Humantay Lake
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Humantay Lake

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Humantay Lake

If your way is to enjoy nature and trekking, this place is ideal. Humantay, is a mountain covered with snow that is part of the Andean mountain range.Ready for the adventure? Cusco undoubtedly does not cease to amaze us because there are the most curious and unusual landscapes sometimes we can even say almost interplanetary landscapes like the mountain of colors most known as Rainbow Mountain that you can find here. The Humantay Lake is formed as a melting product of a large snowy mountain that in turn forms part of a mountain range called "Cordillera de Vilcabamba" or Mountain Range of Vilcabamba. What makes the Humantay Lake distinctive is the natural color that it possesses since it does not have much marine flora in its waters. It has an indescribable color in words, but understandable to the eyes, forming a unique landscape when travelers seek to capture the ideal moment with his cameras and capture the most amazing  landscapes experiences and moments all this and more make Humantay Lagoon an ideal place that you must visit if you travel to Cusco - Peru. However, the geographical environment of this lagoon is also unique since it serves as the first camp on the Salkantay trek.


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Very early in the morning you will embark in a journey of 2 and a half hours from the city of Cusco to the town of Mollepata, this time is enough to enjoy the Andean landscape and the warm valleys that bring so much harmony. In this town you can enjoy a delicious breakfast, since you will return to the bus to travel to the community of Soraypampa. Soraypampa is the town from which we will leave in the direction of the Humantay lagoon and the only thing to do is follow a one-way road, it should be said that there is no worry of getting lost since the end of this road is the Humantay lagoon. The Humantay lagoon witnessed several events carried out by their own visitors such as requests for hand, payments to the land, ceremonies with Andean masters, throwing coins to create a wish and romantic postcards that are easily virilized in social networks thanks to the unique landscape of this place. For the return to Cusco you will take the same one-way route not without first enjoying a lunch and taste organic local products of the area.


How to get to Humantay lake


Apacheta; the stone and devotion of the traveler:

Something similar to the Inukshuk of the Arctic Circle, the Apachetas are characteristic in the altiplano zone that includes sectors of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Peru. Mounds of stones, one on top of the other, as an offering. Although you do not have a completely clear idea of the function they fulfilled in their origins. It is known that, at present, it is the travelers who ask that the misfortunes (chiknis) be removed from their path to continue the journey with health and tranquility. That is why most of the apachetas can be seen on the sides of roads and trails and also in Humantay Lagoon.

Apachetas Slkantay trek Machu


Humantay Lagoon - Mollepata :

If your thing is to enjoy nature and trekking, this place is ideal. Humantay, is a snow-covered mountain that is part of the Andean mountain range and gives rise to the formation of this splendid lagoon that, due to its unique turquoise color, generates the interest of foreign and national visitors. The walk to the place will make you feel a sense of peace and tranquility thanks to its natural beauty that you will run into. With a mystical air, the lagoon is visited by shamans and tourists from all over the world to leave offerings to the Pachamama, deity that represents mother Earth in the Inca culture. Through the placement of stones (apachetas), an offering is offered to the Pachamama thanking her for having successfully arrived at the lagoon, as well as for asking him to accompany them on their journey. According to the inhabitants, the Humantay mountain is the youngest son of the Apu Salkantay, and they would be in charge of rationalizing and distributing the water that comes down from its snows to the populations that live at the foot of these impressive snowcapped mountains.


Humantay lagoon


Humantay Lake Altitude and Acclimatization


Humantay Lake is located in the Andes Mountains of Peru at an altitude of approximately 4,200 meters (13,779 feet) above sea level. This high altitude can cause altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), which is a common problem for travelers who are not acclimatized to high altitude.


Acclimatization is the process of the body adjusting to the reduced oxygen levels at high altitude. It is recommended to spend a few days in Cusco or other high-altitude locations before attempting to visit Humantay Lake to allow the body to adjust. This will help reduce the risk of altitude sickness and ensure an enjoyable experience.


When visiting Humantay Lake, it is also important to take precautions such as drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol, eating light meals, and taking it slow. If you experience symptoms of altitude sickness such as headaches, nausea, or shortness of breath, it is important to rest and not ascend any further until you feel better.


Overall, while Humantay Lake is a stunning destination to visit, it is important to be mindful of the high altitude and take steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


Why Humantay Lake Is So Blue


Humantay Lake is known for its stunning blue color which is due to the glacial meltwater from the surrounding mountains. The water is rich in minerals and sediments, which give the lake its unique blue-green hue. Additionally, the reflection of the sunlight on the water's surface can also contribute to its vibrant color. Visitors to the lake are often in awe of its beauty and find it to be a highlight of their trip to the Cusco region of Peru.


Humantay trek


Humantay Is A Sacred Lake?


Yes, Humantay Lake is considered a sacred site by the local Quechua people, who have lived in the region for centuries. The lake is believed to be home to the Apu Humantay, a mountain deity who is highly revered in Andean mythology. According to local beliefs, the Apu Humantay controls the weather and is responsible for providing water for the crops and livestock in the region. As such, the lake is considered a place of spiritual significance and is often visited by local communities for offerings and rituals. Visitors to the lake are asked to respect its sacred status and are encouraged to be mindful of their actions while there.


Is Humantay Lake Worth It?


Yes, Humantay Lake is definitely worth visiting if you are in the Cusco region and have the opportunity to do so. The stunning blue-green color of the lake against the backdrop of the towering snow-capped mountains is truly breathtaking and offers a unique natural beauty that is hard to find elsewhere. The trek to the lake is also quite challenging and provides a good workout, making it a great option for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Additionally, the lake holds cultural and spiritual significance for the local Quechua people, adding to its allure and making it a unique and memorable experience. Overall, if you are able to handle the altitude and challenging terrain, a visit to Humantay Lake is definitely worth it.




What to Expect on a Humantay Lake Tour


A typical Humantay Lake tour usually involves a full-day trek that starts early in the morning and takes around 3-4 hours to reach the lake. Here's what you can expect on a Humantay Lake tour:


  1. Early morning departure: Most tours will start early in the morning, usually around 4-5 am, to give you enough time to complete the trek and return before sunset.

  2. Scenic drive: The tour will begin with a scenic drive from Cusco to the trailhead near Soraypampa. Along the way, you'll enjoy stunning views of the Andean mountains and the surrounding landscapes.

  3. Trekking: After arriving at the trailhead, you'll begin the trek to Humantay Lake. The trek takes around 3-4 hours and involves steep inclines and rocky terrain. It can be challenging, especially for those who are not used to high altitude, but it is worth it for the stunning views and natural beauty along the way.

  4. Arrival at the lake: Once you arrive at the lake, you'll have plenty of time to take in the breathtaking views and take photos. You may also have the opportunity to participate in a traditional offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth) led by a local shaman.

  5. Lunch: After spending some time at the lake, you'll hike back down to Soraypampa where a delicious lunch will be waiting for you.

  6. Return to Cusco: The tour will conclude with a return trip to Cusco, arriving in the evening.


Overall, a Humantay Lake tour is a challenging but rewarding experience that offers stunning views and a chance to connect with the natural beauty and cultural significance of the Andean region.


Humantay Lake Day Trip - Itinerary


A typical itinerary for a day trip to Humantay Lake would be:

  • 5:00am - 5:30am: Pick-up from your hotel in Cusco
  • 7:00am - 8:00am: Breakfast in Mollepata
  • 9:00am - 9:30am: Arrival at Soraypampa (3,900m)
  • 9:30am - 11:30am: Hike to Humantay Lake (4,200m)
  • 11:30am - 12:30pm: Free time to take photos and enjoy the scenery
  • 12:30pm - 1:30pm: Descend to Soraypampa
  • 1:30pm - 2:30pm: Lunch
  • 2:30pm - 4:30pm: Return to Cusco
  • 6:30pm - 7:00pm: Drop-off at your hotel in Cusco

Note that this itinerary can vary depending on the tour operator and the weather conditions. It's important to check with your tour operator beforehand to confirm the exact itinerary and what is included in the tour.


Humantay Lake Tours - What’s Included 


The inclusions in a Humantay Lake tour may vary depending on the tour operator, but some common inclusions are:


  1. Roundtrip transportation from your hotel/hostel to the trailhead.
  2. English-speaking guide.
  3. Entrance fees to the Humantay Lake trail.
  4. Breakfast and lunch or snacks.
  5. First aid kit.
  6. Oxygen tank.
  7. Horses or mules to carry equipment and personal belongings (in some cases).


It's important to read the tour description carefully to know exactly what is included in your tour package.


Humantay Lake Without a Guide


While it is possible to visit Humantay Lake without a guide, it is not recommended for several reasons. First, the trek to Humantay Lake can be challenging and steep in some areas, so having a guide who is familiar with the terrain and can provide assistance can be very helpful. Additionally, the area surrounding Humantay Lake is sacred to the local people, and having a guide who can provide cultural context and respect local customs is important.


Furthermore, the trail to Humantay Lake can be difficult to navigate without prior knowledge or experience, so having a guide who can ensure that you stay on the right path is important for safety reasons. Finally, having a guide can enhance the overall experience by providing information about the flora, fauna, and geology of the area, as well as offering insights into the history and culture of the region.


Therefore, it is highly recommended to book a tour with a reputable tour operator who can provide a knowledgeable and experienced guide.


Why Hike Humantay Lake on Your Own?


I can give some reasons why some people might choose to hike Humantay Lake on their own:


  1. Flexibility: Hiking on your own allows you to set your own pace and schedule, giving you the freedom to take your time or rush as needed.

  2. Cost: Going without a guide can save you money on the cost of a tour, which can be beneficial for travelers on a budget.

  3. Adventure: For some people, hiking on their own can be more adventurous and challenging, offering a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.


It's important to note that hiking without a guide can also have risks and drawbacks, especially if you're not familiar with the area or the trails. It's recommended that hikers who are not experienced in the area to go with a guide to ensure their safety and to get the most out of their experience.


Where does the Humantay Lake trail start?


The Humantay Lake trail starts in the town of Soraypampa, which is located about 3.5 hours from Cusco by car. From Soraypampa, it's a 5.5-kilometer hike to the lake, with an elevation gain of about 700 meters. The trail is well-marked, so it's possible to do the hike without a guide, although it's recommended to have a good level of fitness and previous hiking experience.


What Is the Best Time to Visit Humantay Lake?


The best time to visit Humantay Lake is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. During this time, the weather is generally sunny and dry, making for clear views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The rainy season, which runs from November to April, can make the trail more challenging due to muddy and slippery conditions. However, some visitors choose to visit during the rainy season to see the lush green vegetation and fewer crowds. It's important to note that the weather can be unpredictable in the mountains, so it's always a good idea to check the forecast before planning your trip.


Humantay Lake tour


What To Pack for a Humantay Lake Trek


When preparing for a trek to Humantay Lake, it's important to pack appropriately for the altitude and weather conditions. Here are some essential items to bring:


  1. Warm clothing: Layers are key as temperatures can vary widely throughout the day. Be sure to pack a warm jacket, hat, gloves, and thermal underwear.

  2. Hiking boots: It's important to have comfortable and sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support for the trek.

  3. Sunscreen: The sun is very strong at high altitude, even on cloudy days, so be sure to bring a high SPF sunscreen and apply it frequently.

  4. Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the bright sun and high-altitude glare with a good pair of sunglasses.

  5. Water bottle: It's important to stay hydrated at high altitude, so bring a refillable water bottle to minimize waste.

  6. Snacks: Pack some lightweight, high-energy snacks like trail mix, energy bars, and dried fruit to keep you fueled throughout the day.

  7. Rain gear: It's always a good idea to be prepared for rain showers in the mountains. Bring a lightweight rain jacket and rain pants to stay dry.

  8. Daypack: A small daypack is necessary to carry your essentials such as water, snacks, and extra clothing.

  9. Camera: Don't forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning views and beautiful scenery.

  10. Personal medication: If you have any prescription medications, be sure to bring them along with any over-the-counter remedies for altitude sickness.


Remember to pack light as you will need to carry your own backpack during the trek.


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