Huaypo Lake in Cusco

19 de February de 2024

Cusco is characterized by its diverse landscape, and this time we will be dazzled by the beauty of Huaypo Lake, a tourist destination nestled amidst imposing mountains, increasingly popular among international visitors and local travelers seeking to enjoy the natural beauty and serenity.

What is Huaypo Lake?

Huaypo Lake, of glacial origin, is located at an altitude of approximately 3,700 meters above sea level. Its crystalline waters reflect the blue sky, while the majestic mountains that surround it give it a magical touch, creating a visually stunning spectacle.

In addition to its scenic beauty, Huaypo Lake plays a vital role in the local ecosystem, providing habitat for various species of waterfowl and fish. Its natural surroundings are also home to a rich variety of Andean flora, including totoras and other aquatic plants.

For local inhabitants, Huaypo Lake is more than just a tourist destination; it is an integral part of their culture and traditions, serving as a source of natural resources and as a sacred place where ancestral ceremonies and rituals take place.

Legend of Huaypo Lake

Huaypo Lake is shrouded in a mystical legend that has been passed down from generation to generation by the region's inhabitants. According to oral tradition, there are two legends:

The first tells us that the Sun God asked his son Manco Capac (the first Inca, circa 1100 AD) to have his twin children accompany him at sunset. Manco Capac called his two children, but they could not be found. So, the Sun god summoned the nearest Apus (mountain deities) to find out what had happened. They reported that the twin children were lost and crying incessantly until they finally submerged themselves in their own tears. The son transformed into Huaypo Lake and the daughter into Piuray Lake.

And the second legend tells us that in times of great prosperity, the inhabitants near the lake were wealthy. One day, the inhabitants were celebrating a lavish wedding, and a humble old man approached seeking food but was rejected repeatedly. Only one cook showed compassion and gave him food. Grateful, the old man decided to punish those celebrating the wedding and save only the cook and her son. He warned them not to look back when fleeing, but the cook disobeyed and turned into stone. Today, she is known as the Enchanted Princess, whose gaze is lost in Huaypo Lake.

These legends add an aura of mystery and romance to Huaypo Lake, attracting visitors seeking to discover the hidden secrets within its waters and natural surroundings.

Location of Huaypo Lake

Huaypo Lake is an hour and a half from the city of Cusco, located between the provinces of Urubamba and Anta, at an altitude of 3,507 meters above sea level.

How to Get to Huaypo Lake?

To reach Huaypo Lake, there are several options that cater to the preferences and needs of travelers. It is also located near Chinchero, 44 km from Cusco.

How to Get to Huaypo Lake from Cusco?

From Cusco, you can access the lake by public or private transportation, both offering a variety of experiences to enjoy the journey.

By public bus

An economical and popular option to reach Huaypo Lake from Cusco is to take a public bus. First, head to Santiago Square, where you'll find the starting point for buses heading towards Izcuchaca-Anta from Cusco. This journey takes approximately one and a half hours and costs around 3 soles.

You can also opt for shared taxis, which offer a more comfortable service for a price ranging from 5 soles per person.

Once at the bus terminal in Izcuchaca, there is a small taxi terminal two houses away that will take you to the Chacán peasant community, where Huaypo Lake is located. The cost of this trip will be approximately 3 to 5 soles. For the return to Cusco, follow the same route.

By private transportation with Illapa Culturas Andinas

For those seeking a more personalized and comfortable experience, Illapa Culturas Andinas offers private transportation services to Huaypo Lake. You will visit with expert guides and vehicles equipped for adventure, ensuring a safe and memorable journey through the picturesque roads leading to the lake.

Altitude and Depth of Huaypo Lake

It is located at an altitude of 3,700 meters, with a depth ranging from 20 to 50 meters, perfect for water sports.

Tourist Activities at Huaypo Lake

Huaypo Lake offers a wide range of tourist activities that allow visitors to explore and enjoy its natural beauty in various ways. From thrilling quad bike rides to peaceful kayak excursions, there is something for every taste and level of adventure.

Quad Bike Rides

Quad bike rides are an exciting way to explore the surroundings of Huaypo Lake and admire the breathtaking landscapes that surround it. With the help of expert local guides, travelers can traverse winding trails and enjoy panoramic views while immersing themselves in the pristine nature of the region.

Kayaking on Huaypo Lake

For those seeking a quieter and more serene experience, kayaking on Huaypo Lake offers the opportunity to paddle gently through its crystalline waters and contemplate the natural beauty that surrounds it. With the reflection of the mountains on the water's surface and the song of birds as a soundtrack, this activity is ideal for those who wish to connect with nature in an intimate and personal way.

Full-Day Tours to Huaypo Lake

Full-day tours to Huaypo Lake are an excellent option for those wishing to thoroughly explore this wonderful tourist destination. With a combination of activities such as guided hikes, outdoor lunches, and free time to relax by the lake, these tours offer a complete and enriching experience for all travelers.

The difficulty level is low, and you can engage in various activities such as fishing in boats, kayaks, quad bikes; to take this tour, you must hire the services of a travel agency, as they have already organized a program that you only have to enjoy. Within the tour, lunch, pick-up, and return to your hotel, and the activities they schedule according to your preference are included.

Plan your trip to Laguna Huaypo

Before embarking on your journey to Laguna Huaypo, it is important to carefully plan to ensure a seamless experience filled with memorable moments. From choosing the best time of year to visit to following some practical tips for travelers, here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

Planning a trip to Laguna Huaypo is crucial to making the most of this unforgettable experience. Here are some tips to ensure that your visit is a success.

  • Explore the variety of options available, from private tours to group excursions, each offering a unique experience.
  • Coordinate with the contracted agency in advance for logistical details such as pick-up time and location, as well as any special equipment or attire you may need for planned activities.
  • Take into account the weather conditions and the time of year you plan to visit the lagoon.
  • Don't forget to pack comfortable and warm clothing, sunscreen, insect repellent, drinking water, and a camera to capture the most memorable moments of your trip.

With proper planning and attention to detail, your trip to Laguna Huaypo is sure to be an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories for a lifetime.

Best Time of Year to Visit the Lagoon

The best time to visit Laguna Huaypo is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. During these months, the weather is more stable, and there is less chance of rain, making outdoor activities easier and offering clear views of the surrounding landscapes. However, the lagoon is beautiful year-round, with each season having its own unique charm.

During this time, you can engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and picnics by the lagoon.

Travel Tips

To ensure a memorable and hassle-free experience at Laguna Huaypo, it is crucial to follow some useful tips that will help you prepare properly and make the most of your visit.

Firstly, wear comfortable and suitable clothing for outdoor activities, along with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the strong sun, especially during the dry season.

Make sure to bring enough drinking water and some energy snacks to keep yourself hydrated and energized during your adventure. Don't forget to bring a camera or your mobile phone to capture the most memorable moments of your trip.

Another very important tip is to respect the environment and local culture; remember to take any trash you generate with you, thus protecting the natural surroundings. Additionally, respect the traditions and beliefs of the local communities inhabiting the area.

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