When visiting Peru, taking a journey to see Humantay Lake in Cusco is guaranteed to help make your trip absolutely unforgettable. Located over 4000 meters up in the Andes, only after making the hike up will you be able to view the lagoons true beauty.
Where Is Laguna Humantay?
Peru is a country rich with culture and natural beauty. Known for the advanced civilization of the Inca, Peru has many breath-taking destinations, both man-made and natural. Representing one of the many magical locations of natural beauty is Humantay Lake. Laguna Humantay lies 4,200 meters (13,900 ft.) up so it is hidden from view from the ground below.
Located in the Andes of Cusco, Peru, Humantay Lake is in a region that is extremely rich in Inca history. Sitting right off of the Salkantay and near the Inca Trail, Humantay Lake is often accessed via hiking. The Salkantay Trail runs between mountains Salkantay and Humantay, which are a part of the Vilcabamba mountain range.
The water in the lake offers one of the most spectacular views in Cusco, Peru. The trek up to Humantay Lake does take a bit of effort and is rated as moderate on the scale of easy to difficult. However, the end result of being able to stand in the midst of snow-capped mountain peaks, on the edge of a turquoise lake makes it well worthwhile for travelers and hikers alike.
The History Of Humantay Lake
Locals to the area know Humantay Lake as Laguna Humantay and it is thought that the Laguna was a sacred area to the Incas. It was commonplace that people would leave sacred offers on the edges surrounding the lake. Nowadays, Humantay Lake is often visited by shamans and other spiritual travelers, as well as hikers and those who want to find this hidden sacred beauty. Many people still continue the tradition of making these stone offerings.
The offerings left scattered around the lake are highly visible. People of this region call them Apachetas. Apachetas as mounds made from stacking rocks on top of other rocks. Sometimes the mounds are small, other times the mounds are large. The Apachetas is offered to a deity of the Inca culture named Pachamama.
It is a common ritual to make an offering when coming to the lagoon. You start the process by first selecting a rock as an offering to be offered to the Pachamama. Then you thank him for successfully arriving at the lagoon, as well as asking him to accompany you on your expedition before placing the stone.
Getting To Humantay Lake
There is no way to see Humantay Lake from the ground level. Laguna Humantay is a true gem of Peru and like most gems, it takes some work to reap the reward. Humantay lake sits at 13,779 ft (3850 meters) above sea level but there are a number of ways to get up there.
Your options for getting to Humantay Lake from Cusco are by bus or van to Soraypampa and then hiking. It comes down ultimately to decide if you want to take a group tour or do your own thing. Depending on your hiking experience and how much time you have to visit will help you to determine the better option.
Booking A Tour
If you are leaning towards the idea of finding and booking a tour, you can do so online or in person at a local tour operator. It’s not too hard to find a local tour operator. You can find a number of them in the main square in Cusco. Be careful to haggle with the price, as many tour operators may try to overcharge you, and be sure to be firm about what is included.
An alternative to dealing with the stress and hassle of in-person booking, you can find a tour operator online, the best site that we have found is FindLocalTrips there are many different operators to choose from, meaning that you won’t be stuck with the company you walk in to. We recommend Kantu Peru Tours or Haku Travel for fun day tours and easy transportation. Both offer some really amazing packages if you’re looking to visit the area with a local.
Both of these companies offer breakfast, lunch and, transportation to a hiking point in the town of Soraypampa. Once there, you will hike for roughly about 1.5 hours upwards to your destination of Humantay Lake. Overall a trip to Humantay Lake takes about 3 to 4 hours to hike. This doesn’t account for any time that you spend exploring and enjoying the area of Humantay Lake either.
Once your tour time at Humantay Lake has come to an end, You’ll hike back to the drop off point and take a vehicle back to drop you off.
What To Do At Humantay Lake
You will find a number of people doing different outdoor activities at the lagoon. You can find visitors exploring, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, and even stand up paddle boarding in the turquoise waters.
Many visitors and travelers come to see the beautiful water that has formed over the years from snow thaw. With green landscapes, white mountain peaks, and turquoise water, the way nature has presented itself is truly remarkable and absolutely breath-taking.
Tips For Visiting Humantay Lake
When deciding to embark on an exploration of an area such as Peru, there are things that should be remembered as you plan to face the elements. Remember, you can never over plan for a trip to travel abroad. When planning to visit Cusco, Peru, remember these important tips.
You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting yourself from harmful UV rays. The higher the elevation, the harsher the effects of the sun. Wearing sunscreen or sunblock is essential, especially being at an altitude of 4,200 meters above sea level.
Anytime you do any extensive outdoor activity, it’s a good idea to have a first-aid kit somewhere nearby. You may also wish to bring elevation sickness pills, which can help prevent illness from not acclimating properly to high elevations.
Snacks And Water
Hiking for 3 to 4 fours can take a lot out you, especially when you consider the extreme elevation as well. It is vitally important to make sure to bring enough water with you for your journey. The hike is a little strenuous so it’s also a good idea to bring some type of snack to help replenish your depleted energy levels.
Peru is home to lots of historical and breath-taking locations but none is quite like Humantay Lake. This well preserved and hidden lake that welcomes visitors with its mystic turquoise water is truly a must-see of Cusco, Peru. With tours readily available, experiencing the magic of Humantay Lake doesn’t have to be a dream anymore.