e-mail: info@projectcordillera.org

Cordillera Blanca, Perú

Santa Cruz Trek

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Where: Perú

Length: 3-11 days

Level: Easy

From: $290


The most famous trekking route in the mighty Cordillera Blanca

The Punta Union Pass in the Santa Cruz Valley will take your breath away.

The Santa Cruz trek is one of the most popular hiking routes in the Cordillera Blanca.

The route is recognized as one of the world’s best hikes. National Geographic rated it as one of the best treks in the world.

The trail winds through the alpine valleys of the Cordillera Blanca.

The hike rises to 4,750m (15,580ft) which gives hikers a panoramic view of the Cordillera’s high glaciated mountains. The view from the highest point of the Punta Union Pass is spectacular. It will leave you breathless, figuratively and literally.

These are not the only jaw-dropping wonder you’ll encounter on this trail.

The turquoise-colored lagoons have to be seen to be believed. The Punta Union Pass is also home to ancient, indigenous villages.

The area is filled with gigantic, cascading waterfalls. As a result, whitewater streams snake through the valley.

The trek can be accessed from the west or east and it can be completed in three to six days. The longer hikes include some of the additional side valleys.

We offer a range of different trek packages. From guide only ‘backpacker’ setups to ‘semi-luxury’ all-inclusive expeditions.

See below for the current options we have available or contact us directly. We hope to see you on the Santa Cruz trek soon!

"Crossing turquoise lagoons, giant white-capped mountains, sweeping valleys, and ancient villages, and watching waterfalls cascade down granite walls, as whitewater streams weave through the valley floors, makes this trek an unforgettable experience." Jonas Duecker, Germany

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 -

Private pick-up at the Lima International Airport. Transfer to hotel in Lima for a nice meal and a good night's sleep.

Day 2 -

Private transfer to the coach station and a comfortable first class ride to Huaraz, approximately an 8-hour journey.. Move into your hotel, relax and get to know Huaraz.

Day 3 -

Orientation meeting in your hotel in the morning and then head out on a 4-hour acclimatization hike to the Puka Ventana (“red window”) outside of town, where you’ll get great views of the entire Cordillera Blanca range. Spend the night in your Huaraz hotel.

Day 4 -

Day hike to the turquoise waters of Laguna Churup (4,500m), approximately a 5-hour round trip. Return to Huaraz, night in hotel.

Day 5 -

Depart Huaraz and drive to the small village of Cashapampa to meet your donkeys and begin your trek up the beautiful Santa Cruz Valley. Hike about 4 hours before setting up camp and settling in for the evening in an area called Llama corral.

Day 6 -

Continue hiking up the valley for 5-7 hours, towards the first pass of the trek (Punta Union, 4,750m). Camp before the pass near the popular Alpamayo base camp. Optional trip up to see the base camp.

Day 7 -

Hike up and over Punta Union and descend to about 4,200m where a nice camp awaits in Paria. Hiking time, 6-7 hours.

Day 8 -

Continue your descent towards the town of Vaqueria, then cut southeast on the trail at Colcabamba. Enter the Ulta valley and sleep in Molina Pampa before ascending to the second pass. Hiking time, 4-5 hours.

Day 9 -

Hike up towards Yanayacu Pass on a lightly-traveled path to a beautiful campsite called Avalancha situated below the towering peak of Contrahierbas. Hiking time 5-6 hours.

Day 10 -

Enjoy your last morning at camp then pack up and hike out to meet your transport at the road. Transfer to Huaraz for a well deserved warm shower and the celebration banquet.

Day 11 -

Last minute shopping for family and friends before departing for Lima at 11:00am, arriving at the airport or your hotel by 7:00pm.

What's Included

Can be included

  • All in-country transport during trip
  • First class bus tickets
  • Hotel accommodations for specified time
  • Professional, certified English-speaking guides
  • Professional outdoor cook, 3 healthy meals a day plus snacks during the wilderness components of the trip
  • All national park entrance fees
  • All camping and cooking equipment
  • Donkeys or llamas and porters where applicable
  • Sleeping tents
  • Sleeping mats
  • Cook tent, eating tent, tables, chairs, and bathroom tent
  • First aid kit stocked for wilderness expeditions
  • Celebration banquet at the end of trip

Not usually included:

  • International flights and applicable airport taxes
  • Personal clothing and equipment
  • All food during in-town days except the Celebration Banquet
  • Incidental personal expenditures, including emergency evacuations and medical expenditures
  • Insurance: personal travel, high mountain and/or medical insurance

Enquiry Form

Expedition Enquiry

If you are interested in booking this expedition, please use the form below to get in touch.

  • If you want to join a pre-planned expedition, please select from the dates currently available.
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