It’s funny sometimes. A recurring event for us while traveling is that we seem to be in a new country during a big event. This ranges from the elections in Colombia, to strikes in Ecuador, and now Peru’s Independence day. Because of this, Huaraz was extremely packed with both tourists and locals for the week. This meant our big hike planned to Laguna Churup was going to be a bit more crowded.
I can see why it is so popular. The trail is very well maintained and can easily be done without a guide. Transportation here, like all of Peru, is extremely straightforward and easy. Other hikes like Laguna Paron, Laguna Llaca, and Laguna Ahuac were probably busy as well because we went on the weekend.
In this guide, I will go over all the details you need to know to hike to Laguna Churup on your own without a guide.
Where is Laguna Churup Located?
Laguna Churup is a 40-minute drive outside of the hiking Capital of Huaraz in Peru. The roads leading up to the trailhead are not the best, as is with most roads up into the mountains.
Laguna Churup is located in the Huascaran National Park, which means to enter it will cost you 30 soles or around $7.50 USD. This is totally worth it as it helps maintain the area and some of the money will also be given to the locals.
How to Get to Laguna Churup Trailhead
If you didn’t rent a vehicle while in Peru, then your best option is to take public transport. Taxis will be expensive as it is a far drive and the terrain is difficult on cars.
Look on mapsme for the Combi to Llupa, Pitec. The trailhead is at Pitec and this is where most people in the Combi will be headed to.
The cost is 10 soles each way, so 20 soles roundtrip.
This is more expensive than most any other public transport to the trailhead but is a slightly farther drive.
You will go inside a shop to fill out a Boleto or ticket for your roundtrip ticket to Pitec. This is when I knew Laguna Churup was a very popular hike in the area.
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.
Laguna Churup Hike Details
- 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.
To read the reviews about this hike and other details, you can visit Alltrails
Best Time to Visit Huaraz, Peru
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.
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.
Tips for Altitude Sickness in Huaraz
A common fear of most people when traveling to these parts of Peru is the chance of getting altitude sickness. This isn’t fun and can ruin a trip. Here are some of the best tips to lower the chances of this happening to you while traveling to Peru:
- Drink a lot of water (I like to aim for a gallon a day)
- Rest, Rest, Rest. Sleep is everything with recovery and health.
- If you’re planning on hiking, start with smaller hikes like Laguna Wilcacocha
- Coca is very popular in Peru and having some of the candy on hand can be smart
- Stop and rest wherever you are
- Take ibprofuen
My Experience Hiking to Laguna Churup
We woke up early for this hike as we usually always like to do. Giving ourselves the most time possible for any hike is always beneficial. It turned out to be a good idea because at certain parts there was a lot of traffic.
Collectivo to Laguna Churup
The combi or collectivo will stop at a parking lot where others can park. At the entrance you will see a mini-resturaunt and other things. You don’t need to pay here to enter as you will pay at the end of this first rocky incline section.
After this area the trail starts to become steep for a good half of a mile. The views are amazing as you start to hike into a canyon looking area where Laguna Churup is located.
The Heavy Incline Gravel Ridgeline
This was one of my favorite areas because your imagination can run wild. You aren’t able to see much further past the mountains and wonder how far Laguna Churup is.
You will hike a long one of the best ridgelines in the area as you can see from the drone shot that I posted up above. There are some great places to rest with sun cover. After about an hour we arrived at the area where you paid to enter the park.
Chain Section 1
When talking to others at our hostel about this hike, they mentioned there would be a section of chains. In fact, there is 2 sections. The way it was explained to us is that these chains were difficult and potentially rusty.
It was highly suggested to wear gloves but we didn’t have any.
It turned out to be fine as the chains seemed to be in great condition. This first section of chains wasn’t too bad and isn’t as steep as section number 2.
Personally I enjoyed these small challenges as it made the hike more rewarding.
Chain Section 2
After the first section of chains, the incline started once again. At one point you are able to take a different trail to the left that will lead to the mirador. We decided to do that route on the way down, as many others did as well.
Right before the second area of chains you will reach a campsite and will gaze upon the steepest section of the whole hike.
This area of chains is where the largest backup occured as it was very steep and consisted of two different sections.
The good news is shortly after completeing the second set of chains, you will practically be at Laguna Churup.
Arriving to Laguna Churup
About 30 minutes post chains, you will arrive at Laguna Churup sitting at 4,450 meters. There is some large rock areas which are great to sit down and have lunch at.
The lake is stunning and there are multiple different spots to get a view of it from. If you look at mapsme you will see different trails.
There is one trail the leads down then back up to the mirador. This trail also will lead you back down to the trailhead.
On the other side of Laguna Churup is another lake. This lake is called Churupita. If you have time you can follow the trail towards this laguna.
We decided against it and headed towards the mirador.
The ridgelines on the way back down when going this route were amazing and it took us another 90 minutes to make it back to the trailhead.
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 Churup Hike
Sometimes it feels like I’m hiking to too many Lagunas while visiting Huaraz. I don’t care though. These lakes are so beautiful and often times have an amazing backdrop of a 5,000 meter mountain. Laguna Churup was no different. The combination of chains and incline made it for one of the more adventurous hikes we have done in Huaraz so far. I would highly recommend this hike to anyone visiting the area.
Thank you for reading my guide on Laguna Churup! I hope this information helps you complete this hike on your own.