Each day of the trip program is characterized by unique and spectacular mountain views, be it a dazzling glaciated lakes, high dramatic passes, the pyramidal view of Alpamayo - which was awarded the title “most beautiful mountain in the world”. The trail that you follow crosses over the Cordillera Blanca mountain range from east to west and then crosses back again from where it joins up with the popular Santa Cruz trail where the trek concludes at Cashapampa.
Day 1: Huaraz – Hualcayan Village
You are picked up from your hotel and we head north from Huaraz, descending into the vast Callejón de Huaylas valley. After passing Yungay and Caraz we drive along an unpaved road up into the mountains to our first night’s campsite at Hualcayan village (2900m).
Driving time: 5 hs.
Day 2: Hualcayan Village - Wishcash
Today we set off on a steady, continuous climb, swiftly gaining altitude as we zigzag up to our next camp at Wishcash (4300m), perched high up the mountainside. From here we have terrific views west across the Callejón de Huaylas to the Cordillera Negra, and at night we can see the twinkling lights of the villages high up in the hills.
Hiking time: 5 hs.
Day 3: Wishcash - Osoruri Pass - Vientunan Pass - Ruinapampa
It is a tough day as we climb on a generally good zigzagging path to the crystal blue Laguna Cullicocha (4650m). From here we enjoy a magnificent panorama with the summits of Santa Cruz (6259 m) rising steeply at the opposite end of the lake. As we continue our ascent towards our first mountain pass, Osoruri (4850m), our views of the surrounding lakes and peaks get better and better. We descend and climb again to the Vientunan Pass (4770m) before embarking on a long switch-back descent to the depths of the Quebrada los Cedros valley. We pass the terraced fields surrounding Alpamayo and soon after reach our camp at Ruinapampa (4050m).
Hiking time: 9 hs.
Day 4: Ruinapampa – Cruce Alpamayo
This morning we trek for a few hours on almost flat terrain up the beautiful Cedros valley. On the way we see some ruined structures and ancient standing stones. The spectacular pyramid form of Alpamayo (5947m) comes into view to the southeast. Then we climb up the nearby moraine overlooking the stunning glacial lake of Laguna Jancarurish for close-up views of the Alpamayo and Jancarurish (5601m) peaks. Alternatively, we may venture to Alpamayo basecamp. Tonight we will camp at Cruze Alpamayo (4150m).
Hiking time: 4 hs.
Day 5: Cruce Alpamayo - Cara Cara Pass – Sasuna
Today we first cross the Los Cedros River and climb steadily to our next pass Cara Cara (4830m). This is the continental divide; all rivers running west head for the Pacific and those running east eventually reach the Atlantic, via the Amazon. From here, there are great views back to the peaks of Alpamayo, Jancarurish, Quitaraju (6036m) and the Laguna Jancarurish. We descend to a plateau and spend two hours on an easy traverse to a second, lower pass Mesapata (4500m), before dropping to our camp at Safuna in the Quebrada Tayapampa (4200m).
Hiking time: 5 hs.
Day 6: Sasuna – Jancapampa
Today we start by crossing the Huillca plateau, one of few locations in the Cordillera Blanca where alpacas are found in abundance. We ascend a narrow valley to a rocky pass, Pucajirca (4600m), from which we are treated to awesome views of the snowcapped peak of Pucajirca Norte (6046m). From here we have a short descent on steep scree, but it soon levels out as we continue down a shrub-filled valley flanked by quenual (polylepis) forest. We pass the beautiful tree-fringed Laguna Sactaycocha and continue our descent through rich vegetation to the broad Quebrada Jancapampa valley. We camp near the head of the valley (3600m). Directly behind camp we have views of a huge hanging glacier and waterfalls cascading down a vast horseshoe of cliffs hundreds of meters high. A lot of farming families live across the valley, and we have the opportunity to meet the friendly local people and the curious, happy children who call the valley home.
Hiking time: 7 hs.
Day 7: Jancapampa - Tupatupa Pass - Huecrococha
Today we trek past adobe house villages and cultivated fields, climbing first gradually, and then more steeply, to the Tupatupa pass (4400m), from where we have views of the big peaks of the Pucajirca/Rinrijirca massif to the west. Our trail descends via a small mountain lake into the broad Tuctubamba valley that we follow downstream before making a short half-hour climb to our campsite beside Laguna Huecrococha (3950m).
Hiking time: 7 hs.
Day 8: Huecrococha - Pacaraju Pass - Tuctubamba
We flank the north shore of Laguna Huecrococha then begin a long, gentle traverse of the steep, forested Huecrococha valley. At the valley head, the ascent steepens and zigzags to the Alto de Pacaraju Pass (4650m). At certain times of the year the lupins that cover the hillsides are in flower, and the scent can be intoxicating. From the pass we have magnificent views of many peaks including the jagged Taulliraju (5830m), which towers over the pass. A rocky descent brings us to the open Quebrada Huaripampa valley and our camp at Tuctubamba (3950m).
Hiking time: 7 hs.
Day 9: Tuctubamba - Punta Unión Pass - Taullipampa
Today we hike up to Punta Union pass (4750m). You will enjoy amazing panoramic views down the Santa Cruz Valley to the west, and views of the Huaripampa valley to the east. The peaks of Santa Cruz surrounded by Andean vegetation of Quenual, the snow-capped peaks of Paria and Taulliraju, Artesonraju and Huaripampa will all come into view. We see Taulliraju mountain looming above us and on the other side its glacial lake. From this high point, it is possible to see Alpamayo, Artesonraju, Taulliraju, Rinrihircas, Chacraraju, Chopicalqui and Pucahircas. After a break we descend to our next campsite Taullipampa (4250m).
Hiking time: 8 hs.
Day 10: Taullipampa – Llamacoral
Today we walk around 5 hours before reaching our last camp Llamacorral (3750m). During this pleasant hike we can appreciate the following mountains: Santa Cruz, Quitaraju, Artesonraju, Alpamayo, Taulliraju and Rinrijircas. We will also pass the lakes Ischicocha, Hatuncocha and Arhuaycocha. The lake Arhuaycocha boasts one of the most spectacular views within the entire Cordillera Blanca.
Hiking time: 5 hs.
Day 11: Llamacoral – Cashapampa – Huaraz
We complete our 11 days trek by hiking down to the village of Cashapampa, which takes approximately 3 hours. As we descend, you will be able to notice a steady change in vegetation as we follow the river. Our transport will be waiting to bring us back to Huaraz.
Hiking time: 3 hs. / Driving time: 3 hs.
What is included
- Transport: From Huaraz to the starting point of your activity, and from the finishing point of your activity back to Huaraz. We use prived transport, minivans, and other types of cars, depending on the size of the group.
- Guide: Qualified and experienced mountain guide who speaks Spanish and basic English.
- Cook: A professional cook who is trained to prepare healthy dishes in a hygienic manner.
- Donkey driver: Is in charge of loading the donkeys, looking after them and guiding them.
- Donkeys: The number of donkeys provided depends on the size of the group. You are allowed to bring up to 4 kg of personal belongings that will be loaded on the donkeys. You will only carry your daypack during the day.
- Food: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner.
- Equipment: Good quality high mountain tent, sleeping mattress, basic sleeping bag -2°, dining tent, table and chairs, toilet tent, first aid kit, cooking stove, dishes and cooking utensils.
- Entrances fee: for the national park.
What is not included
First breakfast, last dinner, soft drinks or alcoholic beverages, medical treatment, travel insurance, tips, additional expenses as a result of leaving the trek early, additional expenses as a result of an emergency rescue or evacuation, bottled water (you drink water from the river).
- Bag to load on the donkeys with your personal belongings (plastic bag with zipper or garbage bag)
- Small daypack
- Sleeping bag if available
- Walking sticks if you have knee problems
- Head torch (with spare batteries)
- Sun protection: sunscreen (factor 40 minimum), hat, sunglasses
- Well-worn in hiking boots or trekking shoes
- Comfortable clothes: t-shirts (quick dry or merino wool recommended), trekking trousers or leggings, sweater, woolen trekking socks, underwear, long thermal underwear, fleece, gloves, hat
- Waterproof jacket and trousers / or rain poncho
- Water bottle and water purification pills
- Toilet paper, personal toiletries, small towel
- Extra snacks and money
Missing something? We can provide you with everything you need for a great days expeditions, Please check each trip for detailed pricing information or contact us for a customized trip and you can fully enjoy!!