I was excited about my Laguna 69 trek from Huaraz Peru. Laguna 69 may seem like an odd name but there are so many lakes and lagoons around Huaraz that they ran out of names and resorted to numbers instead. The name Laguna 69 may raise an eyebrow among the smutty minded, but this stunning lake is worth the smirks! Read on to see more about trekking Laguna 69 Huaraz and how to get to this beautiful lagoon in Peru.
Trekking Laguna 69 Huaraz, Peru
One of the most beautiful treks in Huaraz, Laguna 69 is probably the most popular trek too, so expect to be hiking with several groups. It is possible to hike to Laguna 69 independently, but most people book with a trekking company.
A Note on My Laguna 69 Experience
The day before I was supposed to take my Laguna 69 tour, I must have eaten something dodgy, and spent the whole night in the bathroom with food poisoning. Needless to say, I had to cancel the tour as I couldn’t be away from the bathroom for longer than 5 minutes! I spent the next day in bed, and the kind people in the hostel brought me chamomile and herb tea to soothe my stomach. I spent a few days recovering but was due to leave Huaraz at the end of the week, and with only one day left in Huaraz, I knew that it was now or never! I do not recommend doing any kind of trek while recovering from food poisoning, but it is possible!!
Getting to Laguna 69
You can take a Laguna 69 tour with any of the trekking companies in Huaraz, I booked mine with Akilpo where I was staying. The route to get to Laguna 69 drives through part of the UNESCO listed Huascaran National Park, where you might spot some vicuña, dainty animals in the same family as llama and alpaca which were once close to extinction.
It is an early start to get to Laguna 69, we left the hostel at 5am to begin the 3-hour drive from Huaraz to reach the start of the trail, stopping at the beautiful Chinancocha lake for breakfast.
After breakfast of avocado and tomato sandwiches we got back in the mini-bus and continued the drive along the dirt track to Cebollapampa where the trailhead for Laguna 69 begins. You’ll notice the altitude here even before hiking, as the elevation is a breath-taking 3900 m above sea-level, so make sure you are properly acclimatised to the altitude. I don’t recommend attempting the hike while recovering from a bout of food poisoning, speaking from personal experience it was not pleasant, but still totally worth it (despite having to pop behind a bush a couple of times!).
If you take a Laguna 69 tour like this, the entry fee to the Huascaran National Park is included in the price, otherwise, you’ll need to pay 30 soles at the park entrance. See the section below on hiking Laguna 69 independently if you are thinking about this option.
The Laguna 69 Trek
At the beginning of the trail, we walked through a forest, with beautiful red bark trees, before coming to a wide-open plain which we would walk across. In the distance we could see a mountain where the trail would lead.
The hike itself isn’t difficult, but the altitude here makes it challenging. As we walked across the plain, I was already lagging behind thanks to my food poisoning, but kept plugging ahead. The path then led upwards into the mountains. I was struggling, but I pushed on, I knew that the group would be coming back the same path, and we had to leave the lake at a certain time to make sure we got back to the bus. I passed a couple from our group who decided to stop, they couldn’t cope with the altitude, having only arrived in Huaraz the day before.
As I climbed up the path, some people were coming down on their way back along the trail. They offered words of encouragement which helped me carry on. Just as I was about to give up, the path levelled out, and I knew I was close. I couldn’t quite believe what I saw.
The lake is absolutely stunning. The colour of the water was like nothing I’d ever seen before, it was so beautiful, and I was so happy to have made it I burst into tears. The rest of the group was about to head back along the trail just as I arrived, but the guide took pity on me and let me stay for a while so I could rest and take in the incredible view.
The blue sky above the snowy mountains was clear and bright, the fluffy white clouds contrasting beautifully against the sky. Then that water. A narrow waterfall flowed down the mountain into the cool water, and I was tempted to take a dip but remembered how cold the water would be! All too soon my time was up and I had to head back. The return trek got easier with every step as we descended although I was exhausted and feeling the effects of the altitude and my food poisoning. When we finally boarded the bus to go back to Huaraz I fell asleep straight away and didn’t wake until we got back to town!
Choosing a Laguna 69 Tour
Most people choose to hike to Laguna 69 with a tour from Huaraz. Laguna 69 tours are good value at around $40 USD and offer the convenience and reassurance of a confirmed ride back to Huaraz.
All of the Huaraz trekking companies offer the Laguna 69 tour, which typically includes mini-bus transport to the start of the hike, entrance to the Huascaran National Park (30 soles), breakfast, lunch, snacks and hot drinks, and a guide with first aid kit, radio and oxygen. I chose to book my Laguna 69 tour with Akilpo, as I was staying at their hostel and they get great reviews. I was not disappointed. The food was good, bus ride relatively comfortable (considering a lot of it is on a bumpy dirt track) and the guide was great.
Before you book any Huaraz trekking tour, check the recent reviews on TripAdvisor carefully. Safety is not something you want to mess with out there. Make sure you also have adequate travel insurance which will cover you for high altitude trekking. Travel insurance from WorldNomads is available to people from 140 countries, and you can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. Get a quote now:
Trekking Laguna 69 Independently
It is possible to get to Laguna 69 by public transport, using the collectivos which run from Huaraz to Yungay then taking another taxi or collectivo to the beginning of the Laguna 69 trek. However, having read other people’s accounts and knowing from previous experience that collectivos aren’t the most reliable way to get back (after hitchhiking back from the Gocta Waterfall in Chachapoyas). You could ask your hostel to arrange a private taxi or just stick with a Laguna 69 tour, which is much easier, if less adventurous!
Other Things to do in Huaraz
There are lots of different treks you can do from Huaraz, including day hikes to help acclimatise to the altitude, and multi-day trekking routes for more advanced hikers. You can also arrange day trips to the ruins of one of the oldest civilisations in Peru at Chavin (also UNESCO listed), to the incredible Pastoruri glacier, and go horse riding and mountain biking here too.
How to Get to Huaraz
If you are coming to Huaraz from Lima, Cruz del Sur buses run regular journeys from Lima to Huaraz, which take around 7-8 hours. Other bus companies, such as Movil Tours, Linea and Oltursa, also run the route, but Cruz del Sur have the best safety record and was my favourite bus company to use.
Where to Stay in Huaraz
There are several options for accommodation in Huaraz, although don’t expect anything too fancy, you can find some excellent value hostels and hotels in Huaraz.
The Best Hostels in Huaraz
I stayed at Hostel Akilpo, which also has a Huaraz trekking and tour agency in the same building where I booked my tours. The dorm rooms were basic but clean and comfy with hot showers, and the family who runs the hostel were friendly and kind, especially when I was sick! They also have private rooms available. BOOK NOW>>
La Casa de Maruja
La Casa de Maruja is very highly rated but is further out of town than the others. A cheap collectivo taxi ride will get you to the centre of town in less than 10 minutes. A free hot breakfast is included, and the terrace has incredible views of the mountains. Family run, and with private rooms and dorms to choose from this is a great option if you want to get away from it all. BOOK NOW>>
You can check all the options for hostels in Huaraz on Hostelworld here.
Hotels in Huaraz
Airbnb in Huaraz
Alternatively, you can check the options for Airbnb in Huaraz where you can find some beautiful bedrooms and apartments like this one. If you have never used Airbnb before, use this link to sign up & get up to $40 credit to use on your first trip! Read more about the Airbnb first time discount code or click below for your Airbnb coupon.
Have you hiked to Laguna 69 from Huaraz? I’d love to know what you thought, and if you have any tips I’ve missed – please share your comments below.
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