If you Google the distance of Laguna Rajucolta from the small township of Macashca, it will tell you that it’s 20km one way. Luckily for Travis and I, the colectivo dropped us off about 5km from the National Park gates, so
it only added another 2 hours to our walk. The trek from the National Park gates to the lake is less than 3 hour one way and a relatively flat one
From our experience, I would recommend going to the lake by taxi and getting dropped off right up to the gates. The 100 – 200 soles fee may seem a lot, but the peace of mind of knowing that you have a ride back to Huaraz will be worth it. If you’re wanting to do it on the cheap like we did, make sure to go early because the colectivos stop running back to Huaraz by around 6pm.
The colectivo from Huaraz to Marcara was in an obscure driveway
and costs 2 soles one way, but unfortunately didn’t leave until 8.30am.
That’s why we started our walk so late. Macashca itself is a friendly little township and its main square is quite pretty. We managed to stay on in the colectivo until its last stop, which does go far into the countryside.
You basically follow the dirt road all the way to the lake, although we did ask a few of the locals we saw along the way just to be sure. One woman even asked us for some painkillers as she said she had a headache from the hot sun. I gave her a couple of paracetamols and Travis gave her a bottle of water he had. She was herding her sheep down towards the valley. Even though the trek is beautiful, it is a long way so just be prepared if you do decide to follow in our footsteps. For the most part
it’s a gradual incline, but there were plenty of steep inclines also.
I was pretty happy to see the National Park gates, although we knew there was still another two to three hours until we would reach the lake. This part is relatively flat and quite stunning. If you’re using this trek for acclimatization, it would be quite easy and you get the added bonus of seeing Huantsan grow as you get closer to the lake. It took Travis and I just over a couple of hours to reach the lake.
As I sat myself down on the dam, I realised just how exhausted I was. Regardless, we decided to take a few photos up the hill before sitting down for lunch. No matter which angle you look at it, Laguna Rajucolta with Huantsan in the background is just superb. It’s one of the lesser known acclimatization treks you can do, but if you have the budget for the taxi, I highly recommend it.
We stayed at the lake less than hour, and long enough for Travis to take a dip in the lake. I stayed up at the dam and really hoped I wouldn’t have to rescue him because it was a long way down. As he was much faster than me, I started making my way back down to the valley while he was still getting dressed. I heard him call out just before I disappeared around the corner, and I turned around just in time to see his naked backside and a mischievous grin across his face!
Unfortunately for Travis and I, we made it back to Macashca after the colectivos stopped running to Huaraz. We got talking to some local kids hanging around the square who tried to help us get a taxi from any locals who may be around. Just as we were losing hope, Travis managed to
flag down a car load and convinced the driver to drive us to Huaraz.
He dropped off his friends and quickly came back with his girlfriend in
the front seat. We estimated that we trekked for about 10 hours and about
fivefootronna is Ronna Grace Funtelar - a thirtyish storyteller, creative, writer and poet currently working and traveling in Peru. A woman with
a curious mind who lives for hiking mountains, outdoor adventures and eating pizza. She has a unique brand of optimism that is a combination
of her great enthusiasm for life and cups of coffee during the day.