Trekking Cordillera Blanca
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Trekking Cordillera Blanca

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Trekking Cordillera Blanca

The Cordillera Blanca, or white range, so called because of its perennial ice-capped peaks, has the greatest number of summits over 19,700 ft (6,000m) outside the Himalayas. These include Peru's biggest mountain, Huascaran (22,205 ft/6,768 m), Alpamayo (19,511 ft/5947 m), and mountains in the world, thanks to its near-perfect pyramid of ice.


This 112-mile (180-km) range in the heart of the tropical Andes is a breathtaking area of dramatic views, towering peaks, precipitous gorges, sparkling lakes, and abundant wildlife. The range runs parallel to the cordillera negra, forming the Callejon de Huaylas, a lush agricultural valley dotted with small villages, known for their arts and crafts, where ancient Andean ways of life persist. Villages such as Chacas are renowned for their woodcarving and carpentry. The valley is also home to relaxing natural thermal baths in Monterrey and Chancos, and a number of fascinating Inca and pre-Inca ruins, including the 3,000 years-old archaeological sites at Chavin de Huantar, a major ceremonial center of the Chavin people.


Huaraz, the capital of the Ancash region, is one of the most important Trekking and Hiking centers in Peru. Led by local guides, mule-supported treks into the Huascaran National Park are some of the most spectacular that the continent has to offer, with high-altitude camping over vertiginous passes and fantastic views of the surrounding snowy peaks. The dazzing turquoise lakes, such as Patron and Llanganuco, are the region. The glacial silt collected in these lakes creates a vibrant color that glows in the bright Andean sun.


The region is home to some unusual flora, such as puya raimondii, a gigantic bromeliad, that takes up to a century to reach its full height, and forests of polylepsis trees, a member of the rose family that flourishes at this altitude. While trekking through the range, visitors may also spot the Andean condor and the camelid vicuña.



The Cordillera Blanca is a stunning mountain range located in the Ancash region of Peru, in the Andes Mountains. It is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, high-altitude peaks, and numerous trekking opportunities. Here is some general information about trekking in the Cordillera Blanca:


Cordillera Blanca


Easy/Moderate Trek:

This trek entails a combination of almost flat and easier walking, interspersed with moderate steep hill hiking or climbing to the top of a mountain pass. The climb is less strenuous than some of the other pass climbs.


Moderate Trek:

Moderate Trek: entails a sustained ascent to at least one high mountain pass, with an elevation of up to 4800m, followed by a corresponding steep descent, interspersed with some valley hiking. The itinerary may include some longer days, with a duration of approximately 6 hours of hiking, as well as shorter days.


Hard Trek:

Certain treks are categorized as "Hard" owing to the extended hiking days involved. These treks entail traversing numerous high mountain passes, with some treks featuring a high pass almost every day. The routes may be less frequented, leading to rougher conditions compared to easier trek alternatives. Such treks necessitate above-average physical fitness, exceptional endurance, and the capacity to hike for extended periods, ranging from 8 to 10 hours, while simultaneously appreciating the scenic vistas.


Trekking In Cordillera Blanca


Please note that most trekking options in the Trekking Cordillera Blanca should be considered physically demanding due to the altitude, which remains above 4000m for the duration of the treks, and the mountainous nature of the terrain. Trails are often steep, both ascending or descending, and are not formed walking paths, which can be uneven, slippery, and rocky in places. It is common for clients to find hiking harder than expected.


Trip notes

Location: The Cordillera Blanca is situated in the northern part of Peru, approximately 400 kilometers north of Lima. The nearest major city is Huaraz, which serves as the gateway to the range.


Trekking Seasons: The best time for trekking in the Cordillera Blanca is during the dry season, which typically runs from May to September. During this time, you'll experience clear skies and milder weather. The rainy season, from October to April, can bring heavy rainfall and make some trails impassable.


Altitude: Many trekking routes in the Cordillera Blanca take you to high altitudes, often exceeding 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). Acclimatization is crucial to avoid altitude sickness. Spending a few days in Huaraz or a lower-altitude location before starting your trek is recommended.


Guides and Tours: While it's possible to trek independently in the Cordillera Blanca, many travelers opt for guided tours. Local guides are familiar with the terrain, can provide safety, and offer cultural insights. There are numerous trekking agencies in Huaraz that can arrange guided treks.


Safety: The high altitudes and rugged terrain in the Cordillera Blanca pose risks. Ensure you're adequately prepared with proper gear, clothing, and equipment. Additionally, have a plan for emergencies, including knowing the locations of nearby towns and medical facilities.


Top hikes in the Huaraz region

The aforementioned mountains in Peru are not only awe-inspiring but also pose a significant challenge. Although the treks listed below do not necessitate technical mountaineering expertise, they remain arduous due to the steepness of the trails and the extreme altitude.


Cordillera Blanca Trekking


For those seeking less strenuous excursions, there are numerous exceptional day hikes that are appropriate for the majority of hikers, as well as tours that transport you to breathtaking turquoise lakes with minimal walking.


Outlined below are several of the most notable multi-day treks in the Cordillera Blanca.


Santa Cruz trek

The Santa Cruz Trek is a popular multi-day hiking route in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range of the Peruvian Andes. This trek is known for its stunning alpine scenery, towering peaks, glacial lakes, and diverse landscapes. It's a must-do adventure for trekkers and nature enthusiasts visiting Peru.


The Santa Cruz Trek typically takes 3 to 4 days to complete, covering a distance of approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles). Some trekkers may choose to extend or shorten the trek based on their preferences and fitness levels. Also, The trek often begins in the town of Huaraz, which is the primary gateway to the Cordillera Blanca region. From Huaraz, trekkers usually travel to Cashapampa, a small village that serves as the official starting point of the trek.


Trekkers will cross the Punta Union Pass, which is the highest point on the trail at around 4,750 meters (15,580 feet) above sea level. It provides panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains.


To fully enjoy the Santa Cruz Trek and ensure your safety, it's recommended to go with an experienced guide or as part of an organized trekking group. This way, you'll have access to essential support, local knowledge, and logistics, making your trek a memorable and enjoyable experience.


Alpamayo trek

There exist numerous routes that guide us towards magnificent landscapes, as exemplified by this particular circuit that traverses elevations of up to 4850 meters, meandering through trails amidst trees and shrubs characteristic of the highlands of Peru. Our camping grounds are situated in close proximity to rivers and streams, affording us breathtaking vistas of snow-capped peaks, many of which exceed 5500 meters in height. The splendor of these landscapes is further enhanced by the spectacle of both sunrise and sunset. Notably, we camp in the vicinity of Alpamayo, which was declared the most beautiful mountain in the world in a photography competition held in 1966 by the German publication 'Alpinimus'.


Olleros-Chavín trek

This particular trek is highly recommended for individuals with a keen interest in pre-Inca cultures and archeology. It traverses a pre-Inca path that was historically utilized for travel between the Callejón de Huaylas and the Conchucos Valley. Upon arrival in Chavín, it is imperative to visit the Chavín de Huántar archeological site, which dates back to 1200BCE.


Notably, this trek is considered one of the more manageable routes in the Cordillera Blanca and serves as an excellent option for those seeking to train for a more extensive trek or summit climb. The overall altitude is lower than other treks, and the trail does not feature the steep sections that are characteristic of the region.


Shaqsha Rurec trek

Due to the extensive length of the mountain range, there exist numerous paths that lead to breathtaking landscapes. One such route is the circuit that brings us in proximity to the Huantsán mountain, whose highest peak measures 6395m. These locations are not frequently visited by tourists, rendering them all the more intriguing. During our journey, we camped on the banks of a lake and observed the flora and fauna on the southern side of the Cordillera Blanca. It is not imperative to possess prior experience to embark on this trekking excursion; rather, it is crucial to be in good physical condition and to have undergone proper acclimatization beforehand.


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