Laguna Llaca: Ultimate Hiking Guide

Uncrowded trails. Snow-capped peaks. Soft blue waters. This makes Laguna Llaca one of the best places to visit in Huaraz, Peru.

Need more convincing?

It’s completely off the beaten track and is one of the lesser-known lagunas in the region. The hike – depending on which option you choose – is an easy one, and it’s the perfect day trip to acclimatize to the Huaraz elevation.

But getting to Laguna Llaca is not as simple as you may think. No group tours venture this far into Huascaran National Park, and considering the state of the rocky road, you might even struggle to find a taxi.

So, fresh off the bus from Lima, I headed straight to Laguna Llaca. This guide covers everything you need to know, from which trail to choose, how much it costs, and how to get to Laguna Llaca from Huaraz.

Laguna Llaca hike huaraz
Laguna Llaca in Huaraz, Peru

Laguna Llaca hike summary

  • Time needed: Day trip from Huaraz (10 am to 4 pm)
  • Distance: Varies from 3 km to 18 km hike depending on your route
  • Costs: S/220 taxi + S/30 entrance
  • Altitude: 4,474 m
  • Best for: Acclimatization hike on the day you arrive in Huaraz

What to expect at Laguna Llaca, Huaraz

Laguna Llaca differs from the other lakes in Huaraz as it’s less crowded – this is mostly due to the difficulty it takes to get there.

The scenic hike through the valley to the shores of Laguna Llaca is spectacular.

With milky blue waters surrounded by tall, snow-capped peaks, the setting couldn’t be any better. While it’s not as bright as the famous Laguna Paron, it’s still worth checking out as both are completely different.

laguna llaca peru
How stunning is Laguna Llaca. The best part? No crowds!

How to get to Laguna Llaca

There are three options for visiting Laguna Llaca.

  1. Take a taxi all the way from Huaraz to Laguna Llaca (no hike)
  2. Get the taxi driver to drop you off close to Laguna Llaca (here) and hike the remainder of the way (short hike; 1.5 hours hike to Laguna Llaca)
  3. Get the taxi driver to drop you off at the Laguna Llaca Visitors Center and take the trail from there. (long hike; 3 hours hike to Laguna Llaca)

Note: The Lazy Dog Inn is also close to the trailhead. Many people choose to stay here or get a taxi to this point. But it’s an 18 km hike from Lazy Dog Inn to Laguna Llaca and back (7 to 11 hours). If you’re a strong hiker, have already acclimatized, and start your hike early, you could choose this option.

Now that you know your options, here are more details about how to get to Laguna Llaca.

Laguna Llaca tours
Laguna Llaca has milky blue water compared to the bright blue waters of Laguna 69 and Laguna Paron

Laguna Llaca hike

I arrived in Huaraz at 6 am on an overnight bus from Lima and was looking for an easy hike to help me acclimate to the higher altitude. Because you can drive all the way to Laguna Llaca, it was the ideal option for me.

Taxi from Huaraz to Laguna Llaca Visitors Center

It takes 2 hours to drive from Huaraz to the parking area near the shores of Laguna Llaca. The distance isn’t far – it’s the condition of the road that will slow you down.

Most of the drive is on a rocky dirt road in terrible condition. There are massive rocks, big holes, and steep sections along the way. Our taxi really struggled, and there was a point where I thought a wheel had popped or the suspension broke!

We paid S/220 for this taxi – he stayed with us the entire day. We also gave the driver a generous tip. This was his first time visiting Laguna Llaca, and I believe he undercharged us as he was unaware of the state of the roads and the stress it would have on his car.

how to get to Laguna Llaca
The road to Laguna Llaca only gets worse!

Laguna Llaca Visitors Center

After 1.5 hours of driving, you’ll reach the visitors center (Google Maps location). Because Laguna Llaca is located in Huascaran National Park, you’ll need to pay a S/30 entry fee.

From here, you have two options. You can either hike the remainder of the way to Laguna Llaca or get back in the taxi and drive closer to Laguna Llaca.

Hike from Visitors Center to Laguna Llaca (Longer option)

Hiking from the Visitors Center is the preferred option for avid hikers who get an early start to the day. This is better if you’ve already spent a few days in Huaraz and are acclimatized to the higher altitude.

It’s a relatively easy hike, but the high altitude will most likely affect you. Allow 5 hours of hiking time from the Visitors Center to Laguna Llaca and back, so keep that in mind as the gate closes at 3:30 pm.

laguna llaca hike
Hiking through the valley to Laguna Llaca

Taxi from the Visitors Center to a high point and hike to Laguna Llaca (shorter option)

Your second option is to pay the entry fee and continue in the taxi for another 20 minutes. The road’s condition only worsens, so it’s a very slow drive!

If you’re up for a walk/hike, ask the taxi driver to drop you off near this point (Google Maps location). This was the option I chose.

From here, it’s a 3 km hike to Laguna Llaca (1.5 to 2 hours). You’ll walk alongside a slow-moving glacial river, and the trail is mostly flat.

Just before you reach Laguna Llaca, there is a steeper section with a few switchbacks. It’s not nearly as challenging as the Laguna 69 hike, but it’s a good warm-up if you have that on your Huaraz itinerary.

We only started our hike at noon and were worried we wouldn’t return by 3:30 when the gates closed. So, our driver met us at the refugio next to Laguna Llaca. This meant we only walked the section to the lake, not back.

Laguna Llaca vs Laguna 69
Laguna Llaca sits at 4,474 m above sea level

Laguna Llaca tours

During my visit in 2023, no tours were going to Laguna Llaca.

The quickest way to get there is by paying for a private taxi. You’ll pay a flat fee of S/220 for the day, and the driver will wait for you to complete your hike.

If this has changed, please let me know in the comments section so I can keep the post updated.

A girl taking a selfie in front of Laguna Llaca in Huaraz
Day 1 in Huaraz and first hike done and dusted

Laguna Llaca with public transport

There is also the option to catch a ride with a colectivo organized by Andes Peru (Google Maps location). It’s the cheaper alternative and only costs about S/50.

This colectivo will go to Pitec and then continue to the Laguna Llaca trailhead, where you’ll be dropped off. From here, you’ll need to hike the longer route, which will be 15 km in total.

The driver of the colectivo then supposedly waits for you to return. But this is not guaranteed, and I heard from people who were left stranded after their hike. This is a quieter area that doesn’t see much (if any) traffic. If this happens, you’ll need to hike further down and try to hitch a ride.

Tips for your trip

There is a refugio at Laguna Llaca if you want to stay the night. I also saw someone camping, so that’s another option.

Best laguna day hike in Huaraz
The shorter hike is only 3 km but offers some of the best scenery

Is Laguna Llaca worth it

In my opinion, Laguna Llaca is the best day trip for your first day in Huaraz (if you take a taxi and do the short hike option).

This is because you’ll get off the bus from Lima at 6 am, check into your hotel, freshen up, and have breakfast. Just make sure you leave Huaraz by 10 am.

You won’t need to rush; the drive isn’t too long, and the hike is a short one. You’ll be back by 5 pm and ready to take a more challenging hike the following day.

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Laguna Llaca Huaraz Peru

Do you have any questions about the Laguna Llaca hike in Huaraz, Peru? Drop me a message in the comments section below!

Looking for more Peru travel inspiration? Check out my other posts!

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About Carryn

Hi, I'm Carryn. I’m an adventure travel blogger trying to figure out my way through life by traveling and exploring. Join me as I share my travel guides and tips for life abroad. Find out more about me here.

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