Huaraz is a city located in the North of Peru, right at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca. With 120,000 inhabitants, it is the second largest city in the Peruvian Andes. Huaraz, also called the hiking capital of Peru, has an altitude of 3,052 meters. In 1970, there was a terrible earthquake that killed half of the population of Huaraz and completely destroyed the infrastructure of the city, except for one street of buildings.
The city has been reconstructed, though with simple, concrete buildings. Many people come to Huaraz in order to do outdoor activities and visit the famous Huarascán National Park. The National Park is famous for many treks, tours, and excursions, and is well-known for the Huarascán mountain, which is the highest mountain in the tropics at an altitude of 6,768 meters.
The most popular activities to do in Huaraz are those related to outdoor adventures and the mountain scenery, such as trekking, mountain biking, climbing, skiing, and rafting. There are many treks in Huaraz that provide an adventure of a lifetime! There are four day treks that are easier and take travellers to the famous Llanganuco Lakes. A popular option is the Santa Cruz trek. There are also longer treks, most of them longer than ten days, that are much more difficult and take trekkers throughout Huarascán National Park to see many marvellous sites.
There are also ruins to visit, the most famous being Chavin de Huantar, an archaeological site that is believed to be constructed thousands of years ago and occupied by pre-Inca peoples. You can also visit the Pastoruri Glacier, which is located in the Cordillera Blanca and is one of the only glaciers that remains in the tropics of South America. In these areas, a flower called Puya Raimondii can be found. This is a rare plant that grows very large and takes many years to complete its reproductive cycle.
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There is a wide variety of places to shop and eat out in Huaraz. Calle Luzuriaga, the main street, is perfect for finding anything you might need, whether that´s camping gear, a place to hang out, or a restaurant. Some popular restuarants in Huaraz are: Bistro de los Andes (French-Peruvian), Siam de los Andes (Thai), Fuente de Salud (vegetarian), and Mi Comedia (Italian). There are also some quaint cafes that are perfect for hanging out, especially Cafe Andino and Rossonero, which also offers some excellent desserts!
The most economical way to travel to Huaraz is by bus. From Lima, a bus ticket to Huaraz costs around 10 dollars and takes 7-8 hours. The most popular bus companies are Cruz del Sur and Movil Tours. There are also flights available from Lima to Huaraz on LC Peru. There is a weight limit (15 kg) for each passenger´s luggage that they are strict about upholding. The flight takes about 50 minutes.
It is important to remember that Huaraz is located at a very high altitude of 3,052 meters. Because of this, it is essential that travellers who plan to do treks or other physical activity arrive a few days early to acclimate.
The dry season, which boasts warm and sunny days and a bit chillier nights, ranges from April to October. The rainy season, which has cooler, rainy days and warmer nights, ranges from November to March. Regardless of the season, exploring Huaraz will be an unforgettable experience!