a woman in white poncho standing in front of the blue lake and mountains

Laguna Paron, A Day Trip To One Of The Most Beautiful Lakes In Peru

Laguna Paron with its seemingly Caribbean water and surrounded by spectacular snow-covered peaks was definitely one of the most beautiful places in South America. I remember seeing a few pictures when I was googling “highlights of Peru” and in the middle of all pictures from Machu Picchu and many funny lama pictures I noticed amazing blue water surrounded by impressive mountains. I knew we had to go there. So we started researching and found the name: Laguna Paron.

Laguna Paron: THE VIEW
Laguna Paron



Coming down from Trujillo where we explored mysterious Chan Chan, we were really looking forward to seeing some beautiful lakes around Huaraz.

Laguna Paron is the largest lake in Huascaran National Park and is located 25km east of Caraz and about 3 hours drive from Huaraz. Huaraz is the capital of the Ancash region and the city has an elevation of approximately 3.050 meters. It is not a very big town but you would be very surprised how busy this place can get, especially in the evenings.

Many travelers come to Huaraz for adventures. Because of the mountains and glaciers, there is so much to do and if you are into the mountains you can spend probably weeks there. From climbing, camping, trekking, mountain biking or even snowboarding to discovering the beautiful nature in the Cordillera Blanca, mainly the popular Huascarán snow peak, Huaraz has much to offer. If you travel to Huaraz you might suffer from high altitude sickness. That is why you need to take care and be very cautious about your health. That is why I highly recommend to take 1 or 2 days just to relax and get used to the altitude.

What is altitude sickness and how can you overcome it? See below.


Once you arrive at the location (not just Huaraz but all high altitude places), please take it slow. For the first 24 hours don’t do much. Chill and relax until your body gets used to it. You would be surprised but even walking around the city can make you sick.

Before you start your trek, you might want to drink some coca tea. Coca tea is a very famous local remedy and local people drink it all the time. In general, the best advice is to drink lots of water. Especially during the hike.

Very importantly, take some coca leaves with you for the trek. You can easily buy them everywhere. For instance, at the local markets, you can get a small bag for 3 soles. When you start walking, put around 5 leaves into your mouth and chew it. Then place it on your upper gum and from time to time suck on it. The saliva will distribute it into your body.


Coca leaves are legal only in 2 countries in South America, Peru, and Bolivia and in some parts of Argentina. However, be careful and don’t bring coca leaves to your country because it is for sure illegal. Especially not to the US. So check it out before you get into some trouble. Coca tea has an herbal flavor and tastes like a strong green tea. I personally liked it and it helped me a lot with altitude sickness and headaches.

There are many other forms of how you can use coca leaves. We bought coca bonbons and there is also cocoa chocolate.


Muna is another plant that can help with stomach aches when you have altitude sickness or in general with any stomach pain. You can either drink a Muna tea or buy some Muna bonbons or just grab some leaves and chew them. There is also another remedy called Agua de Florida. This can help with the headaches while coming down from high altitudes, simply apply a few drops where you have pain.


The symptoms of altitude sickness can be shortness of breath, headache, dizziness and nausea and even hallucinations. And, in extreme cases, altitude sickness can cause death. So please, take altitude sickness seriously.

Why is coca called coca?

Because it contains a psychoactive alkaloid called cocaine. However, the amount of cocaine in coca is minuscule, so don’t worry coca leaves don’t have the psychoactive effects cocaine has. Locals use it as a remedy and chew it to relieve hunger, thirst, pain or fatigue. If you feel tired coca can enhance your physical performance and make you feel like a superman or a wonder woman.  Just kidding, you won’t be able to carry big trunks of wood or something like that. If you want to make it to Rainbow Mountain with an altitude of around 5.000 meters and one of the many highlights near Cusco you should take a big bag of coca leaves as well.


Did you know that coca is an ingredient in Coca Cola? This is where the name Coca Cola actually comes from. However, nowadays, Coca Cola uses coca that is de-cocainized. Or I hope they do 😀 But there was a time, at the beginning of Coca Cola where coca was not de-cocainized and people were actually drinking coca-cola with cocaine inside. Inca people consider the coca leaves as a miraculous herb. No wonder.

Most of the hotels or even shops have a basket full of coca leaves for the tourists so you can never run our of coca leaves in Peru.

Coca tea and leaves, dealing with altitude sickness
Coca tea and leaves



There are a few ways how to enjoy this amazing place. We spent 4 weeks in Peru and Huaraz was one of the first stops.

If you are not a hiker or a camper type (like us), I would highly suggest a day tour to Laguna Paron. We stayed in a hotel/hostel called Akilpo Hostal. They organize tours as well. The best thing was that all the people on the tour were from the same hotel. So no wasting time picking up people from all over town. Our guide was very nice, professional and fluent in English. We also had plenty of time to enjoy the view and take photos.



If you love to camp, there is also the possibility to stay at Laguna Paron overnight. At the Paron lake, there is a small refuge with a bathroom and kitchen where you can sleep for 10 soles per person. The cheapest option is to camp outside for free. If you don’t have your own car, don’t forget that you would need to arrange a drop-off and pick up to and from the refuge. Otherwise, you will stay there forever, which is maybe not that bad at all.

Naturally, we went for a day option which was absolutely awesome. I have to be honest, I don’t really like camping. Especially when it’s super cold. And trust me it gets very cold up there.

READ MORE: If you are heading to Lima, there are a couple of places which you can visit. Check out our guides on Huacachina oasis and how to find a reliable flight over Nazca lines.


We arrived in Huaraz quite late and booked a tour to Laguna Paron for the next day. Don’t make the same mistake and make sure to rest at least 24 hours before your hike. But because of my perfectionism regarding pictures and weather we had to go the very next day. I checked and found out that the weather for that day should be the best. And it was. Everything for great photos 😀 However, just keep in mind, that one can’t really predict the weather in the mountains. The weather is changing constantly. One minute you are super cold when the clouds come and you get hit by strong wind and sometimes rain. And then a minute later it’s sunny and you are sweating like crazy.

That is why you need to carry with you several important items. Please see below.


  • Warm clothes 
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • Rain cover for your backpack
  • Proper hiking shoes with a good platform and profile
  • Sunscreen (use the code GIGI10 for 10% off)
  • Hat
  • Snacks, sugary bars, protein bars
  • Water: LOTS OF WATER
  • Coca leaves
Laguna Paron, paramount view
4.500 meters



Do you watch movies? Then you must know Paramount film studios. Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film studio based in Hollywood, California. Paramount studio took this mountain as the inspiration for their logo. The point of the trek is to go up to the mountain where you can see the Paramount mountain.

The people nowadays call the mountain Paramount because of that. However, the original name of the mountain is Artesonraju with the highest point of 6.025m. It is one of many peaks located in Peru’s Huascaran National Park. From this point, you can see beautiful Laguna Paron in its entire beauty (almost 360 degrees). Hostal Akilpo is one of the few places (according to them the only one) that offers the tour. All or most other tours just drive you to the lake and then return to Huaraz. You will not climb up to 4.500 m and you will not have the incredible view from above.


We woke up at 4.30 and a van was waiting for us at 5. It’s a 3 hours drive to get to the base point of Laguna Paron. You don’t have to worry that you will be hungry. On the way to Laguna Paron, you will stop at the local market for a local breakfast (not included in the tour). We had a fresh avocado sandwich with some cocoa tea and it was really delicious.

After a tasty breakfast, we arrived at Laguna Paron at about 9 AM, altitude around 4.200 m.s.m.n. From here, we started our hike. The view was already incredible.

I wondered if the view down here is so amazing, how Laguna Paron will look from above. We were so excited. We got some coca leaves and started the walk.

Laguna Paron
Down at the lake

Are you planning on visiting Cusco? Then make sure to check out around guides on Salineras de Maras and hiking Rainbow mountain.


The Paramount trek is a very hard trek if you are not used to any sport. However, what might cause you even more trouble is the altitude. It is really important to be positive and don’t think about how you might get sick. If you feel like you lack air and run out of breath, stop immediately. I can’t stress that enough. Stop and wait until the feeling is gone and you can breathe normally. This is not a game of who is stronger and faster. So put your pride aside and take care of your health. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, if you are not used to the high altitude, you can get sick, too. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

On the hike to Paramount viewpoint, you will have 3 major stops, of course, each with amazing views. Depending on how you feel, you can choose where you want to end the trek. Many people just go to the first stop. Of course, we wanted to go all the way to see Paramount.

Laguna Paron
Laguna Paron

After 25 minutes we made it to the second stop and the view was so beautiful. Here, some of the people from our group decided to stay as they didn’t feel well. The view on Laguna Paron was already amazing. We also had similar chills at the Quilotoa lake in Ecuador, which you should definitly check it out.

Laguna Paron
Laguna Paron

After a little break and few snacks, we continued through a very steep and rocky way. You need to watch out for stones and sometimes check if they are not moving. We jumped from one rock to another one until we got to the top, the altitude of 4500 m.s.m.n.. Check out this picture to get a feel how it looks there. It is definitely not an average forest hike.

Laguna Paron
Almost there…

We felt really happy that we made it to the highest point and could see Paramount Peak. It felt really great. What is really amazing about Laguna Paron, is that with the constant change of weather, the color of the water is changing as well. Every time the sun came out, everyone cheered because the water got a real Caribbean color. It reminded me of the Caribbean water in Mexico.

READ: Mexican Paradise Island “Isla Mujeres”

Laguna Paron, incredible blue water
Laguna Paron

However, if you think the worst part is behind you, I have to disappoint you. The worst part is to get down. It took much longer to get down as going up. The reason is that the way down is very steep and the rocks can be slippery and move. You also have a better grip when going up. So be careful about what rocks you are stepping. The problem is that there is not a real path down. Only a few parts where you see a path. Otherwise, you have to think for yourself which way is the best. But don’t worry, If I got down in 1 piece (and I am really not a hiker or climber :D) then you will definitely make it as well.

Laguna Paron, the view
Into the blue

On the way down I got a very strong headache, due to the altitude which is really normal. Please remember that when you going up and starting to get a headache, stop immediately. It is much worse and more dangerous to continue ascending with a headache.

After you hike to Lake Paron, make sure to check out another beautiful lagoon close to Huaraz. We wrote a full guide on how to hike Laguna 69. So check it out before you go.

I hope you will enjoy your trek to Laguna Parona. It was definitely worth the effort and the muscle pain after the trek.

DISCLAIMER: We paid the accommodation and the tours at Akilpo Hostal ourselves. However, if you use our link to booking.com to book your stay at Akilpo Hostal we will earn a little commission at NO EXTRA COST FOR YOU.


Visit the most beautiful lagoon in Peru, Laguna Paron. Laguna Paron is a perfect day trip. In this article you can find our all you need to know about visiting Laguna Paron, one of the most beautiful lakes we have ever seen. Find out how to get to Laguna Paron, what to do there, how to fight the altitude sickness #lagunaparon#southamerica#peru#hiking#nationalparks#southamerica#southamericatravel#southamericabackpacking

Visit the most beautiful lagoon in Peru, Laguna Paron. Laguna Paron is a perfect day trip. In this article you can find our all you need to know about visiting Laguna Paron, one of the most beautiful lakes we have ever seen. Find out how to get to Laguna Paron, what to do there, how to fight the altitude sickness #lagunaparon#southamerica#peru#hiking#nationalparks


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4 weeks itinerary in Peru





About the author
Since I was little I always wanted to see the world. Travel to new places, get to know new cultures, see how other people live. I love beaches and I love discovering tropical destinations. That is why, together with my partner Nico, we created this blog to share with you the most beautiful beaches and stunning holiday destinations which we visited during our travels.


  1. I don’t know if I like your advice/narrative or pictures better! Been to Peru and the entire party did have altitude sickness & did have cocoa tea. I got a few more tips on how to handle altitude sickness from you too! And the advice to “take it easy” when ascending and stay inside your breath was excellent. If I’m ever in Peru again, I just may have to trek up to Laguna Paron!

    1. Hello Linda, Thank you for your comment. I am happy I could provide more tips on altitude sickness. I have to say that agua de florida really helped me with headaches. I bought even 1 extra bottle to take it with me home as it can be used for all kinds of headaches. I drank coca tea in the morning, but this is not as helpful as chewing actual coca leaves while you are hiking. There are also pills against altitude sickness you can buy from pharmacy. It is a mix of coca, muna and other ingredients. Maybe you can try it next time 🙂

  2. This is a very helpful article with lovely photos and spot on information! We are visiting Peru in June and like you said, all of the tour companies are offering a tour that would take you to the lake, spend 2 hours and then come back. The trek that you did, is it the same as Mirador?

    1. Hello Nandita, Thank you for your comment, I am so excited for you. We loved Peru and Huaraz was one of our favorite places. The tour was called Paramount, almost all tours to lake Paron finish at Mirador spot, but if you go with the tour organized by the hotel we stayed in and recommend in the article, you will go all the way to “Paramount view”. Enjoy 🙂

  3. Hi, love the content!
    I’m planning a trip for June but I don’t know if I should book a flight from Lima to Huaraz or to go by bus, what did you guys do?

    1. Hello Molly, we were actually doing the reverse route comparing what you are doing. That means we were coming with a bus from Ecuador to Mancora (beach town in Peru) and then, we took the bus from Mancora to Huaraz. Buses in Peru are excellent, so if you do not have time pressure, I will go by bus, but check flights as well, as you never know. Sometimes bus tickets and flights have similar prices. If you go by bus, look at the VIP section as the prices’ difference between standard class and VIP is not very big, and you will have more space 🙂 Let us know if you need anything else.

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