What is Humantay Lake?
Humantay means Head of the Gods, this is possibly due to being located on the slopes that overlook the Alta jungle.
The Humantay Lake is the most beautiful lake in Cusco, and without a doubt it surprises us more every day, it is a turquoise lake and is in the middle of the Andes mountains.
The Humantay lagoon is formed as a product of the snowmelt of Humantay, part of the Salkantay mountain.
What differentiates the Humantay Lagoon from other lagoons is the natural color it has because, as it does not have much marine flora in its waters, it has an indescribable color in words, but understandable to the eye.
It forms a unique landscape, where travelers seek to capture the ideal moment with their cameras capturing a wonderful and magical landscape at the same time.
Where is Humantay Lake Peru?
The Humantay Lake is located near the Salkantay Glacier in the Andes Mountains of Cusco, Peru.
Humantay Lake is at the coordinates:
- Longitude: 72 ° 37’2.43 ″ W,
- Latitude: 13 ° 24’41.72 ″ S.
The Humantay Lake is located 1 hour and 30 minutes walk from the community of Soraypampa, in the district of Mollepata, province of Anta, department of Cusco.
Humantay means «The Head of Gods» this is said to be at the head of the slopes of the high jungle.
History of Humantay Lake
There is not much information about the history of Humantay Lake. However, according to some geologists this lagoon has a glacial origin. Well, at some point in human history, the perpetual snows of Humantay broke off and rolled down the mountain. And these great blocks of ice stopped at the faults of the snow-capped mountain and with their thaw formed the beautiful Humantay lagoon.
On the other hand, according to local tradition, the Apu Humantay is the youngest son of the Apu Salkantay. And both are in charge of rationalizing and distributing the water that descends from its eternal snows to the many populations that inhabit its slopes. For this reason, the local population venerates this lagoon as a deity that represents the Pachamama.
That is why, in the surroundings of the Huamantay Lagoon you will be able to observe innumerable apachetas (stones superimposed one on another that are placed in the sacred sites) that have been placed by the local population and by travelers as offerings of thanks to the Pachamama or for having successfully reached the lagoon, and also asking for protection on his journey.
Facts about Humantay Lake
- As a fact of interest, due to the mysticity of the area, the lagoon is visited by shamans and tourists from all over the world to leave offerings to the Pachamama, a deity that represents Mother Earth in the Inca culture. By placing stones (apachetas), an offering is offered to the Pachamama thanking her for having reached the lagoon successfully, as well as asking her to accompany them on their journey.
- According to the residents, the Humantay mountain is the youngest son of the Apu Salkantay, these two mountains are in charge of rationalizing and distributing the water that comes down from their snow to the populations that live on their slopes.
- The Humantay Lake height is 4200 meters above sea level.
- Among the landscapes to see are Andean mountains, wide pampas, jungle brow and snow-capped mountains.
- On the Humantay Lake 1 day tour from Cusco you will see the sacred snow of Salkantay. You can bring binoculars for a better view!
- You can extend your adventure and take the five-day route through the snowy Salkantay, Humantay lagoon and Machu Picchu, known as the Salkantay Trek 5 Days, of medium to moderate difficulty.
The Turquoise Color of the Humantay Lagoon.
The Color Turquoise of the Humantay lagoon, it is due to the crystallinity of the water and the green microalgae, possibly of the Microcystis aeruginosa and Oscillatoria species, and the reflection of the blue sky plus the sun’s radiation, this would be the factor of said coloration to this beautiful lagoon.
Is Humantay Lake worth it?
This walk is impressive and it is worth doing it since the landscapes are incredible and the bravest ones can even take a bath in the icy waters of the lagoon.
The Humantay Lake trek is tiring and a bit difficult but it IS TOTALLY WORTH IT!
It is the best alternative for travelers who want to enjoy nature and the natural landscape at the foot of a snowy mountain surrounded by imposing glaciers.
How high is Humantay Lake?
The Humantay Lake height is 4,200 meters above sea level (13,779 ft), a little less than the mountain of 7 colors that is located around 5000 meters.
Considering the altitude of the Humantay Lagoon, and if you do not adapt to the height, you may have small dizziness. For which we recommend: Oxygen, coca tea, muñay infusions and acclimatize in Cusco for at least 2 days.
- Humantay Lagoon; 4,180 m.s.n.m (13,779 feet)
- Nevado de Humantay; 5,329 m.s.n.m (17,484 feet)
- Nevado de Salkantay; 6,271 m.s.n.m (20,574 feet)
How far is Humantay Lake from Cusco?
The distance between the city of Cusco and the Humantay Lake is 123 km and is divided as follows: Paved road between Cusco and Mollepata: 98.5 km
- Carriage trail between Mollepata and Soraypampa: 22 km
- Road between Soraypampa and Humantay lagoon: 2.5 km
Distance to get to Humantay Lagoon
We will start the Humantay Lake trek in the town of Soraypampa, from this point to the Humantay lagoon it is a distance of 2.25 km, the average time to arrive is 45 min for expert walkers and 1h 20min for beginner walkers.
To get to this beautiful turquoise Humantay Lagoon from the City of Cusco in our tour the following route is made:
- Cusco-Mollepata: On this tour we will go to the northwest of the city of Cusco, to the town of Mollepata, this mobility journey is approximately 3 hours, with a fully paved road passing through the valley and town of Limatambo.
- Mollepata – Soraypampa: in Mollepata you can have breakfast. This road is an affirmed dirt road or trail (dirt road) heading to the high jungle of Cusco, this journey lasts 1 hour by car.
- Soraypampa to Humantay Lake: already starting the trek from Soraypampa, one can make the journey to Humantay Lake in 45 minutes to 1h 30 min according to their physical capacity.
How to get to Humantay Lake from Cusco?
To get to the Humantay Lake from the city of Cusco, a road trip of approximately 120 kilometers must be followed, passing through the towns of Limatambo and Mollepata until arriving at the community of ‘Soraypampa’.
Once in ‘Soraypampa’ an uphill hike of approximately 2 kilometers begins to reach the lagoon. If you travel with a package tour, transportation is included as well as breakfast and lunch in the town of Mollepata. If you travel on your own, you must hire a public transport in the city of Cusco.
It is very easy to visit the Humantay Lake from Cusco, and the most common options are:
- Private or group tour with a travel agency
- Go on your own
Can I get to Humantay Lake from Cusco without a tour?
Yes! To go to the Humantay lake without tour, you must take public transport from the city of Cusco to the town of Mollepata. The buses depart from the ‘Arcopata’ terminal and have an approximate cost of 15 Peruvian soles (5 USD).
Once in Mollepata you must get a collective taxi service to the community of Soraypampa. There are times when you will not find this transport so you will have to get a taxi. This service could cost 50 Peruvian soles (15 USD).
Finally, in Soraypampa you must make the walk to the Humantay lagoon. Due to the complexity of the trip by public transport, it is recommended to choose a tour package with transport included. It can be cheaper and safer than going on your own.
In the town of Mollepata you must pay to enter the Soraypampa camp where the lagoon is. The cost for foreign tourists is 10 Peruvian soles (3 USD). The cost for Peruvian tourists is 5 Peruvian soles (2 USD).
Taxi to Humantay lake
To get from Cusco to Humantay Lake by taxi, you first have to get to Mollepata and then to Soraypampa, from where the trek starts.
From Cusco to Mollepata by taxi costs $ 55 – $ 70 and takes 1h 37m.
From Mollepata to Soraypampa, the taxi will charge approximately $ 25 and lasts 45 min-1h. If by chance there are more people who want to go, less will come out.
- Price in U$D: $80 – $95 aprox
Bus to Humantay lake
To get from Cusco to Humantay Lake by bus, follow the same route as by taxi: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa – Humantay Lake.
To get from Cusco to Mollepata, you will have to take a bus at the Arcopata bus terminal ($ 5) for a time of 1 hour and 40 min.
From Mollepata there are no buses that can take you to Soraypampa, the only option is to hire the services of a taxi driver to take you to Soraypampa, the taxi will charge you an approximate of $ 25 and lasts 45 min-1h. If by chance there are more people who want to go, less will come out.
- Price in U$D: $30 aprox.
How to get from Ollantaytambo to Humantay Lake?
In Ollantaytambo, take a taxi to Mollepata (2h 30 min, $ 7 – $ 11)
By public transportation, this would be time consuming, you would have to get a bus or colectivo from Ollantaytambo to Cusco, but get off in Poroy, in Poroy you would need a bus (going back the way you came) to Izcuchaca, from here I know there are cars and buses going to Ancahuasi, from here you would likely need one going either to Limatambo or Abancay. This bus you would have to exit at the turn for Mollepata.
From Mollepata take a taxi to Soraypampa (45 min-1h, 70 soles one way, the price can be divided if there are other passengers).
From Soraypampa, it will be necessary to walk 1h30 and 2h to reach the Humantay Lagoon.
The tour can be cheaper if you hire an agency, it is our recommendation.
Recommendations to vist the Humantay lake without guide
- It is recommended to make the Humantay Lake Peru day trip in the morning to avoid driving away the return of the ducks to the lagoon.
- To start the hike to Humantay Lake, it is suggested to bring comfortable clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses, a cap or hat and a trekking pole.
- If you go alone to the best Humantay Lake full day tour, we recommend hiring the services of a travel agency, since it will be cheaper.
Our transfer will visit you at your hotel between 04:00 and 05:00 in the morning to begin our Humantay Lake 1 day tour from Cusco. Then we will make a two and a half hour car trip to the town of Mollepata where we will enjoy breakfast. After breakfast we will continue our trip until we reach the town of Soraypampa, from this point we will start the walk for an hour and a half to two until we reach the Humantay Lagoon, where we will enjoy the landscape and we can take unforgettable photos and then return to Mollepata, place where we will have a lunch. After lunch we will start the return trip to the city of Cusco. Our Humantay lake tour from Cusco ends at approximately 6:30 p.m.
- Information prior to departure.
- Pick up from your hotel in the morning and transfer in tourist transport Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa – Cusco (starting point of the walk).
- Breakfast and lunch.
- Entrance to the community of Mollepata
- Professional English – Spanish guide.
- First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle (in the car).
- Hotel in Cusco.
- Horse rental.
- Other services not mentioned.
- Wear a jacket or warm clothing.
- Sunscreen, factor 90+.
- In rainy season a poncho of water.
- Hiking shoes (hike / treeking).
Tour Humantay Lake Map
Humantay Lake hike difficulty
The difficulty of the hike to the Humantay Lake trek is medium. You have to walk 3.5 km for a time of 1 hour and 30 minutes approx. (depending on physical condition), if you are not in good physical condition we recommend renting a horse at the beginning of the bed, the price is S / 70.00 approx. the horse will only take you one way at the time of return you will have to walk.
Humantay Lake by horse
The residents of the community of Soraypampa offer horse rental at the starting point of the hike to the Humantay Lake.
How to rent a horse? How much?
The service is only for the uphill section and has an approximate cost of negotiable 90 Peruvian soles (30 USD).
How long is Humantay Lake Hike?
You have to walk 3.5 km for a time of 1 hour and 30 minutes approx. (depending on physical condition), if you are not in good physical condition we recommend renting a horse at the beginning of the Humantay lake tour from Cusco.
The final section of the trip is the walk from Soraypampa to the Humantay lagoon. This section is approximately 2 kilometers long and can take 1 to 2 hours, depending on the physical condition of the visitor. Tourists who are not used to this type of hike, can rent a horse as transportation to the lagoon. It is common for tourists to feel the symptoms of altitude sickness, whether in Cusco, Machu Picchu or Humantay.
Weather in Humantay Lake
The weather of the Humantay lake is generally temperate during the days of the dry season (April to November); frigid at night and early in the morning; and rainy and with cloudy skies in the rainy season (December to March).
The months that this season includes are from November to April, during these months due to the rains your trip may not be pleasant.
This season runs from May to October. These months are the best times to hike to Humantay Lake. This time of year it will be clear all the time with the bright sun, for this we recommend using sunscreen.
Month by month temperature
The weather of the Humantay lake varies according to the time of year. February is the rainiest month. However, keep in mind that it can rain at any time of the year.
|Month of the year||Max. Temperature||Min. temperature||Frequency of rains|
|January||18ºC. / 64ºF.||6ºC. / 42ºF.||High|
|February||18ºC. / 64ºF.||6ºC. / 42ºF.||High|
|March||18ºC. / 64ºF.||6ºC. / 42ºF.||High|
|April||19ºC. / 66ºF.||4ºC. / 39ºF.||Half|
|May||19ºC. / 66ºF.||2ºC. / 35ºF.||Low|
|June||18ºC. / 64ºF.||0ºC. / 32ºF.||Low|
|July||18ºC. / 64ºF.||0ºC. / 32ºF.||Low|
|August||19ºC. / 64ºF.||1ºC. / 33ºF.||Low|
|September||19ºC. / 64ºF.||3 ° C. / 375ºF.||Low|
|October||20ºC. / 68ºF.||5ºC. / 41ºF.||Half|
|November||20ºC. / 68ºF.||5ºC. / 41ºF.||Half|
|December||18ºC. / 64ºF.||6ºC. / 42ºF.||Half|
Best time to get to the Humantay Lagoon
The best time to visit the Humantay Lagoon is in drought in the months of May to October where the weather is favorable for the best Humantay Lake full day tour, in this season you can live the unique experience of seeing the beautiful blue lagoon.
What to wear to Humantay lake?
Due to the cold climate of the Humantay Lake, it is recommended to wear a warm jacket as well as gloves and a chullo. Of course, during the hike to Humantay Lake wear light clothing since the visitor will inevitably perspire. A rain poncho is also important as it can rain at any time.
Can you swim in Humantay Lake?
It is important to mention that swimming is not allowed in the Humantay Lake.
The glaciers at the top of Humantay Mountain melt and water accumulates to form the beautiful and mysterious lake. The color of the lagoon is produced by minerals and bacteria.
Currently it is not allowed to enter the icy waters of the Humantay lagoon. First, because the water is used for the consumption of the population that inhabits these mountains. Second, because human contact can alter the natural color of the lagoon. Also, the water temperature is not recommended for visitors.
Humantay lake and Rainbow Mountain tour
Both the Humantay Lake Peru day trip and the Rainbow Mountain are hitting really hard in different places and travel agencies are beginning to promote these beautiful places more and more. Hundreds if not thousands of travelers take a tour of the Humantay Lake and the Rainbow Mountain, places where they breathe the peace and tranquility it offers.
Getting to the Humantay lagoon is very simple since the walk is easy to do, although it is not recommended on the first day of your arrival in Cusco. It does not require too much time in advance for this reservation.
Tours to the Rainbow Mountain are usually leave very early from the city of Cusco and also end there. Like a Humantay Lake 1 day tour from Cusco, reserving a tour of the Rainbow Mountai is easy and can be done in the same city of Cusco.
Now that you know how these beautiful places are, you will understand that it is possible for us to visit them in only 1 day, since they are places that are in different locations, separated by very large geographical distances. To do a tour to the humantay lake you will need a full day and for a tour of the Rainbow Mountain another whole day.
Humantay Lake or Rainbow Mountain
Which one to visit? Humantay Lake or Rainbow Mountain is the question that many travelers ask themselves. Deciding between both tourist destinations is difficult and even more so for those travelers who come to Cusco for a few days.
|Rainbow Mountain||Humantay Lake|
|Duration of the tour:||1 Day||1 Day|
|Duration of the walk:||4 hours round trip.||1 hour and 30 minutes round trip.|
|Landscapes:||Beautiful landscapes and the red valley.||Beautiful landscapes and a spectacular snowfall|
|Physical difficulty:||The walk is harder||The walk is easy|
|Maximum altitude:||Winicunca Mountain is located at 5,200 masl / 3,231 ft||Humantay Lagoon is located at 4,200 masl / 2,609 ft|
|Best time to visit:||From May to October||From April to October|
|Climate:||Cold. Average temperature varies between 7 and 12 ° C.||Temperate (April to November) and Rainy (December to March). Average temperature varies between 4 ° C and 17 ° C.|
|Tourist influx:||Well crowded, sometimes there is not much space to take photos, you have to be patient||You can walk quietly and take nice pictures, since there are not many people.|
|Access Quality:||The roads are terrifying for many because they were built on the edge of mountains with huge abysses, (beware)||The paths to the lake are very narrow and you have to be very careful.|
Advantages of visiting the Rainbow Mountain
- It is one of the 4 colorful mountains in the world.
- It is one of the 100 places in the world that you must visit before you die.
- You have direct contact with the Andean culture and the traditions of the people where it is located.
- Fun is assured!
- The whole Rainbow Mountain Peru day tour is full of curious things such as Andean plants (medicinal) various species of birds, rodents, alpacas, llamas etc.
- Andean agriculture is observed from very close, the agriculture of different products, such as potatoes, beans, tarwi, olluco. , goose, year, etc. and cereals such as aba, peas, quinoa, quiwicha, barley, wheat, among others.
Advantages of visiting the Humantay Lagoon
- It is the perfect place for nature lovers, the lagoon is at the foot of the snowy mountain that bears the same name.
- The landscape is one of the most beautiful things that will captivate you from the first moment.
- At the beginning of the hike, you will walk in front of the second highest peak in Cusco (Salkantay).
- Geographically, Humantay Lake is much more beautiful than Rainbow Mountain.
- The best thing is that it is at a lower altitude than Rainbow Mountain so you will not have to fight too much, just make sure you have had enough time in Cusco to acclimatize and you will not have to worry so much about it.
If you plan to go to Rainbow Mountain or Humantay Lake, you will not regret it! Although many tourists prefer to stay in Cusco doing another day tour, there are people who are looking for adventure in the Peruvian Andes, be it the Rainbow Mountain or the Humantay Lagoon, the adventure is guaranteed!
We recommend the use of horses on the trail for anyone who is not experienced in hiking at high altitudes. It doesn’t matter if you go hiking or horseback riding, both are worth it. The views are spectacular from the top; when you get to the top it’s something that leaves you speechless,
Humantay Lake vs Lagoon 69
Peru is not only Machu Picchu, in fact there are many lagoons, some easily accessible and others that cost a little more to go. That is why we have made this Humantay Lake vs Lagoon 69, which you should know before deciding which one to visit.
This medium-intensity hike usually begins in the town of Soraypampa towards their camp, located at 3,900 meters above sea level. From there you will take a route lasting between one and two hours, to ascend the 200 meters that separate you from the lagoon. Upon arrival you will be able to rest and enjoy the impressive views of the place, guarded by the Humantay and Salkantay mountains.
Any trekking to this dream place usually begins in the city of Huaraz. From there you will go to the Llanganuco lagoon, making some stops along the way to acclimatize to the altitude, which will exceed 4,000 meters at the end of the route. You will get there after a three-hour trek to this turquoise lagoon, which contrasts with the gray tones of the surrounding mountains and, above all, with the white of the snow-capped peaks.
Access requires a good physical condition. (It is approximately 3 hours of trekking for the ascent and 3 of return).