Itinerary in brief:
- 1 night on the overnight bus from Lima to Huaraz
- 1 night in Huaraz
- 3 nights camping during the trek
- 1 night in Huaraz
Day 1: Lima to Huaraz
When you arrive at Lima airport, you’ll be met and driven to the bus station where a guide will help you check in for the bus service from Lima to Huaraz. The overnight journey takes around 8 hours, so we’ve included a 180-degree recliner seat, so you can get a good night’s sleep.
Day 2: Huaraz
You’ll arrive in Huaraz around 6 am and you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. You’ll have the rest of today to rest and to acclimatise to the higher altitude as you prepare for the trek ahead.
Day 3: Huaraz, Llanganuco and Vaqueria
After breakfast, your trekking guide will pick you up and drive you to the starting point for the Santa Cruz trek.
When you begin the trek, you’ll walk through the Callejón de Huaylas Valley, between the majestic Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Negra mountain ranges. You’ll walk through forests of silk-paper-barked Queñua and Quishuar trees, pass granite boulders and cliffs that are covered in bromeliads, orchids and cactus plants.
Your ascent will continue up to Portachuelo de Llanganuco where you’ll have spectacular views of the iced amphitheatre which is encircled by some of the Andes’ highest peaks, reaching well above 6,000m. As you descend to Vaqueria, you’ll be hiking along the Huaripampa Gorge, crossing local villages, swampy meadows, passing small forests and enjoying views of the Andes above and lakes. Tonight you’ll camp at 3,780m and both lunch and dinner will be provided.
Day 4: Punta Union, Taullipampa
Today is the toughest section of the Santa Cruz trek but certainly the most rewarding. Your day will be packed with pleasant surprises and gorgeous views as you walk through grassy areas and along the Morococha lakes. You’ll climb the pre-Incan stone-carved steps to arrive at Punta Unión Pass, the highest point of the trek at 4,760m. The panoramic view here is dominated by the impressive ice walls of Taulliraju above Taullicocha Lake.
Tonight you’ll camp in Taullipampa where from a height of 4,250m, you’ll have incredible views of the landscape and for the sunset. (All your meals will be provided today).
Day 5: Taullimpampa, Alpamayo base camp and Llama Corral
Today’s hike is along the stunning Santa Cruz gorge where you’ll witness several different ecosystems. The icy peaks of the mountains above will be visible throughout the trek, particularly the rocky, icy, fluted south face of Alpamayo Peak in all its rugged grandeur. Gradually descend towards the Llama Corral where you will camp for the night. (All your meals will be provided today).
Day 6: Llama Corral, Cashapampa and Huaraz
For the final day of your trek, you’ll continue your descent. Once the rocky silhouette of the Cordillera Negra is on the horizon, you will reach Cashapampa village and the end of the Santa Cruz trek and congratulations are in order!
From here, you’ll be driven back to Huaraz where you can enjoy a pisco and celebrate the great achievement of completing this challenging but unforgettable trek.
Breakfast and lunch are included today and the evening is free for you to relax and enjoy a well-earned rest.
Day 7: Huaraz to Lima
After breakfast today, you’ll be driven to the bus station to catch the bus from Huaraz to Lima. When you arrive in the capital, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel or the airport - depending on your next destination.