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Wilcahuain Ruins & Lake Ahuac


Duration 1 Day
Difficulty Moderate to Hard
Range of Altitude 3,400m to 4,560m / 11,155ft to 14,961ft
Distance Covered Approximately 6km

This trek combines a visit to the Wilcahuain ruins in the village of Wilcahuain (which means “Grandson’s house” in Quechua) with a hike to Lake Ahuac, situated approximately six kilometres away.

The Wilcahuain ruins is a well-preserved archaeological temple with historical significance (quite similar to Chavin de Huantar, see here); it was built around 600 to 900AD by the Wari empire, which was one of the early generations of the Andean region. The three-storey temple was used to house mummies of the Wari ancestors through an intricate ventilation system which kept moisture out.

You can choose to walk to the Wilcahuain ruins from Huaraz, which is approximately nine kilometres or two hours on foot. However, we prefer to cover this leg of the journey by car as the hike from the Wilcahuain ruins to Lake Ahuac is quite demanding and it involves an altitude gain of almost 1,200m/3,937ft over six kilometres. It is recommended as a second or third day acclimatisation hike (from when you first get to Huaraz).

Upon arriving at Lake Ahuac, you will be handsomely rewarded with magnificent views of the Cordillera Blanca, as far and wide as your eyes can take you.


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  • We drive north-east of Huaraz for approximately 30 minutes to the village of Wilcahuain and spend no more than an hour exploring the Wilcahuain ruins
  • We embark on the trek to Lake Ahuac from the Wilcahuain ruins

  • It is a steady and sustained climb for the next three to four hours before we reach Lake Ahuac

  • Once we get to Lake Ahuac, we can break for lunch and relax, enjoying stunning panoramic views of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range

  • Return via the same route to Wilcahuain ruins, where our private transport awaits for our transfer back to Huaraz


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