Lagunas Llanganuco

Cordillera Blanca

A dirt road ascends 1350m from Yungay, winding over 28km to the Llanganuco Valley and its two robin-egg blue lakes, which are also known as Laguna Chinancocha and Laguna Orconcocha. Nestled in a glacial valley just 1000m below the snow line, these pristine lagoons practically glow under the sun in their bright turquoise and emerald hues. There’s a half-hour trail hugging Chinancocha past a jetty and picnic area to where sheer cliffs plunge into the lake.

You can take a boat out on the lake for S5. Continuing on the road past the lake you'll see a mirador with killer views of the mountain giants of Huascarán (6768m), Chopicalqui (6345m), Chacraraju (6108m), Huandoy (6395m) and others. The road continues over the pass of Portachuelo (4760m) to Yanama on the other side of the Cordillera Blanca.

The Lagunas Llanganuco is a popular day trip from Huaraz (from around S60) and can get relatively crowded. Bear in mind that this tour is primarily tailored around sightseeing not hiking, with a fair degree of shopping stops included along the way. You'll be able to stop briefly by the lakes on the more hiking-orientated Laguna 69 trip.

The lakes can also be reached by colectivo (shared transportation) or taxi from Yungay. Round-trip colectivos leave from Yungay’s small terminal on the main highway (S30), allowing about two hours in the lake area. A national-park admission fee of S30 is charged. Alternatively you can take a combi heading to Yanama, but it costs the same and you may have difficulty getting back to town. A private round-trip taxi from Yungay will cost around S100 to S120. Go in the early morning for the clearest views, especially in the low season.