My adventure through the Cordillera Blanca
Because Peru has more to offer then only Machu Picchu…
Arriving in Huaraz
After a very long ride, all the way from Mancora beach, we finally arrived in Huaraz. It was already nighttime and there were people everywhere. Still shopping, eating in one of the many restaurants or having fun in the bars. Walking through the cold, still with our flipflops on, we were looking for our hostel till someone told us this hostel was not open anymore. So we had to search for another hostel, luckily there were many hostel and within an hour we had found a hostel within our budget. After a nice warm shower we went outside to see a little bit of the nightlife in Huaraz. Despite we were very tired of the long ride we found a nice restaurant were we ate some good pizza, but after this meal we decided to go to bed early to prepare for Huaraz in daylight…
Huaraz at daylight
We woke up, took a look out of the window and suddenly this huge mountains where there! Because we arrived at nighttime we did not had the change yet to see it. It looked exactly like the pictures on postcards! After a nice breakfast we went directly to a touroperator to see what they could offer us. Of course we heard already many stories about a beautiful Laguna called 69 so that was the first thing we asked for. A nice Belgium lady explained us that Laguna 69 is a tough walk and because we just came from sealevel we should prepare our self first on the high. She showed us many tours and recommended us the Pastoruri glacier. With our good trust we signed up for both the tours with a lot of excitement.
At day Huaraz is a very calm city if you compare it how it was the night before. The street near our hostel was full with clothing, one block more there were a lot of little restaurants and streetfood. In the center of Huaraz you could find the Plaza de Armas, this is the main square of Huaraz where you could find the market. Traditional Peruvian woman and man who were selling warm clothes, scarfs and Christmas stuff all day long. It was almost Christmas when I arrived in Huaraz so don´t expect christmas stuff through the whole year! 😉
What to do in Huaraz
Besides the many clothing and food there is a lot to do in the surroundings! Besides our booked tours you can also do many other daytours. The Huascaran National Park is enormous! Not to start about the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhuash. There are many touroperators offering tours which are taking more then just one day. But for this you need professional gear we did not had unfortunately. But I surely recommend to do this if you have the gear!
Our day has come! Early in the morning the touroperator picked us up from the hostal and our first adventure could start! Pastoruri is a glacier on 5600m high in the Huascaran National Park. After a more or less 3h ride we arrived at the entrance of the National Park. We had to drive still 2 more hours through the National Park but with many stops to make pictures of the beautiful landscapes. Personally I thought it would be more like a hike but when the bus stopped it was only a 20min walk till the glacier. You could also choose to rent a horse to bring you up. So this place is a little touristic but it is totally worth visiting it! As soon as the glacier came in sight I saw the spectaculair white and blue colors of the ice and a beautiful lake along the glacier with an amazing reflection on the water. This was really just a warming up for our next tour but I surely recommend this place if you are in Huaraz!
Finally our big day had come! Our great adventure could start when the touroperator picked us up from our hostal very early in the morning. After a more or less 3h ride we arrived once again at the entrance of the Huascaran National Park, but this time from another side and there were mountains all around us. A whole different part of this National Park. We made a short stop at Laguna Chinancocha. The water was ice blue, I had never seen this kind of blue water before! After 2 more hours de bus stopped and it was time to start our hike towards the Laguna 69. It was a long and heavy walk, it seemed there was no end coming. A few people had to go back because they could not do it anymore. Laguna 69 is on a 4600m high, so we were pretty used to the alltitude. After a 4 hour hike we finally saw a little blue spot in front of us! We went closer and there it was.. The most amazing, spectaculair, beautiful laguna I have ever seen! The water so blue, a mountain full with snow and waterfalls on the background. Cows graze along the lake. With the group we had a nice lunch and enjoyed the scenerie. This was far the most beautiful piece of nature I have seen in whole Peru. So if you decide to travel through Peru, make sure you don’t miss this!
Must do’s in Huaraz
To tell my story in short, this is what you absolutely must do when you are in Huaraz!
- Walk at night on the streets and see what kind of delicious food they have to offer!
- Pay a visit to Pastaruri glacier
- Hike to Laguna 69
- Pay a visit to one of the markets in Huaraz to see traditional Peruvians selling souvenirs
- If you are not experienced in hikes, don’t go alone! Just book a tour, you meet nice people and it’s cheaper as well!
- ENJOY AND HAVE FUN