Trip duration   1 day (approx 11 hours)
Trip dype   sightseeing tour
Grading   leisure
Places visited   Anta Viewpoint, Carhuaz (main square), Yungay (main square, typical Andean market and Campo Santo cemetery), Llanganuco Lakes, Portachuelo Viewpoint, Maria Josefa Path
Highest point   Portachuelo Viewpoint

Distance   90km from Huaraz

The two stunning Llanganuco lakes, also known as Lake Chinancocha and Lake Orconcocha, lie at 3860m above sea level in a narrow glacial valley at the northern end of the Huascaran National Park, 28km east of Yungay. These pristine lagoons are a mesmerising sight with their brilliant turquoise colour and splendid location at the foot of Peru’s highest peak, the mighty Mount Huascaran (6768m), and with fantastic views over the neighbouring perennially ice-capped peaks. The queñual (polylepis) trees surrounding the lakes are a wonderful sight, their orange bark contrasting beautifully against the bright turquoise colour of the lake.
The Llanganuco Lakes are one of the jewels of the Cordillera Blanca and should not be missed.
The Portachuelo viewpoint is easily accessible by road and offers a spectacular panorama of some of the Cordillera Blanca’s highest summits, as well as wonderful views of the Llanganuco Lakes nestled in the beautiful Llanganuco valley below.
We leave Huaraz at 7 am and travel north along the Callejon de Huaylas valley towards the town of Yungay. En route, we stop at a viewpoint in Anta, which offers wonderful panoramas of some of the Cordillera Blanca’s highest peaks, including Mount Huascaran, Peru’s highest summit at 6768m. We make a short stop in the village of Carhuaz to have a look at the pretty main square and taste the delicious traditional ice-cream. At around 9 am we reach Yungay, which was completely destroyed in 1970 when an avalanche coming from Mount Huascaran buried the entire town killing its 18,000 inhabitants. We visit the main square and a typical Andean market, before driving up towards the Huascaran National Park, where we stop to admire the two magnificent turquoise Llanganuco Lakes. We make several stops along the road to take photos of the beautiful lakes, before driving up towards the Portachuelo Viewpoint (4600m), which offers breath-taking views of the lakes as well as the impressive snow-capped peaks that surround the Llanganuco Valley, including Mount Huascaran North (6655m) and South (6768m), Huandoy (6395m), Chopicalqui (6354m), Chacraraju (6112m), Yanapaccha (5460m) and Pisco (5752m). After taking in the superb views, we drive back to the Llanganuco Lakes. From here, we hike downhill for around one hour along the Maria Josefa path through a picturesque forest of queñual trees. Along the way, we can appreciate the impressive diversity of the local flora. At the end of the path, we meet our vehicle that drives us back to Yungay, where we visit the Campo Santo cemetery, a moving place that fully displays the devastation of 1970. Around 5 pm, we drive back to Huaraz. We arrive in town at around 6 pm.