Huaraz or San Sebastian de Huaraz, is located in Ancash near the Andes mountains, which was founded on January 20th, 1574 and has a population of 120,000. It is the second most populous city around the Andes region right after Huancayo. In terms of size, Huaraz is the 22nd biggest city in the entire country.
The city was nicknamed “Noble and Generous city” due to the fact that people from everywhere in the city supported the Liberating waterfall, whose army adopted the city as their fortress, during the fight for the independence of Peru from Spanish Colonial rule, with food, guns and other forms of goodwill. The title was granted to the city by Simon Bolivar, who eventually won Peru their independence. Huaraz’s main trade is tourism, attraction millions every year who tour the Huascaran mountainous areas. Below are somethings I have done and would like to share with you to give you an idea of places to visit.
Widely known as the Lagoon 69 or Laguna 69 in Spanish. It is a very tiny lagoon which is located “close” to Huaraz, in the Ancash region of Peru. You basically get picked up from your hotel quite early in the morning, well before breakfast is served in most hotels, then on the way you stop off at a specific place and have breakfast before venturing onwards. The trip itself takes just over 3 hours to get to the parking area, then you have to walk 7km up 2 mountains and you finally arrive.
As being in the Huascaran National Park, Lagoon 69 is among more than 400 collections of lagoons that forms the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site. Hence the number 69 of 400. It is well worth the trek and is very tiring as well. In terms of diffuclty I would say it is an intermediate level, which requires a lot of stamina. I would consider myself quite fit when it comes to hiking and it took us just over 2 hours to get there, however the average person takes 3 as it is climbing upwards, the return journey is better as it is basically downhill. The sights on the way up are amazing and there are so many waterfalls. The lagoon itself in my opinion is nothing special… Sorry to spoil the fun, for me, it was more like a once in a lifetime kind of thing to say I did it and it was worth it.
The Llanganuco Lakes is a collection of two lakes by the name of Orconcocha and Chinancocha which are located around the Cordillera Blanca region of the Andes in Peru. The lakes transverses the Yungay District, Ancash Region and Yungay Province and they are for the most part of the Huascaran National Park. Lake Chinancocha is located at a height of 3,850 metres, while Lake Orconcocha is located at about 1 kilometre from Chinancocha and it is at the endpoint of the LLanganuco valley. When you go to the lagoon 69, you continue past Llanganuco for about 20 minutes and then you start your trek. The only thing I did not like was having to do the same route twice as it is very tiring, but you got to do it to visit both places.
The Pastoruri glacier is a typical cirque glacier that can be found around the southern regions of the Cordillera Blanca. The glacier is 5,200 metres above sea level and is located at Huascaran National Park. It is one of the last remaining few glaciers around the tropical South American region, (correction, it is now not considered a glacier as it fails to recover what it loses over the summer months).
It occupies an area of about 8 Square kilometres. Due to climate change, the glacier is currently undergoing shrinkage and efforts are underway to prevent this occurrence. It is a renowned tourist attraction as well as a perfect location for ice climbers and snowboarders.
When you arrive on the bus, you can see the top of the glacier, it is only a 2km trek from the parking lot. However, you are 5200m above sea level so no running lol and take your time, apply sun cream, take a hat, gloves and plenty of water.
Chavin de Huantar
Most places in Huaraz can be found within 2 to 4 hours. Chavin De Huantar is just over a 2 hour drive from the city and is on the eastern part of the Cordillera Blanca. It is a popular archaeological site in Peru and contains artifacts and ruins of the culture of the people who lived there before the Incas.
To be honest, you would need around 10 days to really take advantage of the “nearby attractions and ruins”. However, for those of you who really like to venture on inwards, you really need to have prior experience and hire tour guides who know the snow-capped mountains for those more extreme tours. You can find a handful of them in Huaraz, you just need to investigate a little.