As I explained in my previous post, we took our first day in Huaraz to shop around the prices for the daily mountain excursions. We found a company that was charging us 50 soles per day for each of Laguna Paron, Laguna 69 and the Glacier Pasturori Excursion. When we got back to our hostel, we talked with our host and we dealt with him about the same price for the tours, which he booked for us directly with his contact agency. This guaranteed us some sort of accountability and we knew they trusted this company as well.
Our first day trip was to head to Laguna Paron, in the Cordillera Blanca. The idea was that we chose the order of the excursions based on the altitude. As we were coming back from Cusco and had already hiked up to Rainbow Mountain, we knew we would be fine with the altitude. However, the overnight bus made us tired as well, so we wanted to go gradually. That morning, we were picked up around 730am and we drove for about 3hrs. It was nice to be in a smaller mini-van with our tour guide. She spoke mainly just Spanish, and talked – A LOT. We did a very short stop on the way to get some ice cream and snacks in a small town, before starting our uphill ride towards the Huascaran National Park entrance. From there, our driver started going on this very rugged dirt and rock road zigzagging up the valley.
The drive up is gorgeous though, and as you get higher in the valley, you will get closer and closer to the peaks and waterfalls that surround the area. You can also see on the sides of the road a hiking path that is available for hikers from the main park entrance all the way to the Laguna, if you ever feel like hiking up the last 1000m before the lake.
Laguna Paron is the largest lake in the Cordillera Blanca, and offers an incredible view of Piramide Peak in the background. Once you arrive, you can do a quick bathroom break and choose between 2 hiking options:
Our tour guide told us that if you have vertigo or are afraid of height, you might not want to take on the hike to the mirador. Personally, I didn’t find the hike very challenging nor very exposed, as the path is always large enough to find good footing and you are never really at risk of falling off (!). There is a short section where you will need to walk on boulders, though. This is actually a really typical hiking trail for me, as it resembles a lot what we can find in BC. So… I would suggest you give it a try!
We had just about 2h30 in total at the Laguna before we had to meet back to the mini-van and head back down towards town. Our driver dropped us off in front of our hostel, as we were a bit out of town. However, the rest of the group was dropped back off at the Plaza de Armas, where everyone had to walk back individually to their hostel.
This was a perfect day for us to get our energy back up and acclimatize again before taking on the Laguna 69 the next morning. Stay tuned for the details of our trip!