1. English
  2. 中文 (中国)
Humantay lake hike

Humantay Lake Hike

Written by: Incatrailhikeperu May 7, 2022

About Humantay Lake

Humantay is a beautiful alpine lake high in the Andes and is famous for its vibrant turquoise and green colors which attract tourists from all over the country and the world. Humantay is high in the andes at 4,200 m 13800 ft. The background is dominated by the awe inspiring Mount Salkantay. The white glaciers of the Vilcabamba mountain range contrast beautifully against the turquoise lake of Humantay and the deep blue skies above. Take a moment to appreciate the tranquility and raw nature of the area. If you sit in a moment of silence you begin to understand why the Incas considered the mountains to be sacred.

There are a few different ways to get to Humantay Lake. The first thing you will have to decide is if you want to take a guided tour with a company or if you want to do it solo. Depending on how much time you have it may be better and more simple to take a guided tour. Also, if you are not the biggest fan of hiking then defineteñy don’t go the solo route.

If you are in a rush and don’t have a lot of time to spare consider taking one of the short guided tours such as, 1-day Humantay Trek, or the 2-day Salkantay and Humantay Trek. However, if you do have time to spare one of the longer treks is much more worth it and highly recommended. There are a few long multi-day treks that include Humantay, the Salkantay Trek 4 days 5 nights, the Salkantay Trek via Llactapata 5 Days 4 nights, and the longest option Salkantay and Classic Inca Trail 7 days 6 nights.

Hiking Humantay Lake solo

There are some serious difficulties when hiking Humantay solo. Although it’s definitely doable, it’s good to know what to expect so you can properly prepare and have a nice smooth trip.

Challenges of solo hiking Humantay

  • Accessing Humantay is not easy
  • Transportation is the most difficult part to plan
  • If you do not have transportation figured out you could possibly get stranded for the night
  • Prices for a taxi to humantay and back are expensive
  • Must be able to speak Spanish in order to negotiate a taxi pickup
  • Many locals only speak Quechua

***PLEASE NOTE: There is a very real chance of getting stranded for the night at the lake. You must make sure you have a ride back.

Getting to Humantay solo

  • Start the day early in cusco at the latest 6:00am. Take public transport from Cusco to Mollepata. The bus will leave from the Arcopata terminal in Cusco and the journey should take around 2 hours and costs around 20 soles
  • Once in Mollepata, you’ll have to take a 1 hour shared taxi “colectivo” or “combi” to the small village of Soraypampa.
  • There may not be any shared colectivos, if that’s the case you will need to hire a private taxi which will cost around 70 soles.
  • Find the trailhead in Soraypampa pay the 10 soles entrance fee and start the hike to Humantay.
  • A short hike only 2 km, because of the altitude and grade it takes around 2 hours to complete
  • Enjoy the views take all the pictures your heart desires then start the 1-1.5 hour walk back down to the Soraypampa
  • Once back at the base you’ll need to find a van, or taxi, back from Soraypampa to Mollepata 
  • From Mollepata take the same bus back to Cusco. If everything goes smoothñy you should return to Cusco in the evening around 6:00 pm

***PLEASE NOTE: When you add up all the transportation and meal costs and the potential risk of not getting the proper transportation it may be better to go with a tour company.

You can get a 1 day guided tour for as low as 250 soles. The tours usually include door to door transportation, breakfast, and lunch cooked by a private chef.

Difficulty rating

The hike to Humantay is moderately difficult. It’s not a long hike, only 4.5km round trip. However, it takes around 1-2 hours just to get to the lake and then another 1- 1.5 to get back down. The reason it takes so long is because you will be at high altitude 4,200 m 13800 ft. Make sure to pace yourself on the way up. The last thing you want is to get altitude sickness. You will gain around 450m of elevation, during the hike there are some steep and rocky parts. It’s recommended you are in decent physical shape although the vast majority of people who attempt this hike make it to the top without any serious issues.

Different tours to Humantay Lake 

1 Day Humantay Lake Tour

On this 1 day tour to Humantay you’ll start the day early. Your tour guide will pick you up at your hotel in a private van at 4:30 am. From your hotel you’ll drive approximately 4 hours until you arrive at the trailhead in Soraypampa. At the trailhead your private chef will prepare breakfast for you. Enjoy the hike take pictures at the lake and have lunch when you return back to the Soraypampa trailhead. Your guide will then drive you back to your hotel in Cusco arriving in the evening around 5:00pm

Recommended Tour Operator: Orange Nation

Humantay Lake & Salkantay Mountain Trek 2 Days/ 1 Night

Get the chance to see local andean communities in the villages of Iscuchaca  and Limatambo where the locals are still practicing traditions from Incan and pre-Incan times.

Like most of the tours you’ll start the day early at 5:00 am. Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco and take you on a 4 hour drive to Soraypampa. Hike from Soraypampa to Humantay Lake, enjoy the scenery of this sacred lake. Hike back down to Soraypampa and continue for about 2 hours until reaching the campsite of Soyroccocha.

Start the 2nd day with a delicious breakfast prepared by your private chefs. The first leg of the hike will take you to Salkantay Pass 4600 meters (15090 ft). Take in the amazing views surrounded by enormous mountains like Salkantay and Humantay. From here you will take a half an hour detour to Salkantay Lake. After taking in the scenery turn back and hike to the Soraypampa trailhead where you will take the private van arriving to Cusco around 6:00 pm.

Recommended Tour Operator: Spider Travel Peru

Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu 4 days / 3 nights

One of the most popular alternatives to the Inca Trail the Salkantay offers more pristine nature but, lacks the Many Inca ruins of the Inca Trail. This tour also brings you to the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu!

Start the day at 4:30 and take the private van to the trailhead at Soraypampa. From there hike up to Humantay Lake. After admiring the lake return the way you came and hike a bit further until arriving at the first campsite Sorococcha.

The next morning hike from camp to Apacheta Pass 4.871m (15,980ft). At the pass take opportunity to admire the sacred peaks of the Vilcabamba mountain range, Salkantay Humantay and Huayanay are all visible from the pass. From the pass descend for about two hours before reaching camp Huayracmachay where you will have lunch and relax for a bit before continuing. After lunch hike for another three hours until coming to the rural community of Chayllay where you will take local transportation to the next campsite Lucmabamba.

On the third day you’ll be walking in the footsteps of the Inca on the Inca trail for 4 hours before arriving at the Incan ruins of Llactapata. Ask your guide about the history of these ruins and how they are connected to Machu Picchu. Continue on the trail for 2 hours before arriving at the Hydroelectric Plant. Relax and have lunch then take the train to Aguas Calientes. The next morning you’ll finally get to see Machu Picchu first hand!

Recommended Tour Operator: Sam Travel

5 day Glamping Salkantay to Machu Picchu Trek

A luxy version of the Salkantay this hike is for people who want the ultimate level of comfort while on the trail.

A custom designed hike through the Salkantay trail this Luxury glamping experience provides all the amenities you can think of. The meals are high class with waiters and private chefs catering to all your needs. There will also be high quality cutlery plates and glassware making you feel like you’re at a luxury restaurant high in the mountains.

Every day there will be portable hot showers with towels and silk robes provided. Additionally, you have the option of getting a professional massage from a licensed massage therapist every evening. They will also provide a private toilet for the group to share positioned far from the campsite. Typically,Fcam the government toilets are not in good clean condition so having a private toilet that the company brings makes a huge difference.

You will have a private tent to sleep in with a cot so you will be comfortably off the ground. The company will also provide cotton sheets, blankets, and pillows which will make you forget that you are even camping. This will most likely be the best sleep you’ll ever get on the trail!

***PLEASE NOTE: This tour is completely personalized and customizable to meet all your needs desires and you budget.

Recommended Tour Operator: Glamping Peru Treks

Salkantay Trek & Classic Inca Trail Hike 7 Days

The ultimate hike to Machu Picchu which includes the most amount of wilderness, pristine nature, and incan ruins all combined into one mega package. If you don’t want to compromise, if you want to have your cake and eat it too, this is the best all inclusive hike.

Easily the best combination of wilderness landscapes and Incan ruins, the first 3 and a half days you will be hiking the Salkantay route. The Salkantay trek offers amazing views of the surrounding Vilcabamba Mountain Range and has, in general, much more pristine and untouched natural landscapes. Although it does not have Incan ruins like the Inca trail does. Normally, hikers have to weigh the pros and cons of each hike. Would you rather have a surreal and pristine natural experience, or get in depth information and see the Incan ruins first hand? With this option you don’t have choose you can have both experiences packed into one mega hike!

Recommended Tour Operator: SAM Travel

Weather in Lake Humantay 

The weather in Humantay is dictated by two major seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season is from November to April and the dry season is from May to October. It’s important to be prepared for any and all weather conditions. Always have rain gear and sunscreen with you. The weather can be sunny and nice one moment then completely change to heavy downpours the next.

The temperatures average from 32°F to 66°F (0°C to 18°C).

Can I rent a horse?

If you would like to rent a horse you can in Soraypampa in general it costs somewhere around 120 soles. You cannot get a horse for the way down only for the way up.

Humantay Packing list

  • Day Bag: for your daily essential items
  • Good footwear: Broken in hiking boots or trail shoes with good soles.
  • Warm jacket: Either a heavy warm fleece of a down jacket to keep you warm at night
  • Layers moisture wicking: Bring layers preferably the under layers moisture wicking/dry fit
  • Camera: Unless your phone has a good camera
  • Sun protection: sunscreen, sunhat, sunglasses
  • Insect repellent: Especially during the rainy season
  • Rain Gear: Even in the dry season it can start rainy out of nowhere
  • Reusable water bottle: Plastic bottles are not allowed in machu Picchu
  • Personal medication: Inform your guide and make sure you have it with you at all times
  • Trekking poles: They help especially on the way down
  • Trail snacks: To keep your energy up in between meals
  • Hand sanitizer: To sanitize your hands before eating
  • Toilet paper: For obvious reasons
  • Passport: You need to bring your original passport to hike the Inca trail and to enter Machu Picchu

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Humantay really have the vibrant colors?
Yes it does! It’s believed the colors come from minerals in the glacier runoff that supply Humantay lake. The minerals never settle to the lake flour and so reflect sunlight in a beautiful way.

Is Humantay Lake Worth a visit?

If you are a fan of alpine environments especially alpine lakes then yes of course it’s worth a visit. However, you don’t have to be a nature lover to enjoy this hike many tourists from all over the world visit this sacred lake every year.

How is the cell phone service?

There is no cell service, internet, or GPS at Humantay. If you are in an emergency you can get wifi access at one of the local restaurants. Otherwise, you will have to connect to the internet on the way back to Cusco.

Can I go swimming in the lake?

No, you are not allowed to swim in Humantay. First of all the lake is considered sacred to the local peoples and if you swim it could be seen as very disrespectful. Also if people were to swim it could disturb the chemical makeup of the lake potentially changing the color. Additionally, the water is very cold which goes without saying considering it’s supplied by the nearby glacier runoff.

Are there restrooms during the hike?

There are restrooms at the start of the hike then again half an hour into the journey. There are no facilities near the lake itself. Make sure you think ahead and go before getting to far into the trail.

Is hiking to Humantay Lake safe

Yes, this is a safe hike with little to no danger. If you feel concerned about your safety book this hike with a reputable tour company such as Orange Nation Peru


Prepare for the altitude: Because Humantay is at high altitude, 4,200 m 13800 ft, you will certainly need to acclimate before attempting this hike. Make sure you spend at least a couple of days in Cusco or the sacred valley. Also drinking coca tea or chewing the coca leaves can make a big difference if this still doesn’t help you can purchase altitude pills at any of the local pharmacies.
Bring layers: The temperature can change in an instant dressing in layers will allow you to control your body temperature more effectively.

Respect the environment: You should always follow the pack it in pack it out philosophy. We are all guests when we take a trip into nature. We have to do our part to have as little of an impact as possible. Make sure you leave no trash or anything else behind also refrain from taking any natural souvenirs such as rocks crystals etc. Remember when you visit nature, take only pictures and leave only footprints.

Appreciate your time: Take the time to appreciate where you are. You are in one of the most remote and pristine alpine environments in the world. These mountains are considered sacred to the local people. Don’t rush through the trip, take in the amazing views and be grateful. Not many people get to see this amazing mountain landscape.

Guided Adventures

Self-made blog

All the information is free and precise. I don't get paid for publishing any agency or tour, and everything has been verified and experienced.


Local Information

Everything in this blog has been doublé checked by a local, we made the effort on gathering all this information for you, to make your trip easier and cheaper.


Personal experience

99% of the information has been lived by a traveler like you, me, I wanted to compile all the information I had to make every traveler life easier.


Best and only the best

We gathered the best information for you. All this has been investigated and visited only to bring you the best CSelf-made blog. All the information is free and precise. I don't get paid for publishing any agency or tour, and everything has been verified and experienced.