If you like the mountains, add Huaraz to your list.
This northern Peru trekking and climbing mecca struck us as a much smaller, better version of Kathmandu. Name a mountain activity and Huaraz has it – climbing, trekking, fishing, mountain biking, camping, glacier-ing, high altitude mountaineering, heli-skiing, the list goes on. And some culture to boot. We loved this place (after buying some warm jackets) and easily could have been stuck here for a month but ended up stretching a 5 day stay to 10 days.
Here are some of the best ways to explore Huaraz:
At just over 5,000 meters, this makes for a good acclimatization day hike as you can basically drive to the base of the glacier. You can even take a donkey and skip the 30 min hike. But get here soon because it’s melting, quickly.
A small Wari archaeological site dating back to 600 AD. Explore the hidden tunnels and tombs that used to house mummies. This also makes for a good acclimatization hike and is walking distance from town.
Santa Cruz trek in Cordillera Blanca
Unreal 4 day trek. The high pass at 4,750 meters will leave you breathless, literally and figuratively. Just watch out for the dead donkeys. If you haven’t already, check out Alison’s post on our Santa Cruz experience.
Fly Fishing (sort of) on unnamed rivers
There are plenty of opportunities to trout fish in and around the mountain ranges of Huaraz. If that’s what you’re into, bring a rod with you or opt for a homemade Peruvian setup.
Not sure who named this lake but Alison hiked up the 800m to see it and came back with some cool pics. The bright colors of the glacial lakes in the area is pretty awesome.
A 10 day trek with passes up to 5,400 meters. Looks unreal.
Given the temperate climate of the Peruvian Andes, the highest peaks are actually quite accessible, allowing mountaineers the ability to summit some of the easiest 6,000 meter peaks in the world. It wouldn’t be odd to meet a guide at a bar in Huaraz who had summited Everest, as a lot of the locals grow up at altitude and are often recruited for Himalayan expeditions.
There are plenty of mountain biking options around Huaraz, including a trip that allows you to mountain bike all the way around the Cordillera Blanca mountain range.
The bars in Huaraz play rock climbing videos like ski towns in the Rockies play those ridiculous ski and snowboarding videos. You get the idea.
I’m sure we missed some stuff and all the tour agencies in town are pretty good at improvising. Huaraz is an explorer’s paradise so go exploring!