Never a dull moment in Huaraz
The Boulder of Peru, that is how many people know Huaraz. The small town of Huaraz, in central Peru, is famous for it’s outdoor adventures, mainly trekking. Walking through the center you are surrounded by the beautiful snow peaked mountains of the Cordillera Blanca. The mountaintops for me, were like a landmark telling me where to go. Without them I would have gotten lost in Huaraz. Not that the town is so big and easy to get lost in. It’s more that I have a bad sense of direction. Most people travelling to Huaraz like the mountains for other reasons though. Mountaineers come here `en masse` to explore the Cordillera Blanca. The highest peak can be found at 6768 meters.
Even if you are not a climber, Huaraz is still worth visiting. There is plenty of stuff to do at lower altitude, as for instance mountain biking and horse riding. Also the amazing clear blue Laguna 69 is an absolute highlight for many travelers in Peru. It is certainly not the easiest walk, but if you stick to your own pace anyone can make it. It will take about 3 hours to walk to the lake. The first bit is easy and flat. Slowly the walk becomes somewhat steeper. Keep in mind that you are above 3000 meters, so take into account you are walking in thin air and you`re not getting as much oxygen as you would usually get, at lower altitudes. After more or less 2 hours the steepest part starts. Now don’t give up, I promise your perseverance will be rewarded. Finally reaching Laguna 69 you will be amazed by the color of the lake.
If you are a traveller that’s more into Peruvian culture, there are several ruins to visit in Huaraz and also the Museo Regional de Ancash is well worth a visit. The most famous site in Huaraz is, without a doubt, Chavin de Huantar. This is one of the earliest and best known pre-columbian sites and the capital of the Chavin culture, one of the mayor pre-Inca cultures in Peru.
Huaraz itself is situated at 3100 meters. If you are not used to higher altitude, don’t go wild on your first day. Take some time to acclimatize in order to avoid soroche (altitude sickness). Drinking a lot of coca tea helps too. Because Huaraz has suffered from several earthquakes you will not find a lot of old colonial buildings here . The severe 1970 earthquake made 95% of the town disappear. An estimated 10.000 people died. Huaraz was rebuild however and it became a major tourist destination in Peru.