Pastoruri Glacier, Huascaran National Park, Peru

For our last tour in Huaraz, we decided to head to the famous Pastoruri Glacier, South of the Huascaran National Park. Of all the tours we have done in and around Huaraz, this was the highest elevation (5200m) and it seemed logical to go last, as we had time by then to be adapted to the altitude from the other hikes.

After the not-so-great bus experience we had heading to Laguna 69, our host arranged to make sure that we had a smaller van for transport and got good seats. We were back in a smaller van with the game guide that took us to Laguna Paron, and we left early in the morning for the big day.

This was another full day trip.

We did a few stops on the way, although the main attraction here was to get to the glacier for a short walk. We stopped for pictures, for a snack and to have a look at some of the thermal sources and the famous Puya raimondii (a very strange plant looking like a massive pineapple and has the tallest flower spike in the world).

When we finally arrived to the glacier parking lot, we were told we would have just about 1h30 to hike around to the glacier, take some photos, enjoy the views and head back. There is always the option of paying for a horse, if you ever feel that the altitude is too much. The walk itself really isn’t difficult and it is well paved, however the altitude can get to you (sure did for me!). At that altitude, I am quite slow, but quickly realized that I made pretty good time compared to the rest of our group.

After taking our classical photos, our guide saw that we were just there, enjoying the view. As she knew our small group would be up for it (we were 4 francophones hanging out together for the day), she told us about an alternative way to get back to the parking lot. Following her advice, we heading back towards the view point towards the parking, but instead of going left on the main path with the crowd, took a turn right. The path actually did a full loop, taking barely any more elevation gain before going back towards the parking lot and the restrooms. The view was great, took us just a bit more time that going back on the main path (mainly going down, so going at a good pace even with the altitude) and we were literally the only ones out there.

On our way back towards Huaraz, we stopped at a small restaurant to get some food. At that point the group was very tired, but it was a mandatory stop so that our driver and guide could rest a bit. Our guide was very informative (she talked a LOT) and we learned a lot about the area, and the struggles that the local face with conservation, energy and access to resources.

This was the last organized tour that we did, as we were heading back to Lima the next day with an overnight bus!


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