From the Peruvian Switzerland to the Peruvian Matterhorn

We explore the mountainous areas of the white shimmering Cordillera Blanca and of the Colca region near Arequipa. After a walking-tour on the famous Lagunas Llanganuco and a crossing of the Cordillera Blanca towards the prehistoric ruin site of Chavin de Huantar, amongst the most important ones in Peru, we drive and fly from Huaraz directly to Arequipa. There we begin our walking-tour by wandering through one of the deepest canyons of the world, the enormous Colca Canyon, before we start then with the Matterhorn of the Andes, the harmoniously proportioned and snow-capped top of the Hualca Hualca.

Highlights

  • Cordilliera Blanca
  • Huaraz
  • Chavin de Huantar
  • Lagunas llanganuco
  • Arequipa
  • Colca Canyon
  • Hualca Hualca

Dates and prices

  • Travel time:   days
  • Price: -- Dollar
  • Price: -- Dollar

Our services

  • Transfer from the airport
  • Journeys through the country with busses and taxis
  • Accommodation in simple hotels or tents
  • Mountain tours inclusive organization, tour guide and leased equipment
  • Entrance fee national park
  • Travel guide on location
  • Guided mountain tours
  • Food during the guided tours
  • Mountain guide for the high mountains

Not included services

  • Travel accident and sickness insurance
  • Luggage and cancellation insurance
  • Not advertised meals and drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Expenditure of personal needs

Number of participants

  • Minimum: 2
  • High: 10Route detail

Tour overview

1 Day of travel: Arrival in Lima

The airport of arrival and departure is Lima, with meanwhile 11 million inhabitants one of the biggest cities in South America. After picking up at the airport, we move into the hotel firstly and thereafter it is advised to take a rest, but who wants to can look around in the city yet. A dinner in a simple restaurant of Lima, characteristic for the country, defines the end of the day.

2 Day of travel: Travel to Huaraz

Today a bus tour is scheduled, designed with a lot of fascinating turns and many interesting views. We ride along the coast towards the North, whereby we do not only see the ocean, but also impressive landscapes of sand dunes near the Peruvian coast region. Later we proceed through the Cordillera Negra and noticeably cross the 4.000 m border for the first time. Here opens up a view onto the ice covered mountain range of the Cordillera Blanca now, surely one of the world’s most impressive mountain landscapes and a real showpiece here. Depending on the weather we will be probably able to sight the tops of the Cordillera Huayhuash, among them also some of the most interesting forms of mountains in Peru. In Huaraz we move at once in our hotel and look around in the city in the evening.

3 Day of travel: Lagunas Llanganuco

The Lagunas Llanganuco belong to the most spectacular mountain seas in the Cordillera Blanca. They are flanked by impressive canyons. Even the famed ice summits Huascaran and Huandoy can be seen here. After an extensive photo session we wander downward now, back in the direction of Yungay. So we are able to distinguish us from the numerous tourist groups, visiting here usually. To go further up would be a little to early on this day three of the travel. We move through magnificent landscape of the Andes, rich of vegetation, with gigantic mountainous forms in the background.

Walking duration: 1,5 - 2 hours

4 Day of travel: Olleros-Chavin

At 8 o’clock our trekking guide will meet us in our hotel in Huaraz. After a journey time of 45 minutes we arrive on 3.450 m of height in the town Canrey Chico. There wait already the Llamas for us. The trekking team handles our luggage and already we are clear to start. Today we wander on a route which tour guide Jörg Krösel has found out years ago, to find a nicer view onto the mountains whilst wandering. At midday we make picnic in a small farm, which is inhabited only for a short time in the year. Usually the locals here are sheep shepherds, which move around with the climate and the available grazing land. After further 2 hours we arrive at our camping at circa 15.30 o’clock. Our Llama guide will have finished building up our tents by then and await us with a warm drink. Sacracancha (4.100 m) is the town’s name. Only a few ladies and a family live here. It is a custom in the region of Huaraz, to send young women, which could not be married, onto the high plateau. Here they shepherd the sheep and wait for a beautiful day, that a young man from the lower lying town comes along to marry them. In the evening we will be rewarded with a wonderfully clear starlit sky.

Walking duration: 5 hours

5 Day of travel: Yanashallaspass

Already after a short way we approach our first highlight. After a short leap over a small stream and a small hill we enter a real old Inca path. The path is in fact much older than the Inca, but it is believed, that the Inca have extended him to the current size. About lunchtime a view onto the mountains and a glacier opens up. After noontime we have to climb yet for one and a half hours, before we arrive at the 4.750 m high Yanashallas Pass. Please bring Coca leafs as a small donation for the altar there along. It is custom in Peru, to bring a donation to the so called Apachetas or sanctuaries, lying on the road. This protects the wanderer. From now on we have yet two hours to go downhill before we arrive in our Shongo Camp. Pay attention to the towering stone near your camping. Also this is a small sanctuary.

Walking duration: 6-7 hours

6 Day of travel: Chavin de Huantar

From today on it will become warmer. We wander a short way through the high plateau and thereafter only downhill. Ever more humans walk the other direction on the path. The vegetation grows always richer and soon we see the first fields with farmers in their traditional costumes. In the town of Chichucancha there is the possibility to visit the elementary school. Tourists are there always heartily welcome and small presents like pens, footballs and bonbons will be greeted. But real soon, at the so called "Coca Colca Stop", we are again within the civilization. In a small bakery at the wayside we can buy the popular drinks. At lunch time we arrive at the last climb-down for today. We are going to dismiss our Llama herders (take care of a small tip) and attend the cultural site Chavin den Huantar after lunch. Subsequently we drive in a group back to Huaraz.

Walking duration: 5 hours

7 Day of travel: Travel and flight to Arequipa

Today we spend most of the day in the bus, because we sadly have to get back to Lima. Here we cross again the Cordillera Negra and once again look back to the big mountains of the Cordillera Blanca. The Huascaran self can be seen plainly from the pass naturally. In the afternoon we arrive in the capital, from where we journey on to Arequipa immediately. This time per plane, offering us gigantic views over the high Andes and the jungle.

8 Day of travel: Walking-tour from Chivay

It is time now for the Colca Canyon between Chivay and Cabanaconde, the deepest canyon of the world. Therefore we charter in Arequipa the bus to Cabanaconde, the canyon’s end point, an original village amidst grand and astonishingly green mountainous landscape. Hardly a tourist stays overnight here, but we will lunch and accommodate over night. In the afternoon we plan to have already a closer look at the canyon. From the canyon rim we are able to climb some meters into the gorge, to gain impressive keen insights. Additionally there is a small hill above the village, allowing broad views over the surrounding farmlands and the large mountains of the nearer environment in case of good weather. For supper we are back in Cabanaconde, where there are some simple restaurants.

Walking duration 2 hours

9 Day of travel: Condor watching

Today we start very early into the day, because we want to reach Mirador Cruz del Condor as soon as possible. In addition to the amazing forms of landscape we can watch here Condors circling, but we must be early in place to do so. By the time we have seen enough, we might load the equipment onto the waiting horses, to leave the village Pinchollo. Then we wander through deep green grazing lands. As already mentioned the entire Colcatal is very fertile, correspondingly strong is here the agriculture. Here grow mainly potatoes and grain, but also vegetables. The farmers come into the bus directly from the harvest, carry the fruits of their work in sacks and offer them for little money. We wander past the geysers to our camp "Augen des Teufels" (Eyes of the Devil). Here it is smoking and growling from the ground. A warm well at the foot of our camp with a beautiful view at the Colca Canyon rewards us. Here we arrive in the afternoon. This day’s journey was comparably easy, for our acclimatization.

Walking duration: 5 hours

10 Day of travel: Climbing to the base camp

At 4 o’clock we will stand up and have breakfast. With our Arriero we move to the high mountain camp on circa 5.400 meters of height. The last 500 m we must carry our equipment self, because the pack animals can not climb into this height. Here we will set up our camp. Today we have no cooking tent and must prepare our meals with some small camping stoves alone.

Walking duration: 7 hours

11 Day of travel: "Büssereis" and climbing to the top of the Peruvian Matterhorn

Already at 4 o’clock in the morning we start off. We must cross the plains, to move with the aid of the ice picks through hard frozen snow into the plains in front of the main summit. Here we are rewarded by a wonderful sunrise with a view on the Büssereis. The vertical placed plates are partially one meter high. We will advance only slowly because we must move carefully, to evade injury of the legs. We arrive at the main summit and the Peruvian Matterhorn towers in front of us. We climb over the route ‘Ivan’ or the route ‘Inca’. The route Inca is comparably simple and categorized as class 4. Route Ivan is a good class 5 to 6. After further 2 to 3 hours we will have reached the top. We will climb downhill, abandon our high mountain camp and set it up again circa 800 m lower. Dependant on the group’s condition we arrive in the early or late afternoon in our camp. Walking duration:

6-8 hours

12 Day of travel: Return to Arequipa

After the efforts of yesterday, the further descent from the base camp to Pinchollo is not so much a challenge. Fast and without to much trouble we reach the picturesque village. Here awaits us our car for the return voyage to Arequipa. This journey is everything else than boring, because we travel through a deep green high plateau, flanked from countless very interesting shapes of mountains. We can see renowned tour destinations as the Chachani, more than 6000 m high, or the even higher Ampato. Because we have our own car, there is enough time for photo stops, for instance for photos from one of the countless herds of Llamas. At the end we invite all to a buffet in Arequipa and celebrate our final tour day with a good meal and some Cervezas (beer).

13 Day of travel: Return flight

Additional information