Discover the Natural Beauty of Laguna Humantay in Cusco
What is Humantay Lake?
Humantay Lake is named after the nearby mountain (Humantay, 5,473 m) and is considered one of the most beautiful and sacred lakes in Cusco. Its turquoise waters with the snow-capped mountains of Salkantay (6,270 m) in the background, whisper directly to you the reason why it is so popular.
In addition to tourists who make day trips to the lake, there are more adventurous tourists who go on the so-called “Salkantay Trek“, which is a 5-day trek to Machu Picchu and during which they can visit this lake at their leisure and at their own pace.
How to get to Humantay Lake?
To get to Humantay Lake from the city of Cusco, you must travel about 120 km by road, passing through the towns of Limatambo and Mollepata, until you reach the community of Soraypampa.
Once we enter Soraypampa, we start an uphill hike of about 2 km until we reach the lake. If you are traveling with a tour package, transportation is included (including horse rental for the trek), as well as breakfast and lunch in the town of Mollepata. Are you travelling alone? Don’t worry! Below you will find the full route.
The hike to Laguna Humantay is a challenging yet rewarding experience for any adventurous traveler. The trail is steep and rocky, so be prepared for a strenuous ascent. It’s important to take your time and rest when needed to avoid altitude sickness. The altitude at the lake is over 13,000 feet, so be aware of the signs of altitude sickness, such as headache, nausea, and dizziness.
As you climb higher, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Andes Mountains and surrounding glaciers. The final push to the top can be tough, but the turquoise waters of the lake make it all worth it. Take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the views before starting the descent back to the trailhead.
What to Bring:
Before embarking on the hike, it’s important to pack appropriately for the challenging conditions. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep your energy levels up during the 6-hour round-trip hike. Other essentials include:
- Hiking shoes or boots with good traction
- Warm layers, including a waterproof jacket and hat
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Trekking poles (optional, but helpful for the steep terrain)
- Cash for the entrance fee and any souvenirs
How to Dress:
The weather in the Andes Mountains can be unpredictable, so it’s important to dress in layers and be prepared for any conditions. We recommend wearing moisture-wicking clothing to keep you dry and comfortable during the hike. Here’s a breakdown of what to wear:
- Base layer: moisture-wicking shirt and pants
- Mid-layer: fleece or down jacket
- Outer layer: waterproof jacket and pants
- Headwear: hat and sunglasses
- Footwear: hiking shoes or boots with good traction and comfortable socks
What to Expect:
Visiting Laguna Humantay is a truly unique experience that allows you to connect with the natural beauty of Peru’s Andes Mountains. The stunning turquoise waters of the lake and panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers will take your breath away. However, it’s important to be prepared for the challenging conditions and to take your time during the hike to avoid altitude sickness.
The inhabitants of the community of Soraypampa offer a horse rental service at the starting point of the hike to Humantay Lake. This service is only available for uphill treks and has an approximate cost of 90 Peruvian soles (30 USD).
What is the best time of the year to visit Humantay Lake?
The climate of the highlands and mountains is not very predictable. However, we can see a considerable number of tourists visiting Cusco during the dry season, which runs from May to mid-October. This season undoubtedly provides a full day of sunshine to take that photo that we can’t wait to post on Instagram, and more so in the case of the lake, whose blue-turquoise color can be seen more clearly.
Humantay Lake is accessible all year round, although during the rainy season you will find fewer tourists. Remember that, unlike the Inca Trail tour or the tickets to visit Machu Picchu, the Humantay Lake tour is always available.
- It is advisable to travel from April to August.
- Take equipment such as: hat, small backpack, comfortable sneakers, jacket to cover, sunscreen, trekking stick, blanket and water to hydrate.
- It is important that the traveler acclimate to Cusco and travel a few days before to avoid “soroche” or altitude sickness, here we will give you some tips.
- Buy food in the city of Cusco or Mollepata, those are the only places where you will find stores to buy groceries or water.
Laguna Humantay is a must-visit destination for any adventurous traveler visiting Peru. The challenging hike to the lake is a rewarding experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories of the natural beauty of the Andes Mountains. Be sure to pack and dress appropriately, and take your time during the hike to make the most of this unique experience.