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The magical lagoons of Llanganuco

The magic lagoons of Llanganuco They are a place composed of several lakes of glacial origin in the middle White mountain range of Peru. Located in the national park of HuascaranThey are an ideal setting to enjoy the subtropical climate that is only a few meters away from huge glaciers that seem to be hanging from the mountains.


Chinancocha Lagoon

The magical lagoons of Llanganuco

We were at the epicenter of our trip to Peru, in Huaraz and we decided to hire an excursion to the known Llanganuco Lagoons, located at the foot of the same Huascaran, a gigantic mountain of more than 6700m covered with glaciers on its four sides. And why go with a tour? The cost is very economical, about 35/50 soles and getting to this place was not easy, mainly because you have to deal with a dirt track that seems endless and there are very few vehicles that run through it every day.

Our visit

We start from the city of Huaraz, located in the Huaylas Alley or Santa's Valley. From here and in a journey of less than three hours we planted at the entrance to the Huascarán National Park, where we paid 10 soles for access. From here we only had to climb a narrow dirt track for 30 minutes to reach the lagoons and take away the suffering of the bus.

The day was sunny, with some clouds, but the weather was rainy, general note by this time of October.


Chinancocha Lagoon

We arrive at Chinancocha lagoon, passing it by and placing us at the other end of it. We got off the mini-bus and spent around 20 minutes taking pictures of this part of the lake and the Huandoy peak and the Huascaran. From here several lakes were observed like the Orconcocha lagoon, many of them very young and that have appeared in recent years after the retreat of the glaciers. It is estimated that there were about 663 glaciers 40 years ago and now unfortunately about 25% remain.


Chinancocha Lagoon

From here we returned to the mini-bus and headed to the other end of the lake to make a small hiking route. At the moment we leave it for 30 minutes later, while several people rented some boats to walk around the lake (5 soles the walk). Bad day ... because a storm was coming and there was a lot of air.


Llanganuco Lagoons

Maria Josefa Trail

After taking some pictures of a couple of alpacas that we had in the area, we took a simple downhill route called Maria Josefa trail, which runs for several kilometers immersed in a subtropical forest.


Maria Josefa Trail

We quickly began to observe the large number of flowers and trees that surrounded us. A very characteristic tree in the area was Queñual and its characteristic crust that peels. This tree is very resistant to cold and is one of the few that survive at heights above 5000m, a whole feat. However the most wanted were the beautiful orchids, which made us have a good time looking for it among many other flowers. It was not easy to see it, especially when there are others with the same color and appearance.


Maria Josefa Trail

And to think that we were only a few hundred meters from large glaciers ... How could we generate such a microclimate if we are almost 4000 meters high? Evidently climate change has helped a lot and when there is a lot of bromeliads Hanging from the trees, bad sign.


Maria Josefa Trail

The path was still downhill and it was hardly an effort to follow it. It was impossible to get lost, if you left it, the vegetation caught you easily. It was time to ask why "María Josefa". Whether true or not, here we leave what they told us ... Maria Josefa She was a beautiful woman who lived in the area and suffered some harassment from a rich man in the area. She always ignored him but the harassment was increasing and María Josefa decided to escape to the mountain so as not to deal with this type of person again. He took this path, with such bad luck that the landowner found it and stabbed it in the heart so that there was no other man to conquer it. Today his remains are buried in a cave halfway.


Maria Josefa Trail

The trail came to an end, with the luck that the mini-bus was waiting for us on the other side to take us back to Huaraz. The day was very useful and just when we started to trace the return journey, it started raining without stopping. Better now than the next day, since the incredible was waiting for usPastoruri glacier.


Llanganuco Lagoons

Optional visit - Campo Santo de Yungay

If the visit to the lagoons falls short, I would recommend a walk through the Yungay Holy Field. You will arrive at it very easily since it is the first great town that you will find when you get off the Lagoons, just when you reach the paved road.

This place is overwhelming and nothing more than standing in it feels in your flesh what happened more than 40 years ago. Here happened one of the most important natural disasters in recent history, where an earthquake broke off a Huascarán glacier, unleashing a large avalanche of land and water that killed more than 20,000 people, completely destroying the city of Yungay, today located a few kilometers below.


Yungay Holy Field

Only 4 palm trees remained, a part of a church and a cemetery, the latter being saved thanks to the fact that it was at the top of a hill, although the lower part of it was also buried. I assure you that the hairs will stand on your feet knowing that you walk through a cemetery that really is a city.

By the way, many of the places where formerly they were occupied by houses, graves have been placed by the relatives of the deceased.

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Practical data - Tips for the Llanganuco lagoons

When to go to the lagoons of Llanganuco?

The best time is to do it in the dry season, which covers the months April until the end of September. In October the rains begin and you can find the lagoons covered by a thick fog.

How to go to the Llanganuco Lagoons?

For the cost you have, it is best to do it through a tour that we can hire in Huaraz. We really liked itChavin Tours, pioneers in this kind of activities throughout the Huaylas Alley.

Where to stay?

We stayed at the HotelPeruvian Switzerland in the city of Huaraz. Just 5 minutes from downtown and in a fairly quiet area with hardly any traffic. There are other options, such as Albergue la Luna, which allows a tent and has very comfortable rooms.

Where to eat?

There is a restaurant in the lagoons of Llanganuco that is not always open. As an alternative there are a couple of restaurants for tourists at the entrance of the national park where they serve trout of fish farm and the rich cui.

Once back in Huaraz We recommend 2 restaurants:

  • Bruno Pizza : a restaurant run by a Frenchman and a Peruvian who make a very tasty pasta and pizza.
  • Uncle Enrique : their specialty is sausages and imported beers.

What does it cost to go to the lagoons of Llanganuco?

The entrance to Huascaran National Park cost 10 soles. If we stay more days (up to 21) for a trekking it costs 65 soles. Tours usually cost 35/50 soles.

What to wear

You need to take 3 layers and sometimes a down jacket or primaloft. Temperatures can be very low in some seasons and it usually rains.

How to get to Huaraz?

There are several bus services from Lima, one of them in Luxury Bus format for 40/80 soles from Mobile Tours, taking about 8 hours. A very comfortable night bed bus that will save you a hotel night, so the price is more than amortized.

Other excursions in the Cordillera Blanca

Going to the white mountain range and not stepping on a glacier is almost a crime. The recommendation is to go to Pastoruri Glacier.

If yours are temples, Chavin It will not disappoint you.