Trekking Santa Cruz: One of the most classic and popular hiking route in the Cordillera Blanca, the hike around this tropical mountain range passes through impressive landscapes of uncommonly beautiful mountains, frequent lakes and glaciers. The camps are some of the most spectacular in the world. This is a short and very popular hike with spectacular views of lakes and mountains.
For acclimatization, we begin with a day hike to Lake Willcacocha at 3700masl. The highest and most demanding pass on Santa Cruz trek is Punta Union Pass (4750masl)
Mountain Pisco: This is a very appealing mountain and a good option for beginners climbers or for acclimatization. Previous experience in mountaineering is not required, though you should be in good physical condition. At the summit (5752 m), you are rewarded with magnificent views of the Cordillera Blanca (White Range), including the 4 peaks of the Huandoys, Alpamayo, Artesonraju, Chacraraju and Chopicalqui. You’ll also be able to see North and South Huascaran, the highest mountain in Peru, at 6,768 meters.
Join a scheduled departure or book a private or custom trip with dates to suit you.
Day 1: Flight to Lima - Lodging in the hotel
Arrival in Lima - the largest city in Perú; population approximately 11 million. Rest or explore the city on your own. Overnight Hotel
Day 2: Travel by bus to Huaraz (3100 m) - 400 km/approximately 8 hours
This ride follows the Panamerican highway north across the impressive Pacific coastal desert. Continuing toward higher terrain, we pass through the Cordillera Negra (Black Range) at Conococha Pass (4020 m) into the Santa Valley and Huaraz (3100m.) Once across the pass, you’ll see a charming view of the mountains of the Cordillera Blanca, without a doubt some of the most impressive scenery in the world. You can also fly via LCPERU - flight duration 50 minutes. Overnight Hotel (B/-/-)
Day 3: Huaraz - Day Hike to Laguna Willcacocha (3700 m)
Duration: 20 min (by car) 3 - 4 hours (hiking)
Our guide will pick up you at your hotel after breakfast with our transportation and we’ll drive about 20 minutes southeast of Huaraz to the bridge of the Santa Cruz Village where we will start ascending to the lake Willcacocha . The hike is a gradual ascent up on a local trail for about 2 ½ to 3 hours. Along the way you may expect to meet local Quechua people still wearing their traditional colorful Andean clothes. You’ll pass close to their traditional adobe houses and see how they have lived for countless centuries surrounded by richly green farm lands where they grow their products as: wheat, corn and potatoes. Upon arriving the lake, you will be amazed with the magnificent views of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range with its highest mountain Huascaran at 6768m/22,205ft. At such a vantage point, you will have the perfect lookout point for enjoying the surrounding breath taking views and shooting some “10 on the drool scale” photos and we have lunch enjoying the panorama view, before we begin our easy descent to the Shansha Village Bridge trailhead. On our way down you’ll have the great view of the valley below and of the Cordillera Blanca peaks accompanying you. Our private transportation will be waiting to take back to Huaraz Hotel.Total time of this acclimation journey is approximately 6 hours. (B/L/-)
Day 4: Huaraz - Day Hike to Laguna Churup (4450 m)
Duration: 50 min (by car) 5 - 6 hours (hiking)
Drive up on the dirt road to the parking place at Pitec ( not a village , but a few farmhouses),along drive we pass through traditional village of Unchus and Llupa with its traditional adobe houses and reach farmlands, there is opportunity to see local quechua people on their traditional clothes and working land with their hands. Then as we reach Pitec , after checking with the Huascaran National Park range, start ascending following the path over the long ridge. After about 1 ½ you reach a steep an rocky part, to the left of the water fall. From there, you reach lake Churup after a quite intimidating 45 minutes climb. This climb can be a real challenge climb , to avoid this steep part, there is an option to climb more to the left where is a a kind of metal rope that helps to climb. Then as you arrive to the lake will be impressed for the beautiful view of the lake and landscape sourrounded.
Spend time walking around lake side , take pictures, relax and have box lunch enjoying the nature. Then return on the same way back to Pitec , where our transportation waits to drive you back to Huaraz. Overnight Hotel (B/L/-)
Day 5: Huaraz – Cashapampa – Llamacorral (3800m/12464ft)
Duration: 3 hours (by car) 4 - 5 hours (hiking)
You are picked up at your accommodation and begin the journey with a spectacular scenic drive along the Callejon de Huaylas Valley to the village of Cashapampa 2900m which is the starting point of the trek (3 hours drive). There are opportunities for photo stops along the way. From Cashapampa we start to ascend steeply for about 2 hours and then the track levels out, we climb steadily along the Quebrada Santa Cruz to camp at Llamacorral 3750m. 5 hours walk. (../L/D)
Day 6: Llamacorral – Jatuncocha – Taullipampa (4200m/13776ft)
Duration: 5 -6 hours
An easier hike up the Santa Cruz valley to our camp at Taullipampa 4250m. 5 hours walk. It is generally flat and we ascend just the last hour towards the camp. We walk past the beautiful Jatuncocha Lake. Our camp is situated near at the base of the beautiful nevado Taulliraju Mountain and we are also surrounded by other peaks such as Paria, Artseonraju, Rinrijirca, Quitaraju and Alpamayo. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Taullipampa – Punta Union Pass (4750m/15580ft) – Huaripampa valley
Duration: 7 - 8 hours
We ascend steadily for about 3 hours on a good trail to the Punta Union Pass 4750m. We can feel the effects of the altitude as we reach the pass. From the pass we have very close views of the big mountains of the Cordillera Blanca. From the pass, we have a long descent passing two small lakes and then coming down into the Huaripampa Valley to camp at Huaripampa valley 3700m. about 7-8 hours hiking time. (B/L/D)
Day 8: Paria - Trekking to the village of Vaquería. Transfer by van over Portachuelo Pass (4650 m). Camping at Cebollapampa (3870 m)
Duration: 3 hours (hiking) 2 hours (by car)
After descending through the forests and whitewater rivers of the Huaripampa Valley, we pass through a typical village of the high Andes, Vaquería. The farmers here raise small animals and some crops. At this elevation there are still flowers, and their colors brighten the landscape. From the village we climb to Portachuelo de Llanganuco Pass, 4650 meters, where you will have fantastic views of several mountains covered in snow. And with a bit of luck, we‘ll be able to see vicuñas! These timid relatives of llamas graze at elevations of 5500 m; it’s not surprising that these animals produce the finest wool in the animal kingdom. From here we take a van to Cebollapampa, the camp at the base of Nevado Pisco. Overnight Camp. (B/L/D)
Day 9: Day Hike/Trekking from Cebollapampa to Laguna 69 (4450 m) and to Base Camp Pisco (4680 m)
Duration: 5 hours (hiking)
Laguna 69 has been called the most famous and well known lake in the Cordillera Blanca. Our trail winds through picturesque montane forests and a somewhat marshy area, always alongside a steep imposing ridge. Behind us, the fortress-like peak of the ice giant Huascarán looms. Winding trails lead us past several waterfalls to the lake, which is flanked by glacial moraines. Immediately above the deep blue surface of the lake, we see the steep ice walls of Chacraraju, one of the most beautiful, but also most difficult of the 6000 meter peaks in the Cordillera Blanca.
After a little stop and eat our lunch we will continue to the base camp of Pisco. Trought this trail which is one of the routes that is less taken, alternative trails are often not in excellent shape, an unfortunate condition of this alternative hike. Luckily the famous little towers of flat stones indicate the route pretty well. . Overnight base camp Pisco (B/L/D)
Day 10: Base Camp/Peru Hut - Climb Nevado Pisco (5752 m) - back to Base Camp. Optional: hike just to Moraine Camp (4900 m) Duration: 12 hours approx.
A little after midnight we leave Base Camp, climbing up to cross the long moraine to arrive at the glacier. A sharp climb brings us to the saddle of Nevada Pisco. Next the final long climb over the glacier to the peak, 5752 meters in elevation. We are again going to have a magnificent view of the highest mountain in Perú - Huascarán, and also nearby Huandoy, Chopiqualci and many more. Later we descend back to Refugio Peru. Optional: The group can climb to Moraine Camp comfortably in 3 or 4 hours and then return to the refuge or if hikers are not up for the return trip, we can camp on the moraine (4900 m.). Overnight Camp (B/L/D)
Day 11: Base Camp - Trekking to Refugio Pisco - Transfer to Huaraz
Our trek is nearing its end. Early in the morning we begin our descent toward Cebollapampa and continue hiking until we arrive at the highway. From there, we take a vehicle to return to Huaraz. Tired and happy, we arrive at the hotel. Overnight Hotel (B/L/-)
Day 12: Transfer to the bus terminal in Huaraz for the trip to Lima. In Lima, transfer to the hotel. Options: Flight or bus. Flights are via LC-Peru and last 50 minutes. Overnight Hotel (B/-/-)
Day 13: Stay in Lima - transfer to the airport. Free day; depending on your departure schedule. Return to your country of origin. (B/-/-)