This a Wari ruin that dates back to 1100 AD is an imitation of the temple at Chavin. It is not only interesting in itself but can be visited on a great acclimatization hike that leaves right from town.
Though not particularly attractive compared to the main square of Cuzco, Lima or Arepquipa, this Plaza stands as a testament of the resiliency of the people of Huaraz. The town has been devasted by several earthquakes, the most recent one in 1970, that leveled nearly the entire city. Though perhaps a bit 70s in design, the Plaza as all those in the Latin American countries is a central area for meeting and relaxing.
Like I mentioned in my introduction, this lake is a 4 hour bus ride from Huaraz, so plan accordingly. Also, the tourism agency doesn't open until 0900, so try to gather your information on the bus schedules the day before lest you miss the bus you would like to take. The tour we took was scheduled to leave at 0900, but if you want to spend more than an hour or so at the lake - we were only allowed 30 minutes because the tour left late - then travel on your own.
You reach the Llanganuco Lake via bus by traveling up the mountain on a windy road. I don't have an accurate time of how long it would take to trek to the Lake from the bottom of the mountain, but I would guess a day.
However you get there, Llanganuco Lake is a beautiful place. It has boats you can take on the water, but I could easily pass an afternoon sitting on the grass with a picnic and enjoying the amazing scenery.
Dramatic landscapes are the order of the day on any short drive or hike emanating from or around Huaraz. Some of the most spectacular views are found on the road to and at the Llanganuco Lakes, turquoise lakes hemmed in by some of the Cordillera Blanca’s ice-caps. The lakes are easily reached on day trips from Huaraz or via longer trekking routes.
Date: 29 Nov 2003
Interesting temple complex with a 4.5m monilith inside. One of the most interesting things for me was the water system which they think was used to make different sounds come from the temple. These water channels are hidden under the main square and have vents to let the noise through.
Date: 2 Dec 2003
Climbed up to Churup at 4,450m with a local guide and a guy from the Huaraz university. Great views of the valley didn´t get to see the tops becuase of the cloud. Very much like NZ but very much higher :)
Huaraz is a major tourist hub and it a prime destination for hikers and international climbers. There are many tourist agencies, especially along Av Luziriaga, where you can organise climbing treks, rent equipment, practise rock-climbing, etc...
I am not a climber, so I cannot give tips about climbing here.
But it is very easy to organise tours to the surrounding sights. There are 3 sights that seemed to be more promoted - Llanganuco, Chavin de Huatar and Pastoruri. If you can, go to these sights in this order as the altitude of these places increase progressively, so you will have a chance to acclimatise.
What I noticed is that all the tour agencies sell more or less the same tour packages (cheaper if you get all 3, that sort of thing). But on the day itself, everyone from various agencies seems to be bundled into standard buses and brought to the sights together. So, yep, you are all herded around like cattle, and told you have 20 minutes for this place and that. Note that during the holiday season, the tours are mainly taken up by Peruvians, so the tours are definitely conducted in Spanish. For English private tours, you may have to request for them and the prices will definitely soar.
I hate this sort of tour, but since I could not do the mountain hike by myself, this was my only chance to experience a bit of the Huaraz magic.
This area is known for its sweets, and as the guide said, the women are sweet too, but you can only taste the food! The best part about this place is is the sweet and creamy dairy spread they make that is like nothing I've ever tasted. It's almost like caramel but not sticky and spreads like peanut butter. A must if you are in the area. You can sample the two flavors and buy a container to go for 5 soles. The women who sell the good stuff are widows whom the town rallied behind after their husbands died to help them with the business, and it is doing well. The Holstein cows in the mountains help, as they produce excellent milk. (Note my other tips about the delicious ice cream. :))
The town square is also a nice place to walk around as you take breaks between sampling the goodies in the area.
As an animal science major, one of my favorite parts was getting to see the farm animals in the area. Cows, pigs, chickens were very common, while fewer sheep, goats, and donkeys were around. And, like the rest of Peru, there were lots of dogs. I got very excited when I saw a Brown Swiss cow, as our common dairy breeds are Holstein and Jersey. This was very fitting, as Huaraz is known as the Peruvian Switzerland and Brown Swiss are of course from Switzerland.
The people in the mountains are poorer than the surrounding areas, but they work extremely hard working the land to clothe and feed their families.
Some other animal pictures are in the travelogue Leaving Chimbote.
If you go to Huaraz you can't miss ANDEAN KINGDOM, you have to go there, they gine you free maps and information they have very beautifull and amazing trekkings with a very good service, also there you can do mountain, you don?t have to have experience, I went to 2 mountains there, it was amazing, all the equipment provided by Andean Kingdom, a very good equipment...
and also you have a lot of things to do in Huaraz and I tell you people... do it eith Andean Kingdom
Althought it has several advertisements in sight, do take your time to read a book and enjoy the view from the main Plaza in Town. The road that leads to this plaza is the main road in town where most of the travel agencies are located. The Casa de Guias (good place to hire a local guide) is located 1 block away from the plaza.
MONTREK, MONY AND GANESA TRAVEL
These companies managed to lose my pack within five minutes of my arrival. They put our bags into one taxi and the group members into another, and when we arrived at the bus, my pack was gone. Whether this was premeditated or just irresponsibility is unclear, but it contained over 400 dollars of clothes and equipment needed for the trek. The company then convinced me to go on the trek anyway, even though I didn´t have enough clothes for the extreme temperatures near the pass. They promised that the trip would be refunded either way, but that since the equipment and supplies were already bought, I might as well go on the trek and give them three days to look for my pack.
After the trek, I met with the owners of the company and they were dishonest and unhelpful. They kept trying to convince me that the U.S. would pay for all new equipment for me. I explained that I have no travel insurance that they were responsible for the bag, since I handed it over to them. They have no insurance, and they weren´t even willing to refund the trip, even after telling me that earlier.
The police in Huaraz were helpful and kind, but it quickly became clear that there isn´t much they can do. Even after threatening Montrek·Ganesa that I would write to all major travel guides and post this information on this blog, they claimed that they didn´t have any money to give me. Do not recommend this agency. Other tourists should use their buying power to ensure that these companies are held accountable.
ational Park Huascaran, considered the highest snow-capped mountain of Peru. It is located at 22 kilometers from Huaraz and it has an altitude of 6.768 m.a.s.l., in an area of 340.00 hectares. This park has a varied flora and fauna.
The Huascaran Park was declared Natural Patrimony of Humanity by the UNESCO in 1985. It is characterized by its famous lagoons of intense colors; some of which are: Paron Lagoon, Llanganuco, Laca, Querococha.
The city of Yungay, located at 55 kilometers from Huaraz is at the foot of the Huscaran Mountain. The city was entirely rebuilt after the flood of 1.970 that burried the old city. This town is the point of departure to the Llanganuco Lagoons.
Llanganuco: 3,800 m.a.s.l (12,464 f.) - 25 Km (16 miles) northeast of Yungay (45 minutes by car)
The lakes, Chinancocha and Orconcocha, are situated within the Huascaran National Park and are fed by the melting snows of mounts Huascaran, Huandoy, Pisco, Yanapaccha, and Chopicalqui. The Chinancocha Lake or “female lake” is practically at the foot of Mount Huascaran, and it is characterize by the intense green turquoise color of its waters and the thick queñua forests that grow on its shores. The other smaller lake, called Orconcocha or “male lake”, is located at the end of the glacier valley, and its waters are light blue.