Huaraz, located in the Peruvian Andes approximately 400km north of Lima, is a hiker’s paradise, offering a wide range of challenging and beautiful hikes in Peru and many other (outdoor) activities. A trek to the famous Laguna 69 with its turquoise water is on the bucket list of many travelers that come to Peru. Huaraz is situated between the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Negra. Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer or just looking for a scenic day hike, there’s something for everyone in Huaraz.
Do you love hiking in Peru? Here are five of the best five hikes in Huaraz
Best five hikes in Huaraz
Santa Cruz Trek:
The four-day Santa Cruz trek is one of the most popular in the Huaraz area, and for good reason. The trail takes you through beautiful Andean landscapes, past glistening lakes and glaciers, and over high passes with breathtaking views of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. The highlight of the trek is the viewpoint of Alpamayo mountain, considered one of the most beautiful mountains in the world by many. This is the first of the Best Five Hikes in Huaraz .
Itinerary Santa Cruz Trek
Day 1: Huaraz – Cashapampa (Drive) – Llamacorral (Trek) In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel in Huaraz and driven to the trailhead in Cashapampa. After registering with the park authorities, you will start the trek to Llamacorral, where you will set up camp for the night. The trek takes around 3-4 hours and is relatively easy, passing through beautiful Andean landscapes.
Day 2: Llamacorral – Alpamayo Basecamp (Trek) Today, you will start the trek to Alpamayo Basecamp, the highlight of the trek. The trail takes you through a glacial valley and over a high pass, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The trek takes around 6-7 hours and is challenging, but the views are worth the effort. You will set up camp for the night at the base of Alpamayo.
Day 3: Alpamayo Basecamp – Vaqueria (Trek) Today, you will trek to Vaqueria, passing through beautiful Andean landscapes, past glistening lakes and glaciers. The trek takes around 6-7 hours and is challenging, but the views are worth the effort. You will set up camp for the night in Vaqueria.
Day 4: Vaqueria – Cashapampa (Drive) – Huaraz (Drive) Today, you will trek back to Cashapampa, where you will be picked up by the transportation and driven back to Huaraz. The trek takes around 3-4 hours.
It is important to note that this itinerary may vary depending on the specific tour operator and the weather conditions. Also, as Huaraz is located in the high Andes, it is important to properly acclimatize before undertaking any high altitude activities and take precautions to avoid altitude sickness.
Another of the Best Five Hikes in Huaraz is the Laguna 69 Trek, a day hike that takes you to the base of Huascarán mountain and to Laguna 69, a stunning turquoise lake surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The hike is popular and challenging but rewarding, with the trail passing through diverse landscapes, views of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range including a glacial valley and a high Andean pass. The Laguna 69 trek takes about 6-7 hours.
This five-day trek is a less-crowded alternative to the Santa Cruz trek. It takes you to the base of Huaytapallana (5,752m) which is considered one of the most difficult peaks to climb in the Cordillera Blanca. The trek offers stunning views of the mountain and the surrounding glaciers, and also takes you through traditional Andean villages.
This is a two-day trek that takes you to the base of Churup mountain (5,450m). The trek offers great views of the mountain, as well as the surrounding valleys and glaciers. It is a challenging hike, but it is worth the effort for the stunning views and the opportunity to spot Andean condors and other wildlife.
Huaytapallana and Huascarán Trek:
This is a challenging and strenuous trek that takes you to the base of two of the most beautiful peaks in the Cordillera Blanca: Huaytapallana and Huascarán. It’s a 8-day trek that requires previous experience in high-altitude trekking.
All of these hikes in Huaraz offer stunning views, unique landscapes, and a chance to experience traditional Andean culture. However, it is important to note that these hikes are physically demanding, and it is important to be in good physical shape, properly acclimatized, and to use a reputable guide. Also, it is very important to check the weather conditions and the status of the trails before starting a hike, as they can be affected by heavy rains, snow, or landslides.
How to get to Huaraz?
There are several ways to get to Huaraz, including by bus or and plane:
# 1 Bus: There are several daily buses that leave from Lima to Huaraz. The journey takes around 10-12 hours and the buses have different levels of comfort. Some of the bus companies that provide this service are Cruz del Sur, Movil Tours, and Civa. It is advisable to book in advance and to choose a bus with a good reputation.
# 2 Plane: There are several daily flights from Lima to Huaraz The flight takes around 1 hour and it is the most convenient and fastest way to get to Huaraz, but also the most expensive.
Huaraz beyond hiking
Huaraz is known for its stunning Andean landscapes and outdoor activities, but there are also many other things to do in the area. Here are a few options for those looking to explore Huaraz beyond hiking:
This museum is located in the center of Huaraz and it offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the Ancash region. The museum houses an impressive collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, including ceramics, textiles, and mummies.
# 2 Take a hot spring bath:
Huaraz is surrounded by hot springs, which can be a great way to relax after a day of hiking. Some of the most popular hot springs are Monterrey, Tarapoto and Lago LLanganuco.
# 3 Go rock climbing:
Huaraz is a popular destination for rock climbing and there are many routes of different levels of difficulty. There are several climbing schools in the area that can provide instruction and equipment.
Visit the traditional Andean villages:
# 4 Visit the villages
Huaraz is surrounded by traditional Andean villages that offer a glimpse into the traditional way of life. Some popular villages to visit are Carhuaz, Huari, and Huaylas, where you can see the traditional architecture and meet the friendly locals.
# 5 Explore the Huascarán National Park:
Even if you don’t have time for a multi-day hike, you can still visit the Huascarán National Park and enjoy the stunning Andean landscapes. There are several viewpoints and short hikes you can do, such as the Mirador de los Cóndores, the Mirador de los Huascaranes and the Laguna Llaca.
# 6 Do some shopping:
Huaraz is a great place to buy traditional Peruvian crafts such as woven textiles, ceramics and alpaca wool clothing. The central market is a good place to start, but you can also find many shops and street vendors selling these items.
# 7 Try local food:
Huaraz offers a wide variety of delicious local dishes. Some of the most popular dishes are ceviche, chicharrones, and lomo saltado. It is also a good idea to try the local beer, called Cusqueña and Pilsen Callao.
# 9 Visit Chavin de Huantar
Chavin de Huantar is an arequeological site near Huaraz