Santa Cruz Trek

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Why travel with Explorandes?

  • We’ve been adventuring in the Andes since before adventure travel was invented.
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Huaraz or ¨The Peruvian Switzerland¨ as some of the adventurers call it, hold one of the most beautiful circuits of the world’s highest tropical mountain range, passing below towering peaks – Huascarán, Alpamayo, Taulliraju, Huandoy, Chacraraju and many others in the glacial canyons of Peru’s first mountain National Park and Biosphere Reserve.

We’ll enjoy stunning Andean views, dramatic natural scenery, and distinctive, vibrant cultures. Ranking: easy to moderate with just one high mountain pass, you’ll experience an abundance of diverse regions and immerse in spectacular beauty on this unforgettable journey amidst glacial mountains, pristine wilderness, and crystal-pure lakes.


Huaraz, Ancash


4 days / 3 nights


From April to October

Group Departures

All Tuesdays


2 passengers

Private Departure

On request




Day 1Huaraz - Vaqueria - Paria

Getting an early morning start, we’ll drive along the Santa Valley passing several villages along the way until we reach present-day Yungay. The road winds slowly up into the gulley between the Huascaran massif and the Huandoy three-pronged peak. As we near the overhanging valley, we arrive at the boundary of Huascaran National Park. Llanganuco, as the area is known, has two crystalline turquoise lakes, Chinancocha and Orconcocha. We’ll continue driving to Portachuelo de Llanganuco Pass at 4750 m (15,584 ft) From here we can observe the highest mountains of the Cordillera Blanca including Huascaran, Huandoy´s Peak, Pisco, Chacraraju, and Chopicalqui. Finally, we will descend to Vaquería, at 3700 m (12,139 ft). This is where we’ll begin our trek.

We walk down towards a trail that makes its way to the left, over a small ridge into the remote Huaripampa Valley, nestled among mountains. As we slowly head up this valley, we’ll pass a small settlement of farmers, going about their agricultural activities. Walking through areas of verdant Andean flora, we’ll soon catch sight of snow-capped Chacraraju. Taulliraju will soon come into view as well as we stride alongside pastoral meadows and fields. We’ll make camp in the Paria Valley at 3875 masl (12,713 fasl).
(L / D)

Driving distance: 119 km (74 mi) – Time: 5 hours
Trekking distance: 11.2 km (7 mi) – Time: 5 hours

Day 2Paria - Punta Union Pass - Taullipampa

We start on an ascending trail towards Punta Union Pass at 4750 m (15,583 ft) This ancient trail saw heavy traffic in pre-Columbian and Colonial times as a route for transporting goods from the eastern side of the Andes to the main valley. As we approach the pass, Mt. Taulliraju will loom above us, and on the other side, a pristine glacial lake and bright white glacier will add color and contrast to the amazing views down the Santa Cruz Valley. The peaks of Quitaraju, Artesonaju, and Rinrijirca will come into view as well as the two lakes of Ichiccocha and Jatuncocha. The trail descends into Taullipampa, where we will spend the night at 4180 m (13,713 ft).
(B / L / D)

Trekking distance: 11 km (6.8 mi) – Time: 7-8 hours

Day 3Taullipampa - Alpamayo Lookout - Llamaccorral

Today we continue our hike down the Santa Cruz Valley, past the side-valley of Arhuaycocha, with great views of snow-capped mountain peaks, including Mt. Alpamayo. We’ll ascend to an amazing viewpoint to observe the majestic Alpamayo Mountain in all its glory. The landscape changes and scree slopes appear on each side of the marshy meadow as well as a smattering of boulders fallen from the eroded walls above us. Finally, towards the end of the day, we hike out of the ever-narrowing canyon into Llamacorral, where we will camp at 3783 m (12,411 ft).
(B / L / D)

Trekking distance: 14 km (8.7 mi) – Time: 6-7 hours

Day 4Llamacorral - Cashapampa - Huaraz

A steep descent brings us to Cashapampa (2944 m / 9658 ft) in the early morning. We’ll meet with our private vehicle that will take us back to Huaraz; we’ll take our leave of our team of helpers and relax as the road winds slowly down to the main valley, arriving in Huaraz in the afternoon, where we’ll unwind after a memorable journey amidst some of the most spectacular terrain on earth.

Trekking distance: 7 km (4.3 mi) – Time: 4 hours
Driving distance: 96 km (60 mi) – Time: 3 hours

End of services
B- Breakfast / BL- Box Lunch / L- Lunch / D- Dinner


– Transportation
– Professional bilingual guide
– Double occupancy tents with Thermarest sleeping pads
– All meals during trek
– Non-alcoholic drinks
– Kitchen and dining tents
– Cook and field staff
– Horses and drivers
– Entrance tickets
– Solar energy lamps
– Eco toilets
– Adequate garbage disposal
– First aid kit and oxygen tank

– Personal travel insurance
– Laundry service
– Airline tickets
– Sleeping bags (rent available)
– Personal gear
– Alcoholic beverages
– Additional services
– Tips
– Extras

– Regular and long wicking first layer for cold weather, like polyester, nylon, or merino wool
– Short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts, breathable fabrics, like nylon and polyester
– Light-colored long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts
– QuickDry Pants, trekking pants, and shorts
– Insulated long-sleeve jacket (fleece, synthetic, down, merino wool)
– Liner gloves
– Light cap and beany
– Rain jacket (in the rainy season, bring rain pants)
– Breathable sports socks or hiking socks
– Warm socks for nights
– Multifunctional headwear (e.g. Buff)
– Waterproof and breathable hiking boots
– Comfortable and lightweight shoes for campsite
– Sleeping Bag (0°/32° to -15°/ 5°) (rent available)
– Day Pack (preferably with rain cover)
– Trekking Poles (available to rent)
– Waterproof duffle bag
– Sunglasses
– Headlamp
– Microfiber towel
– Sunblock, lip balm, and insect repellent
– Reusable water bottle or vacuum bottle
– Portable Power Bank (to charge lamps, etc)
– Personal First Aid Kit (recommended)

Personal First-Aid Kit: On each trip we carry a medical kit, but we suggest you bring a small personal First-Aid Kit for bruises and blisters. Knee and ankle braces are sometimes useful especially if you suffer from weak knees or ankles. Include any special medication your doctor might suggest for you.

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Santa Cruz Trek


Santa Cruz Trek


Santa Cruz Trek

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