Day Trip Guide:
Day Trip Guide: Laguna 69
National Park Entrance Fee: 30 Soles ($10 USD) per person
Date Visited: November 2018
Most people want to know how to get to Laguna 69; however there is so much more to Huascarán National Park. Read more about the best hiking to do in Huascarán, it's like something out of a fairy tale land. We've seen glacial lakes in places like Banff National Park and Glacier National Park, but there's something different about this place. Not only could we see massive water falls of glacier water pouring down the sides of mountains, but we could fresh water streams winding through the valley with snow capped peaks in the background. It was truly an extraordinary experience.
Huascarán is about a 3 hour drive from Huaraz, but much of that is on an unpaved road. In fact, there isn't a single paved road in the entire park. It is extremely primitive compared to other National Parks we have been to, which is part of its allure. There was something calming and unique about the untouched environment of this place.
Looking for how to get to Laguna 69? Look no more; we will tell you how to get there and what to expect. This incredible day hike takes you through the stunning Cordillera Blanca Mountain range. Taking a day trip to Huascarán National Park from Huaraz is definitely worth the long 12 hour day.
We booked our day trip to Laguna 69 through Andes X-Plorer for $17 USD. This seemed like a good price at the time, but we would recommend waiting until you get to Huaraz to book your treks. Our hostel, Alpes Huaraz offered tours for as low as 35 Soles (roughly $11 USD). Booking with the hostel would've allowed us to go hiking in the park with new friends we met at the hostel. Oh well, you live and you learn.
If you're doing a day trip to Laguna 69 from Huaraz be prepared for a long day because the drive takes about three hours each way. The hike takes approximately 6 hours to complete so you're looking at a 12-13 hour day (leaving around 5 am). However, we did get to stop at a cool little breakfast place on the way to the park. The food is delicious and super cheap - an egg sandwich was 3 Soles (less than $1 USD). It's also a nice place to take a bathroom break. Be warned you should probably bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Though, this is the case with most places in Peru.
The hike to Laguna 69 is absolutely mind blowing. It's one of the harder hikes we have done, but by far the most beautiful scenery you could imagine. This hike is an 8.1 mile out-and-back trail that has an elevation change of 2,670 ft. The first two miles take you through a valley with winding streams of glacier water and oxen grazing in fields. It started out pretty flat so once we got to the halfway point we were feeling pretty good.
Not too long after the halfway point, we hit loads of switchbacks that made us gain elevation quickly. Once we made it to the top of the first series of switchbacks, we hit a false peak. We thought we were done with gaining elevation there. Wrong. After hiking through another valley, we reached the final set of switchbacks. This was the toughest part, but so worth it once you get to the top. The glacier water at Laguna 69 was out of this world. We stopped for a short lunch break and to catch our breath before descending back down.
**Pro Tip** - bring lots of layers for this hike. We were sweating during the first part but after we got to the lake at the top, it started raining/hailing. It's definitely worth bringing a warm jacket and/or a poncho with you on this hike as the weather changes quickly. Also make sure you bring plenty of water (at least 2 liters per person).
On the way out of Huascarán National Park are the beautiful blue waters of Quinuacocha Lake. This glacial lake is an incredible introduction to the Huascarán as it sits in a valley of the Cordillera Blancas. If you're headed to Laguna 69, passing by this point would be a good place to start chewing your coca leaves. This way once you hit the trailhead, any symptoms of altitude sickness will be gone.
If you're looking for somewhere to stay in Huaraz, there are plenty of hostels ready to be your base camp for trekking. Our personal favorite is Alpes Huaraz because it has an amazing atmosphere and ready to help you start your adventure.
From our experience, we like to use Hostel World to check out potential hostels, then check other booking websites like Booking.com to make our reservations. Sometimes we also message hostels directly to get a better price. We also like to use Airbnb to book accommodations if its a better deal than hostels. Clicking on either of the icons will give you a deal with either of the sites, but are affiliate links so we earn a small commission.
Dorms: $7.11+ USD
Private Rooms: $19.21+ USD
Amenities: Free Breakfast, Free Wifi, Tours/Travel Desk, Luggage Storage, Bar, Laundry Facilities
Dorms: $4.53+ USD
Private Rooms: $15.11+ USD
Amenities: Free Wifi, Free Breakfast, Tours/Travel Desk, Self Catering Facilities, Laundry Facilities
Dorms: $6.00+ USD
Private Rooms: $16.00+ USD
Amenities: Free Wifi, Free Breakfast, 24 Hr Reception, Games Room, Free City Maps