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Active Peru: The Santa Cruz Trek

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This is an awe-inspiring  holiday designed for experienced mountain or hill walkers who want to experience the beauty and solitude of the landscapes covered by one of Peru’s many and various Andean treks. You travel inland from the desert coast north of Lima to a dazzling white, snow-crested range of jagged mountains: the Cordillera Blanca.

You start with a couple of days to acclimatise among ice-blue lakes in the deeply glaciated scenery around the attractive little town of Caraz before setting off on the Santa Cruz Trek, which takes you through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru's premier trekking region.

The region is defined by its plunging valleys, dotted with glaciers and gemstone blue and minty green glacial lakes. Human activity is represented by tiny pockets of agriculture and isolated indian villages, dwarfed by the grandeur and scale of the scenery. This is a wild, uncompromising landscape, its harshness mitigated by the friendliness of its people.

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Lima and transfer to hotel in the Miraflores district.

Day 2

Transfer to the bus station, public coach to Caraz in the Andes.

Day 3

Full-day trip to Lake Parón to acclimatise with some gentle walking.

Day 4

Day at leisure to acclimatise.

Day 5

Santa Cruz Trek.

Day 6

Hiking the Santa Cruz Trek, camp.

Day 7

Hiking the Santa Cruz Trek, camp.

Day 8

Return to Caraz.

Day 9

Public coach to Lima.

Day 10

Transfer to airport for international flight. UK clients arrive home the following day.

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What our experts say

As an avid trekker myself, I designed this holiday for mountain walkers who want to trek and camp in some of Peru’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. We’ve built in some time to acclimatise to the high altitudes and kept the trip short so that it can be combined with treks in the south of the country, where the landscape is very different.

Isabelle

Isabelle Mazille

Product and Marketing

Places visited on this holiday

Active Peru: The Santa Cruz Trek

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Lima Cathedral
A city as huge and dynamic as Lima, City of Kings, is bound to offer something of interest to all visitors. Lovers of architecture and history will thrill to the monumental cathedral and Presidential Palace in the Plaza de Armas, and colonial wooden balconies overhanging atmospheric lanes in the spruced-up centre. But out on the Pacific coast are the smart, modern middle-class suburbs of Miraflores and Barranco, brimming with sophisticated restaurants, boutiques and live music. The traffic is horrendous, but the city has some of the Spanish Empire’s best museums; it’s well worth crossing town to find them.
When to go
A cold Pacific current puts the kibosh on the tropical climate you might expect and a chilly mist hovers over the city May-Nov. But as this is the best time to visit the Andes, you may have to visit Lima at this time. In the southern summer the sun breaks through, happy limeños spill out onto the pavement bars, ice cream parlours and beaches.
Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency
Peruvian Nuevo Sol. Notes in local currency or US dollars can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Numerous money exchange offices exchange US dollars cash (few accept euros or sterling and the rate may be poor).
Time difference

GMT -5 hours.

Combines with

The pre-Columbian adobe ruins of a ceremonial centre at Pachacamac  in the desert just 31 km south of Lima;  Paracas National Park, 214 km (3-4 hours’ drive) down the coast, for the Ballestas Islands “mini-Galápagos” Nature Reserve;  the Moche pyramids at Chan Chan, near Trujillo, 561 km (8 hours on the Pan American Highway or 1 hour by air); Cajamarca, charming Andean colonial town, 856km, (12 hours by scenic road or 90 mins by air).

Flight time from UK

Average flight time to Lima is 12.5 hours. There is a direct flight from London Gatwick to Lima. Popular non-direct routes to Lima involve a change of plane in Amsterdam, Paris or Madrid.

Key events
Gran Serenata: Live music in the Plaza de Armas on 17 Jan to celebrate the city’s foundation.
Semana Santa, Easter. Many religious processions.
Peru Art Week:   Annually in May.  Museums, art galleries and open air exhibitions in Barranco, Miraflores and San Isidro welcome visitors. Independence Day (Fiestas Patrias): 28 Jul annually: celebrated in plazas and parks throughout the city centre, with music and fireworks in the main plaza the evening before. On the final day a Great Military Parade takes place on either Avenida Brasil or Avenida De La Peruanidad.
Corpus Christi: Jun. Statues of the Virgin Mary and saints have a day out from their churches and are paraded to the Cathedral.
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Huaraz
The busy little city of Huaraz, 3,052m, in the Callejón de Huaylas, Ancash, is the base for tourists, trekkers and climbers eager to explore the jagged ice peaks and turquoise lagoons of the Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash. You don’t have to be a hiker to see them - some of the most stunning landscapes in Peru and the Andes are just a short drive away. The vast bulk of snow-jacketed Huascarán – part of which shattered to devastating effect in the earthquake of 1970 - rears above the town. There are guides and mules for hire here, and plenty of places to stock up with provisions.
When to go

To be confident of views in clear dry weather, most visitors arrive here May-Oct when there is little or no rain.

Language

Spanish.

Getting local currency
Peruvian Nuevo Sol. There’s a bank in Huaraz where you can exchange dollars into local currency.
Time difference

GMT -5 hours.

Combines with

The colonial cities of Trujillo and Chiclayo, and the Moche and Chimú cultures of the Pacific coast, further north on the Panamericano highway (or via the spectacular Cañon del Pato road which partly follows an old railway track).

Getting there

From Lima to Huaraz (420 km) is a 7-8 hour drive on a paved road; there are also short flights with LC Airlines.

Key events
Semana Santa, Easter. Lively and colourful.
El Señor de la Soledad: Annually in week starting 3 May. Processions, dancing, music and fireworks.
Semana de Andinismo (mountaineering week): Annual climbing and skiing week.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

Tailor-made holiday

Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.

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Active Peru: The Santa Cruz Trek

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Active Peru: The Santa Cruz Trek

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The total price above excludes international flights at beginning and end of your trip. To add flights speak to one of our experts on 020 8747 8315.

Active Peru: The Santa Cruz Trek

10 days from £1,111pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

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