Portachuelo de Llanganuco hike
The Portachuelo de Llanganuco hike differs from most trails: it takes you down rather than up, making it a decent route for those who aren’t in the mood for an excruciating hike, but want remarkable views! At the highest point, you’ll get a front-row vista of the emblematic peaks spanning the Cordillera Blanca before walking down along the path, where two beautiful lakes - Orqoncocha and Chinancocha - will keep you aesthetically entertained. These sparkling lakes are formed from the snow melting off of Huascarán, Huandoy, Pisco, and Yanapaccha.
Drive through the Huaylas valley below the Cordillera Blanca to the town of Yungay. Take the dirt road to Portachuelo de Llanganuco, which is located at 4700m. On the way, pass through the Huascarán National Park checkpoint.
|When to do|
April - October
Portachuelo de Llanganuco
Route Description for Portachuelo de Llanganuco
This hike is an excellent choice for hikers craving a few hours outdoors and a myriad of picturesque views. It’s also great for those working to acclimatize, as you start high and go progressively down all day. However, the highest point of this hike sits at 4700m above sea level, propelling the risk of altitude sickness. Thankfully, the hike is near the road, so you can always wave the trail goodbye and hitch a ride!
You may think that this hike—due to its downhill formation—won’t enchant you with spellbinding views, but that’s not the case! As soon as you get out of your vehicle, the peaks of Huandoy, Pisco, Chacraraju and the south face of the Huascaran, jetting into the sky, will have you pulling out your camera and snapping photos.
The start of the hike follows a narrow path, and the Llanganuco lakes will shift into view. After 3 hours of walking down, you’ll arrive at the first lake: Orqoncocha. Admire the dark green shade blanketing the water due to the significant presence of algae and aquatic plants.
Continue walking along the road for another 30 minutes before arriving at the second lake, glimmering in turquoise hues: Chinancocha. Walk for 30 more minutes on the right bank of the lake until descending for another hour along the ‘Maria Josefa Trail’ until the trail ends at 3570m on a dirt road.
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This hike is best done with a guide, and they can arrange travel to the start and back from the finish.
Bring water from the city. You can drink the water from the lake, but it’s suggested to use some sort of purifier.
You can find food near Chinancocha lake, but it never hurts to pack your own snacks!
Bring mosquito repellent! The last part of the route winds through a forest, where the mosquitos flourish.
It may be helpful to bring hiking poles due to the trail descent.
It’s possible to feel sick from the altitude on this hike, so consider carrying something like sweets or paracetamol to ease the symptoms.
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