All You Need To Know: Hiking Humantay Lake From Cusco
Cusco is a charming city filled with culture, history, architecture, and adventure. One such adventure that will take your breath away is the Humantay lake hike, an unforgettable trek in the Andes mountains.
What is the Humantay Lake hike?
The Humantay Lake hike is a popular day hike from Cusco, Peru. The trailhead is about 3 hours from Cusco in the Salkantay region. The hike is about 3 hours round trip with moderate difficulty. The trail takes you through some stunning scenery, including a glacial lake, before reaching the summit of Humantay Peak. You’ll have incredible views of Salkantay Mountain and the surrounding valleys from the summit.
On this full-day journey, you’ll enjoy the breathtaking views of the turquoise color lagoon, snowcapped mountains, and lush valleys while you ascend up to 4200 meters above sea level.
The lake was formed due to the melting of a glacial icecap that once covered the area. The icecap began to melt around 10,000 years ago, and the resulting water filled the basin that is now Humantay Lake. Today, the lake is fed by runoff from the nearby mountains, and its turquoise waters are a beautiful sight. Despite its remote location, Humantay Lake has been visited by humans for centuries. The Incas built a small shrine near the lake, which they believed sacred. Many pilgrims still visit the shrine, which has become a popular spot for weddings and other ceremonies.
The altitude of Humantay Lake is 4,200 meters (13,780 feet) above sea level. The lake is located in the Cordillera Vilcabamba mountain range in the Cusco Region of Peru.
Humantay Lake is located in Soraypampa, Mollepata District – Cusco, Peru. It is about 3 hours drive from the city of Cusco and 2 hours hike. The lake sits at an elevation of 4,200 meters (13,780 feet) and is surrounded by mountains. It is a popular spot for hiking and camping and has stunning views.
Humantay Lake hike is not to be underestimated. It is short and beautiful but could be a challenging hike with the altitude. The trail is steep and rocky, and the altitude can make it difficult to catch your breath. But the rewards are worth it: stunning views of the Andes Mountains, a turquoise-blue glacial lake, and the satisfaction of completing a difficult hike.
The Humantay Lake landscapes are some of Peru’s most beautiful and varied landscapes. From the high mountain peaks surrounding the lake to the lush green meadows and valleys below, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The lake is stunning turquoise and fed by several small rivers and streams. It is surrounded by mountains, which provide a breathtaking backdrop.
Tips for hiking the Humantay Lake
The hike is not too difficult, but it is important to be prepared before going. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your Humantay lake hike.
- Start early: The earlier you start your hike, the cooler it will be, and the more time you will have to enjoy the views.
- Please bring plenty of water: It is important to stay hydrated, especially at high altitudes. Make sure to bring enough water for yourself and your companions.
- Pack some snacks: A few snacks will help keep your energy up as you hike. Choose something light but filling, such as granola bars or nuts.
- Wear sunscreen: The sun can be harsh at high altitudes, so it is important to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Apply sunscreen before you start hiking and reapply as needed throughout the day.
- Take your time: This is not a race! Enjoy the stunning views and take plenty of photos along the way.
What to expect on the hike
The trail is well-defined and easy to follow, but some sections are steep and may require using your hands for balance in places; it is better if you have trekking poles. The total distance from the trailhead to the lake is approximately 4 miles (6.4 kilometers), with an elevation gain of around 2,000 feet (610 meters). Allow yourself at least 3-4 hours to complete the hike at a leisurely pace.
The first part of the hike follows a dirt road for about 20 minutes before reaching the start of the single-track trail. You will steadily gain elevation for the next hour or so until you arrive at the Humantay lake at 4200 m. The trail can be slippery in places due to rain, so take your time and watch your footing.
What to Pack for the day hike?
Make sure you bring a small hiking backpack where you will carry all that you need during the day hike:
- A small backpack
- Plenty of water (at least 2 liters)
- Bug spray
- Hat or sunglasses
- Proper footwear (closed-toed shoes with good tread)
- Jacket or windbreaker (depending on the weather)
- First Aid kit, including supplies for blisters and snake bite
- Rain gear