Cusco’s beautiful Laguna Humantay, or the Emerald Lake of Cusco as it is known more commonly, is one of the must-visit places in Peru. The hike to the Laguna Humantay itself is spectacular, making it all worth the struggle.
Read on to find out more information about Humantay Lake including how to get there, the best time to visit, and much more!
The Laguna Humantay is a beautiful emerald green lake located about 75 miles away from Cusco. This makes it one of the best day trips from Peru. Especially, for all those adventurous nature enthusiasts out there who have a short time to explore all Peru has to offer.
It can also be done as a part of the Salkantay Trek. It is a popular alternative to the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
The mesmerizing emerald green color of the Humantay Lake is believed to be caused by the minerals washed off by the melting glaciers of Mount Humantay.
If you are planning to do a day-trip guided tour to the Laguna Humantay, you will be first taken to the Soraypampa village from Cusco. After breakfast, you will begin the hike to the Laguna Humantay. The hike takes about 2-3 hours depending on your physical fitness. You will have to hike for a distance of 3.5 kilometers.
The lake nestles at an altitude of 4200 meters above sea level. It is very important to acclimate to the surroundings before trying this hike.
If you have more days in Peru, you can try the 4-day Salkantay Trek hike. The highest point is more than 4500 meters above sea level. It starts at the Mollepata village and goes through the Salkantay Pass. Again, you need to acclimate before trying this hike.
When you reach the summit, you will like every challenging step you took is totally worth it because of the mesmerizing views. Although there may be some crowds, you will feel the sense of tranquility and the mystic nature of the surrounding mountains!
After staying for about 30 minutes at the summit to admire the views of this emerald-green Laguna Humantay, you can begin the descend the same route. We will be transferring you back to Cusco city after a quick stop for lunch along the way.
Remember to always respect nature when you are at Lake Humantay. It is a holy place to the locals. Even swimming or bathing is not allowed due to the belief the Lake Humantay is guarded by mountain spirits!
The best time to visit Lake Humantay is during the dry season of Cusco. It usually falls from April to September. This is when the paths are well-maintained so you can hike up easily while enjoying plenty of sunshine and clear skies.
As of 2023, the entrance ticket to Lake Humantay costs about 20 Peruvian soles for international travelers. So make sure to check whether your guided tour price includes the entrance ticket price too. Most of the time they don’t.