When I travel I like to get off the beaten path. Sure some of the most popular hikes are popular for a reason. It is a good idea to have still some of those in your itinerary, which is what I do. Most of the hikes for Huaraz have been lesser-known trails with fewer people, which I love. Some of them are so spectacular that you don’t know why there aren’t more hikers around. One of those examples is the Laguna Llaca hike outside of Huaraz.
If I didn’t know any better, I would say this region of Peru is the capital of Lakes. It seems all trails lead to a lake and are unique in their own aspect. This lake is located behind one of the most majestic valleys you will ever hike through.
In this guide, I will go over the best way to get to Laguna Llaca on your own as well as other details you’ll need to know.
Where is Laguna Llaca Located?
If you’re staying in Huaraz, then Laguna Llaca is a 90-minute car ride away. This is only true if you don’t want to do the hike portion. The drive to the trailhead will take roughly 25 to 30 minutes depending on the form of transportation.
This is a popular hike for people who are staying at the Lazy Dogg inn. We chose to take a taxi that morning because the closest a collectivo will take you is a 20 to 30-minute walk away from the trailhead. Rain was incoming and we wanted to make sure we got the hike in.
Some people call this a budget Laguna 69 hike and you will come to realize that it is more than that. I enjoyed this hike compared to others around the area such as Laguna Paron, Laguna Ahuac, and Laguna Churup.
How to Get to Laguna Llaca Trailhead
Below I will go over the details of how to get to the Laguna Llaca trailhead and back:
- Taxi: Ask to be taken to the Lazy Dogg inn. You can get out at the sign that leads you there. This cost us 35 Soles but I’m sure you can get there cheaper.
- Follow the Mapsme trail from here. It starts right up the road from the Lazy Dogg inn sign
- Collectivo: Look on mapsme for Avenida Raymondi and take the #15 to Marian/ Cachipampa. This will cost around 3 soles each way
- If you get on the collectivo that only says Marian, it will be another 45-minute walk to the trailhead. Cachipampa is the closest you can get by public transport
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 Llaca Hike Details
- 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.
The entry fee is 30 Soles per person. For more details as well as reviews of the hike you can visit Alltrails
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.
My Experience Hiking to Laguna Llaca in Huaraz
After searching the internet for hikes around Huaraz that won’t be as crowded, I stumbled upon Laguna Llaca. At first glance, it seemed like a normal laguna hike in the Huascaran National Park. It wasn’t until I saw the photos of the valley that I knew I had to spend the day hiking in this area of Peru.
Taxi to Laguna Llaca Trailhead
As stated previously, we decided to take a taxi instead of public transport. When talking to some locals, it seemed like a long process to get there than most other day hikes.
We asked to be taken to Lazy Dogg inn but got out right before then.
The trail to Laguna Llaca will start at the corner of a fork and will take you through a rock pasture as the road weaves around.
Trail Through the Rocks
When you begin the trail you will be surrounded by rocks as well as mountain peaks to your right. Halfway up you will begin to see where the mountains meet the valley to your left.
This path is the steepest area until you get close to the lake. A lot of these lakes have refugios where you can stay the night. These are very popular for those who want to climb the nearby mountains. Thus there are roads that lead up to Laguna Llaca.
Laguna Llaca Gate Entrance
Laguna Llaca is located inside Huascaran National Park. This means there is a fee if you want to enter. Huascaran National Park is 30 Soles each and is normally taken when you get closer or to a gate.
once we arrived at the gate there was no one there and the gate was also locked. We waited to see if anyone would come but no one did. We jumped the fence and kept going.
Throughout our hike, we saw a few cars pass by and we were curious as to how they got through.
Later on in the hike, there was a park ranger who was driving around and asked us to pay, so we obliged.
At this point, you will follow the road until the valley opens up and you will be hiking through here for the rest of the time.
Hiking Through the Valley
This next area was by far my favorite of the entire hike. It was strenuous and it felt like we were walking through a sacred valley. My tip for reaching Laguna Llaca is to always follow the river from here on out.
Halfway along this stretch of the hike, we followed a different trail that ended and we were on the side of the mountain.
When it became safe enough we went back down and started hiking along the valley once again.
There will be plenty of cows along the way and they are very photogenic. They must be used by hikers going to Laguna Llaca.
Arriving at Laguna Llaca
Once you get to the end of the valley you will have two decisions. You can either go left and t take the shorter route that is steeper or go up the long winding trail to your right.
Personally, I think taking the more steep route first is better because it will be a lot worse to take that on the way down.
You will be hiking through big boulders that will eventually take you to the Refugio.
This is a rather large Refugio and from here it’s another couple of minutes to Laguna Llaca.
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 the Laguna Llaca Hike
This hike so far during our time in Huaraz, has been the least populated lake. That is strange to me because it’s one of my favorites in the area. The combination of the glacier being so close to the lake as well as hiking through a huge valley makes it a can’t miss. I highly suggest doing this hike solo and not paying for a tour.
Thank you for reading my guide to solo hiking to Laguna Llaca in Huaraz, Peru! I hope this helps you get out and go on this crazy adventure.