Santa Cruz Trek | Cordillera Blanca, Peru, 1996

c_12Distance :  31 miles (50 km)

  • The trail was approximately 62km when I did it in 1996, however, it has since been shortened due to the opening of a major road through to the popular Llanganuco lakes area.

Avg. Time :  3 days

Start / Finish :

  • Vacqueria – Cashapampa
  • Both trailheads are accessible by regular bus services from Huaraz.

Season :  May to October.

Maps / Info :

  • The best map for the Santa Cruz Trek is the Alpenvereinskarte 1:100,000 Cordillera Blanca Nord (Peru) Sheet # 0/3a. Available in Huaraz or at the South American Explorers Club in Lima.


  • A possible alternative is the 1:100,000 Cordillera Blanca, published by Huaraz local Felipe Diaz.
  • Lonely planet’s excellent Trekking in the Central Andes (2003) contains a sketch map and detailed trekking notes.  All you really need for this well marked, popular trail.


  • Bring all supplies from Huaraz.

Route / Conditions :

  • The Santa Cruz trek is one of the easiest walks in the Cordillera Blanca, and for those hikers new to high altitude trekking, makes for a good introductory experience.
  • Although by no means difficult, there is still one pass of 4760m (the Punta Union) to negotiate. Trekkers should be well acclimatized before starting their walk.


  • Finding water is not a problem. Because of the amount of livestock in the area all water should be purified.

Sleeping :  Tent

Overview :

  • Stunning snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes and the wonderfully gnarled red barked Quenua trees, make the Santa Cruz trek a memorable one. When combined with its easy access from Huaraz and the fact that it’s neither too long nor difficult, it is not hard to understand why it has become the most popular trek in the Cordillera Blanca.



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