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Llanganuco Valley, Cordillera Blanca trek

Cordillera Blanca: Santa Cruz to Ulta Trek

Example 15 Day Tour
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The glacier covered peaks of the Cordillera Blanca soar into the blue skies of northern Peru. This tour takes you to the highest tropical range on earth, more than 50 summits over 18,000 feet with Huascaran at 22,204 feet. We spend a few days acclimatizing around the mountain town of Huaraz. Biking, rafting, ruins, markets - Huaraz offers it all. Our challenging eight-day trek takes us on an unparalleled alpine adventure, past towering peaks, turquoise lakes, flower filled meadows, and isolated villages seemingly lost in time.
A windy, sunny day on the peaksStunning landscape across PeruBeautiful alpine flowersCruzando Ichic Cocha, en la quebrada Santa CruzThe snowy peaks of Cordillera Blanca Elizabeth, John, Pat, and guide Edwin enjoying viewsImpressive mountains in the distanceTaking in the views of the peaksCordillera BlancaCamping at Taullipampa - With Nevados Pucahirca and Alpamayo in backgroundTrek in PeruLlanganuco Valley, Cordillera Blanca trek
Places Visited
  • Peru
  • South America
  • Lima
  • Andes Mountains
  • Caraz
  • Cordillera Blanca
  • Huaraz
  • Laguna Morococha
  • Lagunas Chica and Grande
  • Llamacoral
  • Portachuelo de Llanganuco
  • Punta Union Pass
  • Punta Yananacu Pass
  • Quebrada Keshu
  • Taullipampa
  • Vaqueria
Trip Type:
  • Adventure Life Exclusive
Activity Level: Ultimate

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Lima

Arrive in Lima and spend the night before starting your journey north early tomorrow morning. 

Day 2: Travel to Huaraz

Travel north today for a spectacular journey into the high Andes to the city of Huaraz. At an elevation of 3100 meters, Huaraz offers a great starting point for getting used to the altitude while enjoying of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Our first day will reward with a colorful and vibrant visit to the local market, where we will learn about local products and have the chance to buy some typical fruits directly from the hands of those who farmed it. Also, a visit to the Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city, and the so famous Olaya street, the only which remains in place after the 1970's earthquake.

Day 3: Lake Willcacocha

Spend today acclimating while exploring the beauty of Lake Willcacocha.  After arriving at the lake trailhead, you will hike 2-2.5 hours and climb 550 meters to reach the lake. From here you can see a vast majority of the peaks and glaciers of the Cordillera Blanca. Once back in Huaraz you have the option to relax in the warm waters of the Monterrey hot springs.  

Day 4: Lake Paron

Rise early today to venture to Lake Paron, the largest of the 265 lakes in the Huascaran National Park. The day starts with a 1.5 hour drive to Caraz, from where a dirt road covers the 31km uphill to the lake in about 2 hours. Once here, we can climb to the Mirado, which at 200 meters above the rewards lake travelers with a view of the sixteen snow peaks surrounding the lake, including the famous Artesonraje, dubbed to be the Paramount's live logo. Relax along the shore and enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to Huaraz. 

Day 5: Lake Churup

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
On your final day of acclimation and exploration of Huaraz's lakes, drive a short distance east of Huaraz to the Pitec trailhead. Once here, hike a short 2 hour distance to Lake Churup, located at the peak of the snow peak of the same name. Relax by the lake and enjoy the beauty of the mountain reflections in the calm and clear water before a picnic lunch along its shores. Return to Huaraz early in order to prepare for the trekking days ahead. 

Day 6: Quebrada Santa Cruz

You set off early this morning by minibus down the valley passing through several small villages before you arrive to Caraz . From here you descend out of the valley towards the village of Cashapampa (9500 ft) where you leave your motorized transportation behind you! Join your trekking team, with your porters, mules and cook who join you as you begin the climb. Follow a river gorge hiking approximately 6.5 miles in the first 4-5 hours and make your first camp in the meadow called Llamacorral (12,600 ft). Enjoy time to rest here and enjoy a refreshing hot drink while admiring the towering mountains that surround you, including the snowy peak of Taulliraj. Make sure to keep warm, as the minimum temperatures can drop to the 30's F!

Day 7: Alpamayo and trek to Taullipampa

Today you climb further, being rewarded by increasingly spectacular views of the glaciated peaks on both sides. Arrive to a marshy floodplain and a perfect lunch stop next to the two lakes of Lagunas Chica and Grande. Upon hiking further, you see Alpamayo on the left, a pyramid shaped peak long cherished by climbers and hikes with its snow fluted slopes. Your camp tonight is at Taullipampa (13,800 ft) which is some 7.5 miles beyond your starting point this morning. The peaks of Quitaraju, Rinrihirca, Paria, and Artesonraju form a huge arena surrounding your campsite, and lull you to sleep with their majestic presence! Keep warm tonight, as temperatures could drop to the mid 20's F when you are this high!

Day 8: Punta Union Pass

Today you will conquer the high pass of Punta Union at (15,585 ft), which is only a few feet lower than the highest mountain in all of western Europe! This morning you tackle the steep and rigorous climb to the pass in a couple of hours, then stop to enjoy possibly the best panoramic view in all of Peru. Taulliraju is in full view with the turquoise glacial Lake Taullicocha resting at its feet below. The mountains of Santa Cruz, Chacraraju, Huandoy and Huascaran surround you as well, taking your already shortened breath away! Enjoy your reward for a while before descending down the steep trail into the Quebrada Huaripampa, a long valley of meadows with scattered small lakes. Walk about 5.5 miles and descend 3200 ft, then continue along the river and arrive to Laguna Morococha. Camp at Paria (12,600 ft) this evening, with views of Chacraraju, Paria and Piramide tonight.

Day 9: Vaqueri­a

Today you hike to leave the valley at Vaquería. Descend about 1100 ft to the bridge and then walk uphill for a nice 800 ft to your next camping spot at the feet of Yanapaccha and Copicalqui peaks. Enjoy the rest of the day free to rest up from your hike thus far!

Hiking: 7 miles/12 km, 5-6 hours

Day 10: Portachuelo de Llanganuco

Today is free for you to enjoy an optional hike up to the pass at Portachuelo de Llanganuco (15,600 ft) for outstanding views of the peaks of Huascaran, Huandoy, Chopicalqui, Chacraraju and Pisco and Llanganuco lakes. Head back to the same campsite this evening.

Roundtrip hike: 8.6 miles/14 km, 4-5 hours

Day 11: Quebrada Keshu

You hike back into the wilderness today, heading deeper into the valley on the way to small lakes ringing with the sound of the calving icebergs.

Hiking: 5 miles/8 km, 4-5 hours

Day 12: Mount Contrahierbas

Approach the flanks of the awesome peak of Mount Contrahierbas, decorated with waterfalls hanging over black granite cliffs which seem to balance out the icy blanket that encompasses the peak.

Hiking: 4 miles/7 km, 4-5 hours

Day 13: Punta Yanayacu Pass

Today you you will climb to the highest pass of your trek Punta Yananacu (15,900 ft). The outlines of Chopicalqui and Huascaran dominate the view to the West.

The rocks which forms the pass were destroyed some years ago so our mules split to take another road to make a large loop and meet us again on the other side of the valley. We descend to the camp at Ocshapampa which is set amid the sharp spires of Mount Ulta, Hualcan and Copa to the South, while to the East and North Contrahierbas looms large.

Hiking: 7 miles/11 km, 6-7 hours

Day 14: Quebrada Ulta

A hike back to the road brings you to your welcome vehicle, and you drive 3 hours back to Huaraz over meadows and eucalyptus forest. Enjoy an optional well-deserved soak in the nearby hot springs today and rest your muscles from your adventure!

Hiking: 3 miles/5 km, 3-4 hours

Day 15: Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Return to Lima today in time for your departure flight this evening.


Cordillera Blanca Trek Campsites

Our campsite!
Locals on the grass

Lima - Hotels

Huaraz - Hotels

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  • 14 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 8 Dinners
  • 14 Nights Accommodations
  • 13 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Gear Rental: Camping Gear; sleeping bags included
  • 8 nights of camping are included on this trekking itinerary.
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Meals not Included
  • International Flights
  • Arrival Transfer
  • Departure Transfer
  • Airport Departure Tax
  • Optional Excursions - Activities in Huaraz on Days 2-4.


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
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