Traveling to Huaraz was recommended by so many people for really nice hiking trails and so I decided to go there and hike to Lake Churup in Huascaran National Park. I had no idea the difficulty of this hike up there but I can say it was a big challenge. Here, I share the experience and point out the challenging parts…
The journey from Lima to Huaraz
We got there 25 minutes before departure, so way too early for me but 10 minutes before departure, I decided to go to the petrol station nearby to buy some snacks. And then left at 10:30 pm.
We arrived very early at 7:30 am after 9 hours bus journey. Last night I was sitting next to a guy who slept with his mouth wide open in my direction and coughed all night long – urgh. Even more disgusting did he fart as well. Challenge number 1 haha. It’s probably funny to read and if you are unlucky it can happen anywhere when traveling but it’s just one of those nightmares that you did not wish for when jumping onto the bus for long journeys.
Where to stay in Huaraz in Peru?
After arrival, I didn’t look want to waste much time to look around for a hostel, so I just walked into the first best one, which happened to be Hostal Concorde for 20 Soles per night, which was decent and safe. Unfortunately, they don’t have a website so I can’t share a link.
How to get from Huaraz to Lake Churup?
The weather was nice this morning and so I thought I better get going to Lake Churup. To get to a station at Gamarra & Av. Las Americas where the minivans (or how they call them “Collectivos”) are leaving from I asked in the hotel. Before I took the collectivo to Llupa for 3 Soles, I went to have early lunch at this little place by the station, where I eat the local traditional dish called ‘Cau Cau’, which consisted of chopped potatoes, onions, and bread, which was pretty good to get some energy for the day.
Making connections on the minivan
I got into the minivan and all the local women looked at me very closely. I liked it to see them in their traditional dresses with big hats. After waiting for about 20 minutes, the bus was about to leave when another guy turned up and the ladies all said to each other “Gringo” (=foreigner) – I cracked up laughing so much because the reaction was so unique haha. The most obvious thing then happened, which is so normal when you arrive in a bus, where there are all locals and by peoples instinct look for the person – in this case, other travelers – to feel comfortable with. We started talking to each other right away and he was in the same way as me, Felix from Germany.
Hike to Lake Churup starts in Llupa
Once we got to Llupa, we started hiking towards Pitec, which took about an hour to get there. We almost got lost on the way because there was no clear path or signage but luckily after connecting to a local showed us a shortcut.
This way we had to go through a checking point where I had to pay 10 soles ($1,50) entrance park fee. Felix had to pay more because he stayed overnight but he negotiated it down to 30 Soles ($4,30 USD) and signed right under my name, which means 20 Soles ($3) went straight into the rangers pocket because the rate for people overnight is normally 60 Soles ($8,60) and he would have needed to register on top of the document – haha, naughty naughty.
Challenging trail to Lake Churup
The hike up was pretty challenging because the steep way was exhausting actually and we didn’t do many breaks – luckily the weather was still good. The path at this point was also clear but then disappeared for some reason and it started raining. We made our way climbing up some slippery rocks and finally got onto the trail again. It continued pouring down and we had to use a rope to climb up some big rocks – this was pretty dangerous and intense.
After around 2,5 hours we finally made it to Lake Churup at a height of 4,450m and we were lucky because we caught a little bit of blue sky and then turned around promptly because the weather seemed to turn into a storm – standard unpredictable weather in the mountains. The whole journey up there we didn’t see any other travelers apart from that one local.
Happy arrival when reaching the top. Can you see that?
Local connection on the way back
The hike down then was pretty dangerous then because I felt dizzy and sometimes lost my balance. I guess this was a sign of the altitude sickness and that’s why I wanted to go down even faster to be back in normal. The problem was that we stayed at such a height for longer than three hours and this is not good if you are not used to the altitude, especially have I just come from the Amazonas jungle.
I was so happy when we got back to Pitec at around 4:15 pm and Felix stayed and camped there. And walked back to Llupa by myself but then I realized that I was walking a different way. I didn’t panic because I was still going down, which is all I wanted. And finally made it back to Llupa at around 5:20 pm starving and exhausted. From there I didn’t wait for a collectivo. I just got picked up by a guy who was on his way to Huaraz and so. I paid a little more than for a collectivo. Once we got close to Huaraz, the guy also put on the seatbelt and I asked him why? It’s because when they get caught without a seatbelt, they have to pay a fine of 200 Soles. I was so happy when I got back to my room.
At night, I dropped my clothes at the laundry and rewarded myself with a takeaway pizza and watched television when. I then received a phone call from my friend from the Amazon jungle Fredy – a nice surprise.
I TRAVEL FOREVER’s VIEW & RECOMMENDATION
The hike was very challenging and confusing with the unclear path. If you don’t seek to put yourself in such a danger. I would recommend you to find a local to take you there. Unfortunately, the weather was cloudy when we arrived at the top but on a clear sunny day. These lakes shine with its turquoise color.
Journey details short:
Huaraz – Llupa (Collectivo at Gamarra & Av. Las Americas) – Pitec – Lake Churup (return 7km)