When people think of hiking in Peru, Santa Cruz is not the hike that first pops into people’s minds. However, the relatively high alpine trek through the Cordillera Blanca offers many subtle splendors without the ills of the more famed Inca Trail. While noted as a busy trek, we found the Santa Cruz trek to be relatively quiet and sparsely populated compared to the much heavier traveled Inca Trial. While walking through the soft expansive meadow floor of the valleys one can gaze and enjoy many alpine views above and a widely varied view of flora and fauna. Just keep watch of your feet as cow poop is everywhere!
Days Trekking: 4 days (We took 5 by adding a side trip)
Distance: 50 km, 31 mi
Max Elevation: 4,760 meters, 15,617ft, Punta Union
Starting Elevation: 2,900 meters, 9,514ft
Approximate Elevation Change: 1,860 meters,6,103 ft
Price Range Independent: <$150
Price Range Outfitter: < $500
Challenge Level: Moderate
The trek travels from the village of Cashapampa and ends in the settlement of Vaqueria. Along the way you climb and the walk through many valleys with views of numerous five and six thousand meter peaks including Santa Cruz and Nevado Tauliraju.