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Discovering Humantay Lake: Location, Trekking Routes, And Scenic Views

Explore the wonders of Humantay Lake, from its breathtaking geography and historical significance to its hiking routes and photography opportunities. Discover the best time to visit, accommodations, and sustainability efforts that make this destination truly special.

Overview of Humantay Lake

Humantay Lake is a magnificent natural wonder located in the Cusco region of Peru. It is a glacial lake that sits at an elevation of 4,200 meters above sea level, making it a popular destination for trekkers and nature enthusiasts. The lake’s crystal-clear waters reflect the snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains, creating a breathtaking sight that is sure to leave visitors in awe.

Location and Geography

Humantay Lake is situated in the Vilcabamba mountain range, a part of the larger Andes mountain range. It is located about 100 kilometers northwest of Cusco, near the town of Mollepata. The lake is surrounded by towering peaks and glaciers, including the mighty Salkantay Mountain, which stands at an impressive height of 6,271 meters.

The lake itself is a product of glacial meltwater, which accumulates in a natural basin created by the surrounding mountains. The water is so clear that visitors can see the bottom of the lake, which is covered in a layer of white sand.

History and Significance

Humantay Lake holds great significance for the indigenous people of the region, who consider it a sacred site. According to local legend, the lake is home to a powerful spirit known as the Apu Humantay, who is believed to protect the surrounding mountains and valleys.

In addition to its spiritual significance, Humantay Lake has also played an important role in the region’s history. During the Inca Empire, the lake was used as a source of water for irrigation and agriculture. Today, it continues to be an important source of water for the local communities that live in the surrounding valleys.

Visitors to Humantay Lake can experience the unique blend of natural beauty and cultural significance that makes it such a special destination. From the stunning scenery to the rich history and traditions of the local people, there is something for everyone to appreciate at this magical place.

How to Get to Humantay Lake

If you’re planning a trip to Humantay Lake, you’re in for a treat. This stunning glacial lake is a must-see destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. But before you can enjoy the breathtaking views, you need to know how to get there. In this section, we’ll cover the trekking routes and transportation options available to help you plan your journey.

Trekking Routes and Difficulty

One of the most popular ways to get to Humantay Lake is by trekking. There are different trekking routes available depending on your level of fitness and experience. The most common route is the 1-day trek, which starts in Mollepata and takes approximately 3-4 hours to reach the lake. This trek is suitable for beginners and doesn’t require any special equipment or prior experience.

For more experienced hikers, there’s a 2-day trek that begins in Soraypampa and includes an overnight stay in a campsite. This trek covers a longer distance and includes more challenging terrain, such as steep ascents and descents, so it’s recommended for those with a good level of fitness and experience.

No matter which trekking route you choose, it’s important to be prepared for the altitude. The lake sits at an altitude of 4,200 meters (13,776 feet), so it’s essential to acclimate yourself before starting the trek. Drink plenty of water and take your time to avoid altitude sickness.

Transportation Options

If trekking isn’t your thing, don’t worry. There are also transportation options available to get to Humantay Lake. The most common option is to take a shared minivan or private taxi from Cusco to Mollepata, which takes approximately 3-4 hours. From Mollepata, you can either continue the trek or take a horse ride to the base of the lake.

Another option is to take a tour that includes transportation and a guided trek to the lake. This option is great for those who want a hassle-free experience and don’t want to worry about planning and logistics.

If you’re looking for a more unique and adventurous way to get to the lake, you can also take a helicopter tour. This option provides stunning aerial views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers, as well as a landing near the lake for a closer look.

No matter which transportation option you choose, it’s important to book in advance and confirm the details with the provider. You don’t want to be stuck without a ride to the lake or miss out on the best tour options.

Best Time to Visit Humantay Lake

Humantay Lake is a breathtaking natural wonder located in the Peruvian Andes. Its beauty is unparalleled, making it a must-visit destination for travelers from all over the world. However, if you want to make the most of your visit, it’s important to plan your trip at the right time. In this section, we’ll discuss the best time to visit Humantay Lake, taking into account weather conditions, temperature, crowds, and tourist seasons.

Weather Conditions and Temperature

The weather at Humantay Lake is generally cool and dry, with an average temperature of around 12°C (54°F) during the day and dropping to around 2°C (36°F) at night. However, the weather can be unpredictable, and it’s not uncommon to experience rain, snow, or hail at any time of the year. The best months to visit Humantay Lake are from April to October when the weather is dry and sunny. During these months, you can expect clear blue skies, perfect for hiking and taking stunning photographs. It’s important to note that temperatures can drop significantly during the night, so make sure to bring warm clothing and a good quality sleeping bag if you plan to camp at the lake.

Crowds and Tourist Seasons

Humantay Lake is a popular tourist destination, and it can get crowded during peak season. The busiest months are from June to August, when schools are on summer break, and many tourists flock to Peru to explore its natural wonders. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, it’s best to avoid these months and plan your trip outside of peak season. The shoulder months of April, May, September, and October can be a good alternative, as the crowds are smaller, and the weather is still pleasant. If you’re planning to visit during peak season, it’s important to book your accommodation and transportation well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Things to Do at Humantay Lake

Humantay Lake is a nature lover’s paradise, offering a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. From hiking and trekking to photography and scenic views, there is something for everyone at this breathtaking . In this section, we will explore the top things to do at Humantay Lake, including hiking and trekking options, as well as photography and scenic views.

Hiking and Trekking Options

One of the main reasons people visit Humantay Lake is for the hiking and trekking options. There are several trails to choose from, ranging in difficulty from easy to challenging. Here are some of the best hiking and trekking options at Humantay Lake:

  • Humantay Lake Trek: This is a moderate hike that takes around 3-4 hours to complete. The trail is well-marked and offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
  • Salkantay Trek: This is a more challenging trek that takes around 5-7 days to complete. The trail is longer and more rugged, but offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Andes Mountains.
  • Horseback Riding: For those who prefer a more leisurely experience, horseback riding is a great option. You can rent a horse and explore the area at your own pace, taking in the stunning scenery as you go.
  • Camping: If you want to spend more time at Humantay Lake, camping is a great option. There are several campsites in the area, offering a unique experience to sleep under the stars and wake up to the beautiful mountain views.

Photography and Scenic Views

Humantay Lake is one of the most picturesque locations in Peru, offering endless opportunities for photography and scenic views. Here are some of the best places to capture the beauty of Humantay Lake:

  • Mirador de Humantay: This is the best viewpoint for capturing the panoramic views of Humantay Lake. It’s a short hike from the lake and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Laguna Humantay: The lake itself is a photographer’s dream, with crystal clear waters reflecting the surrounding mountains. You can capture stunning photos from the shore or rent a kayak and get out on the water for a unique perspective.
  • Apu Salkantay: This is the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range and offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Andes Mountains. You can hike to the summit for stunning panoramic views or capture photos from the base of the mountain.

Accommodations and Facilities at Humantay Lake

If you’re planning a trip to Humantay Lake, you’ll want to ensure that you have comfortable accommodations and access to all of the necessary facilities. While the lake is located in a remote area, there are still plenty of options available for tourists.

Lodging Options and Availability

One of the most popular lodging options near Humantay Lake is camping. There are several campsites located in the area, each offering a unique experience. For example, some campsites are located right on the shores of the lake, providing stunning views and a peaceful atmosphere. Other campsites are located in the nearby mountains, offering more seclusion and a chance to experience the natural beauty of the area.

If you prefer more traditional accommodations, there are a few hotels and lodges located within a few hours’ drive of the lake. These options offer more amenities than camping, such as hot showers and comfortable beds. However, they are also more expensive and may not offer the same level of immersion in nature.

It’s important to note that lodging options near Humantay Lake can be limited, especially during peak tourist season. Be sure to book your accommodations well in advance to ensure availability.

Food and Beverage Services

While there are no restaurants or cafes located directly at Humantay Lake, there are still plenty of options for food and drink. Many of the campsites offer meals as part of their packages, typically consisting of simple but hearty fare such as soups and stews. If you’re camping on your own, you’ll need to bring your own food and cooking supplies.

In addition, there are several small towns located within driving distance of the lake that offer additional food options. These towns typically have small restaurants and cafes serving traditional Peruvian cuisine, such as ceviche and lomo saltado.

Finally, it’s important to remember that the altitude at Humantay Lake can affect your appetite and digestion. Be sure to drink plenty of water and eat small, frequent meals to avoid altitude sickness.

Conservation and Sustainability Efforts at Humantay Lake

Humantay Lake is a natural wonder that attracts thousands of visitors every year. The lake is not only a beautiful sight to behold but also an essential source of water for the surrounding communities. As such, it is crucial to ensure that the lake remains protected and sustainable for future generations. In this section, we will discuss the conservation and sustainability efforts that are in place at Humantay Lake.

Environmental Protection Measures

The Peruvian government, in collaboration with local communities and conservation organizations, has put in place several measures to protect the environment around Humantay Lake. One of the most significant measures is the establishment of the Humantay National Reserve. The reserve covers an area of approximately 5,000 hectares and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.

To ensure the protection of the lake and its surroundings, visitors are required to adhere to strict environmental regulations. These regulations include not leaving any trash behind, avoiding the use of single-use plastics, and staying on designated trails. The use of motorized vehicles is also prohibited in the reserve to reduce air and noise pollution.

Community Involvement and Empowerment

Conservation and sustainability efforts at Humantay Lake are not just restricted to environmental protection measures. The local communities surrounding the lake are also actively involved in these efforts. The government has implemented several programs aimed at empowering the communities and promoting sustainable tourism.

One such program is the establishment of community-based tourism initiatives. These initiatives allow visitors to experience the local culture while contributing to the economic development of the communities. The communities are also involved in the management of the reserve, including monitoring the flora and fauna and maintaining the trails.

Additionally, the government has implemented programs aimed at educating the local communities on the importance of environmental conservation. These programs include workshops and training sessions on sustainable farming practices and waste management.


In conclusion, Humantay Lake is a natural wonder that requires proper conservation and sustainability efforts to ensure its protection for future generations. The establishment of the Humantay National Reserve and the implementation of environmental regulations are crucial steps in this direction. The involvement of local communities in these efforts through community-based tourism and education programs is also a significant step towards sustainable tourism. As visitors to Humantay Lake, it is our responsibility to follow these regulations and contribute to the conservation and sustainability efforts.

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