Northern Peru

Travel to the Amazonas region and visit: Huamanpata Lake

Martina Capel/ PHIMA Voyages

This is one place in Peru you’ll want to visit during the rainy season, when the lake and the surrounding area really show off.

Travel to the Amazonas region and visit: Huamanpata Lake

Lake Huamanpata (Photo: Philippe Capel/PHIMA Voyages)

This is a version of the article originally published here.

Although we’ve changed the year, there is no reason to not continue our series of articles about the Amazonas region in Northern Peru. Especially as it seems that the Kuelap cable cars will be inaugurated at the end of this month.

In this article we will talk about hiking, nature and outdoor activities, so let me remind you that the region of Amazonas lies in the Andean mountains, between 1,400 and 3,000 masl. Huamanpata Lake is situated at 2,100 m, so you should be prepared with layered clothing and a day backpack stocked with the following items: rain gear, good walking shoes, sun block, a hat, and mosquito repellent.

Have you ever heard of Huamanpata Lake?

The Lake of Huamanpata is a private conservation area that protects the fragile ecosystem around the lake. Actually, it is only a lake during and after the rainy season. During dry season it looks more like a valley with a little river in the middle. When the lake is at its highest (during February and July), this represents 700 million m3 of water and a surface of 320 ha (hectares). Can you imagine?

The only way to experience Huamanpata is to go there with Roberto and his wife Carmen, a charming couple that transformed some of their land at Huamanpata in a great place to receive travelers. It is important to make your reservation in advance, as Carmen will bring everything that you’ll need for a comfy stay there. She will also start cooking so that when you arrive, everything will be ready prepared.

But let me get back to the rainy season!

When you arrive during the rainy season, for the last few hundred meters you will take the canoe to get on the other side of the lake. As well as you will take the canoe to discover the territory of Huamanpata, go fishing with Roberto or discover some further away unexplored ruins.

What to do at the Lake of Huamanpata?

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(Photo: Philippe Capel/PHIMA Voyages)

As previously mentioned, there are many things to explore at the Lake of Huamanpata. Always accompanied by your guide Roberto, you might want to go on the orchid road and discover the dense cloud forest vegetation – or maybe you prefer taking a canoe ride on the lake and do some trout fishing? If you are lucky and catch some trout, they will be cooked specially for your dinner! For experienced hikers and adventurers, you could also choose to set over to the other side of the lake and go on another 4-hour hike to see some unexplored Chachapoyan ruins.

During dry season, when there is no water in the lagoon, you will go by foot (make sure to bring your boots) and discover meter-deep potholes, gigantic spider webs, hundreds of butterflies and many other insects, flowers and birds.
After dinner, have a drink around the fireplace (consider bringing your own alcohol, as this is not provided) and roast some marshmallows, watch the stars and dream away.

How is the lodging?

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(Photo: Philippe Capel/PHIMA Voyages)

This is a very important question. Personally, I’m not too fond of rustic lodging. Huamanpata exceeded my expectations, with the four wood cabins beautifully designed and constructed by Roberto himself. He made them out of wood from his own property and already reforested the trees he had cut – sustainability is not only a word here!

All the cabins have their private sink and toilet (with an ecological sewer system) and a shared shower – which is cold. Well, you can’t have everything, can you?

The cabins have one double and one single bed, suitable for up to three people. Each bed has a little bedside table with candles (there is no electricity at Huamanpata, did I mention?) and wood branches as cloth hangers, which looks really nice. As it gets cold at night, there are plenty of blankets to cover you up.

Let me also make a special mention for Roberto and Carmen who are wonderful hosts: Roberto will guide you through the area (he is very knowledgeable about flora and fauna as well as local history), and Carmen will take care of the cooking so that you don’t miss anything during your stay at Huamanpata.

How to get to the Lake of Huamanpata

horse
(Photo: Philippe Capel/PHIMA Voyages)

You better get up early in the morning, as you will first drive from Chachapoyas, the capital of Amazonas, to Rodriguez de Mendoza, about 2 hours east of Chachapoyas. You might do this either with private transfer or by combi. In Rodriguez, Roberto will pick you up at the bus station. At his house in Rodriguez, you will have a hearty breakfast (omelet and coffee) before leaving for the 4-hour hike to the lake. At least one horse will accompany you to carry all the equipment and food for your stay. Please be aware that these 6 km mostly uphill are not an easy hike, so you need be in shape. You can also ask for a horse that will help you going up, but on some sections, you will have to walk.

Useful information

You can not just go to Huamanpata by yourself. You will have to make a reservation first and be sure that Roberto and Carmen will be available to go up with you to Huamanpata and prepare everything for your stay. For any reservations to the Lake of Huamanpata, please contact us directly at info@phimavoyages.com.

Belated Happy New Year 2017 to all of you! I wish you all the best, especially health, a little wealth, but lots of travels, experiences and encounters.

This article was written by Martina Capel, co-founder of Phima Voyages, a tour operator based in the Chachapoyas, Amazonas region, in Northern Peru that specializes exactly in these regions – “off the beaten path”. Small group tours and catered packages are offered covering a wide variety: archaeology, nature, experiences and encounters.

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