From metropolitan Lima to the remote Peruvian Andes, this 5-day adventure brings you to the heart of the mountains. Start in Lima— the capital of Peru—then take a quick flight to Huaraz, a mountain town popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Spend a day exploring the city's history, then head into the mountains to see stunning glaciated peaks, bright blue mountain lakes, and Peru's highest mountain—Mt. Huascaran, which towers at 22,205 ft.

Highlights

  • Explore Peru's diversity, from metropolitan Lima to small mountain towns
  • Get an adrenaline rush with an icy dip in a glacial lake
  • Enjoy spectacular views of glaciated mountains and blue lakes
  • Get to know the history and culture in the mountain town of Huaraz

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima
Day 2 Flight: Lima - Huaraz & City Tour Huaraz
Day 3 Laguna 69 Trek Huaraz
Day 4 Pastoruri Glacier Huaraz
Day 5 Flight: Huaraz - Lima & Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru's largest city and central metropolitan hub, and home to one-third of the country's population. Located at the site of a pre-Columbian indigenous Ychsma settlement, which was conquered by the Inca empire in the 15th century and later by the Spanish conquistadores, Lima has a fascinating history and a diverse mix of cultures. Amerindian, European, Afro-Peruvian, and Asian—especially Chinese and Japanese—influences make Lima a dynamic and exciting city to explore. 

Lima's breezy location on the Pacific Ocean and mild desert climate make it the perfect city for exploring on foot. Head downtown to mingle with locals, stretch your legs, and grab a bite to eat in one of the many award-winning restaurants. 

Suggested activities include: 

  • Explore the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with fascinating Spanish architecture. Start with a scenic tour of the colonial downtown, which emanates from the main square. Stroll over to the 16th-century Cathedral, which took 80 years to construct and was built in the grandiose style of the Spanish Empire. 

  • Visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of his captains, in 1535. This is the only house from that era that still belongs to the same family. 

  • Stroll around the Pueblo Libre district to the privately owned Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art, housed in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. The museum boasts a vast pre-Colonial collection of gold and silver artifacts. 

  • In the evening, head to the eclectic "Love Park" in the upscale coastal district of Miraflores, where you can admire a huge kissing statue and beautiful mosaic walls.  The park is built on the cliffs of Chorrillos and is a perfect place to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Pacific. 

  • Enjoy a nightcap at an open-air cafe or restaurant in the diverse Miraflores neighborhood.

Day 2: Flight: Lima - Huaraz & City Tour

Street vendors in Huaraz
Street vendors in Huaraz

This morning you will depart from your hotel in Lima early in the morning for check in to your 1-hour flight to Huaraz. Upon arrival, take the day to explore the city. This adventure hub draws tourists from all over the world to explore the mountains of the Cordillera Blanca. 

Your tour today will include stops at the Plaza de Armas—a traditional central plaza ubiquitous across South America—the Regional Museum of Ancash, the Rataquenua observation deck for panoramic views, the Iglesia La Soledad, and the pre-Incan Wilcahuain ruins. Get a glimpse of what old Huaraz looked like on Jose Olaya street, which is the only street that remained intact after many earthquakes.

Day 3: Laguna 69 Trek

Laguna 69 and Chakrarahu mountain
Laguna 69 and Chakrarahu mountain

Your adventure this morning begins with a 6:00 AM pickup from your hotel in Huaraz. Travel north along the Huaylas Valley towards the small town of Yungay, then turn onto the dirt road that leads to Huascaran National Park. Along the way, you will pass Mount Huascaran, Peru’s highest peak at 22,204 ft (6768 m). Once you reach the national park, stop at Llanganuco Lakes for photos and a break. 

Continue to Cebollapampa to start the 3-hour uphill hike to Laguna 69. The hike is breathtaking, with spectacular views of the Cordillera Blanca in every direction. Stop at Laguna 69, whose name comes from a clerical need for a lake without a traditional Quechua name, for a break and a chance for photos. For the daring travelers in the group, a quick dip in the icy lake will get your blood pumping. 

Head back to Cebollapampa, a 2-hour hike, then back to Huaraz for the night.

Day 4: Pastoruri Glacier

Pastoruri Glacier
Pastoruri Glacier

After breakfast, head south out of the city to see mountain lakes and glaciers. Your first stop will be Patacocha Lagoon to see Andean wildlife and a stunning mountain lake. From here, head to the Lake Pumapashimi, also known as the Lake of 7 Colors for the visual effect produced by the reflection of the sun on the lake's algae. You'll also see the native titanca plant—the world's largest bromeliad, which can reach up to 50 ft (15 m) in height. 

Continue to the entrance of Pastoruri to begin your 45-minute walk to the glacier. There is an option here to rent a horse, for those who prefer to ride instead of walking. Enjoy the views of the spectacular ice sheet and surrounding mountains, and feel rejuvenated in the fresh cold air. Hike back to the car and return to Huaraz.

Day 5: Flight: Huaraz - Lima & Departure

Central Plaza of Huaraz
Central Plaza of Huaraz

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then transfer to the airport for your flight back to Lima. Spend the afternoon settling in and relaxing in the hotel, or go for a sunset walk in the romantic neighborhoods of Miraflores and Barranco along the Pacific Ocean before finding the perfect cafe or restaurant for dinner.

In the evening, transfer to the Lima airport for your homeward-bound flight.

Kristy
Written by Kristy T, updated Mar 18, 2019