Things to Know Before Heading to Humantay Lake Near Cusco, Peru

Humantay Lake, Perú
Humantay Lake, Perú. Photo by Javier Nuñez on Unsplash

Humantay Lake is a popular day hike in the region of Cusco, Peru. Many tour companies will collect you early in the morning from your hostel to drive you to this spectacular glacial lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Here are a few things you should know before signing up for a tour of Humantay Lake.

Prepare for a Wild Ride

To put it bluntly, the drive to Humantay Lake is terrifying. The single-track dirt road winds around the edge of mountains with a shear drop on one side. Be prepared for some seriously hair-raising moments when you round a corner into a herd of livestock, a jeep tries to overtake your minibus or a glacial stream blocks the way. If you’re not a fan of scary drives, this may not be the ideal trip for you!

Bring Warm Clothes

The hike to Humantay involves ascending to a height of 13,800 feet (4,200m). Even if it’s a warm day when you set off, it will be cold at the top! Dress in light, high-tech layers, and be sure to bring a warm coat, hat, and gloves.

Adjust to the Altitude

Don’t arrive in Cusco from Lima and head straight to Humantay Lake. This is one of the highest altitude spots on the classic tourist circuit in Peru and you need to acclimatize to the altitude before attempting the hike. Spend a few days in Cusco, drink the local coca tea, and take altitude sickness tablets if necessary.

Take a Camera

While it can be a long day with the early start, long drive, and two-hour hike, the views at Humantay Lake are truly spectacular. Bring your camera (make sure it’s charged!) and take some snaps of this stunning spot.