Trace the spellbinding trails of the Santa cruz  Trek, one of Peru’s “Great Walks.”

This moderate and popular classic santa cruz trek  takes in some of the better known peaks and lakes around Santa Cruz, Huaripampa, and the Llanganuco Sector of the northern Cordillera Blanca where we also pass through some traditional Andean villages. Our journey begins from Cashapampa /Santa cruz valley entrance which simultaneously provides more gradual acclimatisation in addition to your prior acclimatisation treks. There is never a dull moment in the second and third days which will provide all highlights of Arhuey Valley and Punta Union Pass surrounded by magnificent and grand scenery all the time.


US$ 255,00 /person


*Although this is one of the classic and very popular treks in the Cordillera Blanca, this trek described here is the Akilpo private serviced trek for small groups.


Huaraz / Cashapampa (2,900 m) / Llamacoral  (3,760m)

The trip departs in the morning from Huaraz north through the Huaylas valley to Cashapampa village. Here we’ll meet our team of donkey drivers.  Ensure you have all your personal items required for the trek as your larger pack will be transported on the mules. Have your entrance fee/ticket ready as well – we will walk to the entrance, register and start the  santa cruz trek.

First day of the hike is a moderate ascent from Cashapampa to Llamacoral. Lunch will be at a spot along the river. Once at our Llamacoral campsite, we enjoy the afternoon rest time and hot drink and pre-dinner snacks.

santa cruz trek valley to Llamacoral campsite

Trail Note

5 – 7 hours trek /  9.60 km / Elevation change  +860m


Llamacoral (3,760m)  / Laguna  Arhueycocha (4,400m ) / Taullimapa (4,250m)

Gradually gaining altitude, there is the option to deviate to the Arhuey Valley, from where we can view the beautiful Arhueycocha lake. Note that this deviation is a slightly steeper ascent via switchbacks (zig-zag) after which we return to the main valley.  The walk takes us through an area known as Ichiccocha, an ancient lake that also serves as a campsite at times. Getting to Jatuncocha lake, we stick to the trail on the right of the lake. We continue on the gradual ascent to our campsite at Taullipampa at 4,250m.

laguna-Arhueycocha-santa cruz trek-peru

Trail Note

7 – 8 hours trek / 20 km / Elevation change  +990 (with diversion +1,040m/-150m)

Taullipampa (4,250m) / Punta Unión Pass (4,760m) / Paria ( 3,850m)

More difficult day. Today we must cross over the first and only high pass of the trip. At first the ascent is 3 hours up to the Punta Union pass at 4,760m, from where we descend all the way to the third camp at Paria.

Leaving our campsite we set off on a gradual ascent that becomes increasingly steeper via switchbacks past Taullicocha lake to the Punta Union pass at 4,760m. Here we’ll stop under the towering peaks of Taulliraju and its neighbours for photos down the Santa Cruz Valley (quebrada). Descending down a zig-zag of rock “stairs” we will stop near one of the lakes on the plateau for lunch. The rest of the walk from here is a descent all the way with more fantastic scenery to our campsite at Paria.

Taulliraju, santa cruz trek-huaraz-peru

Trail Note

7 – 9 hours trek / 15.5 km / Elevation change  +510m/-910m

Paria (3,850m) / Vaqueria (3,600m) / Portachuelo Pass (4,760m) / Huaraz

The final day consists of a short walk through small Andean style villages before the final ascent up to Vaquería. After a lunch break and unpacking our kit and equipment from the mules at Vaquería, we return to Huaraz by private vehicle via the high pass of Portachuelo to Llanganuco at about 4,760m.  A short stop here to enjoy the beautiful and breathtaking scenery of the several high peaks like Huascaran and Chopicalqui and the colourful lakes of Llanganuco (Chinancocha and Orconcocha) before continuing to Huaraz.

huaripampa village-santa cruz trek-huaraz-peru

Trail Note

4 – 5 hours trek / 6 km / Elevation difference  -450m/+200m

Price details coming soon

The program includes:

  • Professional and bilingual internationally certified mountain guide
  • All meals during the expedition
  • Private transportation round trip
  • Camping equipment
  • Cooking equipment
  • Entrance fees to Huascarán National Park
  • Cook & assistants
  • Donkeys and muleteers / mountain assistants

The program does not include:

  • Climbing equipment
  • Personal equipment
  • Personal expenses & tips
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items not mentioned above in “Includes”
No. of PersonsUS$ /person


The roads to and from the Huascarán National Park are dirt roads and some sections of this road might be very bumpy in addition to winding sections in the ascent/descent to and from the Portochuelo Pass.

Trekking trail

  • There are no toilets along the trail at any point.
  • Be aware that there may be some crossings of small rivers and streams that do not have any bridges but only large rocks serving as stepping stones.


This is a difficult trek and is recommended for trekkers who have previous trekking experience and are physically in a good condition and fit. Acclimatisation before the trek is a must! The highest pass you will cross is Punta union at 4,750m. If you are coming from up from sea level or anything less than 2,500 meters, you should spend at least 2-3 days in Huaraz. Please see our 1-day hike programs  that would be useful in helping you adjust to the altitude. Note: We can put together a package that would include acclimatisation hikes/treks as well.

Recommendations for Best Seasons

All year around. The best time is from mid-April to late September or early October.  April, May and June are the best months for lovers of flowers and green landscape. July through August are the best months for blue sky & also an excellent period for photographers (warm colours and clear blue skies are great!). From September to April you get a mixed sunny and pretty cloudy landscape.


The entire Cordillera Blanca has a semi-dry and semi-cold climate, with an average maximum temperature of 23.9° C (75.0° F) and a minimum of 1.1° C (33.98° F). The climate is very unpredictable, even in the dry season it can rain. During the days it can vary from hot to very frigid temperatures, included rain and strong winds or snow over 4800 meters above sea level. It usually starts getting cloudy more often in early September. October and November are the months when after 2-3pm you can count on afternoon showers.

**Note: List of required equipment for the trekking expedition. Please confirm with us which items are included in the price.

**For more equipment lists and the Equipment Rental Catalogue – click on EQUIPMENT

Trekking Gear

  • LED headlamp
  • Trekking poles
  • Trekking backpack
  • Day pack
  • Duffel bag

Camp & Cooking

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Sleeping mattress
  • Tent
  • Kitchen/dining tent
  • Stove & gas/fuel
  • Cooking utensils
  • Expedition crates


  • Trekking boots
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Fleece jacket
  • Down jacket
  • Rain/Hardshell jacket
  • Rain poncho
  • Light liner gloves
  • Hardshell/insulation gloves
  • Beanie/wool hat

Available for purchase  

*subject to availability

  • Headlamp
  • AA and AAA batteries
  • Water bottle
  • Water purification tablets
  • Cooking gas
  • Light liner gloves
  • Beanie/wool hat
  • Stainless steel flask
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