Huaraz is the place to go in Peru for the diehard hikers and nature lovers. Almost 10,000 ft above sea level there are splendid mountainous views and plenty of unforgettable trails to choose from. The city is not particularly pretty due to an earthquake in the 70s that destroyed its traditional buildings, most have been reconstructed with dismal concrete. There isn’t a particularly robust food or cultural scene going on either. None of those things seemed to matter, because I fell in love with the fierce jagged snow capped Cordillera Blanca mountains, the turquoise lakes, and interactions with all of the mountain people that live around the city. Not overly geared towards tourism (still a large portion of the economy), though you’ll find everything you need, I felt that there is a more authentic experience to gain in this region.
How to get there?
Eight hours north of Lima, the best option is to take a night bus. We chose the reputable company Cruz del Sur to travel with. The bus station was a bit confusing because no one spoke a lick of English, but everything somehow worked out. Even with a language barrier, there were a handful of employees who went above and beyond to make sure we got to where we needed to be. The upgraded the seats are totally worth the price. They were pretty comfortable and I was able to sleep for most of the ride. Roundtrip tickets are a bit expensive at approximately $70, but you’re getting transportation plus your accommodation for the nights.
Where to stay?
Browsing through tripadvisor there was a very high rating for a hotel, La Casa de Zarela. Prices were very affordable, so we decided to ditch AIRBNB and hostels for a change and treat ourselves, you can make your reservation early and pay when you arrive. It’s not super close to the bus station for walk, but just a few minutes in a cab and you’re there. One of the thoughtful aspects of the hotel is that you are welcome to check in as early as you want, or as late out. Extremely convenient for people taking the night bus which gets in at the crack of dawn and leaves, well, at night! The place has character and a cool roof to hang out on if its warm enough.
We visited Huaraz towards the end of our trip and thus we were extremely weary. When we weren’t out hiking it felt like we were in a resort because you can grab food and drinks right downstairs. We loved sharing travel stories with Zalera who has been around the globe herself and she picked up some solid Thai recipes along the way. Real comfort food. Finally feeling relaxed, we decided to even indulge in the popular Peruvian cocktail a pisco sour, whipped up fresh by Zalera – you can even get a passion fruit variety.
What is a pisco sour? The Peruvian national drink! Pisco is a Peruvian brandy made from grapes, mixed with key lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup, and bitters. It is tangy, frothy, delicious, and strong!
What I did…
+Self guided hike and transportation to Laguna Churup
+Tour bus transportation to hike Laguna 69
More information in the following days including details of the hikes, stay tuned!
What I’d like to do if I had more time…
+Hike the Santa Cruz Trek
+Visit the local hot springs
+See Puya Raimondi, the biggest pineapple plants of the world