Beautiful Alpine Scenery & Glacial Lakes
Four-day Santa Cruz trek for £550pp
It may have been enough to inspire Wordsworth, but the UK's Lake District seems rather tame when you compare it to Peru's Cordillera Blanca! As you hike through verdant green countryside, gazing up at snow-capped peaks and down at turquoise-coloured glacial lagoons, it makes the UK feel just a little small...
Although the four days of the Santa Cruz trek take you up to 4700m at the Punta Union pass, the route itself isn't overly strenuous and with sufficient acclimatisation we guarantee it will only be the views making you gasp: this is high-altitude trekking at its very best.
Day One – Start the Santa Cruz Trek
This morning we will pick you up and take you by minibus along the Santa River as we climb up the trailhead. We will pass several villages before reaching the town of Yungay, from where the road winds slowly up the valley, giving us superb views of Huascarán and the three-pointed peak of Huandoy – two of the Andes’ most iconic mountains. The trailhead lies at Cashapampa where we will leave the minibus and start our trek, hiking for about six hours until we reach Llamacorral where we will camp for the night at 4000m. (Lunch and Dinner included)
Day Two – Mount Alpamayo
Following breakfast this morning we will trek for about another six hours. We will see Mt. Taulliraju looming above us and on the other side one of the area’s characteristic glacial lake. The glacier adds drama to the already amazing view down the Santa Cruz valley. The peaks of Santa Cruz, Quitaraju, Artesonaju and Alpamayo (regularly voted the most beautiful mountain in the world), will come into view as well as the two lakes of Ichicocha and Hatuncocha. The trail ascends into Taullipampa, where we will camp at 4400m. (B/L/D)
Day Three – Punta Union Pass
We will have an early start today as we have some of the hardest walking of the trek ahead of us. The trail climbs quite steeply towards Punta Union, a pass at 4700m and as we approach the pass, you will enjoy amazing panoramic views down the Santa Cruz valley to the west, and views of the Huaripampa valley to the east. The snow-capped peaks of Paria and Taulliraju, Artesonraju and Huaripampa will all come into view as head over the pass and down towards our camp for the night which, depending on the pace we’ve set during the day, will either be in the vicinity of Paria or Tuctu - both significantly lower than we have been sleeping at, at around 3800m. (B/L/D)
Day Four - Tour of Machu Picchu
Today offers arguably the most beautiful scenery of the whole trek as we walk through the Huaripampa valley on our way up to the Portachuelo of Llanganuco at 4750m. From this pass, we have absolutely spectacular views of Mt. Huascarán, Huandoy, Pisco and Chacraraju, as well as the stunning Llanganuco lake. Once through the pass, we make our way down the valley to meet our transport back to Huaraz, where we'll arrive in the late afternoon. (B)
Our standard price for the Santa Cruz trek is £550 per person, and we can fit it into just about any of our holidays in Peru.
That price includes top-class trekking equipment including tents, cooking equipment, sleeping bags and sleeping mats; all transport between Huaraz and the start/end of the trek, the services of guides and mules, all meals and entrance fees.
The price includes the use of the group mules and mule-drivers, who will carry all the tents, food, water and cooking equipment. We provide top-quality sleeping bags and mats, but you would normally carry these items along with whatever personal items you want for those four days. However, we can arrange an extra mule and driver for you (at a cost of £60pp) which would be sufficient to carry absolutely everything for two people, so you can trek entirely unencumbered!