From Cusco I trekked to the Humantay Lake in Salcantay, and it was amazing! The lake is located between the Humantay and Salcantay mountains. It took around 1 hour 30 minutes to hike up to the lake, and it is around 4’300m high!
I was picked up from Kokopellis hostel where I stayed in cusco, at 4:30am and transferred in a bus with 5 others and our guide Michael to Salcantay for some breakfast 2 hours from Cusco.
We then continued for another hour into the national park where the lake is located, the route up the mountain was really windy and narrow, but rewarded you with some outstanding views of the Andes mountains on the way up! It was really stunning. (as with most national parks you are required to pay a seperate entrance fee, a $10 Peruvian soles charge to enter the park.)
How Hard is the Hike to Humantay Lake
We then reached the begining of the hike at Soraypampa, Michael our guide kindly provided wooden walking sticks to assist us, this was my first experience of using something to assist me hike, and I was super grateful for it during this high altitude trek! If you have your own hiking poles even better! Our group began up the hill toward the snowy covered mountains, You could instantly feel the high altitude, and breathing was much more of a task than usual, and continued to get harder with every step. All the way up different groups would come to a halt and try and catch there breath, people would guzzle water or chew coca leaves to assist them with there mild altitude difficulties.
After hiking for over an hour, we reached the top of the hill we were climbing, and had to head around to the left. The trail led downhill for a tiny bit and then up a rocky hill! This bit took more concentration as it was a little narrow! After climbing another 25 minutes or so, we reached the summit which revealed the turquoise blue water that makes up the beautiful Humantay Lake! It’s really nice how it appears so suddenly just over the hill, it really does take your breath away!
Our group spent some time exploring the lake and taking lots photos! It’s important to mention you are not allowed to swim in the lake, and drones are also not permitted.
We completed the hike down to the bus which was much easier, taking less than an hour! The bus departed and stopped off at the breakfast spot for our lunch! Then carried on back to cusco, we arrived back at 5pm.
What makes the Humantay Lake the stunning Green and Blue colours
The glaciers high above on the humantay mountain melt and the water collects to form the beautiful and mysterious lake. The extreme colour of the lake is produced by minerals and bacteria.
How much does it cost to take a tour to Humantay Lake, Cusco
The cost from cusco was 120PEN/£27.85 when booking through the Kokopelli hostel, which included transport, breakfast, lunch and a guide.
Acclimatising in Cusco
If you need somewhere to stay in Cusco and you will need a few days to acclimatise to the high altitude (avoid alcohol and drink lots of water!), I recommend kokpelli hostel, even if you aren’t staying there you can pop in and book the humantay hike through there travel desk. Booking locally is a lot cheaper than booking online through pricey tour operators and they use the same companies!
TOP TIP – Use this code Booking.com and earn £15/$25 cash back! You can use this code once, but up to 10 referral codes from friends, family and fellow travellers to top up your money! So can earn £150 in total per email address! I used three different email addresses whilst in South America and effectively saved hundreds of pounds on accommodation! (Minimum spend £30 – book more than one night! Or for two people)
I really enjoyed this short hike, and the view was unforgettable, It’s truly spectacular. It is certainly one of the best hikes to consider whilst in Cusco!
Love B x