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!
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!
Check out more pics from both treks below!