Tingopampa Valley, Cordillera Blanca, Peru

The knife-edged peak of Taulliraju (19,127’) is one of the spectacular peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, the highest tropical mountain range in the world. We trek from valley to valley, crossing high passes with 360-degree views.

Photo by Bill Abbott

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Trekking in the Cordillera Blanca

Explore the Highest Tropical Mountain Range in the World
Repertory Trip: Next Offered June 2016 & August 2016

Trekking in the Cordillera Blanca route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: TBA  
Length: 17 days
Arrive: Lima, Peru
Depart: Lima, Peru
Lodging: 5 nights hotels, 11 nights full-service camping
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level: 11-day trek on steep trails, 6-8 hours a day, altitudes between 11,000-16,000 feet, optional climb of 18,871-foot peak
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Highlights

  • Experience a perfectly designed trek in the world’s highest tropical mountain range
  • Optional hike to the Alpamayo Base Camp
  • Spectacular campsites by turquoise lakes, incredible views of glacier-clad peaks
  • Optional climb of Nevado Pisco


We can depend on Wilderness Travel to offer exceptional trips and great attention to detail, and the quality of the Trip Leaders is unsurpassed.Jocelyn S.—Arvada, CO

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Repertory Trip

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered every two to five years.  The exact dates have not been finalized but we expect they will be in June 2016. The “Itinerary at a Glance” and the “Full Detailed Itinerary” are available below. Please note there may be slight changes to the itinerary for future departures. Contact us to receive early notification of the trip dates. These special trips fill very quickly once the exact dates are set!

The enormous ice-fluted peaks, surreal turquoise tarns, and flowering alpine meadows of Peru’s Cordillera Blanca make it a phenomenal arena for trekking. In this stunning glacial wilderness, more than 70 summits top 18,000 feet, including mighty Huascarán (22,204'), Peru’s highest peak, and Alpamayo (19,506'), a classic pyramid that has been called the most beautiful mountain in the world. Our 11-day trek is a challenging one, but well rewarded with exhilarating days on the trail, spectacular campsites beside impossibly blue lakes, and views of ice-draped summits and glaciers at every turn. An optional climb of Nevado Pisco (18,871'), set right in the heart of the Cordillera Blanca, grants us dazzling 360-degree views of countless snow-capped peaks.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Lima / Huaraz

We meet in Lima and head along the Pan American Highway to Huaraz (10,000'), the center for trekking and mountaineering expeditions into the Cordillera Blanca. A day hike and a visit to the pre-Inca temple complex at Chavin de Huantar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating from 1500 to 300 BC, help us acclimatize to the heady altitude.

Days 5-15
Cordillera Blanca Trek

Meeting our trekking crew and pack animals, we head to Laguna Cullicocha (15,100'), a gleaming glacial lake with outstanding views of the peaks of the Santa Cruz massif. Crossing two more passes, we continue through Quebrada de los Cedros to our camp near Laguna Jancarurish, where we can take an optional hike to the base camp of Alpamayo, a pyramid-shaped peak of astonishing beauty. Crossing the Caracara Pass (15,846'), we descend into a lush valley leading to a high pass with great views of the multiple peaks of Pucahirca. Continuing into Quebrada Jancapampa, we pass villages and cultivated areas where rural life hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years. Panoramas of awesome peaks abound, including knife-edged Taulliraju (19,127') and Chacraraju (20,052'). Our trek ends in Vaqueria. Trip members taking the optional extension will travel to the Demanda Valley today to climb Nevado Pisco.

Days 16-17
Huaraz / Lima

We return to Huaraz, enjoying views of the twin summits of Huascarán along the way. The next day we return to Lima and depart.

Nevado Pisco Climbing Extension

Nevado Pisco (18,871’) is a beautiful pyramidal peak in the heart of the Cordillera Blanca. At the end of our trek, we offer a challenging, non-technical 3-day climb on mixed snow and ice. The climb is suitable for very fit trekkers—and summit views are out of this world!

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is level 6, very strenuous, according to our trip grading system. Most hiking is between 10,000 and 15,000 feet, but there are several passes over 15,000 feet to cross and significant elevation gains and losses each day. Trails can be rough, not the well-maintained switchbacks you may be accustomed to in the United States. For the most part, you can hike at your own speed. The optional climb of Nevado Pisco is non-technical but requires basic knowledge of the use of ice axe and crampons (we’ll have some training on one of our acclimatization hikes) and a lot of stamina. It is expected that each participant be in excellent health and physical condition.

Getting in Shape
The best way to get in shape for hiking is to walk. A brisk 30-45 minute walk every other day over moderately steep terrain can do wonders for your conditioning. To accelerate your conditioning, try walking on steeper inclines, and use your gym’s stair-climbing machines. As you progress, practice these walks with your loaded daypack (full water bottle, camera gear, jacket). The object is to improve your overall level of fitness and aerobic capacity and get your legs and lungs in shape for the Andes. As the time for departure approaches, try to climb a high peak near you or go on strenuous weekend hikes that involve several hours of uphill and downhill walking.

A Typical Trekking Day with Wilderess Travel
Hiking distances on trek are normally measured in hours, not miles, since maps aren’t really accurate enough to assess how far we walk up and down winding mountain trails. An average day’s walk is seven or eight hours. With rest stops and photo stops, few people walk faster than one mile an hour in a mountainous region. Some hiking days are shorter than others, and some days are more difficult than others due to altitude gain and loss.

On a typical trek day, wake-up is around 7:00 am, when a cup of hot tea or coffee and a basin of warm washing water are brought to your tent by one of the camp crew. After packing up our duffels and having breakfast (often pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, or something similar), we set off on the trail while the crew strikes camp and the porters shoulder their loads. The crew passes us by midmorning to get ahead and prepare our lunch.

There is always a guide in the lead, usually the Trip Leader or the camp manager, who supervises the crew, and a “sweeper” who trails behind the slowest hiker to ensure that no one becomes lost on the trail. Most groups tend to spread out over the trail, taking photos, stopping to rest, and enjoying the scenery. We ask you not to hike ahead of the leader because trails are often not well-marked. If you feel breathless during a long ascent or wobbly during a long descent, by all means stop until you feel restored.

We typically walk for three or four hours in the morning, then stop for a leisurely lunch of an hour or more at a scenic spot on the trail. Lunch is a picnic, perhaps chicken salad, potato salad, guacamole salad, or macaroni salad, along with fruit, cheese, bread, and chocolate bars for extra energy. After lunch, we walk for another three hours or so until we reach our next night’s camp. The porters and crew pass us in mid-afternoon and usually have camp set up by the time we arrive. At camp, we have late afternoon tea (or coffee or cocoa) and a snack such as popcorn, cookies, or crackers, which hit the spot after a long day on the trail. Before dinner, there’s free time to read or relax. Temperatures drop quickly as the sun drops behind the peaks, and it’s easy to get chilled after exerting yourself for several hours, so have a few extra layers of clothing ready. It gets dark fairly early (around 6:30 pm). Dinner, served to us in a dining tent with table and chairs, is delicious hot soup followed by a substantial main course and a dessert. After dinner, we can chat away the evening in the dining tent or read by flashlight until bedtime.

Explanation of Trip Levels

Casa Andina Private Collection—Miraflores

Casa Andina Private Collection—Miraflores

Day 1 (1 night), Lima, Peru

The Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores has spacious rooms and an excellent location with easy access to the lively Miraflores district. From ...
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Hotel Club Andino

Hotel Club Andino

Days 2 to 4 (3 nights),
Day 16 (1 night), Huaraz, Peru

A 10-minute uphill walk from the main plaza, the Swiss-owned Hotel Club Andino is the best available in the remote mountain town of Huaraz. It ...
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Cordillera Blanca Trek Camps

Cordillera Blanca Trek Camps

Days 5 to 15 (11 nights), Cordillera Blanca, Peru

On the trail, you are accompanied by our experienced team of trail guides, and all your gear is carried for you (leaving you free to hike with ...
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Ramada Costa Del Sol Lima Airport

Ramada Costa Del Sol Lima Airport (Day Room)

Day 17, Lima, Peru,
Day 21, After Nevado Pisco Climbing Extension, Lima, Peru

Very conveniently located right across the Lima international airport, this hotel is just a two- minute walk across the street from the terminal, ...
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Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions option:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

Peru

Cusco and Machu Picchu Extension

Exploring the Realm of the Incas

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Walking
6 days  -  Level 2

Client Comments

We can depend on Wilderness Travel to offer exceptional trips and great attention to detail, and the quality of the Trip Leaders is unsurpassed. Jocelyn S., Arvada, CO
This was an amazingly beautiful trip. Deborah S., Buffalo, NY