Humantay Lake - All you need to know!

If you are looking for an amazing place to visit in Peru, Humantay Lake is one of the top spots. Located in the Cusco region, this lake is truly a hidden gem. While it may not be as well-known as some other lakes in the area, Humantay Lake is worth visiting. Here’s why:

Humantay Lake

What is Humantay Lake?

Humantay Lake is a stunning blue lake in Peru in the Cordillera Vilcabamba mountain range. It sits at an altitude of 4,200 meters (13,780 feet), making it one of the highest lakes in the country. The lake is fed by glacial runoff from the nearby Humantay Glacier, which is part of the larger Salkantay icecap.

The turquoise waters of Humantay Lake are truly a sight to behold. The vibrant blue color is caused by light reflecting off the glacier-fed waters. Visitors to the lake often say it feels like they are in another world.

Humantay Lake has become a popular destination for trekkers and adventure seekers in recent years despite its remote location. The most popular way to reach the lake is on a guided hike from Cusco. The hike takes about four hours and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.

Location of Humantay Lake

Humantay Lake is located in the Cordillera of Vilcabamba, about 4 hours away from the city of Cusco. It is situated at an altitude of 4,200 meters above sea level and is surrounded by mountains that reach up to 6,000 meters. A glacier feeds the lake on the slopes of the Salkantay mountain.

How to Get to Humantay Lake

To get to Humantay Lake from Cusco, you'll need to take a bus or taxi to the town of Mollepata. From there, it's about an hour and a half hike to the lake. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, so you shouldn't have trouble finding your way. Once you reach the lake, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Can I get to the lake on my own?

If you're feeling adventurous, you can hike to Humantay Lake on your own! The trailhead is located just outside of the town of Mollepata, about 2.5 hours from Cusco by car. From there, it's a moderate 4km hike to the lake, with stunning views of the Salkantay mountain range. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete the hike and enjoy the scenery before heading back down - it's a long way back to Mollepata if you don't allow enough time!

Things to Do in Humantay Lake

Here are some things to do in Humantay Lake:

  • Hike up to the viewing point: For those who love a good hike, there's a trail that leads up to a viewing point where you can see the whole lake. It's about a 45-minute hike, but the views are well worth it.
  • Have a picnic: There are plenty of spots around the lake where you can set up a picnic and enjoy the scenery. Make sure to pack some snacks and drinks!
  • Explore the area: Take some time to explore the area around the lake. There are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

What is the best time of the year to visit Humantay Lake?

The best time of year to visit Humantay Lake is from May to September. The weather is warm and sunny, and the lake is typically ice-free.

How Did Humantay Lake Get its Color?

The lake is a popular tourist destination for its stunning blue-green waters. The lake gets its color from the minerals that are found in the area.

Wildlife in Humantay Lake

The area around Humantay Lake is home to various wildlife, including Andean foxes, vicunas, guanacos, llamas, alpacas, and condors. Visitors may also spot some rarer animals in the area, such as the puma, Andean cat, and spectacled bear. In addition to its wildlife, Humantay Lake is also known for its clear turquoise waters and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

Plants in Humantay Lake

Some of the most common plants around Humantay Lake include:

  • Andes Cordillera: This mountain range runs through Peru and includes some of the highest peaks in the world. It provides a home for many plants, including the fragile ones (Espeletia sp.), which are large bushes that grow in high altitudes.
  • Puna Grassland: These grasslands are found at elevations between 3,500 and 4,500 meters above sea level. They are home to a variety of grasses and herbs, such as the tarwi (Lupinus mutabilis), a legume that is an important food source for Andean people.
  • Yungas Forest: These forests are found in the valleys surrounding Humantay Lake. They are lush and green, thanks to the high rainfall in this region. Many trees grow in these forests, including the cedar (Cedrela montana) and the mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla).

The climate of Humantay Lake

Humantay Lake is located in the region of Cusco, Peru. The climate there is extremely cold and windy. The average temperature during the day is about 8 degrees Celsius but can drop to as low as -5 degrees Celsius at night. Even in the summer, the temperatures rarely exceed 15 degrees Celsius. Because of the altitude (4,200 meters), the UV rays are also very strong, so it is important to wear sunscreen and a hat when visiting the lake.

Humantay Lake Tours & Day Trips

If you're looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Cusco for a day, Humantay Lake is the perfect destination. Nestled in the Andes Mountains, Humantay Lake is a short but strenuous hike from the town of Soraypampa. But the effort is well worth it, as the lake's bright blue waters and stunning mountain backdrop are breathtaking.

Several companies offer tours to Humantay Lake, typically round-trip transportation from Cusco, guided hikes, and lunch. Prices vary depending on the tour operator but expect to pay around $50-$60 per person for basic tours and 120$ - 150$ for personalized small group tours to Humantay Lake.

Frequently Asked Questions Lake Humantay Day Hike

We received many questions about the Humantay Lake day hike from Cusco. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

How long is the hike?

The hike to Humantay Lake is approximately 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) round trip. Most of the hiking is done in the first 2 miles (3.2 kilometers), with a more gradual ascent in the last 2 miles.

What is the highest elevation on the hike?

The highest point on the hike is at approximately 4,200 meters (13,780 feet). This is at the saddle between Salkantay and Humantay Mountains, just before reaching Humantay Lake.

When is the best time to do this hike?

The best time to do this hike is between May and September. This is when temperatures are milder, and there is less chance of rain or snow. However, it is possible to do this hike year-round if you are prepared for colder temperatures and potentially hazardous conditions.

Is it safe to do this hike?

Yes, it is safe to do this hike as long as you take proper precautions. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and pack enough food and water for the day. Checking weather conditions before heading out is also recommended, as conditions can change quickly in the mountains.


If you're ever in Cusco, don't miss the opportunity to visit Humantay Lake. It's a beautiful spot perfect for a day trip; the views are simply stunning. The trek to get there is challenging but worth it, and you'll be rewarded with incredible views of the Andes Mountains and the Humantay Glacier. Make sure to bring your camera so you can capture the memories!