Laguna 69: A Stunning Mountain Lake in the Peruvian Andes

Peru National Parks
by Ashley Welton Nov 14, 2017

You’ll find Laguna 69 tucked into the Peruvian Andes in Huascaran National Park, 3 hours outside of Huaraz —- a gateway for many of Peru’s most stunning treks. There are more than 400 lakes in the park, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, and you will pass a great many of them en route to Laguna 69.

Laguna 69 goes by number instead of a proper name because it didn’t have a name before the National Park was created in 1975. But, in order to become a park, all the lakes needed to be included in the proposal and many of them received numbers instead of titles.

What makes Laguna 69 so special? After all, it’s one among hundreds. Simply put, the scenery. I mean, this small lake is just about beyond comprehension with its contrasting colors and surrounding scenery. The turquoise water is glacier clear, and the surrounding peaks of black lava covered in white snow are breathtaking (literally, you’re at almost 15,000 feet).

The trek to the lake isn’t without wonder, either. You’ll pass waterfalls, creeks, and a number of other lakes along the way. Laguna 69 makes a great day hike, just be sure you give yourself a day (or a few) to acclimatize before you attempt it.

How to get there

Laguna 69 is located Northeast of Lima, near Huaraz. The easiest way to get to Huaraz is via bus, which will take you about 9 hours. The cool thing about South America is that everyone takes the bus, and the overnight buses are actually quite comfortable. Plus, if you choose the all-nighter, you won’t be wasting any of your precious days on the ride.

Once you’re in Huaraz, it’s another 3-hour ride to the National Park and the start of the trek. You can either book a tour, or go on your own. If you go on your own, opt for private transport instead of taking the bus as you can be more flexible with your timing.

What to consider

  • Don’t underestimate the altitude. 14,000 feet is no joke. Give yourself time to acclimate and go slow on your hike.
  • The hike up takes about 3-3.5 hours, and the return hike will take you 2.
  • The lagoon is freezing, and the air gets cold in the evening, so keep that in mind if you decide to go for a dip and prepare layers accordingly.
  • If you can do a private tour or go on your own, it’s recommended, as all the group tours arrive at the same time (and the lake’s not that big).
  • You can absolutely do this trek without a guide. Go early to avoid the crowds.
  • You could experience 4 seasons in a day in Huascaran National Park, so dress appropriately.

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