Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Remote Peruvian Andes

Circumnavigate Peru’s famous Cordillera Huayhuash mountain range on one of South America's finest treks in the Andes.

Location

Peru

Fly To

Jorge Chávez International Airport

Perfect for

If you've done a fair bit of multi-day trekking before and enjoy wildcamping in a spectacular mountain surrounding, then this trip is for you. You'll be covering reasonable distances at high altitude each day, but for regular hill walkers this trip will pose an amazing challenge.

Difficulty

Challenging

Immerse yourself into this once-in-a-lifetime trekking adventure in one of Peru's wildest mountain ranges, packed with sheer mountain peaks, pristine glacial lakes, and traditional Andean culture.

The Cordillera Huayhuash is one of the most scenic mountain ranges in the Andes and this 12 day circular trek lets you take it all in. You'll be crossing high passes in the vicinity of 5000m, set against an ever-changing backdrop of soaring peaks. The Siula Grande Basecamp, made famous by Joe Simpson and his book 'Touching the Void' is one of the many highlights.

What's Included

  • 12 day Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit trek
  • 2 acclimatisation days with local treks
  • 10 nights camping, 6 nights hotel, 1 night guesthouse accommodation
  • Local, certified trekking guide
  • Camp cook, Horseman and Pack animals
  • Emergency horse
  • All camping equipment
  • All meals during the trek
  • Some meals on Days 1-4
  • Airport transfers, travel to/from Lima
  • All fees, taxes, insurances and licenses relative to the trip

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima

Arriving at Lima airport, you’ll be met by your host and taken to your hotel in Lima where you will stay tonight.

Although no doubt full of excitement, try and get a good night’s rest in preparation for kick-off tomorrow.

Day 2: Lima to Huaraz

Get up early to meet your guide and fellow adventurers for a quick briefing before starting your journey to Huaraz.

On a very comfortable first-class bus, you’ll make the 8-hour journey to Huaraz (3100m). Arriving at your hotel at around 18:00, you are free to collapse and enjoy a good night’s rest.

Day 3: Acclimatisation and Rest Day

Sleep in and relax over a lazy breakfast after the long journey yesterday.

Having moved up from Lima to 3050 metres altitude, you'll take today easy and explore Huaraz at your own pace without any guided programme.

Day 4: Acclimatisation Day - Churup Lake

After an early breakfast you'll be picked up and transferred to the border of the Huascaran National Park from where you'll start your hike around the sparkling turquoise Churup Lagoon (4450m).

This short day hike will not only prepare you for the high altitude but also the incomparable scenery you're going to witness the next days.

Day 5: Pastoruri Glacier and Llamac Village

An early start this morning as you are picked up from your hotel at 07:30 for a tour at 5000m; visiting the southern part of the Callejón de Huaylas, you’ll observe the tiled roofs of the Andean towns of Recuay, Ticapampa and Catac and sea of decorative crosses.

You’ll continue to Pachacoto, entering the natural beauty of the Huascarán National Park; you’ll witness Patococha (the lake of ducks), the gasified waters of Pumapashimin, and natural springs that can reach a meter in height.

Next, it’s on to one of the few glaciers left in these tropical areas, Pastoruri glacier; you’ll walk close to the ice mass, observing the undeniable effects of climate change.

At the end of a long day, you’ll take the 4-hour car journey to Llámac village where you’ll be welcomed to a local guesthouse with dinner and a comfortable bed.

Day 6: Cuartelwain - Mitucocha

You’ll leave the guesthouse this morning at 08:00 and take the 1½-hour drive to Cuartelwain (4150m). From here, you’ll begin your trek, making your way up to Qaqanan pass (4700m) - a 3-hour walk.

Traversing down to the East side of Cordillera Huayhuash, you’ll walk for another 2 hours to tonight’s camp, close to Mitucocha lake (4250m).

Set up your tent and enjoy your first night at camp beneath mount Hirishanca and Rondoy.

Day 7: Mitucocha – Carhuac pass – Carhuacocha

After breakfast at camp, you’ll take the 2.5-hour trail to the Carhuac pass (4650m). When you arrive, take time to admire the view of Yerupaja chico, Yerupaja and Siula mounts.

Continuing your trek, you’ll ascend for 2 hours until you reach Carhuacocha lake (4150m) where you’ll set up camp on its shores.

Enjoy dinner at the water’s edge and sleep well in this tranquil setting.

Day 8: Carhuacocha – Siula pass – Huayhuash

You’ll pack up camp early this morning and walk the shores of the lake on your way to Siula pass (4800m). This 4-hour trek will take you by the three lakes; Qanrajancacocha, Siulacocha and Quesillococha; with Hirishanca chico, Yerupaja and Siula mount as a constant backdrop.

After a rest at the pass and plenty of photos of the snow-covered peaks around you, you’ll journey a 3-hour descent to camp at Huayhuash (4300m).

Get settled at tonight’s camp; enjoy dinner and share stories with the group.

Day 9: Huayhuash – Portachuelo pass – Viconga

After breakfast this morning, you’ll begin the 2-hour trek to Portachuelo pass (4750m); this is the boundary between Cordillera Huayhuash and Raura.

This route is covered with a grass plant known as Ichus and therefore is home to llamas and alpacas that you may just catch a glimpse of.

Passing near to Viconga lake, you’ll reach tonight’s campsite after 2 hours (4400m); with hot springs nearby this is quite a spectacular spot.

Day 10: Viconga – Cuyoc pass – Guanacpatay

Today, you’ll trek to the highest pass, Cuyoc at 5000m; this 3-hour trek will take you between Cuyoc and Pumarinri mounts to astonishing views of Cordillera Raura as well as part of Cordillera Huayhuash.

A 1.5-hour descent will take you down into Guanacpatay valley (4400m) and eventually to camp.

Day 11: Guanacpatay – Mirador of San Antonio – Cutatambo

This morning, you’ll embark on a 2.5-hour trek to San Antonio Mirador pass (4850m); this is a unique spot offering views of Carnicero, Jurao, Siula Grande and Yerupaja mounts as well as Jurao and Siulacocha lakes.

Take a moment to recharge before you begin the descent through Cutatambo valley (4250m) to your next camp.

You’ll be ready for dinner, so set up camp and get settled around the fire.

Day 12: Visit the Glacier of Siula Grande

This morning, you’ll depart for base camp of Siula Grande mount, made famous by Joe Sympson in his book 'Touching the void'.

After 2.5-hours of trekking, you’ll be rewarded with the glacier and Sarapococha lake (4550m). You’ll have time to truly appreciate the lake as you walk around and get close to the glacier for some great photos.

Taking the same path, you’ll return to camp with the thrill of having seen some truly iconic sights.

Day 13: Cutatambo – Huayllapa

After breakfast at camp, you’ll set off for Huayllapa village (3600m).

Taking the path along the river, you’ll trek for 3 hours through the Huayllapa valley, traversing through trees and shrubs.

Huayllapa village is a great opportunity to say hello to the locals and stock up and beers for camp tonight.

Day 14: Huayllapa – Tapush pass – Qashpapampa

This morning, you’ll leave Huayllapa village behind and begin the 3½-hour trek to Tapush pass (4850m) where you’ll enjoy views of mount Tuco.

Moving on, you’ll descend to Qashpapampa (4500m) which sits below Diablo Mudo mount and is often used as a base camp.

A further 2-hour trek will take you to tonight’s camp for dinner and perhaps some of those beers you picked up from the village.

Day 15: Qashpapampa – Yahucha pass – Jahuacocha

After breakfast this morning, you’ll make your way to Yahucha pass (4750m); this 2.5-hour ascent will be rewarded with views of the West side of Cordillera Huayhuash. Among the snow-covered peaks, you’ll see Ninashanca, Hirishanca, Yerupaja Chico, and Yerupaja; the second highest peak of Peru at 6634m.

Descending by Huacrish valley, you’ll trek down to Jahuacocha lake (4070m) and eventually camp.

You’ll set up your camp close to the shores of the lake giving you impressive views of the snow-covered peaks around you.

Day 16: Jahuacocha – Pampa Llamac pass – Llamac – Huaraz

On this, your last day of trekking, you’ll make your way to Pampa Llamac pass (4300m). After 3 hours, you’ll reach the final mirador of the circuit; this is your last chance to soak up the views of the Cordillera Huayhuash and capture those last shots.

After a moment or two of appreciation at the pass, you’ll descend for 2 hours to the village of Llamac (3300m).

When you arrive at the village, your car will be waiting to give your feet a rest and take you back to your hotel in Huaraz where you’ll welcome your bed.

Day 17: Transfer Back to Lima

After breakfast this morning it’s time to start your journey home. You’ll be picked up at 10:00 and taken to the bus station ready for departure to Lima.

In the evening you'll be dropped back at your hotel again for your final night's sleep in Peru.

Day 18: Bid farewell to Peru

All adventures must come to an end. With mixed emotions after an incredible journey and unforgettable experiences, you'll be transferred to the airport in time for your flight home.

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, and weather conditions and forecasts.

**Want to include Machu Picchu? Have a look here. **

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

Accommodation

During your time in Lima, you’ll stay at the Runcu Hotel; the rooms here are designed for comfort and have en-suite facilities with a high-pressure shower, TV, free WiFi, controllable heater, air-conditioning and minibar.

In Huaraz, you’ll stay at the San Sebastian Boutique Hotel or similar. Its prime location offers views of the stunning Cordillera Blanca.

The rooms are comfortable with en-suite facilities and room service is available.

In Llámac village, you’ll stay at a friendly, rustic guesthouse. They offer rooms of 2 and 3 occupancies, with shared bathroom facilities and hot water by solar thermal.

During the trek, you will camp at various points along the circuit, often with stunning views of snow-covered peaks. Once you arrive at the camp your supporting crew (camp cook & horsemen) will already have the camp set up for you, so you can settle in right away.

You'll stay in spacious 3-man tents (2.15m x 1.80m) that will be shared between two travellers. Private tents are available for a small single occupancy supplement of $72 if required. Your host will provide all camping and cooking equipment.

Location

The Cordillera Huayhuash range is an incredibly compact mountain range, squeezing in seven dramatic peaks over 6000m, including the second highest peak in Peru, Yerupajá (6617m) and Siula (6344m); made famous by mountaineer Joe Simpson in his book ‘Touching the Void’.

Completing this multi-day circuit of the range is widely considered to be some of the best trekking in the whole of South America, if not the world. The area is adorned with multicoloured lakes, and Andean wildlife and plants. Barely populated at all, Huayhuash has just a few small hamlets dotted below the snowline.

Meeting Point

Start Point

Lima Airport - Anytime before 19:00
Your adventure begins with at Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) from where you will be transported to your hotel in Lima. Your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area. Please schedule your flight to arrive 30 minutes before this time.
If you're already in Lima, you can meet your guide and fellow adventurers in the hotel in Lima for the trip-briefing at 20:00.

Finish Point

Lima Airport - Anytime
At the end of your adventure, you will be dropped back at Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Lima in time for your flight home. You're free to book any flight you like as there is no activity scheduled for the last day.

Frequently Asked Questions

You should feel prepared to comfortably trek 6-7 hours per day. In order to make the trip as enjoyable as possible, your host recommends going on a few runs or long hikes close to the departure date to get in shape.

You don't need to carry a heavy backpack, however, due to the high altitude (sometimes over 5000m), some days may feel slightly exhausting but it's well worth it. Your host will always adapt to the pace of the group and make sure that everyone has an enjoyable time.

The trekking season in the Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash runs from May to September. Despite this is the middle of Winter the mountain ranges are dry since they are close to the equator.

During the dry season, the weather is generally very stable with one or two bad weather days per week. The freezing level is about 4500m-5000m during the day, but the strong sun can make it feel much warmer than in the valleys.

Wind is rarely a problem in the mountains during the dry season. Precipitation and temperatures vary in accordance to altitude; the average temperature is between 9ºC – 0ºC.

Previous trekking experience is not essential, however, you should have at least been on a few long day hikes in mountainous terrain before and know what you are getting in to!

There are two important factors to maximise the enjoyment during the trek. One is a good physical condition and the other one acclimatisation.

Usually, travellers are advised to spend at least 2 days in a region above 3000m before starting the circuit trek. For this reason, before you set off on the circuit you'll spend 2.5 around Huaraz (3100m) from where you'll join shorter day hikes to acclimatise for the upcoming days in higher altitude.

Even though there is never a guarantee that you will not get altitude sickness, the extra days of acclimatisations will lower the risk significantly and therefore will make the journey much more enjoyable.

Yes, it is. The Cordillera Huayhuash is administered by autonomous villages (communities), who are the "owners" of the mountain range; they charge a fee in their respective camping areas and in return for the payment they secure the region with local guards.

On top of that, your guide and crew are well-trained to handle situations in case of an accident or altitude sickness.

Your host recommends to pack:

  • 1 backpack with a carrying capacity of 60 to 70l (a similar sized duffle bag or travel bag can be used as a substitute)
  • 1 small backpack for day trips
  • Sleeping bag
  • Thermarest sleeping pad
  • 1 warm jacket or parka
  • 3 pairs of outdoor pants (jeans are not recommended as they are difficult to dry out when wet)
  • Warm sweaters
  • 2-4 pairs of woollen socks
  • T-shirts, shirts, hats or caps
  • 1 set of warm underwear such as long underpants and long undershirts
  • 1 pair of good hiking boots (make sure they are "broken-in")
  • 1 pair of light shoes (runners or sneakers)
  • 1 set of light rain gear such as a pant and jacket combination or a poncho.
  • 1 water bottle with a 1-litre capacity
  • 1 pocket-knife or hunting knife
  • 1 flashlight
  • 1 pair of sunglasses (VERY IMPORTANT!)
  • Sun blocker or sunscreen lotion and lip suncream (VERY IMPORTANT!)
  • Underwear, personal items, and toiletries
  • 1 pair of fleece pants
  • 1 wool or fleece hat
  • Headlamp and Batteries (bring at least 2 spare sets)
  • 1 pair of Gore-Tex gaiters (heavy-duty, sized large enough to fit over plastic boots)
  • 1 pair of Gore-Tex shell gloves
  • Trekking poles (recommended)

Other recommendations are:

  • Camera
  • Mobile phone
  • Personal medicine if required (please inform your guide in case of emergency)
  • Journal and pens
  • Spanish / English dictionary (to interact with locals)

During the trek, you don't need to carry much. Pack-animals will be your best friend as they'll assist you with the transport of all the food, equipment and luggage. Your host suggests to only carry a small back-back for water, your camera and a jacket.

This trip will run with a minimum of 4 people, and a maximum of 12.

Sure can! A lot of people do, and it's a great way to meet like-minded people.

Unfortunately, this trip is not suitable for children due to the long trekking days and the remoteness of the trek.

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • International flights to and from Lima
  • Snacks and drink
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals on Day 1
  • Lunch and dinner on Day 3, 17 & 18
  • Dinner on Day 2, 4 & 16

We've teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

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Dates & Prices

Bespoke trips only

There are currently no planned group departures. Please contact this host to request a quote for a custom trip.

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