Skip to Content

Laguna Shallap: The Complete Guide To This Hidden Green Lake

Laguna Shallap: The Complete Guide To This Hidden Green Lake

Laguna Shallap is a breathtaking green lake that’s easy to explore from Pitec, near Huaraz in Peru. Surprisingly, though, tourists are yet to cotton on to this stunning natural attraction. Indeed, not many tourists know about this lake. Honestly speaking, the colour of the lake is just mind-blowing. But, it’s not just that. Laguna Shallap is perched at the foot of some spectacular mountains that form part of the Cordillera Blanca. Truly, the hike to Laguna Shallap involves a scenic trail, that’ll have any keen hiker buzzing.

In this hiking guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Laguna Shallap and how to hike to it. We’ll provide a GPS-guided map and trail description. Then, we’ll talk about how to get there independently. We’ll also cover things like how to properly acclimatise for the hike and what to pack and wear. Finally, we’ll reveal other lesser-known hikes in Huaraz, which are just as incredible.

Laguna Shallap Overview

Laguna Shallap, also known as Lake Shallap, is yet another beautiful lake in Huascaran National Park in the Cordillera Blanca. Of course, there are more popular lakes to hike to in this area. Namely, Laguna 69, Paron and Churup. These are the most well-known lake hikes to do from Huaraz.

But, there are many equally stunning lakes in the Cordillera Blanca that remain barely explored and unknown. Laguna Shallap is one of these lakes that’s certainly off the beaten track. Perhaps, that’s why Beck and I enjoyed this hike so much. During the approx. 6 hour hike, we saw no other hikers! Considering the beauty of the lake and its surrounds, there really should be more tourists hiking here.

So, where exactly is this lake located?

Read our Laguna Hualcacocha, Laguna Queshquecocha and Four Lagunas Trek guides

Dan admires Laguna Shallap, near Pitec and Huaraz

Where Is Laguna Shallap?

As mentioned, Laguna Shallap is located in Huascaran National Park, which is nestled in the outstanding Cordillera Blanca. The lake is located in the Shallap Valley, which is reachable from either Pitec or Junca – these are both small towns near Huaraz. Indeed, it’s possible to hike Laguna Shallap from both Pitec and Junca. But, we’ll explain why hiking from Pitec is a better option here. Either way, you’ll likely be exploring Laguna Shallap from Huaraz, which is the capital of the Ancash region in Northern Peru.

Top 3 Huaraz Accommodation

The Lazy Dog Inn

Things to Know About the Laguna Shallap Hike

Before we describe the awesome Laguna Shallap hike, there are a few useful things to know. First, Laguna Shallap is quite a long hike (approx. 24km). So, you’ll want to be in reasonably good shape before taking on this trail. Also, it’s a high-altitude hike. It starts in Pitec, near Huaraz, which is around 3,750 metres above sea level. The hike then reaches a height of 4,250 metres above sea level. This means you’ll want to properly acclimatise before doing this hike.

Thankfully, though, the trail itself isn’t at all technical. Most of the time, the trail is fairly even and easy to negotiate. Also, trail navigation is straightforward. There is a fairly defined path to follow. So, you shouldn’t get lost. Of course, having a map is always useful! Feel free to use our GPS-guided directions.

Beck during the Laguna Shallap hike from Pitec, near Huaraz

Laguna Shallap Hike Details & Map

  • Type: Out & Back
  • Distance: 24km
  • Time: 6–8 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 670m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Pitec
  • Map: Wikiloc

Top 3 Huaraz Day Hike Viator Tours

Dan and Beck at Laguna Paron

Laguna Shallap Hike: Trail Description

After the short journey from Huaraz to Pitec, the hike begins! Follow signs for Quebrada Shallap (Shallap River) and Nevado San Juan. Initially, you’ll descend onto a grassy and rocky trail, that meanders through the relatively dry terrain. Soon, you’ll pass farmland as the trail flattens and starts to gradually ascend.

As you gain elevation, you’ll notice a large granite ridge to your left. This forms part of the Shallap Valley, which you’ll soon begin to follow. Subtly veering to the left, you’ll soon be hiking through the stunning valley. On a clear day, expect the tops of snowy mountains to reveal in the distance. As you steadily continue to climb, you’ll pass huge boulders and follow along the river stream.

The further you climb, the more impressive the mountainous views become. There’s a real sense of anticipation as you near the mountains and the lake.

Laguna Shallap

Eventually, you’ll reach some stone buildings. After passing these and turning left, you’ll reach the mesmerising green lake. You’ll find a signpost and a concrete platform at the foot of the lake. Like many lakes in the Cordillera Blanca, this one has been turned into a human-made dam.

Admittedly, you’ll hardly notice the slab of concrete as you gaze with amazement at the otherworldly green lake. Not since hiking to the Green Lochan in the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands, had we seen a green-coloured lake. And, honestly speaking, Laguna Shallap is an even more impressive lake than the one in Scotland.

We recommend crossing the concrete platform and following a faint trail to the lake’s shore. From here, you can really appreciate the epic mountains in the distance. You’ll notice San Juan (5,843m) to the left, Tumarinarajua (5,668m), AKA Carhuashcancha in front, and, Huantsan (6,396m) barely in sight, off to the right. In fact, for the best views of Huantsan, you’ll want to hike to Laguna Rajucolta.

After a bite to eat and marvelling at the sensational green lake, it’s time to retrace your steps to complete the hike. On the way back, Beck and I indulged in our favourite activity – speed hiking. The return hike is really enjoyable as you see the valley from a different perspective. Anyway, before long, you’ll hike out of the valley, return to the trailhead in Pitec and await the colectivo back to Huaraz.

Laguna Shallap Hike Recap

Many tourists who visit Huaraz won’t go to Laguna Shallap. Simply put, this lake doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s truly a spectacular natural attraction that should have more visitors. Hopefully, this guide has helped to shed some light on this otherwise unknown place. Indeed, make sure to add this hike to your Huaraz itinerary.

Beck stands at the shores of Laguna Shallap

How to Get to Laguna Shallap

There are two options for getting to and hiking Laguna Shallap.

  1. Colectivo to Pitec from Huaraz: this is the easiest and cheapest option. Transport Turistico Andes Peru run a colectivo service directly to Pitec from Huaraz. Pitec is also the trailhead for the more popular Laguna Churup (Lake Churup) hike. So, essentially, most people on the colectivo will be heading to Pitec to hike Laguna Churup instead. The colectivos to Pitec depart Huaraz (see location on the map below) from 7am, running a few times in the morning. Expect the first departure to be around 7:15–7:30am – basically, once the colectivo is full, it’ll leave. But, we recommend getting there for 7am, just in case. You’ll pay S/20 ($5USD) per person for a return ticket (S/10 each way). Colectivos from Pitec to Huaraz start from around 2pm and run hourly until 5pm (last departure).
  2. Moto-taxi or taxi from Huaraz to Junca: this is the most convenient option. But, it’s much pricier. Simply, hire a driver for the day to take you to Junca, wait and then drive you back to Huaraz. The going rate is between S/100–150 ($25–$38USD). From Junca, the hike to Laguna Shallap is slightly shorter (approx. 22km) and the route is more direct. That’s why, if you do a Laguna Shallap tour, they generally start from Junca. FYI – there’s no public transport or colectivo to Junca from Huaraz.

Pitec, Huaraz

Pitec is a small mountain town just outside of the city of Huaraz. It takes around 45 minutes to drive from Huaraz to Pitec. As mentioned, Pitec is well-known as the starting point for the Laguna Churup hike. But, Pitec is also a potential starting place for the multi-day Quillcayhuanca Cojup Trek. If Beck and I had a little more time in Huaraz, we would have loved to have done this multi-day trek. Ah well, there’s always next time.

Laguna Shallap Tours

Laguna Shallap isn’t a very well-known destination. So, you’ll only find a few tour companies in Huaraz, that offer Laguna Shallap hiking tours. As mentioned, it’s very unlikely (as of 2022) that enough people know about this hike for there to be tour groups heading there. With that in mind, if you go with a tour company, it’ll likely be a private service. This could cost anywhere between S/220–380 ($55–95USD). We think these costs are unnecessary. It’s easy to hike to Laguna Shallap independently. So, we don’t recommend doing a tour.

Laguna Shallap Entrance Fee

Because you’ll enter Huascaran National Park, you’ll pay an entrance fee. About halfway to the lake, a local asked us for the entry fee. The man wasn’t wearing any official uniform. So, we didn’t know what to think. But, luckily, Beck and I had paid S/150 ($38USD) per person for a 4–30 day Huascaran National Park pass. So, we just showed him our passes, and we didn’t have to pay the usual S/30 ($8USD) daily rate.

In fact, we needed to show this pass for entry to Laguna 69, Churup, Llaca, Hualcacocha, Pastoruri Glacier, and, twice for the Santa Cruz trek. By visiting more than five places at Huascaran National Park, it’s worth buying this pass. Otherwise, you’d pay S/30 ($8USD) for each visit.

Best Time to Visit

You’ll have a better chance of good weather in the dry season, which runs May to October. As you’re now aware, this hike isn’t known by many tourists (for now). So, even when hiking during peak tourist times in the dry season, you won’t see many, if any, people on the trail.

Personally, Beck and I visited during the dry season, in late June. True to form, we mostly had clear blue skies with the odd cloud. But, of course, mountain weather is unpredictable.

How to Properly Acclimatise

Before you do the hike, you should acclimatise. Altitude sickness (AKA Acute Mountain Sickness) is a common illness experienced by those who reach unaccustomed high altitudes. The main symptoms include headache, shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, indigestion and loss of appetite. It’s impossible to predict who will get altitude sickness. Even if you have avoided it in the past, that doesn’t mean you won’t get it the next time.

You’ll hear about many different ways to avoid altitude sickness. But, the most important way to reduce your chances of getting altitude sickness is to avoid going up too high, too quickly! Generally speaking, you shouldn’t go higher than 500 metres a day, once you’re beyond 2,000 metres above sea level.

In practice, if you arrive in Huaraz (3,050 metres above sea level), you should have at least two days’ rest before you hike. This should give your body time to adjust and acclimatise. In theory, by the third day, your body should be able to tolerate approx. 3,550 metres. By this time, you should start with some hikes with a lower maximum elevation gain. For instance, you could start with Laguna Wilcacocha (3,710m) before attempting Laguna Shallap (4,250m). This will reduce your chances of getting altitude sickness.

How to Avoid Altitude Sickness

There are other ways you can reduce your chances of getting altitude sickness. Firstly, don’t rush when you’re hiking to the lake. Walk slowly and take it easy. If you feel out of breath, simply stop, relax and have a break. Secondly, eat light meals and don’t eat them too quickly. Drink plenty of water. Also, you may benefit from coca leaves, tea or sweets. This is what locals recommend. Finally, there are altitude sickness tablets (such as Diamox) available. But, if you acclimatise properly, you shouldn’t need these.

Where to Stay in Huaraz

Of course, if you’re exploring Laguna Shallap from Huaraz, you’ll need a place to rest your head. We’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxury options.

  • Budget – Krusty Hostel B&B: Beck and I really enjoyed our stay here. The private rooms at Krusty Hostel B&B are nice and cosy. The hostel features a large shared kitchen, which includes a free breakfast. Additionally, the Wifi is top shelf.
  • Mid-range – The Lazy Dog Inn: this mountain lodge is growing in popularity. Located just outside of Huaraz, in Pitec, The Lazy Dog Inn has serene and beautiful surroundings. We’ve heard the owners are really generous. They spend time helping guests to plan their hikes. By staying here, you’ll be much closer to the Laguna Llaca trailhead and other hikes in the Cordillera Blanca, compared with staying in the city of Huaraz.
  • Luxury – Cordillera Hotel: this is probably one of the nicest hotels in Huaraz. Cordillera Hotel is an excellent place to stay. Expect stylish rooms and modern facilities. We doubt there are many better places to stay in Huaraz.
Dan at Krusty Hostel

Travel Insurance For Peru

Heymondo is one of the best budget travel insurance providers on the market. They provide comprehensive travel and medical insurance that won’t break the bank. Whether it’s single trip insurance, annual multi-trip insurance or long stay insurance, Heymondo offers affordable travel and medical insurance to suit all of your needs. Personally, we use Heymondo travel insurance and highly recommend it. To find out more about Heymondo travel and medical insurance, read our Heymondo travel insurance review.

Travel Insurance

Heymondo Travel Insurance

Don’t leave for your trip without booking travel insurance. We all know accidents can happen and having Heymondo travel insurance could save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong. Click the button below to receive a 5% discount!

Other Hikes in Huaraz

There are so many awesome hikes to do in Huaraz. We highly recommend doing the following trails when you visit:

What to Wear and Pack

You should pack water, snacks, lunch, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat. Otherwise, here are our other hiking essentials.

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.

Bonus Tips

  • Climbing is another popular activity in Huaraz: other than hiking, many travellers head to Huaraz to climb. A great beginner’s climb is Nevado Mateo. Beck and I were close to doing this activity until I injured my toe. Damn, the climb looks amazing!
  • Use Busbud: an easy way to book bus tickets in advance at competitive prices. We used Busbud to book our bus from Lima to Huaraz.
  • Explore the unknown: sure, visit the popular places near Huaraz, like Laguna 69 and Laguna Paron. But, there are many hidden gems in Huaraz. Talk to locals and tour companies to find out any secrets or lesser-known places for the most authentically unique experiences.

Booking Buses


Busbud is one of the best online bus booking platforms. Wherever you’re travelling, you can easily compare bus tickets from different companies and book the best option for your trip. We highly recommend using Busbud to find the cheapest bus fares.

Laguna Shallap pinterest

Please share this post on Facebook. Let’s spread the word on this awesome hike in Huaraz.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *