The Santa Cruz Trail

The Santa Cruz Trail is the most popular and beautiful trekking route through the Cordillera Blanca. This 26 mile trail passes by many of the waterfalls, crystal lakes, and high peaks that define Huascarán National Park. Following the Santa Cruz, you will have the opportunity to run the Sierra Andina Chavin Trail race. This 28-mile pre-Incan trail crosses over the Andes and finishes in the ancient civilization site of Chavín de Huantar. Click here for more info on the race.

29.png

Dates:

  • May 23 - 31, 2019

  • May 23 - June 2, 2019, with race add-on option (2 additional days for the Sierra Andina Chavín Trail 45k race)

Duration:

9 -11 Days (2 nights camping)

Group Size:

4 - 12 Participants


Price:

  • $2,295, Double Occupancy

  • $2,495, With Add-On Option

Price Excludes:

  • Guide gratuity


  • International transportation to and from Lima


  • Hotel costs before and/or after scheduled trip dates


  • Personal trail food, gels, energy drink mixes


  • Any alcohol with meals


  • Trip cancellation insurance


  • Personal running and camping gear and clothing

Price Includes:

  • Experienced guides


  • All in-country transportation including airport transfers


  • All in-country lodging


  • Most breakfasts and dinners (See itinerary for what meals are included)


  • All gear transport, arrieros, burros and/or llamas


  • All group camping equipment
, camp food, camp cooks and other camp staff


  • All National Park and local area entrance fees

  • Entry to the Sierra Andina Chavín Trail event and logistics


Overview

Some of the highlights of this Santa Cruz Trail Adventure will include running over the continental divide at Punta Union Pass, 15,600', a run to Alpamayo Base Camp, and two nights of camping in beautiful alpine meadows. All of your gear will be transported daily to each camp by a team of burros giving you the freedom to run with nothing on your back but the essentials for the day. With the obvious challenges of running over high altitude passes, we will prepare you with multiple day-runs in and around Huascarán National Park to help you acclimatize before starting the Santa Cruz Trail. Following each of these scenic day-runs we will return to the comfort of our hotel in Huaraz or cozy mountain eco-lodge near the Park and dine on authentic local cuisine.

What to expect

The Santa Cruz Trail will be the main objective on this 9-day adventure in the Cordillera Blanca. This will take place after three acclimatization outings in and around Huascarán National Park. Only after visiting higher elevations multiple times and feeling well acclimatized will we start our run over Punta Union Pass. Please see the detailed itinerary for the day to day runs and acclimatization plan.


Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Lima

Depart the U.S. and arrive in Lima. We will be there to pick you up at the airport and transfer you to our hotel in the Miraflores District.

  • Lodging: Miraflores


  • Meals Included: Dinner


Day 2: Travel to Huaraz

Travel from Lima via bus to the city of Huaraz. This ride will take 8 hours as it passes along the desert coast and up into the highlands of the Andes.

  • Lodging: La Casa de Zarela (10,000')


  • Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner


Day 3: Acclimatization above Huaraz

Acclimatization outing above town along secluded country roads giving us views of Huaraz and the snow capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. Following the run we will travel to above Huaraz to the Lazy Dog Inn where we will spend the next two night.

  • Lodging: Lazy Dog Inn (11,800')


  • Run: about 8 miles, 1,800' Gain, 1800' Loss


  • Elevation: 10,000' - 11,800'


  • Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner


Day 4: Acclimatization Hike/Run to the Laguna Llaca

Second acclimatization outing in the Cordillera Blanca. Quebrada Llaca will be a long alpine valley run into Huascarán National Park leading to Laguna Llaca at 14,700’. Following our run we will travel back to the Lazy Dog Inn for one more night.

  • Lodging: Lazy Dog Inn (11,800')

  • Run: 10 miles, 3,000' Gain, 3,000' Loss

  • Elevation: 11,700' - 14,800'

  • Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5: Run to Laguna 69

Run to one of the most scenic lakes in Huascarán National Park, Laguna 69. This lake is known for is stunning turquoise color, huge waterfalls and surrounding giant peaks. Following the run, we will drive over Portachuelo Pass (15,500') to the town of Vaqueria and the start of the Santa Cruz Trail.

  • Lodging: Illariy Lodge (12,200')

  • Run: 8 miles, 2,200' Gain, 2,200’ Loss

  • Elevation: 12,800' - 15,000'

  • Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 - 8: Santa Cruz Trail Run

Run the Santa Cruz Trail from Vaqueria to Cashapama. Over the next three days we will run sections of the Santa Cruz Trail along with side trips to popular connecting valleys and scenic lakes. Following the third day’s run we will travel back to Huaraz.

  • Camping: 2 nights camping in scenic pampas

  • Run: 28 - 32 miles, 6,000’ Gain

  • Elevation: 11,200’ - 15,600’

  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9: Travel to Lima
/ Fly Home

Bus back to Lima and connect to international flights home. Buses from Huaraz leave mid morning and typically arrive in Lima between 6 and 8pm. When scheduling your international flight be sure to choose one that leaves late this night- most flights do.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast

Sierra Andina Chavín Trail 45k Race Add-On Option

Day 9: Rest Day in Huaraz

  • Lodging: La Casa de Zarela (10,000')


  • Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner


Day 10: Run the Sierra Andina Chavín Trail 45k

Run the 45k race from Olleros to Chavín de Huantar. This beautiful 28-mile trails follows an ancient pre-Incan route through Huascaran National Park to the town and ruins of Chavin de Huantar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This event is the perfect way to finish your trip and should not be missed. For more info on the race click here.

  • Lodging: La Casa de Zarela (10,000’)

  • Run: 28 miles, 5,500’ Gain, 6,000’ Loss

  • Elevation: 10,000’ - 15,400’

  • Meals included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11: Travel to Lima
/ Fly Home

Bus back to Lima and connect to international flights home. Buses from Huaraz leave mid morning and typically arrive in Lima between 6 and 8pm. When scheduling your international flight be sure to choose one that leaves late this night- most flights do.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast


Lodging

All lodging, between our scheduled first and last nights in Lima, are included in the price. We believe that while on vacation the places you stay can affect a trip of this sort. Staying in nicer, more comfortable, places at a slightly higher cost can only benefit the group. If you eat well, sleep well and enjoy your accommodations you will perform better on our daily runs. While in Huaraz we will be staying at La Casa de Zarela which is just a few minutes walk from the Plaza De Armas in the heart of the city. This small, comfortable hotel is a great place to relax while taking in the views of the city and mountains from one of the many terraces or roof top patio.

During our initial acclimatization runs in Huascarán National Park we will be staying at The Lazy Dog Inn just out side the entrance of the Park. This ranch style eco-lodge sits high in the hills above Huaraz and offers a quiet, relaxing getaway from the city. While here we will have close access to our daily runs, large comfortable rooms and delicious home cooked meals. All trip prices are based on double room occupancy. Most, but not all, of our accommodations have the option for single occupancy if you prefer. Please inquire with Highline for these options and additional costs.

Camping

This trip will have a total of four nights camping while in the Cordillera Huayhuash. All nights will be spent in established campsites along the trail in open meadows known as “pampas”. Most of these campsites have been chosen based on their extraordinary views of the mountains and surrounding scenery. One of the camping highlights of the Huayhuash Circuit is a night at the Viconga Hot Springs where we can soak our tired bodies in the rejuvenating hot spring pools next to the campsite.

Gear

_C6A0520 copy.jpg

All of our group and personal bags will be transported daily by a team of burros led by our small hired staff of locals. These friendly local experts will not only be setting up and take down camp when needed, they will also be preparing all of our delicious meals, leaving you time to relax from the day’s run and refuel for the next.

High in the Andes temps can fluctuate significantly like in most alpine environments and we need to plan for any conditions we might come across. Please see the detailed gear list and please contact us if you have any questions.
 * Please note that this is a very unique trip with difficult logistics. Please read the gear list carefully since it requires more than our normal trips.


Difficulty

HC6A7442-2 copy 2.jpg

This adventure has advanced level runs with distances up to 28 miles (Sierra Andina Chavín Trail 45k), multiple mountain passes, high elevation gain, and altitudes up to 15,600’.


Although we do our best to help you prepare for higher elevations it is a known fact that everyone acclimatizes differently. With this in mind, know that running at these altitudes will still be challenging for all whether you are acclimatized or not and you should not expect your body to perform as it does at home. Most runners should expect to hike many sections of these trails, especially during the first few days at altitude. During this time most will enjoy running only the easier flats and gradual downhill sections while hiking the uphills. Because of the beautiful scenery throughout our trips most people have no problem adopting this philosophy of “run when I can, hike when I can’t” and simply take in the beauty of Peru while hiking.

How strong of a runner do I need to be for this trip?

Highline Running Adventures offers trips for everyone. You do not need to be an experienced trail runner, ultra marathoner or avid outdoor enthusiast to enjoy our adventures. We invite first time trail runners who might not have access to mountainous terrain at home and want to experience the joys of alpine trail running. Like any endeavor in the mountains, most runners will have a far better experience if they are in shape and should begin a training program well before the trip. We are available for training tips and advice for those who are new to this kind of running.

Although Highline Running Adventure caters to most ability levels, most runners will find our Peru Adventures to be more challenging than other trips. With higher elevations and typical climbs over 15,000’ mountain passes, those interested should plan a training routine months in advance. Please study the detailed itinerary for the day to day distances and elevation gains. Keep in mind that we will typically have most of the day available to complete these distances and you will most likely have the option to take significant breaks at scenic overlooks, lakes, mountain passes etc.. More importantly, one should be able to complete these distances day after day because there will be few rest days planned.


Reservations

If you have any questions regarding one of our trips or would like help deciding which trip is right for you please feel free to contact us. Once you have decided, just let us know by filling out the registration form below. After we have received your registration form and trip deposit we will send you additional travel information and a gear list.

Trip Deposit

We do require a non-refundable $500 deposit to hold your spot at the time of registration. We recommend doing so as soon as possible since all of trips are subject to availability and have a maximum number of participants. Final payment is due 90 days prior to all trips. If registering within 90 days of the trip full payment will be due at that time.

Cancellations

We strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance for all of our trips. Because we must invest a certain amount to reserve your place on this trip with our lodging partners, transportation and hired help we can not always refund the full amount if you need to cancel. We understand that every situation is different and we will do our best to work with you if you need to cancel your trip for any reason. As a policy, our cancellation refund deadlines are as follows:



  • Cancellations more that 90 days prior to trip: Full refund minus deposit


  • Cancellations between 45-90 days prior to trip: Refund 50% of trip costs minus deposit


  • Cancellations within 45 days of trip: No refun