Huaraz, north of Lima, is the capital of Peru’s Ancash department and a great base for trekking the Andes Mountains.
Ancash has many peaks over 6,000 metres’ elevation including Peru’s tallest mountain, at 6,768 metres, Huascarán. In May 2017 I was keen on hiking and seeing amazing landscapes. I wasn’t getting too high though, after previously experiencing altitude sickness twice above 5,000 metres.
While visiting Huaraz I hiked Laguna Wicacocha and Laguna 69. For more serious trekkers, the region has many multi-day options including the classic Santa Cruz trek.
Following are my favourite photos of Huaraz and surrounds.
South of Huaraz, the hike to 3,750 metre high Laguna Wicocha is a great half-day outing and altitude-acclimatiser. As a bonus, the views are fantastic.
Getting to the trek start involved taking a local minibus (line 10 or E) from Jr. Hualcán, near Mercado to Puente Santa Cruz in the direction of Bedoya.
At the top, I bought a lovely hand-knitted woollen beanie from a lady for only 6 soles.
Laguna 69 is a popular full-day trip from Huaraz and more substantive than Wilcacocha in both hike duration and altitude. At 4,600 metres high, I needed to stop and catch my breath multiple times prior to reaching the top. Located in Huascarán National Park, tour companies offer daily bus trips to the trailhead.
Waterfalls, lakes, streams and glacier- and snow-covered mountains create stunning scenery.
Outside of its main attraction as a mountaineering and trekking base, Huaraz has an interesting archaeological museum with a nice garden. Another Huaraz highlight was eating my spiciest meal in South America at the aptly-named Chilli Heaven restaurant.