Altitude with optional hiking (1hr)
The Parón day tour from Huaraz is a long day of driving for a short time at the lake. However, if you’re new to high altitude, it’s a great way to see a lot without much physical exertion. The lake is at 4,200m (13,780ft), so just hanging out by the water is exercise enough for sea-level lungs.
The walk from the parking lot up to the lookout is about 2km/1 mile. The second half of the trail is precarious, mostly over giant chunks of granite that have fallen from a nearby peak.
People who really don’t want to do any hiking can rent kayaks or get a rowboat ride across the lake.
You can see 6 of the most famous peaks in Huascarán National Park from the lookout. On the sign below, Nev. stands for “nevado,” the Spanish word for snowy peak.
On the way to Parón most tours stop at a restaurant about 2 hours from Huaraz before continuing the last hour to the lake. They’ll ask you to place your order so it’ll be ready to serve on the way back. The stop at the restaurant on the way back to Huaraz is only about half an hour, mostly because the drive is so long.