Our first full day we took a guided tour to Yungay, Llanganuco, and a few pit stops around the Huascaran Nataional Park for food and a little bit of history. Our extremely friendly hostel hosts recommended a 30 soles (roughly $10) tour. The trip consisted of take an hour and half bus ride to Yungay while learning about Huaraz, getting ice cream in Carhuaz, visiting Lake Llanganuco, and then stopping in Caraz for dinner. I will tell you the best ways to do this trip with and without a guide, as I did both of them.
*In most cases, I do not like taking tours. However, in this case it was highly beneficial and interesting to learn more about the area – although you can definitely research the area prior to your trip*
WITH a guide
With a guide is your easiest option with touring around Huaraz, specifically Llanganuco as there is not much hiking involved with this particular excursion. You can ask your hostel/hotel for recommendations for specific trips, or you can walk down to the corner of Jr. San Martin and Jose Antonio de Sucre. At this corner, you will find a plethora of options for your guides. I would recommend you our guide, but we never were introduced to the company. If you find this corner, you hit the jackpot!
Once you select your company, bring enough money, sunscreen, water, and some snacks too! That is the one thing I regret, not taking enough snacks. Fortunately a nice lady on the bus gave me a large lemon (which are not sour down in Peru!).
****Also you need to pay an entrance fee for the National Park which went from 10 to 30 soles per day***
Learning about Yungay
With this trip, we went to the Old Yungay, in which was destroyed in the year of 1970 from an avalanche triggered by an earthquake. The towering mountain of Huascaran, which is the tallest mountain in Peru, and the third tallest in South America, let its shelves of snow come crashing into the old town of Yungay burying and killing everything in its path.The tragedy killed over 20,000 people, with most of its survivors being at the cemetery (ironically) or in the stadium, which are the highest points in this area.
WITHOUT a guide
This option too is a great option to go about if you are looking for something with a little bit less of a schedule allowing yourself to some freedom. If you want to go to the lake for a day, have some lunch, and hang out for the whole day, this is the perfect option for you! This option as well allows for you to explore the city of Yungay as well at any time of day.
You can start out finding a bus from Huaraz to Yungay on the Avenida Raymondi! We were told to wait on Caraz, which is close, but we found it better to wait on Raymondi as the buses contained less people. We arrived at 5 am to catch the earliest bus, but we did not get a bus until about 5:30.
Once you find a bus, get comfy and have your 5 soles ready for your trip. It is only 5 soles for an hour and a half! So nice!
Once you arrive in Yungay, you can do one or two options.
- If you have a ton of money to throw around, grab a taxi up into the park which I heard can cost from anywhere from 75 to 100 soles for the 1 to 2 hour trip up the mountain.
- Find a collectivo (car pool/bus pool) that will take your backpack and you with a group of others up the mountain from anywhere from 15 to 100 soles. we settled for 30 soles for our first offer, tried to haggle, but he insisted that 30 was the best price.
As we have heard that it is NEARLY impossible to catch a collectivo up the mountain for a low price, we took 30 right off the bat without any complaints after trying to haggle. Also, many locals/hostel hosts may tell you that it is IMPOSSIBLE, but they are only trying to increase business for themselves, and if you do need to budget, this was the cheaper option for us to do than take a whole day tour at the expense of a fitted schedule on their own time.
Once you arrive at Lake Llaganuco, enjoy your day by taking in the wonderful views, smells, and of course feeling the chilly wind nip at your bones. Make sure to bring warm clothes (hat, mittens, and a jacket). Once you get to the top, the climate changes drastically.
Now, take some pictures, wait for the main tourists to leave with their guide, and now enjoy the picnic areas with your lunch that you packed, and enjoy some peace and quiet without all of the hub of in and out tourism.
This can be a challenge, but it is definitely possible! To get home, you simply just wait on the road you came on and patiently wait for a returning collectivo. If there is room, they will charge you about the same price, and you will have another trip back down to Yungay. However, if you are like us, we scored a great deal by making friends with the Park Rangers! They gave us a lift all the way down free of charge, which saved us around 60 soles in total! Thank you Peruvian Park Rangers!
As stated earlier, we made two trips to this lagoon, as it was on the way back from a camping trip from Laguna 69, another famous place to visit. The first time we went, the clouds were blocking the mountains, so we did not snag the pictures we were hoping to, but on the second trip coming back from our camping trip, it was clear as a day.
The lagoon is marvelous. The incredible greenish blue that pops out to your eyes is unreal. Seriously, the pictures almost do it justice surprisingly, but it is something so different when it is sitting right in front of you. Especially with living in the city of Lima for 5 months, it just makes it that much more special to see!
Well, I hope this helps you! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please let me know! I hope this helps with your next trip to Huaraz, specifically Llanganuco!
Next up – Laguna 69!