Carmen Tours

Humantay Lake Cusco: The Complete Guide 2023

The Humantay Lake is the most beautiful lake in Cusco, and without a doubt it surprises us more every day, it is a turquoise lake and it is in the middle of the Andes Mountains.

The Humantay Lake is formed as a product of the melting of the snow of Humantay, part of the Salkantay mountain.

This is the most beautiful lake in Cusco, and without a doubt it surprises us more every day, it is a turquoise lake and it is in the middle of the Andes Mountains.

The Humantay Lake is formed by the melting of the Humantay mountain, this mountain is part of the famous Salkantay mountain.

What differentiates the Humantay Lagoon from other lagoons is the natural color it has because it does not have much marine flora in its waters, it has an indescribable color in words, but understandable to the eye.

It forms a unique landscape, where travelers seek to capture the ideal moment with their cameras capturing a wonderful and magical landscape at the same time.

All this and more makes Humantay a very visited place by all tourists visiting Cusco.

Laguna Humantay
Laguna Humantay

Where is located Humantay Lake?

Humantay Lake is located 2 hours walk from the community of Soraypampa, in the district of Mollepata, province of Anta, department of Cusco, about 2 hours drive from the city of Cusco. It is located 124 km northwest of Cusco, in the district of Mollepata, province of Anta.

How to get to the Humantay Lake?

To get to this natural wonder you will have to take a car from Cusco to Mollepata, at the bus terminal of Arcopata for about 2 hours.

After breakfast you have to hire the services of a cab driver to take you to Soraypampa, the cab will charge you an approximate rate of S/20.00 and if by chance there are more people who want to go it will be less.

Then you will have to pay the entrance fee to Humantay Lake (S/ 10.00).

After arriving to Soraypampa you will have to walk for at least 2 hours to get to the lake (if you don’t want to walk you can rent a horse), the first 30 minutes of walking are half flat and the rest is uphill.

You have to keep in mind that you will probably not find mobility to return, so I recommend that you make an agreement with the cab driver to wait for you or come to pick you up, there you will enter your skills to negotiate prices.

If you can’t find mobility, there are accommodations ranging from 20 to 40 soles, there are also camping areas (take your tent with you) where you can stay. If you plan to camp, make sure you are well wrapped up, as it gets very cold at night.

The Humantay Lake tour

Book the Laguna Humantay tour with us, a 100% responsible and legal local agency.

Book our tour: Humantay Lake Tour.

Difficulty of the hike

The hike is not as difficult as the 7-color mountain, it lasts about 1 hour, it depends on the physical condition of the tourist, it is not dangerous and demands a moderate physical effort.

The popularity of this place

The Humantay Lagoon is a relatively small lagoon, but what makes this body of water popular is that, on a good day, visitors can enjoy its incredible turquoise color. This lagoon is 100% glacial in origin.

Why are the waters of Humantay turquoise?

One of the reasons for the turquoise coloration, not only of the Humantay Lagoon, but of the entire world, is the presence of mineral particles dragged by the melting ice coming down from the snow-capped mountains. When these small mineral meals reach the waters of the lake, they never sink to the bottom. In addition, the presence of microalgae (Microcystis aeruginosa and Oscillatoria) and the reflection of sunlight give the lagoon its turquoise color.

Is it worth taking the tour to the Humantay Lake?

The photos of the Humantay Lagoon speak for themselves and the answer is yes, it is worth a visit. If possible, go up to the lookout point to the left of the lagoon, walk up there and you won’t regret it, as it is the perfect angle for the best photos, and the view of the whole valley below is also incredible.

Basic services on the way to Laguna Humantay

There are restrooms at the beginning of the trail to the lagoon and further on, after a 30-minute walk, we can find the last restrooms available. It is important to know that you pay 1 sol to use these restrooms. As you get closer to the Humantay Lagoon, you will not find more bathrooms or toilets (SSHH), so be sure to use them at the beginning.

Salkantay Mountain

As you approach the Soraypampa campsite along a dirt road, you will get your first glimpse of the 6,273-meter-high Salkantay Mountain. Seen from this route, Salkantay is behind the 5,334-meter-high Humantay Mountain and, weather permitting, both mountains offer a breathtaking view of the Vilcabamba range.

Horsemen on the route

Near the Soraypampa camp, there is a small group of horses, housed in wire mesh and wooden fences, fed and used to work on the road, carrying visitors to Humantay on their backs.

These animals are used for their strength and endurance at heights. Horses are also the exclusive beasts of burden for the Salkantay to Machu Picchu trek. When you arrive at the Soraypampa camp, you will surely find mules carried by the muleteers. Well, these mules return after three days of work. On their necks hang bells that ring to the rhythm of the trot. The others will wait their turn to work for the same amount of time carrying supplies, tent material, etc. for the trekkers of Machu Picchu.

The History of Humantay Lake

Let’s remember the history of what happened when the classic Inca Trail began to fill up with tourists. Knowing that the number of people entering the Inca Trail had exceeded the limit, it was necessary to find a way to access Machu Picchu on foot. To this end, in the first decade of the 21st century, a team led by two experienced mountain guides ventured across the Salkantay pass and the valleys behind it to map out a trail. Thus, the Salkantay Trail became the alternative route to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Later, on the way to Machu Picchu, visitors learned from locals about the existence of the Humantay Lake. They pointed out that there was a lake behind the “moraines” and that it was close to the Salkantay base camp. As a result, like the 7-color mountain, visitors posted numerous photos on social networks and it ended up becoming an important tourist destination in the region.

How was Hamantay Lake formed?

When the glaciers began their final retreat less than 20,000 years ago, the ice masses etched and scraped the terrain as they slowly advanced, leaving “moraines”. Meltwater from the Mount Humantay glacier filled and continues to fill the depression between the lateral and terminal moraines, hence the origin of Humantay, named after the aforementioned mountain.

Hazards along the route to Humantay tour

There may be loose rocks and boulders protruding from the ground that can trip you, so be careful. The trail can also be slippery in places.

The other thing is to stay away from mules to avoid a painful mule kick, you never know when these things can happen.

Landslides or large avalanches almost never happen. In fact, there are avalanches, but they are not enough to cross the valley, they are only on a smaller scale that barely reach the point where the glaciers and snow-capped mountains begin.

Mobile phone signal in the route

There are no cell phone towers nearby, so there is no signal available for a wireless Internet connection. You may want to use your devices or perform any operation that requires an Internet connection, but there is no way to operate. If it is an emergency situation, you can rent a USB wifi signal for a few minutes from the base camp tent. This is for emergencies only. In general, you won’t need it and when you return you will already have internet connection.

What to bring to the Humantay Lake hike?

The Laguna Humantay trek is like any other high altitude trek, so it is essential to be well prepared. The hike starts very early in the morning, so remember to pack the following items:

  • Light jacket. – In the morning it will be cold and in case of rain you can take a rain jacket.
  • A pair of gloves. – Don’t let the morning chill muddy your fingers.
  • A hood and sunglasses. – To protect you from the morning cold and the sun’s rays during the day.
  • A good pair of hiking shoes. – Although you can get to the lagoon in running shoes, it is best to wear sturdy hiking shoes with good grip.
  • Rain poncho. – If you know you are going during the rainy season, you should bring a rain poncho.
  • Trekking poles. – If trekking poles are more your style, consider carrying them with you. It will also help you balance your body and less weight will fall on your knees.
  • A water bottle. – Staying hydrated frequently while hiking helps combat oxygen deprivation, which is very important.
  • Sun protection. – Because ultraviolet rays in the mountains are intense.
  • Take extra energy boosters with you.
  • Camera. – Charge extra batteries, as cameras can easily run out of power.
  • Cash. – Sometimes it is necessary to rent a mule, so you will need cash to pay for or buy snacks. You will also need cash to use the restrooms.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to go to the Humantay Lake from Cusco?

You have 2 options, the first is to take a bus from Cusco to Mollepata, then a cab and walk to the lagoon, the second option and the recommended one is to hire a tour.

What is the Humantay Lagoon?

It is a turquoise lagoon located in Cusco.

How many hours is it from Cusco to the Humantay Lake?

By car it is about 2 hours, then you will have to walk for about 1 hour.

How long is the walk to the Humantay Lake?

The hike takes about 1 hour, depending on your pace may vary.

How much does it cost to go to Humantay Lake?

Tours to Humantay are on average 100 soles (30 USD) or more or less, depending on the type of service and the travel agency.

How hight is the Humantay Lake?

This lagoon is located at 4,200 meters above sea level.

Did you have any doubts or questions about this destination?

Do not hesitate to contact us, in Carmen Tours we will be happy to help you and guide you in everything you need to know this place without complications.

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