The town of Huaraz is located in the fertile valley of Callejon de Huaylas, at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca high mountain region, a part of the Andes, where you can also find the highest mountain in Peru, the Huascarán. Significant only for its agricultural role, Huaraz has become a popular base for trips to the mountains. Whether it’s long trekking tours or rather a quick descent in snowboarding, adrenaline junkies and nature lovers have discovered Huaraz on their own! It is no wonder then that you have the option of lodging here, from the simple youth hostel to the luxurious mountain lodge.
The invincible city
Although Huaraz enjoys many advantages due to its location, it also carries great dangers. In the 20th century, the city was four times overrun by devastating avalanches that had dissolved in the Cordillera Blanca. In 1941, 5,000 – 7,000 people died when a mudslide, caused by a break in the wall of Lake Palcacocha, broke over the city.
It got even worse in 1971: an earthquake struck the region and the city was almost completely destroyed. Even if there are no exact numbers, the victims of the earthquake are estimated at more than 10,000. But the inhabitants of Huaraz ‘could not be arrested. Assistants from many countries around the world came to the rescue and thanks to the support, the city could be rebuilt again. Since then, it is also considered the city of international friendship.
During the reconstruction, tourism was also included more and more emphasis was placed on restaurants, hotels and other services. Successfully, because since this disaster with the subsequent restoration of the city, tourism is increasingly, in the true sense of the word, uphill.
The trekking metropolis
During the peak season, Huaraz transforms into a “trekker mecca” and hundreds of backpackers can be seen walking the streets of Huaraz. Of course, you will find innumerable bars and pubs, where tourists can relax from their excursions or plan the next expedition to the mountains. For many climbers, climbing the Huascaran is considered the perfect training for a Mount Everest climb in the future.
Therefore, it is not surprising that in Huaraz you can not only buy or rent every conceivable equipment for tours in the mountains, but also offer guided tours to virtually every corner of small agencies. Only during the rainy season, when “worst” months are February and March, will it be a bit quieter here. Because then the rain masses turn the partly unpaved paths and paths into the mountains into true mud pits and many a small stream can become an insurmountable, raging obstacle.
From Huaraz to the Huascaran National Park
In Huaraz you can book for about $ 50 a trip to the National Park, which is easy to handle even without hiking experience and leads you to the most beautiful corners. Among other things, of course, the two lakes in the park, Chinancocha and Llanganuco (the female and the male, as they are called). With turquoise blue water and the magnificent landscape surrounding the lakes an overwhelming experience. If you are patient and have a good camera lens, you can see the legendary Peruvian condors flying around in the park, or you can spot one or the other spectacled bear. These are the snapshots that some people wait for a lifetime.
The temple of Willkawayin
Only 7 km outside of Huaraz ‘lies the “House of the Grandson”, better known as the Temple of Willkawayin. This two-part monument has managed to survive almost all of the natural disasters, avalanches and earthquakes in the past 1000 years, even without mortar mortar.
The temple was built by members of the Wari, a civilization long before the Inca people of that area. The main building hides in its interior 17 chambers, some of which you can actually visit today. The temple buildings are made of massive megalithic blocks that are held together not by mortar but by slate slabs.
Below the temples, hidden deep in the ground, there should be numerous tunnels that run kilometers through the mountains. Unfortunately, these have not survived the passage of time and are mostly buried. For an exhibition and missing research – unfortunately, as so many times – money. Therefore, it will probably remain a mystery forever in the place where the corridors actually lead and if there are no possibly invaluable treasures hidden inside.
How do you get there and where can you stay?
Huaraz is located in northern central Peru, about 420 km from the capital, Lima, and is approached daily by several bus companies, such as Movil Tours or Cruz del Sur. The bus trip lasts approximately 8 hours.
However, if you prefer to fly the route, you should be careful: there is an early morning flight with the airline LC Peru, but you can bring a maximum of 15 kg of luggage and 5 kg of carry-on luggage in the company. So, if you have a decent amount of equipment for a trip to the mountains with you, you may have to pay expensive money. That’s why every traveler should prefer to use a scale before traveling, before unpleasant surprises.
Whether it is a high-end resort or youth hostel, Huaraz is perfectly equipped for all its tourists. A good mid-range hotel, for example, is the Hotel Colomba: for just under 50 – 65 euros, – Euro expects, among others, a free breakfast, W-LAN, a restaurant and a gym
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