spans 15 km (9 miles), a moderate yet rewarding journey that takes approximately 6-7 hours to complete, excluding transportation time. This in-and-out trail is well-marked, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a self-guided adventure or acclimatization before more challenging treks.
Tours & Logistics
The trailhead is situated in Carhuaz, specifically in Shonquipampa, approximately an hour’s drive from Huaraz. Accessing the trailhead is possible by private taxi or by taking a colectivo to Carhuaz, followed by a taxi to the Shonquipampa valley. Additionally, guided tours for Laguna 513 are available in Huaraz.
An attractive feature of Laguna 513 is the absence of an entrance fee, making it an accessible option for solo travelers. The well-marked trail instills confidence for those comfortable hiking alone, provided they have the appropriate gear and are adequately prepared. For a more social experience, inviting friends to join or opting for guided tours in Huaraz is an alternative.
Visit Chavin de Huantar Ruins
Delve into the ancient wonders of Chavin de Huantar, a hidden gem that predates even the famed Machu Picchu by 3,500 years. This archaeological marvel stands as a testament to a civilization that crafted a vast and intricate city, challenging our understanding of ancient societies. Visiting Chavin de Huantar, along with the enlightening Chavin Museum, promises an eye-opening day trip from Huaraz.
The ruins of Chavin de Huantar offer a glimpse into a civilization that flourished millennia before the cradles of more widely recognized ancient cultures. The complexity of the city’s architecture and the intricacy of its carvings showcase the advanced knowledge and skills possessed by the people of Chavin.
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Tours & Logistics
To make the most of your visit, many tour operators conveniently bundle the trip to Chavin de Huantar with a visit to Laguna Querecocha, creating a well-rounded experience that caters to both history enthusiasts and nature lovers. This balanced option ensures a captivating journey, showcasing the historical significance of Chavin de Huantar alongside the natural beauty of Laguna Querecocha.
Alternatively, you can hire a taxi from Huaraz to Chavin de Huantar for $35-45 USD each way. Unfortunately, there is no colectivo driving this route, so logistics is on the pricier side.
Hike the Four Lagunas Trek
Get ready for a thrilling adventure with the Four Lagunas Trek, an awe-inspiring day hike in the heart of the Cordillera Blanca near Huaraz. This challenging loop covers a distance of 23.5 km and demands 9-11 hours to complete, making it a test of endurance and a rewarding exploration of the Andean landscapes.
The trailhead for this demanding trek is Wilcahuain, and the route encompasses an accumulated elevation gain of 1,580 meters. Considered very difficult, the Four Lagunas Trek is not for the faint-hearted, but the panoramic rewards from Paso del Zorro are unparalleled. The breathtaking views along the journey make it a must for avid trekkers seeking the best Huaraz has to offer.
The trek takes you through a sequence of stunning lagunas, including Laguna Radian, Mullaca, Carhuac, and Ahuac. Each lake presents its unique charm, surrounded by the dramatic beauty of the Cordillera Blanca. For those seeking a less strenuous experience, day hikes to individual lagunas like Radian or Ahuac are viable options. However, the true essence of the Four Lagunas Trek unfolds when completing the entire loop, reaching Laguna Mullaca or pushing further to Paso del Zorro.
The highlight of the trek is Paso del Zorro, where the unparalleled views elevate the entire journey. As you stand at this vantage point, the rugged peaks and pristine lagunas create a mesmerizing spectacle, making the challenging hike worthwhile.
To undertake this adventure, prepare for a long day on the trail, ensuring you have adequate provisions and gear. Wilcahuain serves as the starting point, and the loop unfolds through varying terrains, from serene lagunas to challenging elevations.
Climb One of the Lesser Known Peaks
For the seasoned hiker or mountaineer, Huaraz opens up a world of lesser-known peaks to conquer, adding an exhilarating dimension to your outdoor adventure. The possibilities are extensive, and if you’re up for a challenge, exploring these peaks is a must.
Consider summiting Vallunaraju, standing tall at 5,686 meters (18,655 feet), offering a thrilling two-day climb. Yanapaccha, at 5,460 meters (17,913 feet), presents another exciting two-day climb, while Pisco, reaching 5,752 meters (18,871 feet), offers a three-day ascent. These peaks promise not only breathtaking views but also a sense of accomplishment as you conquer their heights.
For those eager to enhance their mountaineering skills, there are mountaineering courses available in Huaraz. While our schedule didn’t permit participation during our visit, it’s an enticing prospect for future adventures. These courses can be a valuable investment, providing the necessary skills and knowledge for tackling more challenging ascents.
When venturing into mountaineering in Huaraz, meticulous research is essential. Numerous reputable companies offer guided climbs and expeditions, ensuring a safe and memorable experience. As you plan your ascent, delve into the options, assess your skill level, and choose a company with a solid reputation to make the most of your mountaineering adventure in Huaraz.
Hike to Laguna Llaca
For a trail less traveled, don’t miss the Hike to Laguna Llaca, an off-the-beaten-path adventure ideal for the adventurous souls seeking a unique experience near Huaraz. While information about this trail is scarce on the internet, those who have ventured here speak of its stunning landscapes and the sense of isolation from the more frequented Huaraz lakes.
This challenging 18 km (11 miles) in-and-out hike offers a distinctive adventure, taking approximately 7 hours to complete, excluding transportation time. It caters to the down-for-whatever travelers who crave a more secluded and less explored natural haven. The trailhead is located close to Laguna Churup, about 27 km from Huaraz in Huascaran National Park.
The elevation of Laguna Llaca is 4,470 meters (14,665 feet), and the hike involves an elevation gain of 938 meters (3,077 feet). Due to its remote location and the challenges involved in navigating the trail, solo travel is not recommended. However, for those keen on the adventure, joining a group of fellow travelers to share a taxi and explore Laguna Llaca together is a viable and exciting option.
Accessing Laguna Llaca requires a bit of effort. Travelers can opt for a private taxi, and local drivers are usually familiar with the route and can provide a reasonable fare. Alternatively, taking a collectivo to Marian and commencing the trail from Lazy Dog Inn is another viable option. As always, it’s essential to confirm the details with locals or tour guides, as information on the internet may be limited.
Huascaran National Park charges an entrance fee of S/30 ($8 USD) for access to the pristine landscapes surrounding Laguna Llaca. The difficulty in reaching the lake underscores the importance of preparation and appropriate gear, emphasizing the need for caution and prudence.
Go Mountain Biking
For those who prefer the thrill of wheels over the crunch of hiking boots, mountain biking emerges as an exhilarating option in Huaraz. The rugged terrains and breathtaking landscapes set the stage for an adventure on two wheels, making it a popular activity for those seeking an adrenaline rush.
Joining a mountain bike tour is the ideal way to explore the stunning mountain views and traverse through quaint rural villages that dot the Huaraz region. The experience is not only about the thrill of the ride but also about immersing yourself in the diverse and picturesque surroundings.
If you haven’t brought your own mountain bike, fear not. Joining a tour is the norm, and Chakinani Peru Mountain Bike Adventures stands out as the go-to choice for many enthusiasts. This reputable company not only provides top-notch equipment but also offers the expertise of a knowledgeable guide to lead you to the best spots. The convenience of a guided tour ensures that you make the most of your biking experience, exploring hidden gems and navigating the challenging terrains with confidence.
Hike to Laguna Rajucolta
Go on a tranquil journey to the hidden gem of Huaraz, Laguna Rajucolta—a lesser-known destination that boasts its own unique beauty. While it may not be as popular as some of the other Huaraz lakes, Laguna Rajucolta offers a serene and captivating experience, making it a worthwhile excursion for those seeking a quieter retreat.
The hike to Laguna Rajucolta unfolds through the majestic Nevado Huantsan mountains, presenting a three-hour flat and peaceful trail. This makes it an ideal choice for acclimatization, allowing you to adjust to Huaraz’s altitude and prepare for more challenging hikes in the region. The simplicity of the trail doesn’t compromise on the beauty it unveils, with each step offering a glimpse of the pristine landscapes surrounding the lake.
Considered an easy to moderate hike, Laguna Rajucolta provides a gateway for nature lovers and hikers of varying skill levels. The duration of the entire journey is approximately six hours, including a one-hour drive each way. This well-balanced timeframe ensures that you can fully immerse yourself in the tranquility of the trail and savor the moments spent at the lake.
To access Laguna Rajucolta, it’s worth noting that, as of my last knowledge update, transportation to the lake is primarily offered by tour companies. However, for those with a sense of adventure, inquiring at your accommodation’s reception might reveal opportunities to explore this hidden lake independently.
Visit the Wilcahuain Ruins
Join a captivating half-day excursion to the Wilcahuain Ruins, a mere 7 kilometers from Huaraz. Accessible by an easy walk or drive, this trip also serves as a valuable acclimatization experience for those adjusting to the altitude.
Divided into two sets of well-preserved ruins, both within a brief 10-minute distance, the site offers a fascinating glimpse into the Wari Empire’s legacy, dating back to 600 to 900 AD. The ruins, set against the Vallunaraju and Ranrapalca mountains, stand as impressive stone structures and chambers that evoke the solitude of a bygone era.
During your visit, explore the remarkable 3-story temple adorned with an intricate ventilation system—a testament to the advanced engineering of the Wari civilization. This temple once housed the mummified bodies of Wari ancestors, adding a layer of historical significance to the experience.
The absence of crowds enhances the serene ambiance, allowing for an immersive journey through these ancient remnants. Wilcahuain Ruins provide a tangible link to Peru’s rich cultural history, making it a must-visit for those seeking both archaeological wonders and a chance to acclimate to the stunning landscapes surrounding Huaraz.
Hike to Laguna Shallap
Embark on a mesmerizing journey to Laguna Shallap, a hidden gem near Huaraz nestled in the Cordillera Blanca and accessed from Pitec. This lesser-known trail, starting at the same point as the popular Laguna Churup hike, promises a unique and tranquil experience.
Spanning 24 kilometers round trip with a moderate difficulty level, the hike to Laguna Shallap takes approximately 6 to 8 hours, offering a more secluded alternative to the bustling trails. Unlike its more frequented counterparts, you’ll likely see no other hikers during your entire day on this picturesque route.
The allure of Laguna Shallap lies in its otherworldly green hue, a striking departure from the typical blue tones of Huaraz’s lakes. As you reach the vivid green lake, the breathtaking scenery will undoubtedly leave you speechless. This distinct color adds to the charm of the journey, offering a refreshing change for those seeking a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience.
Starting from the trailhead in Pitec, the hike presents a manageable accumulated elevation gain of 670 meters. Laguna Shallap stands as a testament to the diverse beauty hidden in the Cordillera Blanca, inviting adventurers to explore its tranquility away from the well-trodden paths of more popular lakes in the region.
Relax at the Monterrey Hot Springs
Rejuvenate your body and unwind at the Monterrey Hot Springs, located just a brief ten-minute drive from Huaraz’s city center. These soothing hot springs offer the perfect respite after a challenging hike or for a leisurely day of acclimatization.
Getting there is both easy and affordable. Opt for a quick taxi ride or hop on the local bus at Centenario street with the number 1 minibus headed to Monterrey. Ensure with the driver that you’re en route to “Banos Termales de Monterrey.” Stay on the bus until it completes its route and turns around—your signal to disembark. The bus fare is a mere 1 sol each way, making it a budget-friendly option.
Entrance to the hot springs is priced at 15 soles ($4 USD). Once inside, immerse yourself in the rejuvenating waters, with options including a larger cold pool and various small hot pools. The facilities also provide hot showers and changing rooms, so consider bringing a change of clothes for post-soak comfort.
When it’s time to return to town, catch the bus at the same spot where you were dropped off. Buses operate regularly throughout the day, ensuring a convenient and hassle-free journey back to Huaraz after your blissful relaxation at Monterrey Hot Springs.
Hike to Laguna Hualcacocha
Another hidden gem among Huaraz trails is the Laguna Hualcacocha hike. This lesser-known gem offers a unique experience, combining natural beauty and a manageable trek just a short distance from Huaraz.
The trail is an out-and-back adventure spanning approximately 10 kilometers, making it a manageable journey of 3.5 to 5 hours. With an accumulated elevation gain of 600 meters, the hike presents a moderate challenge suitable for those seeking a rewarding yet accessible outdoor excursion.
Commencing from the AN-107 trailhead, near the town of Carhuac, the trek unfolds along the picturesque Ulta River. As you ascend through a steep climb, a pristine forest reveals itself, adding an extra layer of enchantment to your journey. The climax of this exploration awaits as you arrive at the stunning Laguna Hualcacocha, adorned with remarkable turquoise hues reminiscent of the famous Laguna 69.
What sets Laguna Hualcacocha apart is not only its beauty but also its accessibility. The trailhead is conveniently closer to Huaraz, offering a shorter journey to the lake compared to other renowned destinations. This makes Laguna Hualcacocha an ideal choice for those seeking a captivating day hike without venturing too far from the vibrant town of Huaraz.
Explore the Red Cliffs of Pukaventana
Discover the scenic wonders of the Pukaventana (Red Window) trail, a local gem that offers an easy to moderate hiking experience. The journey begins right on the outskirts of Huaraz, making it a convenient day-hike for those eager to witness the breathtaking geography of the glaciated peaks in the northern and southern Cordillera Blanca, as well as the more rounded summits of the Cordillera Negra.
What sets Pukaventana apart is its accessibility, providing the citizens of Huaraz with a rare opportunity for a 360º panoramic view, showcasing the world’s highest tropical mountain range. This vantage point allows you to absorb the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, immersing yourself in the unique topography of the region.
The trek typically takes a few hours, making it a manageable day activity. Additionally, the well-maintained trails offer the option of running for those seeking a more dynamic experience. As you traverse the Pukaventana trail, you’ll find yourself captivated by the diverse mountainous terrain, providing a glimpse into the natural wonders that make Huaraz an extraordinary destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Hike to Laguna Yanacocha and Uruscocha
Enjoy a challenging adventure with the Laguna Yanacocha and Laguna Uruscocha day hike, a trail less traveled in the Cordillera Blanca near Huaraz. This 17-kilometer out-and-back trek is not for the faint of heart, offering a demanding yet rewarding experience for avid hikers.
Starting from Pashpa, near Huaraz, the journey unfolds through rugged terrain, devoid of the usual trail markers. Unlike well-defined paths in the region, this trail is less frequented and lacks signposts, adding an extra layer of adventure to the trek. The absence of hordes of tourists enhances the sense of exploration, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a unique and challenging hiking experience.
Completing the hike entails an elevation gain of 840 meters, making it a strenuous endeavor that demands both physical and mental resilience. The trail’s difficulty is heightened by its undefined nature, contributing to the allure of the Laguna Yanacocha and Uruscocha hike.
As you conquer this demanding trail, the payoff comes in the form of not just one but two stunning lakes. The pristine beauty of Yanacocha and Uruscocha provides a tranquil backdrop, offering a serene escape from the more frequented trails in the Cordillera Blanca.
For those who relish the thrill of an unmarked and challenging path, the Laguna Yanacocha and Uruscocha day hike presents an unparalleled opportunity to explore the less-discovered wonders of the Andean landscape.
Hike to Laguna Queshquecocha
Embark on the hidden gem of Huaraz, the Laguna Queshquecocha hike, a tranquil and lesser-known trail nestled in the Queshque Valley. This easy out-and-back trek spans 6 kilometers and takes approximately 2.5 hours, offering a delightful escape at the southern end of the Cordillera Blanca massif.
The trailhead, Laguna Queshquecocha, serves as the gateway to a scenic exploration that includes three picturesque lakes. Along the way, you’ll encounter the titular Laguna Queshquecocha, Laguna Jarpococha, and Laguna Queshque, each contributing to the serene beauty of the valley.
A distinctive feature of this hike is the rare Puya Raimondii forest within the valley, adding an extra layer of uniqueness to the experience. The easy difficulty level makes it accessible for a wide range of hikers, providing an opportunity for a relaxed yet rewarding adventure near Huaraz.
Laguna Queshquecocha remains a well-kept secret, offering an unspoiled and peaceful environment for those seeking a quieter escape in the Cordillera Blanca. As you traverse this hidden trail, you’ll be treated to the natural beauty of pristine lakes and the enchanting Puya Raimondii forest, making it a perfect addition to your Huaraz hiking itinerary.
Where to Rent Gear in Huaraz
When gearing up for your adventure in Huaraz, finding the right equipment is crucial. For hiking clothes, the main street boasts outdoor apparel stores offering a variety of essentials, including windbreaker jackets, winter coats, hiking pants, and base layers. Recognizable brands like Patagonia, Cotopaxi, and Columbia line the shelves, ensuring quality gear for your trek. However, be prepared to pay similar prices to those in the U.S.
If you’re on a budget or seeking a quick, affordable solution for a one-time trek, explore the second-hand clothing stores just behind the main street, near the Central Market. Here, you can snag hiking attire at a fraction of the cost, allowing you to gear up without breaking the bank.
For those in need of gear rentals, especially items like hiking poles, tents, sleeping bags, or winter coats, Mont Blanc Trekking & Climbing is a reliable choice. This rental service provides adventurers with well-maintained equipment, sparing you the hassle of purchasing gear for short-term use. Conveniently located in Huaraz, Mont Blanc Trekking & Climbing ensures you have the necessary tools for a successful and comfortable trek through the stunning landscapes that await.
Where to Book Tours in Huaraz
When it comes to booking tours in Huaraz, Krusty Hostel, in collaboration with Huayhuash Expeditions for extended treks, emerges as a top recommendation. Our experience consistently found them offering the best prices and high-quality gear, making them a reliable choice for your adventure needs. They streamline the process, saving you both time and energy.
Despite the numerous ‘TOURS’ signs scattered throughout Huaraz, shopping around may not yield significant differences in packages or service. Having booked with various groups, we discovered that many offer identical tour packages, sometimes even combining groups. The differentiator often boils down to pricing, with Krusty standing out as a cost-effective option.
For day tours, spontaneous bookings are generally feasible, requiring only 1-2 days’ advance notice unless it’s a holiday. However, for early morning activities scheduled between 3-5 AM, consider adding a time cushion the day before to ensure a seamless experience. In the case of longer treks like Santa Cruz or Huayhuash, securing your spot well in advance is advisable. Booking upon arrival in Huaraz or after your initial hike ensures availability for these popular treks.
In summary, for a hassle-free and budget-conscious tour booking experience in Huaraz, Krusty Hostel remains a go-to option, offering competitive prices and efficient service.
Huascaran National Park Entrance Fees
Exploring the breathtaking landscapes of Huascaran National Park in Huaraz comes with a price, particularly for budget travelers. Entry fees are tiered based on the duration of your visit. A one-day ticket costs S/.30, suitable for a brief exploration. If you plan to immerse yourself in the region for two to three days, the entrance fee is S/.60. For more extensive hiking adventures near Huaraz, consider the multi-day pass, ranging from four to thirty days, priced at S/.150.
While the admission fees to Huascaran National Park may appear steep, the experience is undeniably worth every penny. The park’s stunning natural beauty, diverse ecosystems, and iconic peaks make the investment in entrance fees a valuable contribution to the preservation and enjoyment of this remarkable destination.
Which of the Day Trips from Huaraz is Your Favorite?
So that’s it, our in-depth guide on the best day trips from Huaraz. Whether you want to spend your days hiking, hanging from a cliff, or sightseeing, there’s something for everyone. Let us know in the comments below which day trip was your favorite!