Peru is full of natural wonders, where towering snow-capped mountains, green valleys, mysterious deserts, and the wilderness of the jungle captivate each and everyone of its visitors. However, the Humantay Lake doesn’t stand too far from this portrayal.
The famous turquoise-water lagoon is located in the heart of the Vilcabamba mountain range within the region of Cusco at 4,200 meters above sea level, flanked by the imposing Humantay and Salkantay mounts. The Humantay Lake has stolen the show for many years, being one of the most visited attractions near Cusco.
Nonetheless, this natural work of art is the dream-like scenery to every photographer since its mineral-rich water comes from the melting of the nearby glaciers, giving it an emerald jewel glow throughout the year.
Due to its proximity to the great Salkantay Apu, the Humantay Lagoon was and is still considered a sacred location. The Apus were the spiritual protectors of the Inca civilization, they used to do offerings to honor them and to ask for their guidance and protection.
Therefore, if you were thinking of bathing in the natural beauty of this turquoise lake then you must not even attempt to since these beliefs are still carried out by the locals. Nowadays, to honor and show gratitude to Mother Earth, local and foreign tourists make a coca leaf offering by digging a hole in the ground, leaving the best coca leaves they’ve found, and then build a tower of rocks on top of it.
As aforementioned, the Humantay Lake is the third most in-demand attraction in Cusco, just after the famous Rainbow Mountain. If you’re a nature lover like us, you would love to know that there are other colorful lagoons worth visiting in Peru, such as the dazzling Lagoon 69 and Laguna Paron in the Huaraz region.
Due to the high altitude of this beautiful lagoon and its geographic position, it has the distinctive weather of the Peruvian Andean region, meaning that the Humantay Lake is marked by two stationary seasons:
- Rainy Season: It takes place between December and April, but rainfall intensifies between the months of January and March. It is worth mentioning that the trail to this natural wonder turns muddy and more difficult to hike during this period.
- Dry Season: It starts in May and ends around October. Bright, warm, and sunny days are expected throughout the region, but temperatures are significantly colder in the evenings and early mornings.
Planning a trip through this South American gem could be quite tricky if you don’t have all the information. Therefore, to help you organize your trip through our country, we have gathered a few recommendations so you can decide when is the best time to travel to Peru according to your interests.
Since this hidden gem of the Peruvian Andes is located at a high elevation, there’s a high chance that its visitors may experience altitude sickness symptoms. This condition affects over 80% of travelers, therefore, it shouldn’t be taken for granted.
To help you prevent and avoid altitude sickness, we have some useful tips for you. Consider following these recommendations so you can have a safe travel experience through our country:
- Take it easy on the first days, especially if you’re flying to Cusco. Don’t commit to any physically demanding activity on the first two days of your stay.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Water will be your best ally to prevent altitude sickness.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking at all costs. Alcohol is a dehydrator and smoking may cause or worsen shortness of breath.
- Eat a light but high-calorie diet.
- Drink Coca tea or chew Coca leaves. This plant is famous for its curative properties and for helping with acclimatization.
As a precautionary measure, there are some medicines that help easing altitude sickness symptoms. You can find Diamox or Soroche Pills in almost every drugstore in the country. However, we highly recommend you consulting a doctor before taking any of these medicines.
To visit this natural wonder, one must be in Cusco, which is easily accessible by plane, train, or bus. Depending on the type of experience you’re looking for and the time you might have, organize your trip according to these recommendations:
- To Cusco by Bus: If you have a flexible itinerary, consider taking bus rides to the main destinations within your itinerary. Exploring Peru by bus can be a more enriching experience rather than by flying to different locations. For more information about how to make this trip, check this special package →
- To Cusco by Train: Yes! Train travel is possible through the main attractions of the Andes region. The Belmond Andean Explorer offers a unique experience through the Peruvian highlands, connecting Arequipa, Puno, and Cusco in one trail route along the authentic scenery of the Andes. Find out more here! →
- To Cusco by Plane: For those looking for a faster way to get to Cusco, we highly recommend you taking a commercial flight. That way, you’ll have more time to experience your favorite destination at its fullest! Learn more here! →
Once you’ve figured out your transport to Cusco, make sure to book the Humantay Lake trek in advance. Keep in mind that if you’re taking the Salkantay Trek, this famous water body will be the first attraction you’ll encounter. For more information, please contact our team. →
The Humantay Lagoon trek is quite challenging but not at an expert level, it’s just because 60% of the trail is steep and takes about 2 hours to get there. However, if you’ve followed our recommendations on acclimatization, you may not have any trouble.
Most of the tours start early in the morning, bound for the town of Mollepata for breakfast to later reach the starting point of the trek in Soraypampa. The trek starts at 3,800 meters above sea level and goes all the way up to 4,200 meters of elevation.
For that reason, we highly recommend doing this trek once you’re feeling comfortable with the altitude. It just takes a couple of hours, but for some, it is physically demanding. However, locals rent horses to skip the hardest part of the trek, this could be an option for those who find the trail very challenging.
Once on the top, you’ll realize all that effort has been paid off. The natural beauty of the Humantay Lagoon and its surroundings is like no other, certainly an unmissable spectacle in the Peruvian Andes.