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Santa Cruz Trek - Cordillera Blanca
Pastoruti Mountain, Ancash

8 Days / 7 Nights

  1. Lima - Huaraz
  2. Huaraz -Pachacoto- Pastoruri - Cuartelwain
  3. Cuartelwain - Mitucocha
  4. Mitucocha - Carhuacocha
  5. Carhuacocha - Carnicero
  6. Carnicero - Viconga
  7. Viconga - Churin
  8. Churin - Lima
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Day 01: Lima / Huaraz

Early morning departure by first-class coach to the city of Huaraz , located about 400 Kms. north of Lima . Following the Panamerican Highway north across Lima we will pass several lush green valleys that cut through the coastal desert until we reach the town of Pativilca . Turning inland the main road winds its way up along the Fortaleza River for a good two hours. Finally we reach the Pass of Conococha (4,000 m.a.s.l. / 13,120 ft.) where we will get our first glimpse of the Cordillera Blanca, the highest tropical mountain range in the world. From here the road descends slowly along the Santa River as we pass a vast area of highland pastures. As we approach Huaraz, the vegetation changes into that of an interandean valley, surrounded by clusters of red-tiled houses. Arrival at a hotel and overnight stay at 3,000 m.a.s.l. / 10,000 ft. Dinner on your own.

Day 02: Huaraz / Pachacoto / Pastoruri / Cuartelwain

Back-tracking from Huaraz we take the side road at Quebrada Carpa, passing Pachacoto where we will observe the famous Puya Raymondi, the largest flowering cactus. On the way beautiful views of the peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, part of the Huascarán National Park , are visible. We drive over the Huarapasca pass (4,780 m.a.s.l.), before reaching a second pass at Yanashallash (4,680 m.a.s.l.) wher we have views of the Cordillera Blanca, Huayhuash and Huallanca. The road descends to the Huallanca community. We follow the San Juan river until we cross the pass of Cuncush (4,750 m.a.s.l.) and finally descend to set up camp at Cuartelwain. Lunch on route, overnight at camp at 3,900 m.

Day 03: Cuartelwain / Mitucocha

The trail winds slowly over the pass of Cacananpunta (4,700 m.a.s.l.) with incredible views of the surrounding countryside from where we can see the peaks that surround our campsite. The pass is the watershed of the waters flowing into the Amazon to the east, and the Pacific to the west. We arrive at camp below the peaks of Jirishanca Chico y Grande, Rondoy and Ninashanca at the edge of the Mitucocha lake. (Time: 6 hrs. Distance: 5 kms).

Day 04: Mitucocha / Carhuacocha

We continue over the Carhuacocha pass at 4,600 m.a.s.l. with views of Jirishanca Chico and the peaks of Siula, Yerupaja, Sarapo and Toro. Highland savannah known as puna surrounds the campsite and the countryside. Located at another lake we have fantastic views of the snow-capped peaks which surround the western side of Carhuacocha. (Time: 7-8 hrs. Distance: 8 kms).

Day 05: Carhuacocha / Carnicero

As we ascend to the narrow pass at Carnicero (4,750 m.a.s.l.) the peaks of the Huayhuash to our right, we will pass a series of lakes. Descending we reach our campsite below Jurau with views of the valley of Huayhuash , a small community of herders. Where there are views of the peaks of Trapecio, Carnicero and Jurau. (Time: 8 hrs. Distance: 9 kms.)

Day 06: Carnicero / Viconga

Passing by the seasonal community of Huayhuash we start our ascent to the pass of Huayhuash (4,580 m) with views of the Cordillera Raura to the south as we leave the jagged peaks of the Huayhuash slowly behind. There are views of Mt. Leon Huacanan and Quesillojanca, as well as Puscanturpa. Here we descend and camp at Lake Viconga . ( Time: 7-8 hrs. Distance: 8 kms.)

Day 07: Viconga / Churin

Over the last pass of Surasaca (4,800 m.a.s.l.). we follow the lake's shores for about an hour until we reach the roadhead. Here a vehicle will pick us up and drive us down the Churin Valley to the town of the same name where we will stay at a hotel and there it is optional to use the thermal baths.

Day 08: Churin / Lima

Departure by vehicle to Lima . We join the Panamerican Highway at Huaura and drive back to Lima . (Hotel and meals not included).

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