Glacial lakes to snow-capped summits: Liz W. shares her adventures of trekking in Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca

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Liz W. performs a head stand on the edge of a mountain in the Cordillera Blanca, PeruLiz W. makes sure she gets every angle of perspective during her trek through the Cordillera Blanca.
All photos by Liz W. with Peru For Less

Our very own Peru For Less travel advisor, Liz W., recently returned from a trekker’s dream vacation to the town of Huaraz in the scenic Cordillera Blanca of Peru. Nestled in the crevices of the Andes Mountains, this area is considered the trekking and climbing capital of Peru, with the highest Andean peak, Huascaran, towering 22,204 feet (6,768 meters) over Huaraz. Read on as Liz shares the insider details of her travels of trekking in Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca.

The beautiful Huaraz: Trekking capital of Peru

The view of the Cordillera Blanca from thousands of feet high, PeruThe view from the treks in the Cordillera Blanca are stunning and captivating.

Huaraz is a town located in the Ancash Province high in the Cordillera Blanca of the Andes Mountains of Peru, about 8 hours from Lima. The region itself is known for large traces of mineral and gold deposits making it one of the most resource-rich areas of Peru, but for travelers, this region encompassing Huaraz is considered to have the most beautiful and awe-inspiring treks and rock climbing in Peru. It is unheard of that one visits this gorgeous landscape and leaves unmoved by its beauty and grandeur. Liz explains, “You trek along, slowly by surely, one foot in front of the other. Then you finally get to the pass and the sky opens up to you. It is the best feeling of accomplishment ever.”

Liz and her sister sit high in the mountains while trekking in Huaraz, PeruLiz and her sister pose for a photo along the Santa Cruz Trek near Huaraz.

One thing that really stands out about Huaraz is that while it is often referred to as the trekking capital of Peru, it is not very touristy and can definitely be called “off the beaten path.” This is mainly do to how secluded and undeveloped the region is. Huaraz itself has the essentials with regards to overnight accommodations and restaurants, but most are family-owned and unlike what visitors see in Cusco or other commercialized Andean trekking destinations. This keeps Huaraz a beautiful secluded gem tucked away Peruvian Andes.

A trekking and climbing paradise

The sunset over the mountains in Huaraz, PeruThe sunset over the mountains near Huaraz paint the sky in hues of gold, violet, and blue.

During their stay in Huaraz, Liz and her sister decided to embark on the Santa Cruz Trek with a guide and a small group of 4 other trekkers. Their experienced guide and personal chef took them on a 4-day/3-night unforgettable journey through the passes of the Cordillera Blanca. Liz recalls, “We didn’t see more than one other trekking group the whole way, making it that much more peaceful.”

Liz and her sister go rock climbing in Huaraz, PeruAfter trekking through the mountains, Liz and her sister decide to try some rock climbing for a different perspective of the Cordillera Blanca.

In addition to trekking in Huaraz, the adventure sisters also heard about the thrilling rock climbing scene in the area and decided to scale a few rock faces. Liz says it is easy to find an expert as well as a place to rent climbing gear in town.

Tips and advice from Liz

Get acclimated

Liz poses in front of Lago 69 after trekking in Huaraz, PeruWhile they were acclimatizing to the high altitude of Huaraz, Liz and her sister took an easy-going day hike to Lago 69, a crystal blue glacial lake nestled in the mountains.

While the altitude didn’t affect her so much because she spent some time in Cusco, Liz recommends that you take it easy your first day in order to acclimate. One way to do this is to take a mini day trek. Liz and her sister hiked to Lago 69, a beautiful glacial lake tucked away in the mountains. She says you don’t need a guide and it is a relatively easy trek for newbie trekkers.

Be prepared for the rainy season

If you are trekking between the months of November through February, you should pack some rain gear for your journey, such as boots, fast-drying cotton clothing, poncho, etc. When Liz visited in December, she was expecting rain, but luckily the weather stayed dry and pleasant.

Give yourself plenty of time

Liz recommends setting aside about 5 days for a trekking trip to Huaraz. “There is a ton to do, and you really don’t want to underestimate the altitude. Give yourself a couple of days to really enjoy the experience, doing lighter activities and then you will be ready to conquer your trek.”

Plan your next trekking adventure to Huaraz!

Get inspired and awe-struck by the scenic mountain-scapes of Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca! Contact us now to speak with an experienced travel advisor to add an unforgettable trek like Liz’ to your Peru itinerary.

 

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About Author

Katy is no stranger to the life of an international traveler. After graduate school, Kathleen worked in California in the legal field, but later realized that life was calling her in a different direction. After a short time in Peru, she fell in love with the culture, the people, the food, and the way of life. Now Kathleen calls Lima her “home away from home,” although she frequently visits the warm, sunny northern Peru to see friends and surf.

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