Make sure your camera memory card is empty when you go to see these spectacular glaciers, gorges, lakes, and mountains. Driving through a giant gorge formed millions of years ago by a retreating glacier, you arrive at Lagunas de Llanganuco. The crystalline waters shine a luminescent turquoise in the sunlight; in the shade they're a forbidding inky black. Waterfalls of glacial melt snake their way down the gorge's flanks, falling lightly into the lake. There are many quenual
trees (also known as the paper-bark tree) surrounding the lakes. Up above, you'll see treeless alpine meadows and the hanging glaciers of the surrounding mountains. At the lower lake, called Lago Chinancocha, you can hire a rowboat (S/5 per person) to take you to the center of the lake. A few trailside signs teach you about local flora and fauna. The easiest way to get here is with an arranged tour from Huaraz (about S/60 plus entrance fee), though if you are going on the Santa Cruz trek you will probably start here. The tours stop here and at many other spots on the Callejón de Huaylas, finishing in Caraz.