Trip duration   1 day (approx 9 hours)
Trip yype   sightseeing tour
discovery (includes 1 hour hike at glacier, horse hire available)

Places visited   Lake Patococha, Pumapampa mineral springs, 7 colour lake, Puya Raimondi plants, ancient cave paintings, Pastoruri glacier
Highest point   Pastoruri glacier 5050m
Distance   70km from Huaraz, 3km hike

If you are unable to go trekking or mountain climbing in the Cordillera Blanca but still want to view a glacier up-close, a great alternative is the day trip to the Pastoruri Glacier. Located south of Huaraz in the southern section of the Huascaran National Park, it is the only glacier accessible by road, offering visitors the easiest way to touch ice.
Another highlight of this tour is a stop along the way to see the gigantic and rare Puya Raimondi. The plant can reach up to 12 m in height, making it the world’s largest bromeliad - a member of the pineapple family. One of the most ancient plant species in the world, it only grows in a few isolated areas of the Andes between altitudes of 3700m and 4200m. It is in full bloom only once in its 100-year lifetime when several species of hummingbirds can be seen feeding on the nectar of its white flowers, and dies shortly afterwards. Even when not in bloom, these giant plants stand out on Peru’s high-altitude grasslands and are worth seeing.


We leave Huaraz at 8 am and travel towards the southern section of the Huascaran National Park. Once we enter the national park we have our first views of some of the Cordillera Blanca’s stunning mountains, looming high above the pristine Raria valley. We stop at Lake Patococha to enjoy the beautiful scenery and observe the Andean ducks that often swim in the lake. Further on we stop again at the unusual Pumapampa spring with natural gas. From here, we can clearly see the imposing snow-capped peak of Mount Mururaju (5688m), which dominates this part of the valley. Later on we stop for one of the highlights of the tour: the rare, gigantic Puya Raimondi plants dotted across the valley. We can also admire the Pumashimi pond with its beautiful waters in seven shades of blue. The road now climbs steeply upwards towards the Pastoruri Glacier. We pass beautiful mountains with cascading glaciers and eventually reach Pastoruri at around 11 am. It takes around 40 minutes on foot along a gently sloping path to reach the ice proper. Those not feeling up to the walk can hire horses. The receding Pastoruri Glacier, despite having lost a huge portion of its ice in recent years, is still the only glacier accessible by road and is, for this reason, totally unique. We spend a few hours at the glacier before driving back to Huaraz. On the way we make a last stop at some ancient cave paintings. We get back to Huaraz at around 6 pm.
Please make sure to bring warm clothing with you, as the glacier is located at an altitude of 5050m. You may also suffer from altitude sickness, so make sure you drink plenty of water (at least 3 litres per person).