Hiking With a Toddler in Huaraz, Peru | A Backpacking Family

We set with our child along glacier lakes and snow-caped mountains. Find out everything you need to know about hiking with a toddler in Huaraz, Peru.

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You have been dreaming about traveling in the mountains of Peru surrounded by true Andean culture and snow-capped mountains, but you have a family now. Well… So what if you have a kid? You can still follow your dreams and experience the edge of the world with your child. We were hiking with our toddler around the mountains and famous lagoons of Huaraz, and are here to tell you all about it.

We visited Huaraz with our two-year-old toddler. After spending almost a year on the road with him and hiking a good amount of trails, mostly using our ErgoBaby Carrier. But visiting Huaraz made us a bit more anxious than usual. 

Mother hiking with a toddler on her back on a hiking trail

Two major factors made the trip different for us: The first was the height. Most of the hikes reach over 4000 meters. The second factor was that our child was getting older and was tired of staying in his carrier all day long. 

We had to adapt. We tried to avoid long drives on the day of the hike, so for example, when we hiked to Laguna Paron, we spent the nights before in the mystic village of Caraz. That way we had enough time to let our child walk on his own. In addition, we took our time and spent many days in Huaraz after our hikes to make sure we got enough time to rest. 

The city of Huaraz is a great place to spend some time with your children because of the many playgrounds and parks all around town. We also know our child and how much he loves his independence, so we made sure to let him hike by himself at the beginning and end of every trail. 

This post will discuss the three hikes we did as a family with our 2-year-old: Laguna Paron, Laguna 69, and Laguna Churup. The good, the bad, and how you can learn from our mistakes. 

Furthermore, we will recommend what hike you should start with, where to stay in Huaraz and Caraz, and how to get there. 

Visiting Huaraz in the Low Season October-April

We visited Huaraz in February, during the rainy season, and loved it. But that’s us. We love the low season because prices are down and the trails are less crowded.

We also adore the way the rain changes the view, as the grass turns from brown to green, the flowers bloom, creating landscapes of incomparable beauty. 

Huaraz is one of the wettest cities in Peru, but that doesn’t mean that it’s raining all day long. The day usually begins with a few hours of sunshine, and the rain starts around late afternoon or evening. 

A sunny day, cars driving on a road and snow caped mountains around
Rainy season 2022

For us, it was perfect as we only did day hikes and were back in the hostel when it started raining. But in any case, it’s not a problem a rain poncho can not solve.

Suppose you’re looking to do a multi-day hike like the Santa Cruz hike or Cordillera Huayhuash 10 day hike. In that case, we suggest you talk with the different agencies to see if the trails are closed due to snow and ice on the road. 

Altitude Acclimatisation in Huaraz

First, let’s talk about the altitude. Huaraz is located at a high elevation of over 3000 meters above sea level, so it is necessary to take time to acclimate before doing any strenuous hikes. All of the 3 hikes in this post are above the altitude of 4,000. 

Headache, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, and shortness of breath. 

These are the symptoms you will face if you won’t take the time to acclimatize. This is just your body’s way of showing you need to slow down. 

Altitude sickness is a terrible thing and can last for a few days. Therefore the general recommendation is to stay a full day in Huaraz before trying to hike to a higher altitude. But because you travel with your child, take at least three days to acclimatize. Do it for your child but also for yourself. You don’t want to risk having altitude sickness when backpacking with your child. 

Where to Stay in Huaraz With Children

Huaraz offers a huge variety of cheap and good hostels. Most hostels have good communal ambient with travelers from all around the world.

We stayed in two fairly cheap hostels; both offer complimentary breakfast and hot showers. Perfect for getting a good night’s sleep before and after your hike.

Tony’s House Hostel 

A bar and a siting area in a hostel

A cozy hostel located 15 min walk from the city center, with a vast green garden and many hammocks scattered around the communal areas. This makes Tony’s house hostel an excellent choice for family accommodation in Huaraz. 

Carla, the lovely owner, is also a pastry chef in her training. She makes different kinds of cakes and a delicious wood-oven pizza. In addition, Carla is very knowledgeable about the hikes in the area and can recommend the perfect route for your family according to the time of year you arrive.

Krusty Hostel

Trust us when we tell you, Krusty Hostel is the best hostel in Huaraz. It has a unique atmosphere making it perfect for solo travelers, couples, and families alike. You can mingle with other guests in the dining room or hear about the experiences of other hikers in the lounge area. 

The hostel serves a generous breakfast and can arrange various tours at the best prices in town. 

What to Do in Huaraz With a Toddler | BESIDE HIKING

Visit Huaraz Market 

Huaraz market is an adventure. And we are not talking about the closed official market but more about the market that happens every day on the streets near the official market of Huaraz. 

If you just walk a few more blocks ahead, you will find hundreds of farmers and vendors selling their produce: fruits, vegetables, bread, handmade cheese, honey, all sorts of meat from pigs to guinea pigs (a popular Peruvian dish), and so much more. 

two Peruvian señoras celling homemade cheese

Visiting Huaraz market is a wonderful opportunity to buy fresh produce and try local cuisine typical to Peru’s mountains. 

We took every chance we got to head over to the market on our days off from hiking. It’s a great activity to do with your child as they can try different kinds of foods and mingle with the locals. The señoras of Peru absolutely adore children and will do their best to make your little one feel at home.

Visit the Monterrey Hot Springs

A great activity to do before your hike and a MUST after. Don’t expect anything luxurious because it primarily serves the local community, like in many hot springs all over Peru. But there’s nothing like bathing in natural hot water after a long day of hiking. 

The hot springs are located 10 min drive from Huaraz. You can take bus number 1 or just stop a moto-taxi. The entrance fee is s/4 per person. 

Our Top 3 Day Hikes in Huaraz With a Toddler

There are extraordinary multi-day hikes in Huaraz like the Santa Cruz 4 day trek and the Cordillera Huayhuash 10 day hike. Do it if you have the right gear and experience with your child in these conditions. We took it mellower, we spent 10 days in Huaraz and walked 3 hikes, and each one was an incredible adventure. 

What to Pack for the Day Hikes

Whether you hike independently or with a tour, your packing list should include the same gear. Check out the weather forecast before you leave, but in any case, you should be ready for any type of weather. Remember that the weather condition can be harsh up in the mountains, so protect yourself with layers to keep warm.

baby carrier is the most essential gear we pack! make sure you have a carrier comfortable for your baby and yourself. Our baby is two years old, and we are still using the same carrier since he was born. Click Here if you want to read more about Backpacking With a Baby. 

When hiking in the rainy season, a rain poncho is a must. And even if you plan on hiking in the dry season, the rain poncho is a great wind blocker.

We use this fleece onesie to keep our toddler warm. It doesn’t take much space in our daypack; it’s light and super warm! 

A good fleece jacket for Him & for Her can literally save your hike if the weather gets brutal. If you didn’t bring a jacket with you, stop by the main plaza and get yourself a traditional Peruvian wool jacket. 

For the day hikes, all you need is one daypack, even as a family. Pack inside: energy bars which are perfect as you have a long day ahead. Sunscreen for the mountain sun, a water bottle to fill with icy glacier water. 

As parents, each of you is about to carry a lot of weight in steep ascents, and you may find it helpful to use trekking poles.

If you’re over the age of 25, proper hiking boots are a must, especially when hiking in the mountains. Make sure they are waterproof.

Laguna Paron With a Child

  • Route type: Out & Back 
  • Length: 20 km, from pueblo Paron 
  • Elevation gain: 1000 m
  • Entrance fee: s/5
Laguna Paron
Laguna Paron

With a maximum altitude of 4,200 m above sea level, Laguna Paron is the perfect hike to acclimatize yourself and your child.

There are two ways to visit the lagoon: The first and easier way is to take a tour or a taxi from Huaraz or Caraz directly to Laguna Paron. The second way is to walk independently from pueblo Paron to the lagoon. 

We chose the second option and hiked up there. 

We will tell you about our hike experience and how to reach the trail’s starting point (pueblo Paron) without a tour. And most importantly, our insights of what is in our eyes the best and smartest way to visit Laguna Paron while carrying a child. 

How to Visit Laguna Paron 

A father hiking with his toddler on his back

As mentioned before, we try to avoid long drives on the day of the hike with our baby, especially in Huaraz, where the day hikes are long and challenging. For that reason, we decided to spend two nights in Caraz. It’s a small town located an hour and a half from Huaraz and only a 45 min drive to pueblo Paron, the hike’s starting point. 

The first colectivo to pueblo Paron leaves Caraz at 6:30 a.m. from the main market and costs s/10 per person. If you plan to arrive from Huaraz, you’ll have to wait for the next colectivo to fill up before it leaves Caraz. 

We were a bit lazy to wake up that morning and arrived at the Caraz’s market at 8:00 a.m.

Because we had a long hiking day ahead of us. We decided to take a taxi for s/30 instead of s/10 per person in a colectivo. 

The taxi driver offered to take us up to the lagoon, wait for us for two hours, and bring us back to Caraz for s/120.

We decided to skip the offer because a voice in our head told us the sight of the lagoon must come with our sweat and tears. In retrospect, that wasn’t necessarily the right thing to do with a baby. 

Pueblo Paron is located just 5 min walk from the trail’s starting point to Laguna Paron. 

At that point, you’ll have to pay s/5 per person to the nice man at the ticket office.

*The same man in the office can call a taxi for you back to Caraz once you finish the trail (he’s there until 5 p.m). Another option is to hitchhike with one of the tours going back to Caraz. We did it and paid s/5 each. 

The trail is well marked and starts on the same pebbled road the tour vans drive on, but quickly a sign will direct you into the forest. You’ll have to cross the pebbled road to enter inside the forest trail every now and again. But most of the path is inside the forest, away from the vans driving up to Laguna Paron. And as Laguna Paron is not well known yet, you’ll most probably have the trail for yourself. 

A wooden sign marking an hiking trail
The trail is well marked with wooden signs

The pebbled road is 15 km long, while the trekkers’ trail is only 10 km long. In addition, walking in the forest is obviously far more enjoyable than walking alongside speeding vans. So, if you choose to hike up to Laguna Paron, for sure, do it on the trekkers’ trail. 

Before leaving for the hike, we read in a few blogs that it takes 3 hours to reach the lagoon. BUT, they were not traveling with a child. Our toddler walked the first kilometer, and eventually, it took us 4.5 hours to reach the top. 

A toddler hiking in Huaraz's mountains

So, if you do choose to walk with your child, please learn from our mistakes and start the hike early as possible. 

Welcome to Laguna Paron!

The largest lake in the Cordillera Blanca and one of the most captivating lakes you’ll ever see. Take your time to admire the sight in front of you, as in our opinion it is the most beautiful among all three lagoons we hiked to. 

Once in the lagoon, you can:

  • Climb 45 min to a mirador 
  • Take a stroll around the lake
  • Walk another 6 km to Laguna Artesonchocha, around 2+ hours each way
  • If you just hiked up for 4.5 hours and you’re tired, take a sit on the rocks and dive into the turquoise water with mind or body.
  • Spend the night in the refugio at Laguna Paron. They charge s/20 per night in a dorm room and offer meals for s/10. Unfortunately, we realized it’s possible only after finishing the hike. The place is located next to the car parking. And there’s even a kitchen to use if you bring your own food. In addition, it’s recommended to bring warm heavy clothes as the nights can get very cold and a flashlight because there is no electricity. 
Laguna Paron

The way down will take you around one hour less than the ascent. 

Make sure to arrange your time wisely. If you feel that it’s getting late on the way down, or if you’re worn out from carrying 12 kg of your favorite thing – don’t be shy to ask for a ride from the passing vehicles. Remember, you’re hiking with a child on your back. Anyone will be happy to give you a lift.

Our Insights of Hiking to Laguna Paron With Our Child 

Pros | Nothing can beat the feeling of hiking your soul to a gorgeous place. And overcoming the struggles of yourself and your child. 

Our favorite way of traveling is doing things on our own when possible. 

It is more adventurous and risky (especially with a child), but we are addicted to our freedom.

It is much cheaper to get to Laguna Paron independently than a tour. Visiting Laguna Paron costs us s/25 per person for the whole trip.

Cons | After completing the hike, we thought it might have been wiser to take a taxi or a tour all the way up. Even though it was over our budget. 

First of all, 20 km a day in high altitudes while carrying a toddler is a lot. Mainly for your body but also for your child. Of course, it depends on your child’s age. In our case, a two years old kid may struggle with staying seated for nearly a whole day. 

Second, there is an endless variety of Lagunas to hike to in the area of Huaraz. Take your acclimatization easy and enjoy the fact that there’s a car road up to one of the most beautiful lagoons in the area. 

Third, as much as we loved hiking in the forest, Laguna Paron offers the chance to hike in a different landscape. There are several hikes along the lagoon that you won’t have enough time or energy for after hiking up 10 km. 

Except for the hike to the mirador, there is another trail of 6 km along the Laguna Paron that we are sorry we didn’t get the chance to hike. 


We have to talk a little bit about Caraz because we felt it was a big part of our Laguna Paron experience. 

Craz is 700 m lower than Huaraz, making it a great option to acclimatize if you feel some altitude sickness symptoms in Huaraz or after a challenging hike. 

We were delighted with our decision to stay in Caraz. As it shortened our car time in an anyway long day. 

Moreover, Caraz is a remarkable town in our eyes, very colorful with a bubbly market and a huge delicious variety of ‘comidas’ (food, food, food). If you’re looking for some proper Peruvian culture and flavors, take the two-hour ride to Caraz and spend a night or two off the beaten path. 

Caraz’s Ice Cream 

Ask anyone in Huaraz about Caraz, they’ll immediately tell you to try its ice cream, and for a good reason. Our favorite was the pineapple ‘Cremolda’ (sorbet) from the cart in the central plaza. But there are plenty of other flavors to choose from, including some unusual ones like beer or Pisco sour.

Caraz’s Market 

Caraz market

We have to admit, our passion for hiking Peru is sometimes overshadowed by our love for its markets. Not many things in the world make us happy, like visiting another market and eating everything we can.

Caraz has one of our favorite markets in Peru. 

It checks all the boxes of a good market: farmers selling their produce, craftsmen we used for fixing our gear, fresh homemade food unique to the area, and everything is sold at low prices. The colorful traditional outfits of Caraz’s people paint the market and put a smile on our faces. 

Where to Stay in Caraz With Children 

We stayed for two nights in Hostal Dulzura. They have a vast green backyard to chill after the hike and clean rooms with hot showers. We paid s/60 per night. 

Yoly’s House is another excellent choice of accommodation in Caraz. It’s a bit more expensive, but it has awesome reviews. 

How to Get to Caraz from Huaraz 

Colectivos are running throughout the day from Huaraz to Caraz with a short stop in Yungay. The colectivos leave from the intersection of Avenida Makecon Sur and Avenida Agustin Gamarra.

The ride takes two hours and costs s/8 per person

Laguna Churup With a Child

  • Route type: Out & Back 
  • Length: 6 Km 
  • Elevation gain: 600 m
  • Entrance fee: s/30
Laguna Churup

A great adventurist hike, easily accessible from Huaraz. The trail is quite intense, with steep elevation and parts where you have to haul yourself over huge rocks using only a rope. You start at 3,840 m and reach the lagoon at 4,400 m above sea level. But don’t let it scare you. It takes only two hours to reach the lagoon and an hour and a half to descent. The views on the way to the top are incredible, the Laguna is magical, and if you leave in the morning, you’ll be home with your child by noon. So you don’t have to pack much food. 

We reached Laguna Churup independently, without a tour. 

Some hikes like Laguna 69 are actually cheaper to reach with a tour and definitely more convenient. But as the trail’s starting point to Laguna Churup is only 45 min from Huaraz, you really don’t need to take a tour. 

Take a colectivo (a shared minibus) heading to Pitec. The colectivos leave from Avenida Augustin Gamara in the intersection with Calle Antonio Raymondi, and costs s/10 per person . Make sure you get there at 7:15 a.m. as the colectivo usually leaves at 7:30 a.m. 

Pitec is a very small village, and almost all of the passengers are hikers like you. If you miss the bus, the next colectivo will take forever to leave. So instead take a taxi as we did. We paid s/25 for two people and a baby, but it took a lot of huggling. 

The trail starts from the car park where the colectivo or taxi will drop you. The first half an hour is a gradual ascent up a cobblestones stairs path until you reach the booth, where you’ll have to pay the entrance fee.

That’s a good place to give your toddler some walking time if needed because the next 20 min after the booth is the easiest part of the climb up to Laguna Churup.

The next part of the hike involves a moderate climb using the ropes we mentioned earlier. That will be the time to put your child back in his carrier. If you felt safe and had fun in this part, great, stay on the original route as there are more challenging climbs ahead. 

On the other hand, if you prefer to avoid the extra ropes, take the trail to the left in the fork ahead and walk up towards the mirador.

We chose to stay on the original route and climb up the ropes even though Mahayana was in full-blown altitude sickness mode. And Yochai, who is usually shit scared of heights, carried Pardes. 

A man climbing up the cliff with his toddler using ropes

It wasn’t easy, but we loved it! 

Yet, you should know your limits and choose the right path for you. 

15 minutes later, we found ourselves in a glacier lake touching the clouds, lying on the rocks with a stupid smile on our faces.

We sat there for a while, made a cup of tea, and enjoyed the show of turquoise water changing colors with the clouds’ movement. 

A toddler in Laguna Churup, Huaraz

To return, you can choose the path you came from or climb a bit to the mirador (viewpoint) and take the longer course. 

We highly recommend taking the route through the mirador as the view of the lagoon and the valley is stunning. 

A sign to the mirador on the trail

Oh, we forgot to mention. 

Tell the colectivo drivers to wait for you if you’re a slow hiker. 

They will! We waited for an hour and a half in the parking lot for the last hiker to arrive. He also got altitude sickness. 

Laguna 69

  • Route type: Out & Back 
  • Length: 12 Km
  • Elevation gain: 685 m
  • Entrance fee: s/30
Laguna 69
Laguna 69

Even before arriving at Huaraz, Laguna 69 was probably on your bucket list of things to do in Peru. It’s the most popular day hike in the Cordillera Blanca, and when arriving at Huaraz, you won’t be able to avoid it. 

We usually dodge these crowded bucket list locations because we fear the mass of tourists will spoil the place. But sometimes, the crowd has a point. 

Laguna 69’s unparalleled beauty is undeniable. But it’s not only about the prize on the top. The epic trail leading to the lagoon is a separate travel attraction on its own. 

The trail to Laguna 69 is comfortable for hiking, and its sights are constantly changing. For a reason, it is crowned to be the best day hike and the most beautiful lagoon in the area of Huaraz. I will even say hiking this trail is recharging in a way. 

After hiking to Laguna Churup and Laguna Paron with our two-year-old, I can honestly say Laguna 69 is the most accessible hike of the three. I’m writing “I” because I went alone this time. 

It’s an option sometimes overlooked by parents traveling with their children. If you feel comfortable in your home base (this time, Huaraz) and have an extra day, why not? One parent can stay home with the kids while the other is hiking. The day after, you can swap. It costs the same, and the change can be refreshing for the entire family. 

In case you do want to visit Laguna 69 as a family, and it’s not your first hike in Huaraz, you can definitely do it! Especially as part of a tour. 

Taking a Tour to Laguna 69 

After a few hikes in Cordillera Blanka, we realized that sometimes getting to the trail’s starting point independently and heading back to Huaraz can be the most challenging part. 

You have the option to reach Laguna’s 69 starting point independently. And if you have been reading this post, you know that it’s our favorite option. But it requires several colectivos and taxis from Huaraz or Caraz. In addition, you’re taking a chance that you won’t have a way to get back home unless you hop on one of the tour buses. 

So this time, I joined a tour to Laguna 69.

I know what you all think about tours. BUT it costs the same (even less) as getting there independently.

In addition, it reduces lots of stress from the day. It allows you to completely concentrate and enjoy the hike without thinking about how to get back to Huaraz. 

I booked the tour with ‘Esperanza Travel’ through the hostel we stayed in (Krusty Hostel)I paid s/45 (not including the entrance fee) and left the hostel at 5:00 a.m. You should expect to be back at your hostel at 7:00 p.m

Leaving at 5:00 a.m. may sound shockingly early, but you can use that time to catch up on your sleep. 

Some of my fellow tour companions told me they paid s/60 for the same tour. So, I guess the price is negotiable. Do the best you can and haggle about the price, especially in the low season. 

The bus stops for breakfast at around 8:00 a.m., for 30 min, in a local restaurant. You can also bring your own food if you prefer a lighter meal. At 9:30 a.m., we started the hike to Laguna 69. 

The hike up takes 3 hours. You have one hour to spend chilling along the lagoon, followed by a two-hour descent back to the bus. Because it was my third hike and I was fully acclimatized, it took me a bit over 2 hours which meant I had almost two hours to lay by the lake. 

On that note, If you’re acclimatized, the hike is moderate-easy. But you shouldn’t do it as your first hike because Laguna 69 is 4,600 m above sea level, and altitude sickness is a bitch! In any case, bring a big bag of Coca leaves with you; trust the Peruvian’s wisdom.

Hiking to Laguna 69 

To make a long story short, you can divide the hike into 4 parts:

  1. A flat section of 2 km through a meadow
  2. A climb up on a zig-zag section for 1.5 km until you reach a small lagoon
  3. A flat section of 1 km
  4. A steep climb of 1 km up to Laguna 69

And now the long story. 

The hike starts in a valley on a relatively flat trail, with waterfalls all around you. 

A sweet start to the hike
Waterfall with a cloud hiding it

I happened to look at one of the waterfalls and thought to myself, it is the highest waterfall I have ever seen. A second later, a cloud moved and revealed the rest of the waterfall. It was a wonder to behold.

After 20 min, the trail becomes steeper yet definitely climbable. It is structured in a zig-zag that balances the climb’s difficulty. 

Afterward, you can relax and enjoy the valley as you walk on a flat trail. And then get ready for the last part: a steep climb of less than one kilometer all the way up to Laguna 69. 

Welcome to Laguna 69

Laguna 69

I loved the hike to Laguna 69 for its rich vegetation and green landscape along the trail. And after climbing for so long, suddenly the view opens up, and a totally different sight is reflected. 

Laguna 69 is bright blue with a snow-capped mountain above it and steep rocky slopes surrounding it. Two glacier waterfalls gracefully fall into the lagoon and complete the scene. It’s hard to walk away from such a place. 

Unless it starts to rain. 

That’s what append to me. After an hour and a half of sitting by the laguna, heavy rain started to fall.

 It may be a good time to mention you should bring a rain poncho with you, as the weather up in the mountains is unpredictable. If you don’t have a rain poncho, you can buy one in Huaraz. 

How to Get to Huaraz From Lima by Bus 

Children until the age of five mustn’t pay for their passage in Peru. But it means that they have to sit on your lap for the entire duration of the journey. We were on a budget when we traveled to Huaraz with our child and taking the bus with him on our lap was definitely the cheapest way.

Buses leave from lima frequently with several bus companies, most of them offering sleeper buses with a curtain for extra privacy and AC. The ride takes 8 hours and costs s/55 per person. We chose ‘Movil Bus’ company because they offered the cheapest tickets. The bus was clean with comfortable seats and the ride went smoothly.

if you are on a budget or if you are scared of taking the night bus with your child you can choose the daily economy bus. it costs about 15 soles less and takes the same amount of time. in addition, it gives you an opportunity to enjoy the scenery of Peru while saving money.

As usual in Peru, there isn’t a central bus station in Lima but instead, each company has its own ticket office and departure lounge. Make sure you double-check the address so you won’t miss your bus. In addition, try to buy your ticket in advance or you might get stuck trying to find a seat on a full bus.

Final Thoughts

After almost a year on the roads and two months on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, we arrived in Peru with lots of energy. Our voyage was clearly shifting scenery and moving to the mountains. We were eager to experience a new landscape, an Andean culture, and most of all: to step it up a level with our hiking.

Along with the exceptional experience with our child in some extreme conditions, we grew, learned, and had so much fun.

We are evolving with him and doing things we did as solo travelers.
Huaraz is a destination we will never forget for its views, people and food! Hiking in Huaraz with our child made us realize that what was “I” before is now a “WE” – a powerful entity.

Want to read about another crazy adventure we had with our kid in Peru? Check out our Amazon post.



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