Santa Cruz trek and Laguna 69
Huarez in Peru is little town that is big on outdoor adventure. Whether it be rock climbing, alpine, mountain biking or trekking it has something for everybody. Located near here is a mountain range called the Cordillera Blanca, with some great hikes through it. The big summits here always have snow atop them so unless you possess the technical climbing skills these are out (there are sixteen 6000 m peaks). No matter there’s still beautiful and amazing hikes to do.
The Santa Cruz trek is usually done in four days with a tour but we chose to do it in three so that we could use the first (extra) day to hike Laguna 69, another popular day hike.
We actually did this by getting the bus halfway up to where Laguna 69 is and camping there overnight, meeting all the day trekkers on our way back. You can camp anywhere in the national parks but you do need to pay a fee. We only had a problem that no buses came along that had spare room to take us to the trail head of the Santa Cruz trek. We had to catch a bus back with the day hikers and then go back up again in a bus.
We were lucky enough to meet a guy on the bus that rents out a room in his house to hikers. This in itself was a great experience and gave us an insight into how everyday Peruvians live. Funniest part was watching the guinea pigs running around, over here they’re not pets but food.
Setting out from the trail head the next day we do a long hard days trek including a high pass, Punta Union at 4750 metres asl. As we get from one valley to the next the weather takes an abrupt turn and we head down to the camp in the rain. The clouds in this valley just roll over you and makes for such a beautiful place. In the morning you get a break from them and finally get to see what valley looks like.
Overall I would recommend this hike to anyone, it was definitely one of the best hikes we have ever done and really very easy to do it on your own. This is because you follow one valley up and over and down the next, There’s really no way to get lost, though we still took a topographic map. You’ll find everything you need in Huarez including the mountain guides association that you can log your trek with if you’re going to do it yourself.
Hope this has inspired you guys to get out there trekking and as always catch me on Instagram.