Home to six glaciers and a mesmerizing number of snow-capped peaks, Peru is geographically perfect, to head to the impressive lakes of The Andes. With good hiking boots, plenty of snacks and a little bit of determination, there are some spectacular lagoons to visit. Here are our top 5 lakes to visit in Peru.
Let’s begin with the “elephant” in the country…. one of South America’s most famous landmarks and the largest lake on the continent. Lake Titicaca is not just a natural spectacle, but also holds a special place in history as the birthplace of the Inca civilisation. On the Bolivian side you can visit the islands of Isla Del Sol and Isla De La Luna however on the Peruvian side, you have Uros, the impressive floating islands constructed from reeds by the local indigenous community.
One of the most beautiful examples is Lake Parón, sitting at 4,200 m elevation in the Cordillera Blanca range. Lake Parón or Laguna Parón, is a four-kilometre stretch of pristine blue water in the midst of towering mountains. It is the culmination of a popular 20-kilometre return hiking trail, often done in preparation and acclimatisation for the multi-day Santa Cruz trek.
Also, in the Cordillera Blanca near Huaraz, is its most visited site, Laguna 69 boasts one of Peru’s brightest and clearest glacial lakes. Backed by towering snow-capped peaks and glistening waterfalls, this 4,572-m turquoise stretch of water is a sight that you have to see to believe. The path is well-trodden, but beware: due to the high altitude and several steep ascents, the Laguna 69 day hike is still considered to be challenging if you’re not acclimatized. Tours usually include the stunning Llanganuco Lake en route.
Believed to be one of the most sacred lakes in the region, Humantay has been the place for rituals, meditation and ceremonies for hundreds of years. When you see the majestic blue lake and its beautiful surroundings, it’s easy to understand why. If you’re on the Salkantay trek, you’ll make a stop here, and maybe even camp nearby. If you don’t fancy the multi-day trek, you can also visit the lake on a day trip from Cusco.
Hidden amongst the peaks of Ausangate and Q’ampa, Lake Ausangate Q’ocha is an electric blue lake surrounded by bright green mossy fields. It’s a long and challenging hike to get here, but the good news is that you’ll spot other beautiful turquoise and emerald green lagoons, such as Puqa Q’ocha and Jatun Puqa Q’ocha, along the way. By day, the crystal-clear waters on these lakes reflect the snow-capped peaks that surround them and, by night, become giant reflection pools for the star-filled skies and minimal light pollution.