Santa Cruz trek in the Cordillera Blanca

The most popular trek in the Cordillera Blanca on trails above 4000 meters in the world’s highest tropical mountain range.

Experience the most popular trek in the Cordillera Blanca on trails above 4000 meters in the world’s highest tropical mountain range; the realm of great 6000-meter summits such as Huascarán, Taulliraju, and Chacraraju, whose glacial runoff has created beautiful lakes and crystalline rivers; observe the flora and fauna endemic to the region; camp in spectacular settings with views of big peaks, and you only need concern yourself with hiking and enjoying the scenery, because you are supported by a team of very experienced guides and staff from the region.

Duration of trip: 10 days / 9 nights.

Places visited:

  • The Huaraz city
  • The Cordillera Blanca
  • The Huascaran National park

Trip includes:

  • 6 nights hotel and 3 nights camping
  • Transfers from/to airport and bus stations
  • All food during the trek and some meals the first and last days as is indicated in the itinerary
  • Bus tickets (Lima – Huaraz – Lima) with a first-class agency
  • Transportation to and from the trek
  • Two acclimtazation hikes in the Huaraz vecinity
  • A bilingual (English/Spanish) guide for the trek
  • Camp cook
  • Burro driver
  • Pack animals (burros and/or horses)
  • Emergency horse
  • General camping equipment for everyone’s use
  • Entrance fees to the park and tourist sites
  • First aid kit
  • General logistics for the trip

Trip does not include:

  • Food or meals not specifially mentioned above
  • Travel or accident insurance
  • Visas or Immunizations

Acclimatization

As you can see on the itinerary, the trek includes two days of acclimatization hikes in the vicinity of Huaraz, because the trek takes place in regions higher than 3000 meters.

Hotels

These are the hotels we will be staying in on this tour: Hotel Bay View in Lima and Hotel Morales in Huaraz, both of 3 star category. In the event that there is no availability, we will change for other of the same category.

Equipment list

  • WA backpack with a capacity of 60 or 70 liters (this could be a duffle or other similar bag of comparable size)
  • A daypack
  • A sleeping bag (we recommend that it be lightweight, synthetic or down, compressible, and warm to temperatures that may drop below 12°C.
  • A warm down or synthetic jacket
  • Three pairs of trekking pants (cotton pants such as jeans are not advisable because they will not dry when they get wet)
  • Two to four pairs of wool socks
  • T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, a sun hat, and a wool knit cap
  • A light rain jacket or rain poncho and a pair of rain pants
    A good pair of trekking boots in good condition
  • A light pair of shoes or sandals for camp
  • A pocketknife
  • A headlamp with spare batteries
  • A pair of sunglasses (VERY IMPORTANT)
  • A tube of sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen (VERY IMPORTANT)
  • Any medicines you need
  • Personal and hygienic items
  • A set of light or medium weight long underwear tops and bottoms
  • A pair of gloves

Optional

  • Trekking poles
  • Personal sleeping pad
  • Camera
  • Book, notebook, and pen

Climate

The trekking season in the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash extends from April to September. Even though this is technically winter in the southern hemisphere, this is also the dry season with very little rain in these months as we are close to the equator. In the dry season the weather is very stable; we can expect only a couple of days with precipitation each week. The average temperature in the mountains above 4000 meters from April to September is between 10 and 14°C. At night the temperature may drop below freezing.

Is this trip appropriate for me?

Anyone who joins a trek like this must be prepared to live with only the basics. You’ll be sleeping in a tent with a sleeping bag and without access to showers. You’ll need to be reasonably physically fit, in good health, and able to adapt to the high altitude environment. For people who have a health concern that could affect their ability to perform on the trek, it is recommendable that they discuss this with their doctor.

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

Airport pickup and transfer to hotel.
In the hotel meeting with the group, welcome words from one member of the staff of Go2Andes and tour briefing.

Meals included: none

Day 2: Lima – Huaraz

At the appointed time you will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the bus terminal. You will travel to Huaraz leaving at 9:30 a.m. and arriving at about 5:30 p.m. You will then be picked up at the bus station and taken to your hotel.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch

Day 3: Chunta Huanca viewpoint

After breakfast you will be picked up at your hotel and driven for about one and a half hours to the village of Jancu (3900m). From here we walk for another hour and a half to the Chunta Huanca viewpoint (4100m) where there is an excellent overview of the mountains of the southern Cordillera Blanca, the Huaylas Valley, and Huaraz. After a break to take photos etc., we will descend the whole hillside, passing through Rataquenua, which is a popular viewpoint above Huaraz. We’ll arrive back in the city at about 3:30 p.m.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch

Day 4: Lake Uruscocha

After breakfast at the hotel, we will travel for about fifty minutes by car to the village of Pashpa (3650m). From here, there is a magnificent view of Huascaran and other peaks in the range. We then hike for about three hours, through forests of trees native to the region, to Lake Yanacocha (4300m) and then ten more minutes to another lake known as “Uruscocha”. Both lakes are surrounded by abundant flora and situated below Urus Peak. After a rest and plenty of time to take photos, we will return via the same route to Huaraz, arriving at about 5:00 p.m.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch

Day 5: Huaraz – Cashapampa – Llamacorral

At the appointed hour you will be picked up at your hotel and driven by car about three hours to the village of Cashapampa (2900m).Where our burro drivers and pack animals will be waiting there for us when we arrive. We’ll begin our trek in the Santa Cruz Valley hiking along a river of the same name until we arrive at a spot called Llamacorral (3900m), which will be our campsite for the night. The walk there will take us about five hours.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 6: Llamacorral – Taullipampa

At the appointed hour, after breakfast, we’ll begin our day’s trek by continuing to ascend the Santa Cruz Valley as we did the day before through vegetation and majestic alpine scenery. Along the way we will visit Lake Hatuncocha as the peak Taulliraju looms ahead of us. After about five hours of walking we will arrive in Taullipampa (4200m), where we will make our camp for the night.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 7: Taullipampa – Punta Union Pass – Quebrada Huaripampa

Today, at the appointed hour, after breakfast, we’ll head off in the direction of Punta Unión Pass (4750m), which we will reach after a three-hour hike from camp. From this point we will enjoy views of the surrounding high peaks, such as Taulliraju, Rinrihirka, and Paria. We then descend into the Huaripampa Valley to 3900 meters where we will put our campsite.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 8: Huaripampa – Vaquería – Huaraz

At the appointed hour, after breakfast, we will begin this, the last day of our trek by heading in the direction of Vaquería (3700m), which is a small village two and a half hours trekking time from our last camp. Here we will be met by our vehicle for the trip back to Huaraz. Along the way, we will make a stop at Portachuelo Pass (4760m), which has a great view of the peaks Chacraraju, Pisco, Chopicalqui, and the highest mountain in Peru, Huascaran (6768m). We will also make a stop at Lake Llanganuco. We’ll arrive back in Huaraz in the afternoon.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch

Day 9: Huaraz – Lima

At the appointed hour you will be picked up at your hotel in Huaraz and brought to the bus terminal where you will board the 11:00 a.m. bus for Lima. Upon arrival in Lima at about 7:00 p.m., you will be met by a vehicle, which will take you to your hotel.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch

Day 10: Lima – Point of departure

At the appointed time, you will be picked up at your hotel and dropped off at the airport.

Meals included: breakfast