Exploring Islas Ballestas, relaxing in the Huacachina Oasis, and a visit to the oldest winery in South America complete this perfect weekend trip from Lima.
Hey, we’ve all been on a budget before, especially during long term travel. If you’re a backpacker trying to save a few bucks, this is definitely the post for you. Our Huaraz day trip this weekend to Wilcacocha lake only set us back one dollar for two people. Which means we got to spend the day checking out some amazing mountain scenery, and had money to spare to enjoy a nice dinner and some craft beers in the city afterwards. If you’re interested in doing the same, check out my guide below for a one dollar Huaraz day trip to Wilcacocha lake 🙂
Step 1: Breakfast
The first thing we did this Saturday to prepare for our Huaraz day trip was fuel up with a filling breakfast at Trivio. We slept in then walked to Trivio to enjoy a late meal for only $5 each. Fresh orange juice, coffee, eggs, bacon and pancakes sitting outside in the sun… yes please. After we we’re full, we set out on our trek to Wilcacocha lake (PS skip this step if you’re really super broke, and pack a meal to enjoy on the hike instead!)
Step 2: Transportation
Ok, the next step on your Huaraz day trip is to get on a collectivo to take you to the start of the trail. You can grab one of these vans at the corner of Raymondi and Hualcan streets, near the central market and easy walking distance from the Plaza de Armas. Stand on the corner and wave down any passing collectivo van marked for route 10 or route E. Squeeze in (it will probably be packed) and pay one sole (25 cents) each for the ride. Just make sure to tell the driver you want to get off at Wilcacocha and he’ll let you know when he stops at the trailhead. The ride out is about 15 to 20 minutes, and the marked trail were you get dropped off is clear… it’s actually just a dirt road to the top.
Step 3: The Climb
So, we climbed most of the way up on the dirt road, but there is a trail you can take for a faster hike. Walk along the road and you’ll (maybe?) see a trail lined with greenery on the right side of the road. We missed this one though. There is also a trail that winds up on the left side of the road. If you get to a school, you’ve gone too far, the trail should be on your left before it (we also missed this one though!) Finally, if you’re dumb like us and walk most of the way up the road, you’ll find a final trail on the right side after about an hour and a half or two hours. Don’t miss it! It’s fairly large and obvious and leads to the lake in about five minutes.
Step 4: The View
The lake is small and just… ok. The real draw to this climb is the mountain view. From the lake you can see the Cordillera Blanca range including eight or nine snowy mountain peaks, and the city of Huaraz laid out in the distance. It was absolutely stunning. We packed a lunch to enjoy at the top, and were promptly joined by plenty of stray dogs looking for (and getting) a bite of the action.
Step 5: The Descent
It is much easier to see the trail on the descent. Follow it about halfway down the mountainside, where it meets back up with the road. Return along the road to the main street, when you can cross and wave down one of the many collectivos heading back to Huaraz (we waited about one minute before one passed us). The collectivo back again costs one sole each, and will return to the city in about 20 minutes.
All in all, the Huaraz day trip to Wilcacocha lake takes about four to five hours from start to finish… and only costs a dollar! Its a great easy hike to acclimate to the high altitude before the Santa Cruz or Laguna 69 treks, and has a beautiful view from the top. Definitely worth adding to your bucket list in Peru!
All my love,
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