Huaraz

The stunning Peruvian countryside

Huaraz is a large town in the Cordillera Blanca region of Peru's Central Sierra.

Understand

Huaraz stands tall at 3100m; travellers from Lima might need a day or two to acclimatize to the change in atmosphere. See Altitude sickness for advice and more information.

July is a good time to visit the region; the temperature is perfect for walking and the sky is free from clouds / rain. It's also a good time as the July period has many of Peru's annual event celebration dates. The town puts on a tremendous night of entertainment each year for most of the days, featuring live music and more. Well worth a look if you are in the region.

A town of 100,000, it blends a mix of modern and native culture. The town has many markets and shops catering to tourist needs and local needs. The food markets are especially interesting and are a great starting point for getting supplies for expeditions. Be sure to shop about before purchasing/hiring (especially for mountaineering gear) as often a better price can be found elsewhere with a bit of bargaining.

The town has many places offering cheap internet access; although a bit slow, the connection is usually reliable. The town has a big post office and a few banks. Huaraz also has a mix of old and new restaurants offering a variety of dishes. Cuy (guinea pig) is a regional dish; perhaps something to say one has tried but not something to make a diet of! There are a few night clubs and many bars open late. Common sense would advise people not to travel alone at night, but one feels safe in the city where the locals were very willing to help out where possible. Like many places in Peru, it's not wise to take much money with you at any one time if you can possibly avoid it.

Get in

Huaraz is approximately 8 hours coach drive from Lima; it's simple and a reasonably cheap and reliable service. Movil Tours, Ormeño, Cruz del Sur and CIAL are most frequently recommended bus companies.

When you arrive you will find out that ´captadores´ are trying to bring you to lowly recommendated hostels and places. They spread bad words about the hostel you are willing to go to. Do not believe any of these popular phrases like: that hostel is always full, that hostel is far away. Especially at Cruz del Sur it is tough to leave. These 'captadores' get commission for each night you stay at the place that they recommend.

There are several daily buses to and from Chimbote & Trujillo. Movil Tours & Transportes Linea are the best (US$14, 7 hours to Trujillo), followed by Chinchaysuyo & Comite 14, all of which only travel by night, & continue to Trujillo. All night buses travel on the tar sealed road from Huaraz to Pativilca (Caral is near there) to the Panamerican Highway, midway between Trujillo & Lima.

Transportes Linea, America Express & others run from Trujillo from 6AM or earlier to catch the 8-8.30AM bus of Turismo Huaraz & Yungay Express from Huaraz via Caraz & the spectacular Cañon del Pato. It's a rough 8 hour bus ride, the buses are basic for the unsealed road (Caraz to Chimbote) and may be overcrowded between Caraz & Huaraz. The views are stunning. Price is around US$7 (S/. 25). If you have your own vehicle, obtain permission (& confirmation of entrance times if maintenance is in progress) from Proyecto Chavimochic in Trujillo (Telefax 044 272286) or Viru to leave the Panam (485 km north of Lima) via the well kept Brasileiros maintenance road alongside the canal to the north bank of the Santa River to Cañon del Pato. It is possible to cover Trujillo to Caraz in 5 hours (+ photo stops) on this straighter, smoother road. Almost 40 tunnels are large enough for all but the largest tourist buses.

There are also day buses between Huaraz & Chimbote via the Callan Pass, Pariacoto & Casma (for Sechin). Longer, rougher & not quite as visually stunning.

Every 20 minutes or so combis leave Huaraz for Caraz visiting Carhuaz and Yungay on the way.

Get around

In Huaraz, taxi's are cheap and fast for getting about the town.

Be wary of dubious taxi drivers / cabs. Peru does have a problem with taxis in some places, and tourists have been known to be mugged/assaulted in them. On a non-sexist note, female travelers should be careful not to travel alone, especially in taxis and especially at night. That said, Huaraz is a comparatively safe city--for males and females--and is easily maneuvered by the seasoned traveler, particularly those who can speak Spanish. However, just as in any part of Peru, staying aware of your surroundings and avoiding potentially dodgy situations is advised.

Also if you need to rent a car to go out of the city, are a variety of companies that make this service, the most prominent being Andes Renta Car Huaraz. www.archuaraz.com You can contact trough email alquilercamionetas@gmail.com or call (043)422423 /943626780 in order to get information about the cars, trucks, prices, etc. Andean Rent a Car offers a good service with a drivers that know the routes.

See

Huaraz is also the departure point for tours to see Chavín de Huántar, the center of a cultural and artistic revolution in Peru that took place between 600 and 300 B.C.E. Museums in Huaraz contain many fine examples of Chavin sculpture and older Cupinisque pottery.

Do

Find the practical map guide in most of the bars or laundries.

The entrance to the therms is 3,50 S, for the public swimming pool or private bathtub. Warm !

Get a combi to Catac (3,5 S) then a taxi collectivo to kilometer 131 (5 S) direction Conococha, where the path begins. Walk up 2h, easy. At the end you have to choose, take left. You have to pay 5 S the entrance for one single day. Get down 1h30, you can try hitch hiking to come back.

Buy

At the Plaza de Armas there is an Artesania Market with a broad offer of nice souvenirs, bags, jewelry and clothing. Defenitely worth a visit. Furthermore there are some nice shops on the Av. Luzuriaga as well. The big market with food and a lot of small shops selling everything you can think of is situated at a street which goes parallel to the Av. Luzuriaga.

Eat

Drink

There are several bars clustered around José de la Mar and Cajamarca to still your thirst.

Sleep

Stay safe

Go next

Yungay Express (7AM), Turismo Huaraz & Huandoy (9AM) pass through Caraz 2 hours later & the spectacular Cañon del Pato to Chimbote terminal terrestre, where you can change for Trujillo.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 22, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.