When we speak of Peru, Machu Picchu is the main destination that comes to the mind of those who love to travel. However, Peru offers another great attraction, curiously kept in a small town. Eight hours away from Lima, the capital of Peru, peaceful Hauraz has one of the most gorgeous views in South America: the Cordillera Blanca (White Mountain Range), a veritable oasis for trail lovers in the Huascaran National Park – a natural Disneyland. With endless possibilities of tours for beginners and professionals, Huaraz is perfect for light trails, ideal for acclimatization, as well as for intense trails, when it’s necessary to spend a few days to complete the route in the mountains.
Before starting our adventures, let’s go on a tour of one of Peru’s most charming cities: Recuay. The colonial style of its old mansions, interlinked with new buildings with walls of tile-adorned adobe ensures a cozy atmosphere. Be sure to visit the San Francisco grotto, a lovely geological formation with incredible stalactites, in the woods of Puyas de Raimondi. From there, we can see the entrance to the snow-covered Pastoruri, the most accessible mountain in the Huascaran National Park.
An important tip is to reserve accommodation near the Plaza de Armas, an ideal location for booking tours. The main tourist agencies are located there, as well as the best restaurants in town. As for the tours, start with Lake Wilcacocha early in the morning, and watch a spectacular sunrise at the top of a mountain in the Cordillera Negra (Black Mountain Range). The view of all the mountain ranges in the Andes is well worth a trail of around 3 hours, from which you’ll see the National Park, your probable destination for the next few days of your trip.
Another tour that can’t be missed is to the Pastoruri Glacier, an incredible 7 hour tour. Most of the way is done by van, with a final 3 hours of trail. Be prepared for intense cold, even in sunshine. Afterwards, for a rest, no trails, only a trip in a van for a visit to Laguna Paron (Paron Lagoon). While there, enjoy a wonderful view as you approach Mount Nevado Artesonraju, eternalized in the Paramount Films logo.
After recharging your energy, it’s time for another heavy trail. The destination? Laguna 69 (Lagoon 69), with 15km of trail (round trip) after days of acclimatization to adapt to the effects of the high altitude. The reward: a beautiful lake of indescribable color.