Santa Cruz Trek – 5 Days

Santa Cruz Trek: Departures from Huaraz, an adventure town where you can check your gear and pick up snacks for your ride to the trailhead near Vaqueria (12,139 ft / 3700 m) or Cashapampa (9514 ft / 2900 m). Peru’s Cordillera Blanca is one of the most concentrated collections of big peaks in the Western Hemisphere, with 33 summits topping 5,400 meters (18,000 feet).

Following then; one of the most popular ways to discover this mountain range is to hike the Santa Cruz Trek. This trail is considered by many trekkers as one of the best hiking routes in the world. This 50km (31 mile) trail takes you through open mountain valleys, passing high mountain nevadas; along glacial rivers and the shores of translucent & bright lagunas.

The highest point along this 27 mile (43 km) walk is Punta Union Pass (15,616 ft / 4760 m). If you have more time to spend in the wilderness, there are a few side treks you can make, extending the trip to a week or more. Camping out on this route is spectacular, and can be trekked without any technical knowledge required. For beginners at high altitude this is a perfect trek to embark on in the Huaraz region.

The following itinerary starts at Vaqueria.

Day 1
Arrival in Huaraz
Upon arrival in Huaraz this morning, you will be greeted and transferred to your hotel. After you get settled in, you can tour around the town of Huaraz alone. 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 2
Vaquiera to Paria camp
Start in Huaraz and travel 71 miles (114 km) to the trailhead at Vaquiera. The path is well-marked up the Huarípampa Valley, and for the first few hours and you'll pass small farms and a hamlet with traditional Quechua homes with thatched roofs. Camp tonight at Paria campsite (12,795 ft / 3900 m).
  • Distance: 5.5 miles (9 km)
  • Time: 4 hours
Day 3
Paria campsite to Taullipampa
A challenging day of trekking, it's all about pacing yourself and taking in plenty of water. After about three hours of hiking, you’ll reach the Punta Union Pass, a narrow notch in the granite wall of mountains. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with awesome views of Taulliraju (19,127 ft / 5830 m), the glacier-wrapped peak that dominates the views to the north. The Taullicocha laguna far below on the other side of the pass is a beautiful turquoise hue. After enjoying the views set off downhill to camp in the meadow of Taullipampa (13,956 ft / 4254 m).
  • Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)
  • Time: 7 hours
Day 4
Taullipampa to Llamacorral
Pack up your gear and take a look back to the stunning granite walls of Punta Union Pass. From here the trail continues along an area of loose sand and rock — the result of recent floods. An avalanche in recent years broke an ice dam that held back the waters of the small Laguna Arteson Bajo. The resulting flash flood wiped up the trail, so the path has been altered in some parts. This section of the trail passes Lake Jatunchocha (12,749 ft / 3886 m), where you can spend some time lounging by its shores or going for a chilly dip in its waters. Camp tonight at Llamacorral (12,335 ft / 3760 m), a grassy field surrounded by boulders.
  • Distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)
  • Time: 7 hours
Day 5
Llamacorral to Cashapampa
The path continues through a grassy ravine, past waterfalls and steep walls of sheer rock. The path is obvious and you'll finally emerge from the canyon to views of the farmland of the Santa Cruz valley. The long journey finishes in the village of Cashapamapa, where you can catch transport to the town of Caraz, and another ride to Huaraz. Spend the night at your hotel in Huaraz.
  • Distance: 6 miles (10 km)
  • Time: 5 hours
Day 6
Huaraz - Lima
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at your hotel, 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.

Price includes

  • Briefing one day before the trek
  • Collection from your hotel in the morning of the trek departure.
  • 3 nutritious meals per day (vegetarian options available)
  • Drinking water along the trek
  • Bilingual guide (Assistant Guide for groups over 6 passengers).
  • Chef (assistant chef for larger groups).
  • Quadruple tents to be used by two people, allowing more comfort and more space to store backpacks
  • Mules (for equipment and personal items) and muleteers
  • Inflatable mattresses
  • Sleeping liner and pillow.
  • Saddled horse in case of emergencies or if you are making very little progress (this horse is with the group at all time)
  • First aid kit and oxygen bottle
  • Kitchen tent and dining tent with camp tables and chairs
  • Toilet tent
  • Duffel bags (up to 7Kg/15lbs per person). This will be provided by your guide at your briefing.
Price excludes
  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Dinner on the last night.
  • Sleeping bag. If you don’t want to bring your own, we can hire this for you.
  • Tips for guides and field staff.

Tour Info

Breakfast x 4
Lunch x 5
Dinner x 4
Private Transport – collection & drop-off
Professional bilingual guide
Horsemen & mules
All camping equipment (Sleeping bags to hire + Walking sticks)
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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