Santa Cruz Trek by Cedros Alpamayo Trek to Village Hualcayan
Highlights of the Cordillera Blanca. The highest tropical mountain range in the world, the Cordillera Blanca is part of the spectacular Andes that form the spine of South America. A mecca for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, the region boasts over 50 peaks that exceed 15,000 feet, 700 glaciers and 300 lakes.
Hiking The Santa Cruz Trek in Peru: The Santa Cruz Trek is one of the most popular trekking trails of Cordillera Blanca in northern Peru. Offering the chance of high-altitude hikes against a backdrop of sublime mountain vistas and with some of the country’s loftiest peaks, including the mighty Huascarán, towering in the distance, this trail is a favourite with many trekkers to the region. For those looking for an adventurous challenge but one that won’t push them to their absolute limits, this trek is an attractive option and often is considered as one of the best treks in Peru. Below we’re giving you all the details of the Santa Cruz Trek in Peru.
Overview:Santa Cruz trek is the most popular of all the Cordillera Blanca treks and for a good reason. It is easy to organise from Huaraz and offers the chance to see some of the magic of the Andes without requiring excessive exertion or high levels of fitness, meaning it is accessible to anyone in reasonably good shape. On day two, trekkers will see two beautiful lakes known as Ichiccocha and Jatuncocha (Big and Small Lake in Quechua). On day three, the trail leads over the Punta Unión Pass (4750 m), the highest point on the trail, which offers some of the best views. On the final day, trekkers can view snow-capped peaks like Huascarán, the highest mountain in Peru, before arriving in Vaquería, from where transport completes the journey back to Huaraz.
Trekking in Nevado Alpamayo: “The hike in the Nevado Alpamayo is one of the most difficult routes for adventure sportsmen, but it is also one of the most beautiful places in Peru recognized worldwide.”
The Nevado Alpamayo is located in the province of Huaylas – Ancash and is part of the Cordillera Blanca. It has an altitude of 5,947 m.s.n.m. It is considered one of the most beautiful mountains in the world (Scenic Photography Contest, Münich, 1996). The access is from the city of Caraz to 2,250 m.s.n.m. 67 km from Huaraz. Climate in Nevado Alpamayo: The climate in Alpamayo is dry and icy cold. Its annual average temperature is approximately 10 ° C.
May – October: It is the best time to trek in the Alpamayo, because at the foot of the Nevado the temperature is drier, while at the top it is freezing all year round.
Your journey begins with a 400km trip by bus from Peru’s capital city of Lima to the Cordillera Blanca Mountain Range. Head north on the Pan-American Highway through an impressive coastal desert before turning east for a gradual ascent into the Andean highlands. Arriving at the Conococha Pass (4,020 masl) you will begin a steady descent into the Santa Valley until you reach Huaraz (3,060 masl), the mountaineering capital of Peru.
An easy day of acclimatizing, our group will take a day-trip by bus to the Puya Raimondi National Park where we will reach an elevation of 4,780 masl crossing the Huarapasca Pass. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in a day-hike along the Pumapampa River where we’ll observe the giant, candle-shaped Puya Raimondi, an endemic plant species that grows to heights upwards of 12-meters. Before returning to Huaraz, we will also visit the Pastoruri Glacier, a site known for the striking visible evidence of glacial recession in the Cordillera Blanca.
Today we head north from Huaraz down through the Santa Valley until the we reach the town of Caraz. From Caraz, we will slowly make our way into the mountains, passing through rural hamlets before arriving at Cashapampa (2,900 masl), the closest community to the Santa Cruz Valley entrance and the starting point of our trek. Our crew of guides, cooks and porters will meet us in Cashapampa, accompanying us throughout our journey with their faithful team of donkeys that will carry our gear. Leaving Cashapampa, we will hike up through the Santa Cruz Valley until we reach out first campsite: Llamacorral.
Our trek continues through the Santa Cruz Valley as we pass the glacial lakes Ichiccocha and Hatuncocha. The banks of the lakes and rivers will be covered with the famous, slow-growing queñua trees and blooming wild lupins bursting with blue. This area also serves as a sanctuary for many species of birds and local ducks. Continue on to the Arhueycocha Lake (4,450 masl), the starting point for the trail to Alpamayo, widely known as the most beautiful mountain in the world. From here, we’ll take in panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, including Quitarahu, Artesonrahu, Alpamayo, Pirámide de Garcilaso and Paria. We will make camp at Taullipampa.
We will spend (2) nights at Taullipampa to allow us enough time to hike to the Alpamayo basecamp and observe the world’s most beautiful peak. From there, we will make our way to the glacial lake Arhuaycocha and perhaps witness some calving, (i.e. falling ice) from the Arhuay Glacier. From this high-altitude lake we will also have a view of Pukahirca Sur (6,039 masl) and Rinrihirca (5,888 masl).
Make sure to eat plenty at breakfast, because today will be physically demanding as we head for the Punta Union Pass (4,780 masl). A rocky and barren path, this pre-Inca trail has been used for centuries by parties crossing from the Callejón de Huaylas to the Conchucos Valley. Take in views of the imposing snow-capped peaks and glaciers that surround you and gaze below at the Huaripampa Valley. We’ll make camp at Tuctupampa (4,200 masl)
Day 7: Camp Tuctupampa (4,200 masl) over Pukarahu Pass (4,650 masl) - Lakeguna Huecrucocha (4,050 masl)
Heading out of Tuctupampa we’ll make our way up switchbacks until arriving at the Pukarahu Pass (4,650 masl), which connects us with the Cedros-Alpamayo Circuit. From here, we’ll take in spectacular vistas of the peaks Contrayerba, Paria and Taullirahu, among others. As we head down, we will pass by the glacial lake Huecrucocha where we will make camp and rest up before beginning the Cedros-Alpamayo trek.
Today we will spend some time visiting traditional Andean villages and have the opportunity to learn about life in a rural, highland context. Our ascent towards Tupa Tupa Pass (4,400 masl) is not as demanding as the previous days and we will enjoy views of the Jancarunris and Pukajirka peaks. We end the day in the village of Jancapampa (3,600 masl) where we will spend the night.
As we take off from Jancapampa, be on the look-out for condors and Andean eagles. Reaching the Yanacon Pass (4,600 masl) we’ll be greeted by the towering Pukajirka (6,050 masl). Heading down from the pass we will visit Sactaycocha Lake before arriving at our campsite, Tayapampa.
Expect a challenge today as we have not one, but TWO passes awaiting us! – Mesa Pata Pass (4,460 masl) and Cara Cara Pass (4,830 masl) However, we must first cross a river without getting wet before attacking the steep ascent towards the first pass. We’ll be accompanied by impressive peaks such as Jancarurish (5,578 masl), Quitarahu (6,036 masl) and Alpamayo (5,947 masl). After conquering the two passes we’ll take a short break before descending into the Jancarurish Valley, also known as the Alpamayo Crossing.
Wake up to scenic views from the Cruze de Alpamayo campsite (4,250 masl) and take an OPTIONAL hike up to Jancarurish Lake, allowing for great views of Alpamayo (5,947 masl) and Quitarahu (6,036 masl), allowing an opportunity to get above 5,000 masl. Alternatively, spend the morning resting at the Cruce de Alpamayo before heading of for our next campsite at Ruinapampa.
Today we’ll tackle two moderate passes: Vientunan Pass (4,770 masl) and Osoruri (4,860 masl). As we ascend, we’ll pass glacial lake Cullicocha (4,600 masl) and take in views of Santa Cruz (6,259 masl) with its impressive ice wall. Finally, we will see Lake Milluacocha (5,480 masl) before descending to our campsite at Wishcash.
Our last day, we’ll hike down to the community of Hualcayán where transportation will be waiting to take our group back to Huaraz. On our way back, we’ll stop in Yungay and visit “Campo Santo,” the site where Old Yungay and it’s 20,000 inhabitants were buried by an earthquake-induced avalanche in 1970. From there, we’ll continue on to Huaraz for a big dinner with the local team.
Our package offer includes a flight from Huaraz to Lima via LCPeru (Flight time – 50 minutes) However, you may also opt to take a bus back to the capital city.
Included meals: B=breakfast; L=lunch; D=dinner
Services included in the prices:
- Peruvian trekking-guide
- Cooks and helpers
- All meals during the tour
- Donkey driver and donkeys
- Camping tents (2 persons)
- Kitchen equipment
- Transportation as tour schedule / Huaraz
- International flights to Lima / Peru round trip
- Transfer from the airport for bookings of individual flights with different times of arrival / departure
- Exit tax at the airport in Lima
- Travel accident and health insurance
- Luggage insurance and trip cancellation
- Meals in restaurants in Lima and Huaraz
- Pick up at the airport in Lima to the Hotel
- Transfer from the Hotel to the airport and bus station
- Transport public bus or Domestic flight Airline LC-Peru
- Hotel Casa Andina 2 nights in Lima or other hotel
- Hotel San Sebastián 4 nights in Huaraz or other hotel
- Entrance fees to the Huascaran National Park
- Personal expenses
- Personal equipment (such as boots, ice ax, crampons, harness, sleeping bag, mat, Goretex, etc.)
Prices & Dates
» Additional dates available upon request
» Rates may vary from July 26th to 31th for the national holidays
Prices (per person):
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Deposit for reservations: — USD (– EUR) ✓ Full payment 40 days before. No refund if you cancel less than 30 days!
Trip-code: Number ►PER-
Duration: 14 days
Participants: Minimal: 4 Maximal: 12
Members: We don’t have an open group to join – We can open a new group – Contact us!
Country / Location: Peru
Mountain Guide: Juventino Albino Caldua
Other dates / additional info: Contact us!
3% early bird discount when booking 6 months prior to departure 2023
EZZ Single room supplement
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Juventino Albino Caldua
Expert guide certified by IVBV - UIAGM - IFMGA
Co-Founder, Peru Expeditions