The Humantay Lagoon in Cusco: prices, route and more

Did you know that the Humantay lagoon is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Peru? Yes, there are few places in Peru that are so beautiful. This natural tourist attraction is 127 kilometers from the city of Cusco. Its turquoise waters are much photographed by visitors. It is one of the most touristic sites in Cusco for a reason, after Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the 7-color mountain. Learn more about the amazing Humantay!

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Do you plan to visit the Humantay lagoon but do not know how to go? Honestly going with a tour is the best option. The reason? Going on your own requires a lot of organization. Especially organizing the different sections in public transport that, in many cases, is difficult to find. The tours already include everything: full transportation, entrance fee, breakfast, lunch, tour guide and more. Choose the tour that suits you best. Prices can vary from 30 to 60 dollars, depending on the tourism agency of your choice. Enjoy one of the most beautiful landscapes in Peru!

What is the Humantay lagoon?

Do you have a day left over in your itinerary in Cusco? Visit the Humantay Lagoon, one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Peru. Yes, this place offers a dreamlike landscape: a turquoise lagoon clear as the sky, snow-capped heights like the imposing Salkantay and more.

Indeed this lagoon is at the foot of two snow-capped mountains: the Salkantay and the Humantay. This last snow was the one that gave it its name.

The lagoon is part of the Cordillera del Vilcabamba, which includes none other than Machu Picchu. In addition to the tourists who make the 1-day tour to the Humantay, the hikers who make the Salkantay trek of 5 days to Machu Picchu arrive there.

A bit of history? Due to the proximity to the Salkantay it is believed that on the banks of the Humantay the Incas performed religious ceremonies. However, recent research has found no evidence of this.

Even so, tourists who arrive there leave offerings of coca leaves just as the Incas did. They also leave there the famous ‘apachetas’ (stone on stone formations). This last practice dates back to pre-Inca times.

In this article we will tell you the most important information about this tourist attraction. You will also know how to go, how much it costs and some tips for your trip. Humantay is waiting for you!

How high is it?

The Humantay lagoon is located at 4,200 meters above sea level, almost a thousand meters higher than the city of Cusco (3,400 meters high).

How to get there?

If you plan to know the Humantay lagoon with tour, the transport service is already included both the outward and return sections.

But if you want to go on your own follow the instructions below:

  • From Cusco to Mollepata – From the city of Cusco you can take direct minivans to the town of Mollepata at the bus terminal of ‘Arcopata’. The trip takes approximately 4 hours. The ticket costs 15 soles on average.
  • From Mollepata to Soraypampa – In Mollepata you must get a taxi or collective taxi to the Soraypampa camp. This service is difficult to get so more tourists prefer to go on tour. The trip takes 1 hour 30 minutes on average. The collective taxi costs approximately 30 soles.
  • From Soraypampa to Humantay – From the Soraypampa camp it is time to walk the 2 kilometers to the Humantay lagoon. This walk seems like a simple task but due to the altitude and the ascending paths it is complicated. Even some tourists decide to hire horses. The hike is free and will take you 1 to 2 hours depending on your fitness.
The route map
The fearsome walk. Should I rent a horse?

Whether you come with tour or on your own the transport will drop you off at the Soraypampa camp. This place is 3,900 meters above sea level. That is, you will have to walk for 2 kilometers ascending 300 meters uphill until you reach the Humantay lagoon.

Do you think you won’t be able to achieve it? Tourists with advanced age, physical problems or simply not accustomed to hiking can rent a horse. The owners of the animals are local peasants. They will pull the animal with the tourist to the lagoon. How much does this cost? The amount is negotiable with the muleteer but ranges from 60 to 90 soles.

Other tourists will walk along the rocky roads surrounded by mountains. The first stretch is easy. Then it gets steep. Young and energetic tourists can arrive in 1 hour. Sloths in 2 hours. Rest assured that in the end everyone will reach the goal.

Who should rent a horse? A good tip is to try to start the hike. If in the middle of the road you feel that you cannot continue, there will always be a horse at your disposal. Even the muleteer can give you a discount for what has already been advanced!

Should I go on tour or on my own?

Because of how difficult it is to get public transportation to the Humantay Lagoon, the smartest decision is to buy an all-inclusive tour.

1-day tours last 14 hours on average (from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m.). They include: round-trip transportation, breakfast, lunch, entrance to Humantay and tour guide service.

These can be purchased in the same city of Cusco (in the Historic Center are the vast majority of tourist agencies) or online. Choose an agency that offers you a good service at the right price.

Do you plan to go to Humantay Lagoon on your own? A tip: in the village of Mollepata take the opportunity to have breakfast and lunch. If you get transportation to the Soraypampa camp, coordinate with the driver the return trip, after your visit to the lagoon. Otherwise you will not have someone to take you back to the city of Cusco. Try!

Going on your own is possible. However, the most advisable (and safe) is to hire a tour. At least in the case of the visit to the Humantay lagoon.

How much does the visit cost?

The tour to the Humantay lagoon costs from 30 to 60 dollars depending on the tourism agency you hire.  Why the price difference? Some tours include a lower quality breakfast and lunch. In addition, some services do not include the entrance to the lagoon.

The entrance to the Humantay lagoon costs 10 Peruvian soles. This amount is paid in the town of Mollepata, just before leaving for Soraypampa.

What about the food? Keep in mind that an average breakfast and lunch in Mollepata costs 10 Peruvian soles or more. In some buffet restaurants it can cost 40 soles or more.

Finally know that an extra expense not included in any tour is the transfer service on horseback (from Soraypampa to the lagoon). This service can cost from 60 to 90 negotiable soles. They are warned!

The fearsome walk. Should I rent a horse?

Whether you come with tour or on your own the transport will drop you off at the Soraypampa camp. This place is 3,900 meters above sea level. That is, you will have to walk for 2 kilometers ascending 300 meters uphill until you reach the Humantay lagoon.

Do you think you won’t be able to achieve it? Tourists with advanced age, physical problems or simply not accustomed to hiking can rent a horse. The owners of the animals are local peasants. They will pull the animal with the tourist to the lagoon. How much does this cost? The amount is negotiable with the muleteer but ranges from 60 to 90 soles.

Other tourists will walk along the rocky roads surrounded by mountains. The first stretch is easy. Then it gets steep. Young and energetic tourists can arrive in 1 hour. Sloths in 2 hours. Rest assured that in the end everyone will reach the goal.

Who should rent a horse? A good tip is to try to start the hike. If in the middle of the road you feel that you cannot continue, there will always be a horse at your disposal. Even the muleteer can give you a discount for what has already been advanced!

Should I go on tour or on my own?

Because of how difficult it is to get public transportation to the Humantay Lagoon, the smartest decision is to buy an all-inclusive tour.

1-day tours last 14 hours on average (from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m.). They include: round-trip transportation, breakfast, lunch, entrance to Humantay and tour guide service.

These can be purchased in the same city of Cusco (in the Historic Center are the vast majority of tourist agencies) or online. Choose an agency that offers you a good service at the right price.

Do you plan to go to Humantay Lagoon on your own? A tip: in the village of Mollepata take the opportunity to have breakfast and lunch. If you get transportation to the Soraypampa camp, coordinate with the driver the return trip, after your visit to the lagoon. Otherwise you will not have someone to take you back to the city of Cusco. Try!

Going on your own is possible. However, the most advisable (and safe) is to hire a tour. At least in the case of the visit to the Humantay lagoon.

How much does the visit cost?

The tour to the Humantay lagoon costs from 30 to 60 dollars depending on the tourism agency you hire.  Why the price difference? Some tours include a lower quality breakfast and lunch. In addition, some services do not include the entrance to the lagoon.

The entrance to the Humantay lagoon costs 10 Peruvian soles. This amount is paid in the town of Mollepata, just before leaving for Soraypampa.

What about the food? Keep in mind that an average breakfast and lunch in Mollepata costs 10 Peruvian soles or more. In some buffet restaurants it can cost 40 soles or more.

Finally know that an extra expense not included in any tour is the transfer service on horseback (from Soraypampa to the lagoon). This service can cost from 60 to 90 negotiable soles. They are warned!

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