Introduction to Huaraz
Surrounded by jagged snowy peaks, glaciers and turquoise blue lakes, Huaraz is a real mountain adventure destination, not to mention home to ancient cultures and charming little villages.
Hidden among three huge mountain ranges, in the middle of the Callejon de Huaylas, Huaraz boasts some pretty amazing landscapes. On one side is the majestic Cordillera Blanca- the highest mountain range in the world after the Himalayas, with 34 peaks over 19,685ft. (6,000m) high. This includes the impressive Huascaran, the highest mountain in Peru, and the beautiful Alpamayo, that looks like a typical child’s drawing of a mountain! Leading from here down to the coast is the snowless Cordillera Negra, where finally you can see the pointy peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash.
Huaraz is the heart of the adventure sports scene in Peru and a world class mountain destination. Choose between mountain climbing, trekking, mountain biking, rafting, horseback riding, rock climbing- there really is something for everyone looking for an adrenaline rush! There’s also a wealth of equipment rental and specialized guides ready and willing to help you.
For those looking for a more relaxing adventure, there are plenty of beautiful lakes and picturesque villages to visit. And for explorers interested in discovering ruins, you can’t miss the pre-Inca Chavín de Huántar, the carved stone capital of the Chavín culture that ruled Peru over 9,000 years ago and was one of the very first advanced cultures in the Andes.
What not to miss in Huaraz
Huaraz is a trekking, climbing and glacier hiking paradise. There are many day-long and multiple day treks, just make sure you have fully acclimatized in Huaraz first in order to avoid altitude sickness. The most popular hikes in the area are the Santa Cruz trek and the Llanganuco trek.
Ancient Chavin de Huantar
The underground tunnels and beautiful carved Lanzón – a mythical being that was the focal point of the the Chavin culture – are really incredible and a must see!
These turquoise blue lakes beneath snowy mountains are stunning. Take out a rowing boat and relax on the Llanganuco Lakes still blue waters.
Glaciers Up Close
Take a day trip to the Pastoruri Glacier and admire its natural beauty up close. On the way there, look out for Puya Raimondi plants that flower only once in their lifetime and are only found in a few places in the Andes. To get to the glacier is just a short hike but, the drive there is pretty long and you will be at an altitude of over 16,568ft. (5,050m)!
Caraz & Carhuaz
Visit these quaint little villages and make sure to try the delicious full fruit ice creams and different flavors of manjar blanco, a rich caramel spread.
What you need to know
When to go
Huaraz is high up in the mountains and so it enjoys sunny days and cold nights throughout most of the year. Rainy season is between November and March.
The trekking and climbing season is between May and August with July being the busiest month. It is the dry season in the highlands of Peru (Huaraz – Cordillera Blanca & Huayuash). During the dry season in the mountains of the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash the nights can be very cold, often falling to freezing in May and September. Average temperatures range from less than 41°F (5°C) to 64°F (18°C).
How to get there
You can reach Huaraz by road and, there are excellent buses from Cruz del Sur that connect Lima to Huaraz. It is about a 7 to 8 hour bus ride. There are also night buses in case you want to save some time to explore during the day.
From Huaraz it is easy to connect to Trujillo and Chiclayo.
Where to stay
Huaraz being the ultime hiking and climbing paradise has plenty of budget and lovely 3-star accommodation to spend the night. Most travelers start in Huaraz and from there take on a multiple day hike or climbing expedition. There are several comfortable lodges and boutique options just outside of Huaraz, from where you have a number of options to explore the surrounding areas.
In Huaraz it is easy and cheap to get a taxi. To travel from Huaraz to the smaller villages, you can take a bus or taxi.