Day Trip To Laguna Humantay
As soon as we arrived to Cusco we knew one thing… we were going to visit Laguna Humantay. Laguna Humantay is located in middle of the mountains and surrounded by an incredible valley and landscape. This lake sits at 4,200 meters (13,779 feet) and it is surrounded by snow capped mountains. If you have the time, make sure to plan a visit to this gorgeous lake. Here you will find everything you need to know to be prepared for your visit.
How To Get There
There are many ways to get to Laguna Humantay. The most common one will be a day trip from Cusco. If you are doing the Salkantay Trek, you will have the opportunity to stop by and visit this lake. The final and most expensive option, is hiring a taxi and going on your own. We selected to visit with an organized tour since the cost was more reasonable.
Tour Cost and Details
Looking for a tour agency in Cusco… no problem! I felt like there were more agencies than people in Cusco! Ok maybe not as much, but you will find hundreds of them all over town. Take your time to ask around and look for the best deal. We selected to purchase a total of 4 tours with an agency and received a discounted rate in all of the tours. The cost for Lago Humantay was S/65 ($19.39 USD) per person. This cost includes the following:
Roundtrip transportation to Laguna Humantay from Cusco (Most agencies will start picking up people at 5am. We selected to walk to the travel agency office and had to be there by 5:20am)
Simple breakfast before the hike
Lunch after the hike
The only other cost that was not included was an entrance fee of S/10 ($2.98 USD) per person once we arrived. It also takes about 3 hours to get to Laguna Humantay from Cusco.
Hike up to Laguna Humantay
The hike up to the lake starts at a flat surface and then the real fun starts. The minivan drops you off by the entrance and then you will walk about 30 minutes to the location of the donkeys. Ohhhh by the way, the donkeys are located in a very strategic section of the hike… exactly where the steep part starts. If you arrive by the donkeys and you are having a hard time with the walk, I am sorry to tell you but it only gets harder. We had a group of 13 people and only 4 of us were able to walk all the way up. If you decide to rent a donkey the cost is S/80 ($23.79 USD)... one way. We will be honest and say the hike is not a walk in the park, but it can be done. Depending on how many breaks you take, the walk should be around 1 hour and a half. The hike will be steep, but just go at your pace. The trail is clearly marked so there is no way of getting lost. You will also see many people going toward the same place. There are toilets available before you start your walk, we recommend you use them since there are no toilets once you start your walk. Once you arrive, you will be rewarded with beautiful blue water and a glacier background! In our opinion, one of the best views of the lake is seen when you hike all the way to the top. This is another 15 minutes, but the views are worth it. Just be very careful when you are walking around the edge.
What To Bring
We took the following items on the Laguna Humantay Day-trip:
Coca Leaves/Tea (Leaves to chew & 1 liter of coca tea to help alleviate altitude sickness)
Layer Up (sweaters and warm clothes because it might be windy and cold)
Comfortable Shoes (some parts are very rocky)
SPF (the sun is stronger at high altitudes)
Water & Snacks (although you do get breakfast & lunch, bring peanuts, granola bars or any other light snacks just in case you get hungry on the way up)
Walking Stick (if you don’t get the donkey, a walking stick will make your hike a lot easier)
Toilet Paper (although there are toilets available, you will find that in Peru toilet paper is not)
When you visit Cusco you will find that there are many day tours you can take. We have to say that visiting Laguna Humantay was definitely one of the highlights of our visit!
In Peru you will find a very small amount of locals that speak English.
Download the XE Currency App to get live exchange rate info anytime, anywhere!
CREDIT CARDS AND BANKS
Cash is best for buying at local markets, street food or small stores as these do not accept credit cards.
ATMs are readily available.
We mostly used Banco De La Nacion while in Peru since this one allows us to take money out with out any fees.
VISA REQUIRED FOR US CITIZENS:
Visas will be given at time of entry into Peru. The length of approved stay will be determined by border officials when you enter the country and can range from 30-183 days. Be aware of the time they allow you to stay in the country. If you overstay, you will be fined and it will be a hassle when you try to cross your next border, specially if traveling by land. (This happened to us!)
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 month and have 2 free pages in the visa section when entering Peru.
(Make sure to check with your local embassy for visa updates.)
We decided to fly to Cusco from Lima since we had a predetermined date to visit Machu Picchu. You can also take a bus into Cusco. We would recommend using Cruz Del Sur for your travels. There are other buses less expensive, but we felt completely safe with them. They are the only ones we saw which go above and beyond to make you feel secure.
Breathalyzer tests are given to their drivers before starting their journey
Always have 2 drivers who must rotate every 4 hours
Video record all passengers traveling
A hostess is available for you 24/7 and attends to your needs on the bus
Meals are included like breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on your time of travel (the food is really good!)
You get a personalized screen to watch movies in Spanish with English subtitles
They can’t drive faster than 90kmph, there will be a screen showing how fast the bus is going (in some cases it even beeps when the driver goes over).
TIP: If you decide to buy your tickets with Cruz Del Sur, their website has the ability to change languages. For us, it defaulted to English, but if you can read Spanish or figure out the steps to book in Spanish, do it! Once their website is changed to Spanish, the cheap tickets will appear. You will have access to some seats being sold at a 50% discount! This obviously depends on demand and some planning on your end.
(In no way, did we get any commission or free rides with Cruz Del Sur to write this piece, we really loved them!)
We had heard mixed opinions about safety in Peru. Some cities seem to have more of a bad rep than others, but through out our stay we always felt safe. Even when riding on night buses. I was mostly concerned about all the road accidents you read about online, but if you book with a good bus company you should not worry. Just like in any other place in the world, use common sense like you would in any country. Make sure to steer clear of the roudy neighborhoods.