hiking laguna 69
when most people think of trekking/hiking in peru, machu picchu immediately comes to mind...or at least that's how it was for me. the andean mountain range, though, is the largest in the world [and second highest to nepal] – meaning, there are a ton of mountains, volcanoes and alpine lakes across chile, peru, ecuador, and boliva.
laguna 69 is an extremely blue glacial lake living at just over 15,000ft – the trek takes about 3.5 hours up and 2 down. with the considerable altitude, it was truly one of the more challenging day hikes i've ever done. if you're not acclimated fully this one can really hurt you [i started getting a pretty bad headache as we reached the top]. that being said, it is also one of the most stunning hikes i've ever done – every turn you are overwhelmed by mountain views, rivers, waterfalls, grazing cattle, gorgeous flowers and ever changing temperatures. interested in making the trek? here are the details:
DISTANCE | 8.5 – 10 miles round trip, depending if you add a stop at laguna 68
TIME | about 5 – 7 hours depending on breaks, etc.
ELEVATION | climb about 3,000 ft, ending at the lagoon - 15,092 ft
NEED TO KNOW | we took a taxi – buses are also a popular option, though leave you with less flexibility. you cannot drive because there is nowhere to park your car. best to start early for weather's sake. give yourself extra time to acclimate [we stayed two nights in huaraz which helped]. bring plenty of snacks, h2o [we each carried 2.5 liters], NUUN, sunscreen and wear a hat!
most of the people that plan to trek in the cordillera blanca range end up bussing in from huaraz. the "labour of love" of llanganuco mountain lodge began with the aim of making trekking in the park more accessible & enjoyable, and that's exactly what drew us in. this place is out there and requires driving for over an hour on a very sketchy dirt road [one on which we took a wrong turn and got stuck in the mud for 2+ hours]. this place has minimal electricity, no wifi, gorgeous views, a delightful staff, two resident llamas & two resident pups, comfy beds, delicious food and an all around great energy. LM lodge ($160 a night for 2, includes all meals)
Y O U M I G H T A L S O L I K E: