If you haven’t heard of Huaraz already then I’m here to help. This is a hotspot for hikers and climbers alike. Located next to Huaraz, the Parque Nacional Huascarán is one of the most visited in the country. There are many lakes (laguna in Spanish) here with crystal clear water. This park is also home to the highest mountain peaks in Peru.
Some of the most popular ones include Laguna 69, Laguna Churup, and Laguna Llaca. These are spectacular but there are more than just those. Laguna Ahuac is a less popular hike around Huaraz but that doesn’t mean it’s any less special.
Huaraz sits at an elevation of a little over 3,000 meters. Don’t let that scare you away from visiting this amazing part of Peru. When you arrive you’ll want to have at least a couple of days to get used to the altitude and do some smaller hikes.
In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about hiking to Laguna Ahuac in Huaraz and how to do it solo.
Where is Laguna Ahuac Located?
Laguna Ahuac trailhead is located 30 minutes by bus outside Huaraz. It is very close to the archaeological site of Wilcahuain. This lake sits at 4,550 meters and will be a real test of your fitness. It is highly suggested to get an early start so you are able to go as slow as you need.
How to get to Laguna Ahuac Trailhead
There are multiple ways to get to the trailhead. If you have a bigger group then a taxi is doable. I’m not sure of the price but it shouldn’t be too much. We like to take the collectivo here in Peru as they are very cheap and reliable. I highly suggest you download maps.me and download the offline map of this region.
From here you can search in the northern part of the main area of Huaraz for the bus stop of Wilcahuain. It is right next to the collectivo symbol for Caraz. This will take you right to the trailhead for 2 soles ($0.50). We arrived at the bus stop a little after 7:00 am and left shortly after.
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 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.
Best Places to Stay in Huaraz, Peru
- 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.
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.
Laguna Ahuac Hike Details
- 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.
For more information about the hike as well as reviews, you can check them out on Alltrails
Other Hikes in Peru You’d Love:
My Experience Hiking to Laguna Ahauc in Huaraz
When I was looking into this hike, it didn’t look as spectacular of a hike compared to some others. I watched videos and looked at photos. Nothing really stood out to me but the elevation gain seemed like it would be a good test.
I was wrong.
Laguna Ahuac is amazing for so many reasons and you won’t see many others on the trail. It is extremely accessible and cheap to get to without a car.
Entrance to Parque Nacional Huascarian
If you tell your collectivo driver that you are hiking to Lagaun Ahauac, he will stop right at the trailhead. If not then walk a little bit up the road until you see a sign. This sign will state that you are entering Parque Nacional Huascarian.
The hike begins very gradually and you will be walking along an aqueduct. It will eventually turn into more large steps and the incline will increase. It was early in the morning for us but we felt good.
About 20 to 30 minutes in you will see a cross on a hill and it is possible to go there for a nice viewpoint. We chose to keep going.
A large group of sheep walked past us here and it was a cool sight to see.
Shortly into the hike, you will start to see the large mountain range on your right. We had a view of it for the majority of our hike to Laguna Ahuac.
Laguna Ahuac – The Rocky Incline
What is great about the Laguna Ahuac trail is that it is extremely easy to follow. I didn’t have to look at my offline map that often to make sure we were on the right trail.
What can be bad is that the trail starts to get rocky and the incline almost seems to never stop. There are parts where it flattens out a bit but the closer you, the breaks become far and few between.
If you got an early start, then it shouldn’t matter too much if you have to stop a lot. With the elevation you will reach, it is smart to take your time.
It was also here that we decided to have our now famous hike lunch, peanut butter & jelly.
The few people we did see on the Laguna Ahuac trail were all expressing how difficult this hike was. It isn’t so bad to stop. The whole time you will have insane views of the valley, the mountain range, and Huaraz below.
Just keep chugging along is all I kept telling myself. You will make it and it will so be worth it. You don’t want to miss Laguna Ahuac.
Getting to the Shelter
After a mixture of some steep and less steep areas, you will then get closer to the mountain. These next areas will almost seem like you are going straight up. It was brutal at some points but I was trying to see how hard I could push myself.
I was doing really well and honestly recovering a lot faster than I thought I would. On mapsme you will see a shelter icon. Once you get here you’ll be on the home stretch.
Laguna Ahuac is so worth all of this struggle. The accomplishment alone is worth pushing through the pain.
Arriving at Laguna Ahuac
I’m not sure why but places like Alltrails call this hike Laguna Aguak instead of Laguna Ahuac. Anyways, after passing the first shelter you will keep hitting a steep incline with a few zigzags mixed in.
You will first come upon another shelter that is made out of bricks and looks a lot nicer. After walking towards it, Laguna Ahuac will come over the hill and you will get to see all of its stunning beauty.
Like I said earlier, I wasn’t as excited about this hike as some others that I have planned. This walk over the hill changed everything for me. The lake looked crystal clear and the mountains perched behind it were more defined than I would have ever imagined it.
There are some other trails you can take around it if you want. We just took some drone shots and decided to get out of there after an hour or so because of the incoming rain.
I wish we could have stayed for longer.
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.
Final Thoughts on Laguna Ahuac Hike in Huaraz
The Laguna Ahuac hike isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t a good acclimatization hike because of the elevation gain. You’ll be out of breath. With that being said, I highly suggest doing this trek. It completely blew away all of the expectations I had for it going in. You get a good mix of forest, city views and mountains. On top of this, the end is a beautiful lake that not many people will be at. It can’t get any better than this.
Thank you for reading my guide on the Laguna Ahuac hike in Huaraz! I hope this guide helps you decide on some alternative things to do when visiting this region of Peru.