If you’re reading this, you’re pretty likely into trekking. That’s a good thing! If you’re not, stick around. I bet this article will change your mind!
When it comes to famous treks, you might be familiar with the Milford Trek in New Zealand, the Yosemite Half Dome Trek in the USA or El Camino del Inca leading to Macchu Pichu in Peru. But have you ever heard of the Circuito Huayhuash (Huayhuash trek) in Peru? I bet you haven’t!
Back Me Up Here. What’s Huayhuash Trek?
This is an 8-day / 115km trekking up in the Peruvians Andes mountains, aka the highest mountains in the world outside Himalaya. You will see the highest summits in the world outside Himalaya, like the Yerupaja (6634m) or the Siula Grande (6344m) or the Jirishanca (6126m).
Starting from the city of Huaraz in Peru, the whole trek is above 4000m in altitude. There is a total of 7 passes above 4800m and 2 passes above 5000m. That is higher than any summit in Europe, Middle-East, South-East Asia or Australia. You will trek an average of 15-20km per day. Think about it twice as you experience the altitude change!
Conditions can be harsh. This is high mountains, the weather is fast-changing. Within 12 hours, you can experience sunshine, snow, rainfalls and blizzard up to 100km/h with far below zero temperature altogether. This is a loop, circling the entire Cordillera Huayhuash Mountain range. There is no village or possibility to re-supply, except on day 6. You will be camping, drinking water from the glaciers and eating basic food (soup, rice, pasta, bread, a little of meat), even though in more than decent quantities.
How Is It Like?
I have been travelling the world almost non-stop for 6 years. Yet, I only started trekking on a regular basis while living in South Africa, 3 years ago. Since then, I went crazy about it, completing some of the most beautiful treks on earth! Amongst them, the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii (USA), the Amphitheater trek in the Royal Natal National Park (South Africa) and the Acatenango & Rinjani volcanoes in Guatemala & Indonesia. I believe you only know a country only when he’s trekked it!
Based on this experience, I can say that the Huayhuash trek is by far the most intense, hectic and breathtaking trek I know. The professional French trekking review Montagne et Randonnées awarded it “Best trek in the World in XXXX”. Basically, it included everything you might possibly think about when it comes to mountains trekking:
- snowy peaks beyond the clouds
- crystal-clear mountain lakes
- breathtaking cliffs and slopes
- 360 degrees panoramic views
- some majesties Andean Condors, aka the largest birds on earth, up to 3.5m wide!
Ok, More Practical Information
On a more practical aspect, you will be in a group of 5 to 10 people. Most likely from western Europe, some good friends-to-become, 20-30yo average, with a guide, a cook and a donkeyman. You will live with the sun, from sunrise to sunset; depending on the weather, you will wake up between 5 and 7 am. You will go to bed between 8 and 9 pm every day. You will be trekking between 6 to 9h per day, more if you decide to go for extra passes to take even more amazing pictures.
How To Get There?
While coming to Peru, you’ll very likely land at Lima Airport, the capital city. From there you have two options:
- Fly to Huaraz: from this very airport, clear the immigration and head to the close by the domestic terminal. Fly to Huaraz. Book in advance; there is one flight per day. From Huaraz airport, take a cab to the agency. Cost: about 150usd
- Take a bus to Huaraz: take a taxi from the airport to Cruz del Sur or Movilbus terminals downtown Lima. There are about 20 departures per day, from 11 am to 11 pm. These are VIP bus with 120 degrees seats-bed, including a snack and clean onboard bathroom. They are the best buses I know! I would advise you an overnight one, leaving from 9 pm onward, this is an 8-9h journey so better sleeping during the drive instead of wasting your precious time in Peru! When you arrive, you’re 2 blocks away from the agency. Cost: about 25usd
Trevellers tips: when grabbing a cab to the bus stations from Lima airport, never ever take it from the terminal itself. Leave the airport by foot first. It’s like 3min walk. Then, grab a cab on the main street. Best price inside the airport will be 25 usd if you’re lucky, while outside it will easily be 10 usd! (Aka 25 soles, the Peruvian currency, which is worth 3.5 times less!)
Trek with Pepe, aka the Best Guide in Town
Professional Mountain Guide for 20 years
While walking around Huaraz during my acclimation days, I had the chance to meet Pepe. From the beginning, we have had a good connection, so I decided to go with him, instead of another agency I found online a day before. Pepe, 38 years old, is a local among the locals, as he was born and raised in a remote village of the Cordillera Huayhuash, you will see his abandoned childhood house on day 3! He has been walking around the mountain range since he was a kid and became a guide when he turned 18. Since then, he’s created his trekking agency, Amazing Huayhuash.
25% DISCOUNT with Trevellers.com
Average competition price is usually around 800/900 soles, however, Trevellers negotiated for you a preferential rate of 650 soles (200usd) for the whole 8-day package, including
- Guide service with explanations and anecdotes about local communities and wildlife. Pepe speaks basic English though it’s more than enough for explanations and basic info. If you have some Spanish, this is even better!
- Transport round-trip to the Cordillera Huayhuash with a private bus, from and to Huaraz, about 4h each way.
- All meals & beverages from the beginning of the end of the trek, 3 meals per day + snack, which is 32 meals total. Make sure you bring 2l of water the first day so that you can refill it over the next days
- Tent, mattress and sleeping bags
- Donkeys and horses, to carry all your equipment, you will basically be trekking only with a light backpack with your water and your snack. After a few days, being trekking that light has no price!
How To Get The Trevellers Discount
To benefit from it, contact Pepe Muñoz, via his Facebook page Amazing Huayhuash or via Whatapp +51 944 995 955. Mention “Adrien from trevellers.com”.
Please contact him about 2 weeks in advance to make sure you have a spot in the group, especially in high season, from June to August.
Travelling expensively has changed me, even shaped me in a way. Today, I am very keen to share this experience with people, from all backgrounds: people willing to start travelling, or doing it even more often, wiser or in a more sustainable way. I have received more help, friendships and kindness that I would have expected. For me, this series is a way for me to give back, to help people in return, to inspire beginners.