Day Trip To Laguna Paron in Huaraz, Peru
As everything goes with Peru, we decided to keep exploring the outdoors. Our next stop in our travels was Huaraz, Peru. We heard about this town from our good friend and decided to check it for ourselves. Once we arrived, we didn’t see many people in town. We arrived in the middle of the day and later found out that everyone is outdoors doing activities and then return to Huaraz in the afternoon. Yes.. everything you want to visit will require you to hit the outdoors and work for it. We decided to base ourselves in Huaraz as this gave us the ability to do day tours and prepare for the multi-day trek of Santa Cruz. Our first day activity was Laguna Paron. We decided to book a day trip to visit the Laguna with a structured tour, since that was more convenient for us and the prices were very good. We booked all our day trips with Andean Summit. We highly recommend the service provided by Mila.
Laguna Paron is the largest lake in the Cordillera Blanca. It is beautifully surrounded by several snow peaks. This makes for a gorgeous view once you arrive at the lake. The highest point of this lake is 4,200 meters. If you have the time, this is a must do in our books!
Our day started by being picked up from our hostel at 9am. This gave us enough time to have breakfast at the hostel and head out to Laguna Paron. The ride was about 3 hours with a couple of stops along the way. The first stop came about 30 minutes into the ride when we pulled to the side of the road to admire the Cordillera Blanca. The guide pointed out the location we were going to visit and explained in detail about the history of the towns nearby and the impact climate change has had in the area. We also stopped by in the city of Carhuaz for a quick break and to try out the delicious traditional ice cream. We had about 20-30 minutes to walk around the center of town. After this we headed towards Laguna Paron. We arrived at Laguna Paron around 12pm. The van was able to drop us off very close to the lake. (Keep in mind, there is an additional fee of S/5 ($1.48 USD) per person to enter the area.) Once we arrived, you had the choice to walk around the lake or climb up to the mirador (view point). The guide gave us 2 hours to do whatever we wanted, but highly recommended we walk up to the mirador. I have to say this is more than enough time to walk around and admire the lake. We decided to go straight to the mirador and climb up the path of rocks, but not before chewing on some coca leaves to help with the altitude. The climb is not that bad and it took us about 30 minutes to reach the top. Since we were the first van there, no one was up in the mirador which was pretty cool to have the place all to ourselves to snap a few pictures before others got there. The lake was simply breathtaking! We sat down and admired the beauty of this colorful lake for a good 15 minutes.
Many groups started arriving at the mirador around 1pm. By that time we had gotten our pictures of the lake and had time to chill out. We started our descent towards the lake once we started to see all the groups arrive. It took us about 20 to 25 minutes to get down. We had the opportunity to walk around the lake and once again admire it. The 30 minutes we had at the mirador and the other 30 minutes we had at the lake are more then enough. There is only so much you can do with views and pictures. As soon as we jumped back on the van to head to Huaraz it started raining. We were so lucky to get some decent weather for the 2 hours we were at the lake. The ride back was another 3 hours. We finally arrived at Hauraz at 5pm. Just in time to head out for some dinner!
What to bring:
Don’t forget to pack some energy snacks and water! We had bananas and chocolate. That was enough to hold us until dinner time. We didn’t see any stores selling anything when we visited.
Make sure to pack your raincoat if you go during rainy season.
Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Dress in warm layers since it tends to get colder at the mirador.
There are toilets you can use when you arrive, just don’t forget to bring toilet paper.
We had no idea Laguna Paron existed until we arrived in Huaraz! If you ever find yourself in Huaraz, make sure to have extra days. We had planned to stay only a couple of days and ended up staying 14 days in this beautiful town! One of our highlights in Peru.
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.)
The easiest way to get to Huaraz was by bus. We used Cruz Del Sur for all of our 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.