8 days / 7 nights
DAY 1 Lima - Huaraz – Lake Wilcococha - Huaraz: This morning, you will fly from Lima to Huaraz (3,050m/10,000 ft). Upon arrival in Anta Airport, you will be met and transferred approximately one hour to your hotel in Huaraz - Andino Club Hotel. After free time for acclimation and lunch, your guide will arrive to transfer by private van 15 minutes west of the town to our trailhead in the Cordillera Negra. We enjoy an easy acclimation hike of 2 hours up to Laguna Wilcococha. From here, we are rewarded for our hard work with stunning views of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. Return to the hotel. Dinner is on your own tonight.
DAY 2 Huaraz – Urus Lake - Huaraz: We depart early in our van for a 1 hour drive to the trailhead for today’s acclimation hike to Urus Lake. Our destination lies at 4650m above sea level and is made up of 2 brilliant, turquoise lakes. We hike through beautiful indigenous queñal forests for approximately 3 hours to reach the first lake; the second lies 40 minutes further down the trail. While the lakes themselves are stunning, the views of Huascaran, Halcan Copa and the Urus Mountains are breath-taking. Surrounded by these impressive views, we stop for lunch and to rest, before re-tracing our steps back to the trailhead where our van awaits for return to the hotel. Boxed lunch is included during your hike; dinner is on your own tonight.
DAY 3 Huaraz – Cashapampa - Llamacorral: Leaving Huaraz by van, we head north, following the Santa River along the Callejon de Huaylas. The great snow-capped Nevados of the Cordillera Blanca tower to the east, while a lower range, the Cordillera Negra, rises to the west. After an hour of gradual descending in elevation, we reach the town of Caraz (7,544’/2,300m). We turn east, and begin to ascend into the Cordillera Blanca, switch-backing up a secondary road for two hours to the village of Cashapampa (9,512’/2,900m). Here we meet our mountain crew: guides, cooks, and muleteers, who commence loading the gear on mules. We begin the trek heading up the Santa Cruz valley through high pasture. After three hours walk we reach our first camp in Llamacorral (11,972’/3,650m). All meals provided on the trek.
DAY 4 Llamacorral – Arhuaycocha: We continue up the Santa Cruz valley, passing Ichiccocha and Jatuncocha lakes. At Quisuar we turn north, and ascend via the Arhuaycocha valley towards Alpamayo base camp (4,000 m). We spend the night with splendid views of the peaks of Quitaraju (6,040m), Alpamayo (5,947m), Artezonraju (6,025m) and others. Enjoy optional scrambles in the afternoon.
DAY 5 Arhuaycocha - Taullipampa: We return down the side valley to join the main Santa Cruz valley, and continue the trek up towards Punta Union. Tonight we camp in Taullipampa (4,000m) at the foot of the impressive Taulliraju peak (5,830m) and surrounded by snow peaks.
DAY 6 Taullipampa - Huaripampa: We begin today challenging the steep zig zag path to arrive after three hours at Punta Union (4,750m). We pause to enjoy the peaks of Chacraraju (6,112m), Artezonraju (6,025m), Pyramide (5,885m), Huandoy (6,395m), Alpamayo (5,940m), Santa Cruz (6,259m), Rinrihirca (5,810m), Taulliraju (5,830m) and others. During our descent on the east side of the Cordillera Blanca we pass Morococha Lake and then enter the long, broad Huaripampa valley, passing through red-barked queñual forests and the Andean paramo vegetation of ichu bunch-grass. Four hours from the pass we make our camp in Huaripampa (3,600m)
DAY 7 Huaripampa – Vaqueria - Huaraz: After an easy one-hour descent to the village of Colcabamba (3,350m), we climb two hours up to the roadhead village of Vaqueria (3,700 m). Our vehicle awaits here. We drive switchbacking up to the Portachuelo de LLanganuco (4,765m) with splendid views of Huascarán Norte (6,768 m), Huascarán Sur (6,650 m), Chopicalqui (6,354 m), Huandoy (6,395 m), and Pisco (5,752 m). Then we descend the Llanganuco valley, past a succession of turquoise glacial lakes: Llanganuco, Orkoncocha and Chinancocha. We descend steadily until we rejoin the main highway in the Santa valley, and turn south and return to our hotel in Huaraz. Overnight in Andino Club Hotel. Dinner is on your own today.
DAY 8 Huaraz – Lima: This morning, you are picked up at your hotel and transferred back to the Anta Airport for your return flight to Lima.
INCLUDED IN LAND COST
7 days with a reliable, conscientious English-speaking guide
Transportation in private van
Cook, wrangler, burros, full camping gear including sleeping bags and pads
NOT INCLUDED IN LAND COST
Saddle horse on the trail (add $120)