Grade

Adventurous

A Peru Adventure: Trek the Cordillera Huayhuash

A Peru Adventure: Trek the Cordillera Huayhuash. The Huayhuash eight-day trek is an expedition; especially designed for those trekkers who do not have sufficient time to complete the Huayhuash Circuit (12-15 days); but still want to get to the heart of the Cordillera Huayhuash and undertake some serious hiking.

So then; in addition to the awesome natural scenery; you will experience Peruvian mountain life; encounter local farmhouses and farm animals (cattle, sheep, horses and sometimes alpacas & llamas).  

Though the trek is graded as moderate; you do have to cross four passes above 14,763 ft / 4500 m. This requires a reasonable level of fitness and adequate acclimatization. You do have the option of taking a horse for part of the journey; however you will need to descend from the passes on foot. The hire of a horse requires an additional cost.

For this Peru adventure the hiking hours mentioned in this article are estimated times including rest breaks and lunch stop. Distances mentioned are also estimated. Prior to the start of the trek; you’ll stay in Huaraz (elevation: 10,137 ft / 3090m) for two full days to do short hikes for acclimatization purposes. The trek is approximately 40 miles (65 km) in total – distances mentioned here are estimates.

Highlights

  • Explore Huaraz, the adventure town in the Peruvian highlands
  • Visit Huanuco Pampa ruins, once an important town of the Inca empire
  • Camp at Laguna Carhuacocha to view peaks that soar higher than 20,000 ft
  • View the Laguna Siula Lakes, which appear in various shades of blue and green
  • Enjoy splendid views of Yerupaja Grande, the second highest peak in Peru
  • Test your lungs and physical fitness on this demanding, high altitude trek
Day 1
Arrival in Lima, Transfer to Huaraz
Welcome to Peru! Upon arrival in Lima, transfer to the bus station to board the overnight bus to Huaraz. This bus ride is about 8-hours long. You will arrive in Huaraz early tomorrow morning ready for your Peru adventure.
Day 2
Arrival in Huaraz & City Tour
Upon arrival in Huaraz this morning, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. After you get settled in, you will tour around the town of Huaraz. Including stops at the Plaza Mayor, the Archaeology Museum of Ancash, Temple of Señor de la Soledad. Get a glimpse of what old Huaraz looked like on Jose Olaya street, which is the only street that remained intact after many earthquakes. Stop at the Pinar viewpoint, to get a panoramic view of Huaraz. In the evening, return to your hotel in Huaraz.
Day 3
Visit the Inca ruins of Huanuco Viejo
Following a couple of days in Huaraz for acclimatization, the journey begins with a bus ride of five to six hours (143 miles / 230 km) from Huaraz to Huanuco Pampa (12,275 ft / 3736 m). Along the way, you'll have your first distant views of the breathtaking Cordillera Huayhuash. You'll stop briefly to take in the amazing views and marvel at the vastness of the surrounding countryside. You'll then set up camp at Huanuco Pampa, near the Inca ruins of Huanuco Viejo. Huanuco Viejo was an important Inca settlement, probably a tambo (major stopover point and storage site) built on the main Cuzco-Quito route. The site covers several hundred hectares and substantial ruins remain, including the main temple Usnu, accommodation for the Inca elite, women’s quarters and a garrison, as well as private quarters and baths for visitors. You'll see intricate stonework, as good as any found in Cusco, with solid walls of precisely interlocking stones that have withstood centuries of earthquakes.
Day 4
Hike to Laguna Carhuacocha, views of Yerupaja Grande
Today you'll drive for three to four hours (65 miles / 105 km) between two high altitude villages, from Huanuco Viejo via Baños to Queropalca at (12,467 ft / 3800 m). In Queropalca you'll meet your donkey drivers, load packs on the donkeys and start the trek with a relaxing uphill hike on a gentle gradient to Laguna Carhuacocha (13,779 ft / 4200 m). From the camp, you'll have astonishing views across the lake to the Yerupaja Grande (21,768 ft / 6635 m), Yerupaja Chico (20,082 ft / 6121m), Jirishanca (20,098 ft / 6125 m) and Siula Grande (20,814 ft /6344 m). Distance: 7 miles / 11 km hiking Duration: 4 hours
Day 5
View of the multi-colored Laguna Siula Lakes
Tonight you'll overnight again at Carhuacocha in order to enjoy the mountain surroundings. You'll take a day hike up a side valley past the base of Yerupaja and Siula Grande. Here you'll find three glacial lakes, each one a different shade of blue or green. Avalanches coming off the glaciers into the lakes are sometimes seen here. Note: For the fit and adventurous, it is possible to continue by hiking a circuit past the Siula Glacier to a pass at (15,748 ft / 4800 m), and then return along an unmarked trail through a high hidden valley where we often see wild vicuña grazing, before descending back to Laguna Carhuacocha (a total of eight hours hiking for the day). Alternatively, you may prefer a quiet afternoon trout fishing or rest at the spectacular campsite.
Day 6
Enjoy views of the Yerupaja and Siula Grande peaks
A steady ascent on a good path takes us to Punta Carhuac Pass (15,255 ft / 4650 m), with good opportunities en route for spotting the elusive viscacha, a rodent endemic to the high Andes. From here, weather permitting, you'll enjoy excellent views of the Yerupaja and Siula Grande peaks. Next, you'll descend on grass to the Janca Plateau then head southeast to reach tonight’s camp at another large, trout-filled lake — Laguna Mitucocha (13,943 ft / 4250 m). After lunch, you have the option of walking around the lake. From camp, you'll have superb views of the sheer face of Jirishanca (19,993 ft / 6094 m) and Jirishanka Chico. Groups are not permitted to camp next to the lake, due to a request by local people in order to protect the grass for their animals. The campsite is now a 15-minute hike downriver from the lake in a flat area. Distance: 7.5 miles / 12 km hiking Duration: 4-5 hours
Day 7
Cross the Continental Divide (15,419 ft)
In the morning, you'll continue anti-clockwise across puna grasslands (paramo) and cross the pass — indeed the Continental Divide — at Cacanan Punta (15,419 ft / 4700 m). You'll then descend to the Quebrada Cuncush, a broad valley flanked by vast expanses of forest, and pass a collection of small farms known as Quartelhuain, the site of tonight’s camp (14,271 ft / 4350 m) at Rondo Valley. Distance: 7.5 miles / 12 km hiking Duration: 6-7 hours.
Day 8
See the stunning, milky-blue glacial lake, Solteracocha
Following a long traversing ascent to the Rondoy Pass (15,583 ft / 4750 m) you'll enjoy yet more awesome views of the nearby peaks, the highest being Yerupaja (21,768 ft / 6654 m), Rondoy and others, dominating the panorama. The descent from the pass takes you first past a stunning, milky-blue glacial lake, Solteracocha, and then along the shore of the beautiful Laguna Jahuacocha to a picturesque camp at the head of the lake (13,615 ft / 4150 m). Distance: 8.6 miles / 14 km hiking Time: 7 hours
Day 9
Trout fishing or a hike to Yaucha pass
The awesome setting, together with options for side-trips, means staying an extra day at Laguna Jahuacocha. you can take a day hike up to the Yaucha Pass (15,902 ft / 4847m) to take a look at the western side of the Cordillera Huayhuash range or head up the Quebrada Rasac valley to the Rasaccocha glacial lake. Alternatively, you could enjoy a rest day and go fishing for trout! Why not visit the farmhouse just behind our camp and buy a beer to go with your trout?
Day 10
Finish the trek at Llamac
After an early start and gentle descent for an hour, we start our gradual climb to the final pass, Pampa Llamac (14,107 ft / 4300 m), from where we have our final views of much of the Huayhuash range. Then it's a long descent back to the Llamac valley and the village of Llamac. Distance: 8.6 miles / 14 km hiking Duration: 5.5-6 hours In Llamac, the bus will be waiting to take you back to Huaraz and your hotel for that long-awaited hot shower. You'll arrive in Huaraz at about 6 pm.
Day 11
Huaraz, Transfer to Lima
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at your hotel in Huaraz, then transfer to the bus station for your 8-hour ride back to Lima. You'll arrive in Lima in the evening. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and take time to relax before heading out to wander the city before dinner.
Day 12
Depart Lima
Today is your last day in Peru! You will be met at your hotel for a transfer to the airport, where you will connect to your departure flight. ¡Buen viaje!

Tour Info

Breakfast x 10
Lunch x 8
Dinner x 7
Private Transport – collection & drop-off
Professional bilingual guide
Cook
Horsemen & mules
All camping equipment (Sleeping bags to hire + Walking sticks)
Accommodation in Huaraz – x3 nights
Transfers to Hotel
Hotels before & after (can be organised as part of trip)
Tips for crew
Domestic flights (can be organised as part of trip)
Airport transfers (can be organised as part of trip)
Any additional extras
There will be a pre-trek briefing held usually the evening before departure, at your hotel, to go over the details of the trek and any specific requirements not already captured
Prior to setting off we recommend you steer clear of street food and only eat in good restaurants, to avoid any stomach complaints. Peruvian food can be spicy, it can be strong and rich for many European diets. Likewise with tap water, it is largely untreated, so please avoid at all costs on arrival and stick to bottled water only or sterilised water if you have the right equipment.
We’ll ensure that we cater for all of your dietary needs, at the point of booking we’ll collect this information from you. We can secure special menu requests also for your trek party.
We are able to customise our treks to suit you, but usually our treks are guided by a professional bilingual guide, arriero (horseman) and mules to carry all equipment (passenger horses also available on request), and a mountain cook. They become a large part of your trekking expedition and it’s a great experience working together.
This is a really important part of your trip planning process, please find a link below which explains a little more about preparing for altitude.
Attached below are a couple of links which will explain how to prepare for your trip & trek in advance of your arrival. We recommend being prepared in advance to save time & stress whilst you’re in Peru.
From June through to the end of September, we’re offering one person free on all of our treks for group sizes of 3+. If you are a group of 2 you can add one person for free, or if you’re a group of 3 the third person joins free and so on.

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