The Cordillera Blanca extends its icy chain of summits for 140 to 160km north of Huaraz. The highest range in the tropical world, the Cordillera consists of around 35 peaks poking their snowy heads over the 6000m mark, and until early this century, when the glaciers began to recede, this white crest could be seen from the Pacific. The Callejón de Huaylas is the valley that sits between the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Negra mountain ranges. Under the western shadow of the Cordillera Blanca lie the northern valley Callejón towns, including Carhauz, Yungay and Caraz. Small and rustic, these towns generally boast attractive accommodation and busy little markets, and provide access to ten snow-free passes in the Cordillera Blanca; combining any two of these passes makes for a superb week’s trekking. Yungay and Caraz in particular are both popular bases for trekkers.

Of the many mountain lakes in the Cordillera Blanca, Lake Parón, above Caraz, is renowned as the most beautiful. Above Yungay, and against the sensational backdrop of Peru’s highest peak, Huascarán (6768m), are the equally magnificent Lagunas de Llanganuco, whose waters change colour according to the time of year and the sun’s daily movements, and are among the most accessible of the Cordillera Blanca’s three hundred or so glacial lakes.

The number of possible hikes into the Cordillera depends mostly on your own initiative and resourcefulness. There are several common routes, some of which are outlined below; anything more adventurous requires a local guide or a tour with one of the local operators. Maps of the area, published by the Instituto Geográfico Militar, are good enough to allow you to plot your own routes. The most popular hike is the Llanganuco-to-Santa Cruz Loop, which begins at Yungay and ends at Caraz.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Peru features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
20 seriously weird places around the world

20 seriously weird places around the world

The world is a weird (and wonderful) place. And from a rose-coloured lake to a Japanese island ruled by cats, we've got twenty pictures to prove it. 1. Spotted…

26 Jul 2017 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs