Santa Cruz trek with Pisco mountain

For trekking lovers and adventure seekers who want to see the mountains of the Cordillera Blanca from the top of one of them.

The classic Santa Cruz Trek complimented by an ascent of Pisco, which is a moderate climb on a 5750-meter peak. The trek is one of the most popular in the Cordillera Blanca with a nearly 4800-meter pass and campsites above 3700 meters. The view from the summit of Pisco is a legendary panorama of major glaciated peaks such as Huascaran, Huandoy and Chacraraju. This is the perfect introduction to Andean glacier climbing.

Duration of trip: 13 days / 12 nights.

Places visited:

  • The Huaraz city
  • The Cordillera Blanca
  • The Huascaran National park
  • Ascento to Pisco mountain

Trip includes:

  • 6 nights hotel and 6 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 and the climb.
  • Camp cook
  • Burro driver
  • Pack animals (burros and/or horses)
  • Emergency horse
  • General camping and climbing 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


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.


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

Mountaineering equipment

  • 1 pair of plastic boots
  • 1 pair of grampons
  • 1 normal Ice axe
  • 1 harnes
  • 1 carabiner
  • 1 pair of Gore-Tex shell gloves
  • 1 pair of Gore-Tex gaiters (heavy-duty, sized large enough to fit over plastic boots)

* If you don’t want to bring them from your hometown, you can rent almost all the mountain equipment here in Huaraz.


  • Trekking poles
  • Inflatable sleeping mattress
  • Book, notebook, and pen


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.

To climb the peak, the most important is to be in shape and a good acclimatization, after to have made the Santa Cruz trek you will be ready. No, is not necessary an previous mountain climbing experience.

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: The Quilcayhuanca Valley

At the appointed time you will be picked up at your hotel and taken into the high country east of Huaraz, all the way to the gate of the Quilcayhuanca Valley on the border of Huascaran National Park. This is a drive of about an hour and twenty minutes. From here we’ll begin to walk following the Quilcayhuanca River up the valley, passing pre-Inca ruins as the mountains Andavite and Tulparaju loom above. After a hike of three and a half hours, which reaches about 4250 meters, we take a lunch break and then begin to backtrack via the same trail to return to the Quilcayhuanca gate. We’ll then drive back to Huaraz, arriving at about 4:30 p.m.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch

Day 4: Lake Rajucolta

At about 8:00 a.m. you will be picked up at your hotel and driven south from the city of Huaraz to the village of Macashca. From here, we follow reasonably good road, the same that continues to the Panac Valley, for about two hours to the border of Huascaran National Park. From this point we continue on foot for another two and a half hours to the beautiful turquoise-colored Lake Rajucolta (4300m), which is located directly below the enormous west face of the fifth highest peak in Peru, Huantsan (6395m). After a break for photos etc. 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

At the appointed time, after breakfast, we’ll begin our climb to Punta Unión Pass (4750m), which we’ll reach after three hours walking. From this point we’ll have a splendid view of peaks such as Taulliraju, Rinrihirka, Paria, etc. After a short rest we’ll descend to our camp in the Huaripampa Valley (3900m).

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 8: Huaripampa – Vaquería – Yuraccorral

At the appointed time, after breakfast, we’ll depart from camp and walk for two hours in the direction of Vaqueria (3700m). Here we’ll be picked up by a vehicle that will transfer us to our next camp in Yuraccorral (3900m). Along the way we’ll make a stop at the Portachuelo Viewpoint where there is a beautiful panorama of the north side of Huascaran and other mountains including Chacraraju, Pisco and Huandoy. Our campsite will be located at the upper end of Lake Llanganuco.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 9: Yuraccorral – Cebollapampa – Basecamp

At the appointed hour, after breakfast, we’ll hike along the river up the valley to a place called Cebollapampa. From here we’ll head towards Pisco Basecamp (4600m). This section makes use of pack animals to carry all of our food and camping and climbing equipment. As we climb we will have spectacular views of the mountain Chopicalqui and the north face of Huascaran. The hike up to base camp will take about four hours.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 10: Basecamp – Summit of Pisco – Basecamp

Today we will get a very early start to have breakfast and begin our climb at about 2:00 a.m. It takes about an hour and a half to reach the edge of the glacier. Here, with the help of our guide, we will get into our glacier climbing equipment. We’ll ascend the glacier to the col and should arrive at about 6:30 a.m., just in time for a truly impressive sunrise. We’ll take a break at this point and then continue following the broad ridge all the way to the summit, which stands at 5750 meters. The whole ascent from basecamp takes about eight hours. From the summit we will have a 360-degree view of all the nearby peaks including Huascaran, Huandoy, Chacraraju, Artesoranju, and Alpamayo. After the obligatory photo session we’ll slowly descend the same route we previously ascended all the way back to basecamp where our cook will be waiting for us with a good meal.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch | dinner

Day 11: Basecamp – Cebollapampa – Huaraz

At the appointed time, after breakfast, we’ll spend three hours descending by the same trail that we used to climb up to Cebollapampa, where our vehicle will be waiting for us to bring us back to Huaraz. It’s about a three-hour drive and when we get there you will be dropped off at your hotel.

Meals included: breakfast | lunch

Day 12: 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 13: 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

Day 13: 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