Our Day Trip Out Of Huaraz Peru To Huascarán National Park

by Captain Bill

Our day trip out of Huaraz Peru, to Huascarán National Park on our Peru vacation.

Huascarán, highest mountain in Peru, in Huascarán National Park

Huascarán, highest mountain in Peru, in Huascarán National Park

Marmelita and I made arrangements with Teo of Teo Tours to pick us up at the Hotel El Tumi at 8:30am for a day trip into Huascarán National Park to see the the park and Llanganuco Lakes. It was a long hard drive on horrible roads full of pot holes, hairpin turns, and switchbacks, but the scenery was starkly beautiful and well worth the $50.

Local women doing laundry in a remote mountain stream on the road to Hascarán National Park

Local women doing laundry in a remote mountain stream on the road to Hascarán National Park

Along the way we passed several small typical villages and interesting landmarks.

Bill and Marmelita at a landmark with Huascarán in the background

Bill and Marmelita at a landmark with Huascarán in the background

Teo taught us that Huascarán National Park covers the length of the Cordillera Blanca range, 158 km from north to south and 20 km from east to west between the wide valleys of the Callejón de Conchucos to the east and the Callejón de Huaylas to the west. The Cordillera Blanca is the highest snow-capped tropical range in the world, with 27 peaks above 6,000 meters, 663 glaciers, 296 lakes and 41 rivers. We were on our way to see two of those lakes, Llanganuco. We had heard they were beautiful and we could hardly wait.

Local woman selling boiled corn on the cob near the entrance to Huascarán National Park

Local woman selling boiled corn on the cob near the entrance to Huascarán National Park

I photographed this local woman selling old fashioned open pollinated boiled corn on the cob near the entrance to Huascarán National Park. Marmelita was happy to buy two ears of corn to eat for S/1 sole apiece. They are not like our hybrid sweet corn but do have a good taste all there own. Marmelita said, “Those were the cheapest and best ears of corn I ever ate.”

Marmelita enjoying an ear of corn near the entrance of Hascarán National Park

Marmelita enjoying an ear of corn near the entrance of Hascarán National Park

After two and a half to three hours of riding we arrived at Las Lagunas de Llanganuco. The first lake we came to is called Chinancocha, or female lake.

Chinancocha Lake in Huascarán National Park, Huaraz Peru

Chinancocha Lake in Huascarán National Park, Huaraz Peru

Teo drove on past Chinancocha and the road climbed higher and higher until we had the most spectacular view.

Where I am standing with the Llanganuco Lakes in the background is not a good place to be dizzy.

Where I am standing with the Llanganuco Lakes in the background is not a good place to be dizzy.

What a view…

The view of Llanganuco from above, in Huascarán National Park, Huaraz, Peru

The view of Llanganuco from above, in Huascarán National Park, Huaraz, Peru

When we drove back down we stopped first at Orconcocha, or male lake.

Orconcocha, the male lake of Llanganuco in Huascarán National Park near Huaraz Peru

Orconcocha, the male lake of Llanganuco in Huascarán National Park near Huaraz Peru

Then we stopped at Chinancocha

Chinancocha Lake, in Huascarán National Park

Chinancocha Lake, in Huascarán National Park

The trees are polylepis. They only grow in the high elevation of the Andes around 3,500 meters and higher.

A polylepus tree near Llanganuco Lake in Huascarán National Park

A polylepus tree near Llanganuco Lake in Huascarán National Park

I saw 4 species of bromeliads in the high altitude area of Llanganuco Lake.

One of four bromeliad species I saw near Llanganuco Lakes in Huascarán National Park

One of four bromeliad species I saw near Llanganuco Lakes in Huascarán National Park

This beautiful stream was overflowing from the lakes.

Overflow stream from Llanganuco Lake in Huascarán National Park

Overflow stream from Llanganuco Lake in Huascarán National Park

After we drove back down and out of Huascarán National Park I saw and photographed my first San Pedro Cactus. It was blooming.

A San Pedro Cactus in full bloom between Huascarán National Park and Huaraz Peru

A San Pedro Cactus in full bloom between Huascarán National Park and Huaraz Peru

San Pedro is famous because shamans in Peru have used the plant for over 3,000 years as a source of mescalin, a hallucinogenic used to produce visions for guidance and healing.

We had another great day with Teo of Teo Tours and learned a lot.

Our day trip out of Huaraz Peru to Huascarán National Park

Bill Grimes is president of Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises, on vacation in Huaraz Peru.

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