How to Spend 1 Day in Huaraz
As the gateway to the sapphire lakes, glaciers, and rugged peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, Huaraz is the perfect home base for adventurous trips into the mountains. With one day in Huaraz you can hike to Lake 69 (Laguna 69), a glacier-fed pool that’s a gorgeous highlight of Huascarán National Park. Here’s how to plan the day.
Morning: Get an early start for Huascarán National Park to take advantage of the daylight hours. Since you’ll be traveling from 10,013 feet (3,052 meters) in Huaraz to nearly 14,764 feet (4,500 meters) at Lake 69, bring warm and waterproof layers that will keep you comfortable in the chillier mountains. Make the 2.5-hour trip to the Lake 69 trailhead by public bus to Yungay, then transfer to a collectivo minibus into the national park. Since tours are often just as budget-friendly, many hikers opt to make the trip with a group that can coordinate transport, lunch, and park admission. Either way, watch peaks stretch skyward as you turn from the main road; the summit of Huascarán, the tallest mountain in Peru, is visible during the bumpy, winding drive to the trailhead.
Afternoon: Once you’re moving, it’s a 3- to 3.5-hour hike to Lake 69 on a trail that loops through a broad river valley, stands of queñua trees with peeling bark, and some challenging switchbacks. All that climbing earns you show-stopping views across the national park, but with deep-blue water and a soaring backdrop of mountains, Lake 69 is the day’s undisputed star. Pause for a well-deserved picnic lunch by the edge of the water before the 2-hour hike back down to the trailhead.
Night: Rest your legs on the scenic return trip to Huaraz, then head into downtown’s Parque de los Periodistas to swap trail stories over dinner in one of the colorful cafés there. After a hearty meal of Andean cuisine—you’ll find everything from herb-infused soups to rotisserie guinea pigs—finish the evening with a steaming mug of coca tea, a foamy Pisco sour cocktail, or some of the craft beer that’s brewed just outside of Huaraz.