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Everything about Humantay Lake in Cusco

Cusco offers its visitors a wide variety of attractions that simply leave them amazed by the history behind each one. As you can imagine, Humantay Lake is no exception; it is a gorgeous turquoise lake that simply cannot go unnoticed by nature lovers.

If your visit is destined for Machu Picchu, or some other attraction in Cusco, and if your itinerary includes some days off, then Humantay Lake may be what you are looking for.

What is Humantay Lake

Humantay Lake is named after the nearby mountain (Humantay, 5,473 m) and is considered one of the most beautiful and sacred lakes in Cusco. Its turquoise waters with the snow-capped mountains of Salkantay (6,270 m) in the background, whisper directly to you the reason why it is so popular. 

In addition to tourists who make day trips to the lake, there are more adventurous tourists who go on the so-called “Salkantay Trek“, which is a 5-day trek to Machu Picchu and during which they can visit this lake at their leisure and at their own pace. 

By the way, would you dare to take a tour on the PeruRail Expedition train? This service is ideal for visitors looking to get to Machu Picchu by train at the lowest possible cost, but without neglecting the comforts that can be found on board a train.

How to get to Humantay Lake?

To get to Humantay Lake from the city of Cusco, you must travel about 120 km by road, passing through the towns of Limatambo and Mollepata, until you reach the community of Soraypampa.

Once we enter Soraypampa, we start an uphill hike of about 2 km until we reach the lake. If you are traveling with a tour package, transportation is included (including horse rental for the trek), as well as breakfast and lunch in the town of Mollepata. Are you travelling alone? Don’t worry! Below you will find the full route.

Can I get to the lake on my own?

Of course, you can; below we explain the route step-by-step:

  • You must take public transport from the city of Cusco to the town of Mollepata. The bus leaves from the Arcopata terminal and costs around 15 soles (4 USD).
  • Once you arrive in Mollepata, you will need to take a shared taxi (colectivo) to the community of Soraypampa.
  • You may not be able to find one of these shared taxis, so you will have to take a conventional taxi. For the latter case, the taxi can cost 50 soles (approximately 12 USD).
  • Finally, in Soraypampa, you have to hike to Humantay Lake. As we mentioned before, it is a 2 km hike and, depending on how fit you are, it can take between 1 to 2 hours. It is a very beautiful experience, but we recommend traveling to the lake on your own only if you are used to this type of tour, since the trip can be exhausting at 4,200 meters above sea level.

How much is the entrance fee to the lake?

The entrance fee is paid in the town of Mollepata and gives access to the Soraypampa camp, where the lake is located. The fee for foreign visitors is 10 soles (2.5 USD) and for Peruvian visitors it is 5 soles (1.5 USD). 

What to do in Humantay Lake?

If you want to have the complete experience in Humantay Lake, you can do some activities that the town has to offer.

Observe the ceremony

In Humantay Lake a thousand-year-old ceremony is held in honor of Pachamama, Mother Earth. Once you arrive at the lake, you can participate in the ceremony by placing stones to express your gratitude for arriving at the lake safe and sound.

The story of Humantay Lake is the legend of 2 brothers, whose names are Salkantay and Ausangate. It is said that both brothers decided to undertake a journey to unknown lands in order to obtain food and put an end to the famine of their people.

Are you interested in knowing more stories about Cusco on your journey to Machu Picchu? The PeruRail Vistadome train offers you an incredible experience through a beautiful dance of the region, a fashion show on board and explanatory audios that make your journey a very pleasant and sensory one.

Go camping

In the vicinity of the snowy territory, just 3 minutes from the lake, there is an Eco camp where you can enjoy the magical experience of witnessing the sunrise and sunset, and you will have time to explore the most fascinating corners of the Peruvian highlands.

Of course, it is recommended to bring special gear for the cold in case you go camping. This is due to the low temperatures experienced in the lake throughout the day.

Horseback trek

The inhabitants of the community of Soraypampa offer a horse rental service at the starting point of the hike to Humantay Lake. This service is only available for uphill treks and has an approximate cost of 90 Peruvian soles (23 USD).

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

The climate of the highlands and mountains is not very predictable. However, we can see a considerable number of tourists visiting Cusco during the dry season, which runs from May to mid-October. This season undoubtedly provides a full day of sunshine to take that photo that we can’t wait to post on Instagram, and more so in the case of the lake, whose blue-turquoise color can be seen more clearly. 

Humantay Lake is accessible all year round, although during the rainy season you will find fewer tourists. Remember that, unlike the Inca Trail tour or the tickets to visit Machu Picchu, the Humantay Lake tour is always available. 

And speaking of Machu Picchu, we want to emphasize what the PeruRail Expedition train can offer you. If you are one of those who enjoy long walks, beautiful landscapes, and all kinds of adventure, then we assure you that the tour will be to your liking. What do you say? Buy your train tickets now!

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