The Cordillera Blanca in the Andes is an unbeatable place for trekking, and it seems like National Geographic agrees with us. Recently the publication voted Huayhuash—a 10-day trail in the region—the “second most beautiful trek in the world.”
Although we didn’t have enough time to go on the Huayhuash trek, we spent three days hiking in the surrounding area, taking short bus journeys from Huaraz into the mountains.
Firstly we went on a four-hour trek to Laguna 69, which is perhaps one of the most famous day treks from Huaraz. It involves catching a two-hour bus each way and then climbing through valleys and up into the mountains until you reach the breathtaking lagoon.
The second day we went on a guided walk to Churup Lake, which is in the Huascarán National Park and situated much closer to Huaraz. It’s advisable to take a guide on the trail because one section of the path involves climbing boulders adjacent to a waterfall using steel ropes to help hoist yourself up—and this can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Although the route is tough, you’re rewarded with a beautiful vista of Churup Lake at the top, and it’s a lot less busy than Laguna 69 so you might even have it to yourself.
On our third and final day, we took a lengthly bus ride to the Pastouri glacier. Although a very short hike, at around an hour and a half, the glacier is situated at extremely high altitude—5,000m—so prepared to be out of breath. This is why we left this hike to the last day, as we were fully adjusted to the altitude by then.
The glacier itself is stunning—there’s something peaceful about staring at a wall of ice as a backdrop over a lake. But have a look at the pictures below and you can see for yourself!
Have you trekked through the Cordillera Blanca in Peru? Tell us where you went in the comments below.
Before we began our hike to Laguna 69, we were dropped off at this spot, which gave us a stunning view of another lake called Laguna Ilanganuco.
On the way to the drop off point for the Laguna 69 hike, we stopped at Laguna Ilanganuco to take some photos of this brightly colored lake. It’s not Photoshopped—the color of the lake is actually like that.
Beginning our hike to Laguna 69, we passed under the canopy of paperbark trees with reddish-brown trunks and over this gushing stream.
Local farmers use the fertile land at the beginning of the Laguna 69 trail for their cattle.
Heading into the mountains, we crossed beautiful valleys full of streams and long grass.
Although Laguna 69 steals the show, you go by a couple of other small lakes along the trail and these are also picturesque.
The stunning Laguna 69 is well worth the trek with its crystal blue waters.
You can see the mountain range of the Andes above Laguna 69 if you’re lucky enough to visit on a clear day.
On the way to Laguna Churup we passed through small villages where homeowners kept their pigs tethered to the outsides of their homes.
The reason why you need a guide on the Laguna Churup trail is because you have to navigate a steep climb up boulders adjacent to a waterfall.
Laguna Churup is remote, peaceful and beautiful.
Although a more difficult hike than the trail to Laguna 69, Laguna Churup is certainly worth the journey.
The path to the Pastorouri Glacier is paved, making the route easy—although the 5,000m altitude might get to you.
Bit by bit, the Pastorouri Glacier is breaking off and falling down into the lake below.
The Pastorouri Glacier casts beautiful reflections onto the lake underneath it.