Our Lima host Eugenia was kind enough to tell us about a place north of Lima called Huaraz. It’s known for its natural beauty and abundance of trails perfect for one day or multiple day treks. We decided it sounded like a peaceful place to get back in touch with nature after being in the big, crazy city of Lima.
We started with the one day trek to Laguna 69 to help us acclimatize to the high altitude of Huaraz (3,052 meters above sea level), also known as the “Switzerland of Peru.” We started the trek at an altitude of 3,800 meters and climbed 800 meters to Laguna 69, located at 4,600 meters above sea level. That’s higher than Dead Woman’s Pass along the Inka Trail! The altitude definitely took its toll, especially on Jen, but she pushed through and made it. The scenery along the trail was incredible and when we got our first glimpse of the crystal blue Laguna 69, it was almost unreal!
Start of the trail
The hike starts in a beautiful valley before ascending 800 meters to the lake
Its about 7 km to the lake
NO FILTERS on this picture of Laguna 69 – an unbelievable sight
We found the Laguna 69 trek to be both extremely challenging and rewarding
The following day we were to start our 4 day Santa Cruz trek. We were a bit nervous because Laguna 69 was supposed to be a warmup but we both found it incredibly challenging. The Santa Cruz trek cuts into the Cordillera Blanca, known as the highest tropical mountain range in the world. It contains the highest mountain in Peru, Huascarán, standing at an impressive 6,768 meters above sea level! We weren’t going to be climbing that high, but our highest pass was still an impressive 4,750 meters, our highest elevation climb to date!
Just as expected, the trek was extremely challenging for us, but we managed to keep a steady pace for the 4 days and finished successfully. We have to admit, the scenery competed with the beautiful places we saw in Patagonia!
The scary road on the way to our starting point looked like some sort of wicked race track perched on the edge of a vertical cliff!
Stopping at a vantage point. Llanganuco lake
Starting point of the trek, Vaqueria pueblo
Donkeys carried our things this time instead of porters!
Day 2 on our way up to the highest point
Reaching our highest point at 4,750 meters. Shortly after we started descending, it started hailing meteor sized pieces of ice. Fun!!! Shannon almost quit.
The MUD and ROCKS! They never ended. It made the trek even more challenging.
Stopping for a moment to take in this incredible sight
This is the mountain that Paramount Pictures designed their logo from!
We had a big group of fun people!
Celebrating our finish with an ice cold Cusqueña beer!
Check out more pics from both treks below!