Huaraz, Peru – Impressions

In the mountains of Central Peru is the small city of Huaraz, pronounced Wa-ras (with a rolled r). An 8 hour bus ride north of Lima, and at just over 3000m above sea level, Huaraz is the 22nd largest city in Peru with 120,000 people. The main attraction of Huaraz is not the city itself – which is very much like many of the other peruvian cities, markets, plazas, fountains and even a cathedral. The main attraction is, of course, the mountains of the Andes.

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Running along one side of the city is a mountain range called The Cordillera Negra, literally The Black Range. It’s described as having several ‘hills’, the tallest of which is over 5,100 metres!

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While they’re technically mountains, and very large ones at that, they look like hills compared to what lies on the other side of Huarez…

Cordillera Blanca – literally The White Mountains or The White Range. With more than 33 peaks higher than 5,500 metres, and the tallest being over 6750m, the range with its plentiful snow clad specimens produces 80% of Peru’s electricity. Here is just a small selection of the 180km long range…

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Cordillera Blanca is a hikers paradise and while Huarez is not as set up for hiking as many other cities in the Andes, the fewer number of tour operators gives the mountains more of a wild feeling. The most popular hike in the ranges is a 4 day, 3 night hike called the Santa Cruz trek. While Peruvian law apparently says you must hire a guide to do the trek, many hikers forego this for a sense of freedom.

Next, I’m off to do just that, the Santa Cruz trek without a guide…

The Trail Wanderer

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