Peru is close to my heart. I had dreamed of coming down to Huaraz for some time because of all of the different hikes you can go on. We started up in Mancora after I took an overnight bus through Ecuador to the border of Peru. Then we went to Cajamarca for a week and finally made our way to the hiking capital of Peru, Huaraz.

There is an endless amount of trails you can go on between Huaraz and Caraz (the northernmost town in this region). It’s safe to say that I fell in love with this region of Peru and I will be back.

In this guide, I will go over the best hikes you can do in Huaraz all in one day.

laguna churup huaraz

What is the Huascaran National Park?

Huscaran National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located next to Huaraz and is filled with many hikes and mountain ranges. The most famous of such is the Cordillera Blanca, which is the highest tropical mountain range in the world.

You are able to see these mountain ranges throughout the town of Huaraz and while driving in the area.

laguna 69 hike

How to Get to Huaraz, Peru

Huaraz is one of the most popular places in Peru and is often referred to as the hiking capital of the country. This means there are multiple bus options for you. Buses in Peru, from my experience, are really good and cheap. Below I will go over how to get there from a couple of popular areas in the country.

Lima to Huaraz

There are many different bus companies in Lima that will take you to Huaraz. Also, there isn’t a central bus station. Most buses have their own bus terminal. The most cost-effective way to use these buses is to buy a night bus. Below are some tips for getting to Huaraz from Lima.

  • If you don’t want to go to the bus terminal, you can order your ticket on Redbus. This is the go-to for online bus tickets in Peru.
  • Julio Ceasar is one of the highest-rated bus companies but they are all pretty good.
  • Terminal Plaza Norte and La Victoria are two good stations
  • The bus ride is around 8 hours. If you buy early you can get tickets as cheap as $15 to $20.

Cajamarca to Huaraz

Traveling from Cajamarca to Huaraz is slightly more difficult but still very easy. It is only more difficult because you have to switch buses and isn’t a straight shot. You will be going from Cajamarca to Trujillo to Huaraz. This is the route we took and it is very easy.

  • Go to the bus station Terminal Terrestre Cajamarca ATC & find any bus going to Trujillo. We paid 30 soles for ours
  • Once in Trujillo, you can go to the Terrapuerto Trujillo bus terminal or you can buy your ticket in advance
  • We paid 70 soles for the 1st class seats which are amazing for night buses. You get better seats that help you sleep at night.
laguna llaca

Best Places to Stay in Huaraz

  • Alpes Huaraz: This is where I stayed during my time in Huaraz and it was amazing. The area is set up like a mini-hotel and the kitchen is huge. Dorms are very cheap at $7-$9.
  • Krusty Hostel: With great prices for private rooms and growing in popularity, there isn’t much to hate about this hostel. Centrally located just a few blocks from the main square.
  • Vacahouse Huaraz B&B: This is a great hostel if you’re traveling as a couple. The private rooms are very nice and for a good price.

Best Time to Visit Huaraz

Most people when visiting Peru and especially Huaraz, are here to go trekking. This means the most ideal weather is when there is a lower chance of rainfall.

Even though it is Winter, the best time to visit Huaraz is between May and September. The weather is more likely to call for blue skies and it is also the dryest period of the year.

With how high Huaraz and the surrounding mountains sit, it will always be cold at night.

hikes huaraz

My Suggested Hiking Gear

Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.

  • KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
  • Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
  • Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
  • Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.

9 Amazing Day Hikes in Huaraz, Peru

All of these hikes listed in this section are able to be completed in a single day. We woke up around 6 am every day to start these hikes in Huaraz. You don’t necessarily have to do the same but this reduces to risk of not finishing before sunset.

The first seven hikes on this list I have done myself personally. That means there will be a link you can click that will bring you to the main blog of that hike.

These blogs go over way more details such as how to get there, tips, more photos, and my review of the hike.

I will 100% be coming back to Huaraz to do more hikes in the future, so stay tuned for that!

Laguna Churup

Laguna Churup is one of the most popular hikes that is located right outside Huaraz. You will see many people on this trail compared to some of the other ones on this list. That doesn’t mean you want to avoid this one.

You will be hiking along a ridgeline that leads you into one of the most beautiful lake backdrops you’ll ever see. This hike is also famous for the multiple sections of chains you will have to use to climb a rock face. It sounds harder than it actually is and is doable for most.

Below are the hiking details for Laguna Churup:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 4.5 mile out & back hike. This varies slightly depending on if you visit the Mirador or not.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 4 to 5 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the laguna.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate to difficult because of the altitude and elevation gain.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 2054 feet or 626 meters.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
laguna churup trail
laguna churup altitude
laguna churup, hikes huaraz

Laguna Llaca

Laguna Llaca is one of the more unique hikes in Huaraz. At first, this hike starts on a road. There will be a trail that cuts through the road that takes you to the lake. Once you get past this section you will come to a gated area where you will begin to walk on a road for a couple of miles. Shortly after you will head down into a beautiful valley. This valley will then take you straight to the Laguna Llaca.

Don’t be scared about the distance of this hike. The only hard part is the last half mile which has you hiking at a steep incline.

Below are the hiking details for Laguna Llaca:

  • Distance: This hike is an 11.2-mile out & back trail. While longer than others, it is totally worth it.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 6 to 7 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the laguna.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate to difficult because of the altitude and elevation gain.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 3077 feet or 937 meters.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
laguna llaca
huaraz hikes
laguna llaca valley

Laguna Paron

Laguna Paron isn’t actually located in Huaraz. This hike is located next to the town of Caraz. Many people opt to stay in Huaraz and take a day tour of this lake. Caraz is about 90 minutes by car or 2 hours by public transport from Huaraz.

This is in my opinion, out of all the hikes in Huaraz, the bluest lake in the area.

This trail follows the pattern of hiking on the road for a section in then cutting through a sometimes steep trail.

I highly recommend hiking this instead of taking a vehicle all the way to the top. There is even an extra side hike to the Laguna Paron Mirador.

Below are the hiking details for Laguna Paron:

  • Distance: This hike is a 10.6-mile out & back trail. This trail can be longer if you take more roads.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 5 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the laguna.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate to difficult because of the altitude and elevation gain.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 2900 feet or 900 meters.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
huaraz hikes
huaraz hikes

Mirador de Huaraz

Mirador de Huaraz (El Cañon De Rataquenua) is surprisingly not a lake hike. It is one of the shorter hikes in Huaraz that is great for getting acclimatized. The terrain on this one is pretty rugged, especially at the beginning. It is located in the corner of Huaraz and the most popular section takes you to a viewpoint of the town next to a cross.

You can continue along past the cross and go in a loop. This gives great views of the surrounding mountains. Be careful as some of the trails might be hard to find.

Below are the hiking details of Mirador de Huaraz:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 4.4-mile loop hike. This varies slightly depending on if you stop at the cross or not.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 3 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the mirador.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate because of the altitude and elevation gain.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1371 feet or 418 meters.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
mirador huaraz
huaraz hikes

Laguna Wilcacocha

Laguna Wilcacocha is one of the shorter hikes that you’ll do in Huaraz. To reach the lake, you won’t be reaching as high of an altitude as many others. The lake sits at 3680 meters. This makes it a fantastic method to get acclimatized. The lake is more of a large pond but the views of the Cordillera Blanco behind it is a sight to see. I highly recommend this over the other hikes as the first one you want to do in Huaraz.

It should only cost 20 soles to take a taxi to the trailhead or there is always cheap public transport (collectivo).

Below are the hiking details for Laguna Wilcacocha:

  • Distance: This hike is around a 4-mile loop hike. This varies slightly depending on the trail you take early on.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 3 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the laguna.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate to difficult because of the altitude and elevation gain.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1883 feet or 574 meters.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
laguna wilcacocha
laguna wilcacocha trail
laguna wilcacocha

Laguna 69

Laguna 69 is the only one on this list of hikes in Huaraz that we didn’t do in one day. With that being said, most people who do this hike opt for the 1-day tour. We like to do things a little differently here and instead, we took all public transport up into the park. This took us around 4 hours because of the wait time. From here we hiked to Camp Pisco or Refugio Peru. This takes you left and around instead of following the normal route to the right when entering the park.

We stayed the night there, woke up early, and hiked to Laguna 69 before the tours showed up.

Below are the hiking details for Laguna 69:

  • Distance: The Refugio Peru/Pisco hike to Laguna 69 is a mile loop hike. If you are going straight there for a day trip the hike is around 8.5 miles out & back.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 5 to 6 hours to finish the day hike. This depends on your fitness level as well.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank the day hike as moderate to difficult and the 2-day hike to Laguna 69 as difficult.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike for both of these trails is 1200 feet of different. The 2-day hike is 3900 feet of elevation or 1200 meters. The day hike is shorter.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
laguna 69 hike
refugio peru camp pisco
laguna 69 hike

Laguna Ahuac

Laguna Ahuac was the first hike we did when we settled down in Huaraz. The transportation to the trailhead is super easy and convenient. The elevation gain was harder than we thought it would be but it’s so worth it. The trail is super straight forward and I believe this hike jumped us up into better hiking shape. There is a shelter right next to the lake and it’s breathtaking. This is a great hike to get you used to use the collectivos around town and for the elevation training.

Below are the hiking details for Laguna Ahuac:

  • Distance: This hike is a 7.4-mile out & back trail. While shorter, there is much more incline than others.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 6 to 7 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the laguna.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as difficult because of the altitude and elevation gain.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 3756 feet or 1145 meters.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
laguna ahuac huaraz
huaraz hikes
laguna ahuac huaraz

Bonus Hikes in Huaraz

These hikes listed below are ones that we didn’t have time to hike ourselves while in Huaraz but were planning to. They are all amazing hikes and I will be doing them when I visit next.

Laguna 513

Laguna 513 looks to be an absolutely stunning hike. It is located outside the town of Carhuaz. This is not one of the popular hikes to do in Huaraz, so you won’t be seeing many people on the trail. It is 8.5 miles out & back hike with 3156 feet of elevation gain or 961 meters.

If staying in Huaraz, you will need to take a collectivo to Carhuaz. From there you’ll have to find another collectivo to take you to the small town of Hualcan. This will all be very cheap. You will then want to make your way to Sonquilpampa, where the trail begins.

Laguna Shallap

Laguna Shallap is the longest hike on this list of day hikes in Huaraz. It is close to the trailhead of Laguna Churup and it’s possible to get dropped off by collectivo. You want to head to Pitec and not Llaca. The hike will start there. This hike is more long than difficult. Once you arrive at the lake, you will be blown away by its emerald-green color and the backdrop of mountains. Rumor has it there is a waterfall close by as well. Also, watch out for cow poo!

Other Activities to do in Huaraz, Peru

Huaraz is a dream location for anyone who loves hiking or climbing. There are so many amazing hikes around this area. Some of these are not crowded at all, even in high season. I love to have a good mixture of non-popular activities and popular ones. There’s a reason everyone goes to these such as Laguna 69 and Santa Cruz Trek. Check out some great activities to do around Huaraz below for a trip to this wonderful region of Peru.

My Thoughts on the Amazing Hikes in Huaraz

If you love to do hikes or just seek adventure, then Huaraz is the place for you. I was excited to visit Peru and this town but my expectations were blown out of the water when we arrived. There is so much to do here and everyone is so nice. It’s hard to not like waking up to beautiful mountains in the background every day. There are a handful of hikes I still want to do here, so I will 100% be back.

Thank you for reading my guide on the best hikes in Huaraz. I hope this helped plan your trip here to this amazing town.