2023 Updated information on beautiful Lake Humantay. Found a few hours away from Cusco, it is definitely a destination on the bucket list for your trip to Peru.
Humantay Lake is one of the many hidden gems of Peru’s mountainous region. The emerald waters and the imposing glacier come together in perfect harmony for the truly incredible view you see. It is truly a hidden gem, as it is nestled between two different peaks and the only way to access it (safely) is from below. This means that there are no tempting glances from the water to prompt you, simply the mystery of what is to come.
Where is Humantay Lake Located?
Located between the snowy Salkantay and the Humantay Mountain, this magnificent mountain lake is 120 kilometers from Cusco, making it the perfect day trip to the mountains. The closest town to the Humantay lagoon is the town of Soraypampa, where you will have time to grab a bite to eat and take a quick break before starting the climb. Soraypampa is also where you will have lunch after coming down the hill.
How to get to Humantay Lake
Humantay Lake is most commonly accessed with the Salkantay Trek, a four-day trip to Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Trek is widely regarded as the best and most scenic alternative to the Inca Trail, which often runs out months in advance. You can find many different options and operators on the FindLocalTrips comparison website.
Today, this place is becoming very popular, and there are full day tours, so it is no longer necessary to do the Salkantay Trek.
If you want a faster option than the four-day trek, then there are one-day options available to visit Lake Humantay, departing from Cusco, you can check them out here. Although the trek is considered easy to moderate, it is extremely important to acclimatize properly before leaving to avoid any medical problems.
Getting to Humantay Lake Alone
If you are an independent traveler or if you simply don’t want to stick to other people’s schedules, then it is perfectly possible to make the trip alone, it just requires a little bit of foresight and planning. To do this you need to hire a taxi for the day, which should be arranged at least the day before.
This will normally cost you around 300 soles or even more, depending on how well you haggle and how good your Spanish is. If you decide to do this trip alone, please note that there is obviously no food included. You can buy snacks and water at the bottom of the mountain but it can be very expensive (1 liter of water will cost you between 8 and 12 soles).
Day Trips and Humantay Lake Tours
The day tours and walks to Lake Humantay start in Cusco, as always Lorenzo Expeditions gives you a high quality tour. Breakfast is enjoyed in a village along the way, before reaching the camp and the base of the trail. This is when the 1.5 to 2 hour hike to the lake begins.
The hike adds 350 meters to the existing altitude of 3850 meters, taking you to the amazing altitude of 4200 meters above sea level. Once you arrive, you will be able to enjoy the glory of your achievements at altitude, take some photos and even do some rowing (if you are brave enough to face the temperatures of the glacial pool) before going back down the slope and returning to Cusco for the sunset.
How is the hike to the Lake?
It is possible that those who want to rent a horse will take them along some of the mountain trails, however closer to the top they will find that the terrain is not suitable for a horse, so they will have to get off and walk. The hill is steep and the terrain can be uneven, so be careful. It’s a good idea to zig-zag your way up the mountain. This makes the walk longer, but the sleep is much more bearable and easier on the legs.
Things to do in Humantay Lake
Once you arrive at the lake you can leave an offering for Pachamama (the Inca Mother Earth), usually in the form of coca leaves. Alternatively, you can make a ‘Piedras milestone’, a small pile of rocks made as an offering to the mountain. You can walk around the edges if you have time, giving yourself 360° views of this incredible scene. It is worth noting that if you plan to make a trip you will not have time to walk around the outside of the lake, so if it is something you want to do, it is best to travel alone. You can do part of the way with the time of a tour, but not all the way, so plan ahead and take a private tour or go alone if that is what you would like to do.
If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can even take a dip in the water, but only if you are brave enough to face the temperatures of the icy pool. If you decide to go in, make sure you have a towel and a warm change of clothes waiting for you by the water, as the water temperature is very low and it is a short and uncomfortable journey to get home in wet socks.
It is also important to note that you should not, under any circumstances, drink the water from the lake. The water is released when the glacier above melts, and therefore there can be hundreds of different types of bacteria in the lake that your body is not used to. This means that the water is completely unsafe for drinking. If you touch it, make sure you wash your hands before you eat anything.
When is the best time to hike to Humantay Lake?
The best season to go is the dry season, from April to the end of September. In October the rains start and you can find Machu Picchu covered with clouds.
Read more about: Best time to visit Humantay Lake.
One last thing about Humantay Tour
Lake Humantay is a fantastic day trip or mini-tour for all travelers in Peru. Packed with natural beauty, Lake Humantay is an unforgettable place. But more than the destination, the trip there will also amaze you. Take this excursion to the Andes and surprise yourself every step of the way.
Humantay Lake Faqs
The lake is a runoff from the huge glacier you see above the water. The minerals inside the glacier are released into the water as it melts, giving the water its characteristic emerald color. Throughout Peru you can find mountain lakes of beautiful colors ranging from the bright greens of Lake Humantay to the incredible crystal blue. The tone of the colors can also depend on the time of year, temperature and climate.
No. It is prohibited, also you can not make fire, camp, let your trash, make nude photos, fly a drone and other bad things.
Yes, it will amaze you.
It is 3 hours in car and 1 hour of hike far from Cusco.
The lake is 4,200 meters above sea level – 13,779 ft.
First, you have to go to Cusco, from Cusco take a car to Mollepata (3 hours driving) from there you have to walk 1 hour or more.
I am founder and content creator of Lorenzo Expeditions, since 2006 I started with the Inca Jungle tour, guiding and serving thousands of tourists in a personal way to get to know Machu Picchu in a unique and authentic way.