- This article is an itinerary.
The Santa Cruz Trek is in Peru.
The Santa Cruz trek is a popular three-to-four-day hike that goes through the Huascarán National Park in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, which is located near the town of Huaraz. The best time to do the trek is during the dry season, from May to September.
The 50 km (31 mi) trail follows glacial creeks up to the 4,750 m (15,580 ft) high point at Punta Union pass. From the pass, there are good views down the valleys, of Taulliraju – towering over the pass, and of Huascarán – the tallest mountain in Peru and anywhere in the Tropics.
The trail is reasonably well marked, with signs at major intersections; however, be sure to bring a GPS device (with offline maps) and consider a backup paper map. OpenStreetMap has good coverage of the area. Openandromaps has an excellent offline free vector map that covers all of Peru, with detailed topographic information. An Alpenverein map can be purchased in Huaraz for S/80 or a copy with just the trek for S/20.
The hike may be done in two directions: from Vaqueria to Cashapampa, or from Cashapampa to Vaqueria. However, from the logistical perspective, it may be better to go from Vaqueria to Cashapampa, as it is easier to arrange public transportation back to Huaraz. Some hikers may find it physically easier to start in Vaqueria at 3,700 m (12,100 ft) as opposed to starting at 2,900 m (9,500 ft) from Cashapampa; however, the grade from Cashapampa to the pass is less steep.
There are many tour companies operating out of Huaraz that provide packages from $US150-300. Generally, the more expensive tours include more services (such as hot water / personal baggage allowance on donkeys) and better equipment. At a minimum, all meals, transport, and tents should be provided; the park entry fee is usually not included.
- All-inclusive trip with one of the travel agencies in Huaraz.
- Find an agency that has free space in their bus. If the company already has a group, but some free space is available, it is possible to go for S/30. Otherwise, they will offer you the price for private transportation (approx. S/200 per car).
- Take a colectivo to Yungay, leaving Huaraz at around 05:30. From the Yungay station, take another colectivo to Yanama, leaving at 07:00 and get off at Vaqueria. Total price S/31 (2019).
- Take a colectivo to Caraz then catch another colectivo to Cashapampa. Total price S/17 (2019).