Santa Cruz Trek: Departures from Huaraz, an adventure town where you can check your gear and pick up snacks for your ride to the trailhead near Vaqueria (12,139 ft / 3700 m) or Cashapampa (9514 ft / 2900 m). Peru’s Cordillera Blanca is one of the most concentrated collections of big peaks in the Western Hemisphere, with 33 summits topping 5,400 meters (18,000 feet).
Following then; one of the most popular ways to discover this mountain range is to hike the Santa Cruz Trek. This trail is considered by many trekkers as one of the best hiking routes in the world. This 50km (31 mile) trail takes you through open mountain valleys, passing high mountain nevadas; along glacial rivers and the shores of translucent & bright lagunas.
The highest point along this 27 mile (43 km) walk is Punta Union Pass (15,616 ft / 4760 m). If you have more time to spend in the wilderness, there are a few side treks you can make, extending the trip to a week or more. Camping out on this route is spectacular, and can be trekked without any technical knowledge required. For beginners at high altitude this is a perfect trek to embark on in the Huaraz region.
The following itinerary starts at Vaqueria.
Trek in the world famous Cordillera Blanca
Scale the world famous ‘Punta Union Pass’ and take your own IG photos!
Enjoy glacial peaked views of Taulliraju (5,830m)
Relax or even take a dip in Laguna Jatunchocha
Breakfast x 4
Lunch x 5
Dinner x 4
Private Transport – collection & drop-off
Professional bilingual guide
High Mountain Cook
Muleteer & Mules
All camping equipment (Sleeping bags to hire + Trekking Poles)
Hotels before & after (can be organised as part of trip)
Tips for crew
Any additional extras
Domestic flights (can be organised as part of trip)
Travel & Adventure Insurance (we highly recommend some form of medical evacuation insurance)
Entrance fee to the Huascarán National Park (S./150.00 per person)
Emergency mule (can be hired for the expedition)
Trekking socks (synthetic fibers)
Hat for cold weather (fleece)
Microfiber shirts and thermal
Day Backpack or advance 40 liters
Waterproof Jacket (Gore-Tex or other)
Waterproof Pant (Gore-Tex or other)
Headlamp (with extra batteries and bulbs)
Sunscreen (lips and skin)
Personal First Aid Kit
Washbag and towel
|Joining Arrangements||There will be a pre-trek briefing held usually the evening before departure, at your hotel, to go over the details of the trek and any specific requirements not already captured.|
|Food & Water||Prior to setting off we recommend you steer clear of street food and only eat in good restaurants, to avoid any stomach complaints. Likewise with tap water, it is largely untreated, please only consume bottled water only or sterilised water if you have the right equipment.|
|Special Diets||We’ll ensure that we cater for all of your dietary needs, at the point of booking we’ll collect this information from you. We can secure special menu requests also for your trek party.|
|Trekking Crew||We are able to customise our treks to suit you, but usually our treks are guided by a professional bilingual guide, mountain cook, arriero (horseman) and mules to carry all equipment (passenger horses also available on request). They become a large part of your trekking expedition and it’s a great experience working together.|
This is a really important part of your trip planning process, please find a link below which explains a little more about preparing for altitude. Altitude Preparation
|Machu Picchu||An excursion to Machu Picchu can be included as part of your trip, including professional bilingual guide, entrance tickets, return trip bus tickets, Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountains (mountain climbs to be confirmed on reservation) & your return train ticket to Cusco.|
|Covid-19 (Coronavirus)||We are working with the latest protocols issued by the Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) to ensure our operations are safe and compliant for the future. We also have access to on-call health services for your time with us.|
|Covid-19 (Useful Links)||World Health Organisation | World Health Organisation – Peru | Covid-19 Data – Peru | Covid-19 Daily Statistics|
|Available Discounts||Throughout 2021 we’re offfering a 25% discount for each member of a group larger than 4+|
|Reservation||Please contact us to reserve your trek and we will send you our deposit & payment options.|
|Customer Service||Please feel free to contact us at any point before your trip for any queries or problems.|
Start in Huaraz and travel 71 miles (114 km) to the trailhead at Vaquiera. The path is well-marked up the Huarípampa Valley, and for the first few hours and you’ll pass small farms and a hamlet with traditional Quechua homes with thatched roofs.
Camp tonight at Paria campsite (12,795 ft / 3900 m).
A challenging day of trekking, it’s all about pacing yourself and taking in plenty of water. After about three hours of hiking, you’ll reach the Punta Union Pass, a narrow notch in the granite wall of mountains.
You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with awesome views of Taulliraju (19,127 ft / 5830 m), the glacier-wrapped peak that dominates the views to the north. The Taullicocha laguna far below on the other side of the pass is a beautiful turquoise hue.
After enjoying the views set off downhill to camp in the meadow of Taullipampa (13,956 ft / 4254 m).
Pack up your gear and take a look back to the stunning granite walls of Punta Union Pass. From here the trail continues along an area of loose sand and rock — the result of recent floods.
An avalanche in recent years broke an ice dam that held back the waters of the small Laguna Arteson Bajo. The resulting flash flood wiped up the trail, so the path has been altered in some parts.
This section of the trail passes Lake Jatunchocha (12,749 ft / 3886 m), where you can spend some time lounging by its shores or going for a chilly dip in its waters.
Camp tonight at Llamacorral (12,335 ft / 3760 m), a grassy field surrounded by boulders.
The path continues through a grassy ravine, past waterfalls and steep walls of sheer rock. The path is obvious and you’ll finally emerge from the canyon to views of the farmland of the Santa Cruz valley.
The long journey finishes in the village of Cashapamapa, where you can catch transport to the town of Caraz, and another ride to Huaraz. Spend the night at your hotel in Huaraz.