Jatun Cocha is a big, turquoise lake in the Cordillera Blanca region of Peru. It actually means Big Lake in the Quechuan language. It’s also known as Lake Paron or Laguna Paron. Surrounded by mountains with and without snow, high-altitude-proof vegetation, and a brisk, cool wind, Jatun Cocha is a gem in the eye of a camera lens.
I hiked from Jatun Cocha with a tour group and guide.
The Jatun Cocha tour costs 60 soles and includes the park entry fee and ground transportation to the base of Lake Paron from Huaraz, Peru. I saw some people hiking to the base, which is several kilometers long. I wouldn’t want to use my energy and time just hiking to the base from a dirt road. To each their own.
Jatun Cocha is at an altitude of 4150 metres. The highest I have ever been other than on an airplane or when my head is up in space.
I personally despise hiking, but I still do it for the views and travel photos. Luckily, on this hike, I was nowhere near being the weakest link. One of the hikers provided me with cocoa leaves to keep my heart rate calm. Chewing on the cocoa leaves definitely helped, my heart was calm, as we ascended to 4400 metres for the picturesque landscape. It could also be the placebo effect. Ironically, the hiker that provided me the cocoa leaves was lagging behind.
The Jatun Cocha hike wasn’t easy. There was a small and narrow clear path. Most of the hike consisted of boulder hopping on large rocks. The strong winds didn’t help with the balance. One wrong step and you’ll fall into a crevice and become injured. One guy did it in flip flops. Maybe I’m over exaggerating about my experience or he’s just Superman.
The right steps provided a wide view of Lake Paron’s aqua-blue water and the snowy mountains in the background. The clouds shadowed the lake, while the sun pierced it.
I love the Cordillera Blanca and the snow-covered peaks it provides — and its gift of the turquoise Lake Paron. No wonder it’s nicknamed Little Switzerland. But I still despise hiking.