Peru: Trekking close to Lima on a budget to a lake at 4,550 meters above sea level
Planning to get away from Lima’s traffic and its grey sky, but you don’t want to spend more than one day off home or you are almost broke, because you surpassed the monthly budget for your life abroad.
No worries, today is your lucky day, because at NOMADROOF we would like to present you a great option that combines the words that you are looking for in your travel dictionary; cheap, close and amazing.
THE LAGOON AT 4,550 METERS HIGH
Few hours away from Lima, in the mountains at 4,550 m.a.s.l, you will find the beautiful Rapagna Lagoon, called originally in Spanish “Laguna Rapagna”.
What it makes this visit worth to try? You can do it in a full day if you are strong enough to go in a heartbeat from 0 m.a.s.l to 4,550 m.a.s.l.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
1. HEAD TOWARDS CHOSICA
Your trip starts by taking a shared taxi called “colectivo” or the public bus towards a district within Lima in the east side by the hills called CHOSICA. How do you get there?
a) Colectivo (Shared Taxi)
There are three main “colectivo” stops to Chosica; one in San Isidro, one in Center of Lima and another one in Ovalo de Santa Anita.
- San Isidro
If you are coming from Miraflores, take the bus in Parque Kennedy that drives through all the Arequipa Avenue. Get off at one bus stop before reaching Javier Prado Avenue. Walk straight towards Javier Prado Avenue (less than 2 blocks away) and on your right side before reaching the main street you will find the ‘colectivo” stop also called ex-Cinena Orrantia. You will not see the shared taxis, but a person in charge that you have to tell that you want to go to Chosica. The ride costs 10 soles per person and it takes about 1.20 hours. If you are departing very early like let’s say 5am, you might or might not find the colectivos, so in any case you just have to wait until the first one fills out for departure or head to the colectivo stop in Center of Lima since it starts working earlier and has more influx of passengers.
- Center of Lima
You will find the colectivos in a wide street called Chota just right there in Plaza Bolognesi. The mini vans are S/. 6.00-S/.7.00 and the sedans S/.9 .00. The ride takes about 1.20 hours. They start working since 5am. If you are coming from Miraflores, you can take a bus in Parque Kennedy that goes through all Arequipa Avenue and get off in Paseo Colon, then walk towards Plaza Bolognesi.
- Ovalo Santa Anita
Colectivos to Chosica are always standing in the main square of Ovalo Santa Anita. The ride will cost you S/.8.00 and it takes about 1 hour ride to get to Chosica.
If you have decided to take a colectivo at any of these possible stops, don’t forget to tell the driver to drop you off at Jiron Arica in Chosica and then walk towards the stop of the buses that go to San Mateo. You can ask the driver where this stop is or even the people walking in the streets.
b) Public Bus
You can take the public bus called Chosicano as early as 5am in any of these places: Av. Venezuela, Plaza Dos de Mayo, Av. Alfonso Ugarte, Av. Arica, Plaza Bolognesi, Paseo Colón, Av. Grau, Puente de Santa Anita. Price of fare is between S/.2.50 – S/.4.00. We recommend to take the public bus as early as you can to avoid the traffic. Get off at Jirón Arica in Chosica, and walk towards the stop of the buses that go to San Mateo.
2. CHOSICA TOWARDS SAN MATEO
The bus stop towards San Mateo is located in Jirón Arica. Bus ride is S/.7.00 soles and it takes approximately 2.30hrs depending on the traffic in the “Carretera Central”.
3. SAN MATEO TOWARDS RIO BLANCO
Take the colectivos (shared taxis) towards Casapalca. You have to tell the driver to drop you off at Rio Blanco. If you see the Hostal/Hotel (picture bellow) you are in the right place. The ride costs S/.2.50.
Start ascending until you leave the hotel behind. Continue following the wide path. You will start seeing some local houses. There are two detours along the way. Always take the left detours.
In the km 2.25 (approx.) of your trek, you will find a narrow path and a wider path (similar to the one you’ve been walking all this time). Take the narrow path on your left.
Continue walking until you get to the next detour. The next detour is separated by a little bridge made of wood. Take the left path.
You will also see a yellow sign pointing left.
At this point you might start feeling the altitude effect. Continue with the trek, and remember to follow the rivers!
On your way, you might find herd of Llamas.
Don’t hesitate to take some selfies with them!
After you pass the tallest single tree that you will find on your way (just as the picture bellow), the ascending starts pretty quick. It is time to recharge your energies with some water and snacks!
When you are at 4,320 m.a.l. (approx.) You will encounter a big green open land and a small house that belongs to a local shepherd called Carlos. If he is not at the door of his house, you will find him around. He cannot hear well so you should speak a little bit louder. Carlos will put you on the right track towards Rapagna Lagoon and will ask you for a contribution of S/. 2.00. He has made the tracks so you don’t get lost in the mountains. He also guards the safety of the Lagoon so please do not get offended if he asks you for this contribution.
Once Carlos puts you on track, you must make the last effort. This is probably the hardest part of the trekking, but Rapagna Lagoon is almost there so don’t quit!
So you got to the last part of the trek. Some few steps that lead to Rapagna Lagoon. Go through it.
Finally, after several hours, you have made it! Now is time to rest and enjoy the view!
You will feel so confortable and proud with yourself for achieving such a trekking. Keep your pace and enjoy the route back to where you started.
Follow the same route for the way back. Once you get to the Hotel, cross the highway and wait for a colectivo that will take you back to San Mateo. Don’t forget to raise your hand to make them stop.
Buses in San Mateo to Chosica runs until 8:00 pm. Once you are in Chosica, you will find the way back home easily.
WHAT TO BRING?
Water, food supplies, sunblock, rain jacket, pills (altitude sickness), hiking poles, trekking shoes, food provisions, sunglasses, extra t-shirt as you will be sweating.
DURATION: 4 hours for ascending and 2 hours for descending
DIFFICULTY: Moderate difficult.
BUDGET (TRANSPORTATION): S/. 29.00 to S/. 43.00 Soles
BEST SEASON TO GO : From beginning of Abril to end of October