Laguna 69 in Huaraz Peru
Huaraz is an 8-hour bus ride north east of Lima and a place well worth visiting if you have the time. Set in the Peruvian Andes and second highest mountain range in the world (second only to the Himalayas) it is a haven for climbers, mountaineers, hikers and nature lovers. While the town itself is not one of the more spectacular looking in Peru the people are friends and there is great food to be found. Of course these aren’t the reasons people visit this town anyway, they’re here for the mountains.
When we arrived we found our way to the main plaza as seems to be the norm here in Latin America for getting your bearings, and made our way to a cheap and clean hostel, Cayesh Guesthouse. The following day we began our search for some great hikes. There are heaps available in Huaraz from single-day to 10-day hikes and full on mountaineering provided you have the experience. Sadly we do not but were happy to sign up for a few day hikes with Quechua Andes. We had been recommended them by a fellow traveller who had done their 4-day Santa Cruz hike and loved it.
For only 40 Soles ($14 US) we signed up for the Laguna 69 one-day hike which included pick up and drop off at the hostel. Lunch is not provided and to be honest there is not much tour guiding going on but it is still a cheap way to get out to the trail which is a couple of hours from Huaraz.
The Laguna 69 trail takes around 3 1/2 hours to hike up to the lake and around 2 hours to return if you are dawdling and taking in the incredible views on the way. Surprisingly this hike was a lot harder than previous hikes we have done and I think it is mainly due to the altitude which is around 4400m. Coca leaves are a huge help as always and maybe if you have the luxury of a few days acclimatisation this would also help.
Throughout the hike there are brilliant views of snowcapped peaks, horses, cows and donkeys scattered across the path and through the valley and even some old inca ruins. All this before reaching the magnificently blue waters of Laguna 69 and the icy peaks of the surrounding range.
Coming back down to our starting point we found campers pitching their tents for a night in the wilderness and witnessed a spectacular sunset which cut through the two large mountains either side of the valley. A truly beautiful place to spend a night but unfortunately not an option with our tour. We began our bumpy journey back to civilisation and were in our hostel around 8:30pm so it is a long day (around 14 hours) and were on a bus a couple of hours later heading towards Trujillo, a coastal city in the north of Peru.
Next time I’ll show you the other day hike we did in Huaraz, my first glacier, Pastoruri at 5200m elevation!