Trip duration  1 day (approx. 8 hours)
Trip type  day hike
Grading   easy
Places visited   Lake Rajucolta
Highest point  Lake Rajucolta 4270m
Distance   13km return
Starting Point of Hike Portada Rajucolta
Finishing Point of Hike Portada Rajucolta
Hike duration    4 hours return
Lake Rajucolta, sometimes also referred to as Lake Tambillo, is one of the Cordillera Blanca’s largest glacial lakes and is located some 30km southeast of Huaraz beyond the village of Macashca in the Rajucolta valley. This stunning deep blue glacier lake is backed by the imposing Mount Huantsan, the third highest peak in the range at 6395m that is also known as the “K2 of the Andes” due to the treacherous route to its summit. Surrounded by purple and yellow flowers and with the glacier ice touching the lake’s splendid waters, Lake Rajucolta’s beauty can rival that of any lakes in the region, but is surprisingly little-known despite its convenient proximity to Huaraz and easy trail to reach it.
The hike starts from the gateway to the Rajucolta valley and goes along a gently sloping old dirt road, through meadows overshadowed by towering granite cliffs and surrounded by waterfalls, the whole time dominated by the majestic Mount Huantsan, which makes the hike so enjoyable. You are likely to come across large herds of cows, but not much else, as tourists rarely venture here.
Peculiarly the colour of the lake can change from azure to emerald depending on the balance of minerals.
The hike to Lake Rajucolta is perfect for acclimatisation and is much easier than the more well-known hikes to Lake Churup and Lake 69 and as such is a good option for those wanting to acclimatise more progressively.
We leave Huaraz at 8 am and travel south along the main road through the Huaylas valley to the village of Macashca. From there we follow a dirt road in a poor state that goes through the Pariac Valley all the way up to the entrance of the Rajucolta Valley. After barely an hour and a half of driving we start our easy hike, following an old dirt road no longer in use up the very gently ascending valley. We enjoy unparalleled views of the impressive Mount Huantsan all the way up to the lake, which is reached after around two hours of hiking. We enjoy a picnic at the lake with exceptional views all around before making our way back to the portada, where our vehicle is waiting to drive us back to Huaraz. We get back to town at around 4pm.