Humantay Lake in Cusco

Humantay Lake: How To Get There

At the top of the Vilcabamba mountain range, in the Peruvian Andes, Cusco, is where Humantay Lake is located. Visitors can explore the beautiful areas surrounding the turquoise waters of the Humantay Lake. Hidden from view, making the trip to experience this mystical gem is truly a trip worth taking.

Humantay Lake
Laguna Humantay in Cusco, Peru

About the Humantay Lake

Peru is a country full of history and beauty. With places like Machu Picchu, Lima and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru has many gems. One of them is found on the Salkantay Trek, located between the two majestic Salkantay and Humantay mountains. The Humantay Lake (pronounced Uman-Tie) lies hidden from view almost until you reach the water’s edge.

Formed by the thawing of Mount Humantay, the lagoon presents a unique landscape to the district of Mollepata (Anta). Surrounded by snowy peaks, the water has a special turquoise color that is disconcerting. The lagoon has been visited by shamans and tourists from all over the world. They often leave offerings to the Pachamama, a deity that represents mother earth in the Inca culture. You can see the numerous offerings made through the placement of stone mounds that have been left around the lagoon.

How to get to Humantay Lake?

After arriving in Cusco, Peru, it is not very difficult to reach the Laguna Humantay. There are several tour operators that offer trips to and from the mysterious lake. The fastest and easiest way is by vehicle and you can book a tour. If you want more time on the lake and have some hiking experience, then a self-guided tour is an option. However, if you are not experienced and not familiar with the area, then a guided tour is best, you can do it in a private tour.

Tours to Humantay Lake

How is the hike to the Humantay lake?

The hike to the lake is of moderate difficulty but worth the effort, so make sure you are well acclimated before trying! The tours offered also include breakfast and lunch, but if you need to bring snacks, you can do so. Make sure you don’t get hungry or have headaches during the hike. You may also want to bring pills to deal with the possibility of altitude sickness, due to being at such a high altitude.

Trek to Humantay Lake

Almost all tours has a bilingual tour guides and transportation to and from your hotel or lodge, these tours offer first class travel and services.

Trek Overview

Along the way, you will pass through the villages of Mollepata and Soraypampa before arriving at Lake Humantay. In Mollepata, you will stop in the morning for breakfast. Afterwards, you will have time to pick up any additional supplies you may need for your trip. When you arrive in Soraypampa, that is where you will stop driving, and begin your one and a half hour hike to the Humantay Lake (Laguna Humantay). If the hike is going to be very difficult for you, you can plan ahead. For an additional cost, you can rent a horse to go most of the way to the lake instead of having to walk.

Caminata hacia Laguna Humantay

Exploring Laguna Humantay

Only after reaching more than 4,000 meters you can fix your eyes on the beauty of Lake Humantay. Surrounded by the snowy peaks of the mountains, the water is as crisp as air, as it lies between the glaciers.

What to do in Laguna Humantay?

When you take one of the guided tours of Humantay Lake, you will find that there are some activities that are quite common. After you reach the top, you will have a guided tour of the lake. Once completed, you will be able to enjoy some free time to take pictures and explore. Around noon, you will prepare to go down to Soraypampa, which will take about an hour and a half.

Some of the common activities on the guided tours include photography, hiking and exploration. For visitors who are brave enough to face the cold waters, some even swim in the lake. However, this is usually done in a warmer climate and while the sun shines. Visitors who stay longer than assigned on the guided tours can even find themselves doing activities such as standing paddle-boarding, but you have to bring your own board!

Best Time to go to Laguna Humantay

The best time to visit Peru generally depends on the regions of the country to which you plan to travel. Laguna Humantay is located in the mountainous region of Peru, so it is normally subject to two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season in the Peruvian highlands lasts from December to March, while the dry season lasts from April to November. To avoid unpleasant weather and muddy trails, it is usually recommended to travel to Cusco during the dry months if possible, and of course Laguna Humantay is recommended to visit in dry seasons.

What to bring to Laguna Humantay?

When undertaking an expedition of this caliber, it is prudent to ensure that you are properly prepared. Here are some noteworthy tips to help make your trip as enjoyable as possible

Bring water

Every time you do a prolonged or strenuous activity outdoors it is essential to stay hydrated. Carrying water and staying hydrated will help prevent headaches and other dehydration complaints.

Wear sunscreen and bring layers

Being at such extreme altitudes increases the risks of UV intensity, so you burn much faster. It is vitally important to protect your skin from the intense UV rays. The temperature is also much cooler at such a high elevation and can reach 0 degrees sometimes at night. Having the right layers and clothing for the elements is just as important. Be sure to check the local climate so you can plan accordingly.

Bring cash

There will be places where you will stop to get food or supplies. Some entrance fees and tips are not included in the cost of most tours. It is wise to have a little extra money for extra items or costs along the way.

Bring toilet paper

It is worth mentioning because sometimes it can be the furthest thing from your mind. When you need to use a bathroom, the only ones available are at the beginning of the walk. Usually, you won’t find any toilet paper there, so if you think you will need it, you should bring it.

Bring a snack

The walk is not extremely difficult but will make you work for your eyesight. It’s a workout and can take some of your energy away. Bring a snack to keep your energy levels up and to avoid hunger headaches.

Rent a taxi and go on your own to Humantay Lake

If you don’t want to go with a group, you can also rent a taxi and go on your own.
To go with an agency is to adapt to the rhythm of the other passengers and the group, but if you go on your own you can take your time and schedule.

Group tours depart around 4 AM. This is not the nicest way to start the day. The walk is a bit challenging, so you definitely want to be well rested. With a taxi, you can get some sleep and start at a more reasonable time. The 3 hour ride will also be much more comfortable in a private taxi than in a bus.

You can also skip the crowds. All tours leave Cusco at the same time (very early in the morning) so everyone arrives at the lake at the same time. You can leave a little later and have the lake to yourself only when they leave!

You’ll be able to rent a taxi for a day for about 300 soles, this like $90 USD. They will take you to Humantay Lake, wait for you while you hike, and then take you back to Cusco when you are done.

Entrance fee is 10 soles (like $3 USD) per person to the national park where the trek begins.

If you will go with 2 or more people rent a taxi will be less than take a tour.

This is a 3 hour drive from Cusco to Lake Humantay. The hike takes lasts approximately 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on your level. Groups start leaving the lake around noon. At 12:30, I had the lake to myself.

If you leave Cusco around 7 AM, you will probably get to the lake while there are still people there (which is good, I always like to have other people on the road just in case) but you will definitely have a lot of time alone on the lake as well.

We have some contacts for Taxis and Agencies, they are good companies.


Can you swim in the lake?

No, entering the water is forbidden, as well as swimming, taking naked photos, throwing garbage, making bonfire, to pee and others.

How far is humantay lake from cusco?

Its like 3 hours driving, by road are 128 kilometers (~ 80 miles).

How high is the lake?

Humantay lake sits at 13,779 ft (4,200 meters) above sea level

How to get to humantay lake from aguas calientes?

First you have to back to Ollantaytambo, then take the route to Huarcando and follow the route to Limatambo and then to Mollepata.

Where is located Humantay Lake?

Is in Cusco, near to Salcantay Mountain, in Mollepata district, close to camp side of salkantay trek called Soraypampa.

What to wear to hike to the lake?

Walking shoes, rain jacket and pants, sun glasses and a hat.

Ways to go to the Lake?

There are 2 options, go by travel agency or by your own. If you dont know the route, we recommend you to go with travel agency.

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