- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Spanish Phrases
Parque Nacional Huascarán
Parque Nacional Huascarán Review
Laguna Llanganuco is one of the gateways to the Parque Nacional Huascarán, a 340,000-hectare park created in 1975 to protect and preserve flora and fauna in the Cordillera Blanca. This incredible mountain range has a total of 663 glaciers and includes some of the highest peaks in the Peruvian Andes. Huascarán, which soars to 6,768 meters (21,996 feet), is the highest in Peru. The smaller Alpamayo, 5,947 meters (19,327 feet), is said by many to be the most beautiful mountain in the world. Its majestic flanks inspire awe and wonder in those lucky enough to get a glimpse. The monstrous Chopicalqui and Chacraraju rise above 6,000 meters (19,500 feet).
Within the park's boundaries you'll find more than 750 plant types. There's a tragic scarcity of wildlife in the park—most have been decimated by hunting and the loss of natural habitats. Among the 12 species of birds and 10 species of mammals in the park, you're most likely to see wild ducks and condors. With a great deal of time and an equal amount of luck you may also see foxes, deer, pumas, and viscachas.
The giant national park attracts campers, hikers, and mountain climbers. Myriad treks weave through the region, varying from fairly easy 1-day hikes to 20-day marathons. Within the park, you can head out on the popular Llanganuco-Santa Cruz Loop, a three- to five-day trek through mountain valleys, past crystalline lakes, and over a 4,750-meter-high (15,437-foot-high) pass. Other popular hikes include the one-day Lake Churup Trek, the two-day Quilcayhuanca-Cayesh trek, and the two-day Ishinca Trek. Check with guide agencies in Huaraz for maps, trail information, and insider advice before heading out.
Although experienced hikers who know how to survive in harsh mountain conditions may want to head out on their own, it's much safer to arrange for a guide in Huaraz. You can opt to have donkeys or llamas carry the heavy stuff, leaving you with just a daypack. The most common ailments on these treks are sore feet and altitude sickness. Wear comfortable hiking shoes that have already been broken in, and take the proper precautions to avoid altitude sickness (drink lots of water, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, and allow yourself time to acclimatize before you head out). The best time to go trekking is during the dry season, which runs May through September. July and August are the driest months, though dry season doesn't mean a lack of rain or even snow, so dress appropriately.
Some hikers decide to enter the park at night to avoid paying the hefty S/65 for a multiday pass (from 2 to 30 days). The money from these fees goes to protect the wonders of the Andes; consider this before you slip in during the dead of night. (Nighttime safety is a concern, too.) You can purchase a pass at the Huaraz office of Parque Nacional Huascarán, at the corner of Rosas and Federico Sal, as well as at Llanganuco. Be sure to carry a copy of your passport with you.
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $1527 & up -- Machu Picchu: 8-Nt. Trek w/Inca Trail Hiking LatinEscapes.com
- $1387 & up -- Peru 6-Nts. w/Machu Picchu, Lima & Cusco Tours — $1,387 LatinEscapes.com
We went to Peru April 20-30 and really enjoyed our time there—the food, scenery, sights, and people all make the country an exceptional place to visit.
Peru Star Hotel- nice rooms and location, Read more
The history of our marriage is as unique as our honeymoon. Read more
All of sudden our confirmed booking for the Machu Pichu Sanctuary lodge has gone from confirmed to wait listed !! ?? Does anyone have any suggestions for alternatives ? Money not really any object.
cheers Read more
· News & Features
Often just a side trip from Hong Kong, Macau is known as a gambler's paradise.... Read more
Earlier this week, Consumer Reports released their annual study of the best and worst domestic airlines.... Read more
From the steamed cider aromas that hit you in the lobby to the local ingredients served in the restaurant,... Read more