Where to go
LLANGANUCO – SANTA CRUZ
One of the most popular hiking trails in the Cordillera Blanca. Its popularity is due to the spectacular mountain views, crystal lakes and challenging passes. Along the trail, you have amazing views of Artesonraju, Rinrihirca and Alpamayo, before reaching Punta Unión, guarded by the spectacular Taulliraju. You’ll also see Huascarán, Huandoy, Pisco, Chacraraju and Chopicalqui when you cross the Llanganuco Pass and go down to the famous lakes of Llanganuco (Chinancocha and Urconcocha).
Distance : 62 km.
Duration : 5 days
Altitude : 2,900 – 4,750 m.
Rating : Moderate to Difficult
Starting point : Cashapampa
Finishing point : Llanganuco
QUILCAYHUANCA CAYESH TREK
This trail offers magnificent views of Cayesh and Maparaju. You’ll have a chance to see condors on this route, as well as pre-Inca ruins at Nuevo Tambo. When you get to Pitec (see Lake Churup trek), stay on the road until you get to the park gate.
Distance from Pitec : 12-17 km
Duration : 2 days
Trek Time : 4-5 hours
Altitu : 4,300 – 4,650 m.
Rating : Easy – Moderate
Starting point : Pitec
The hike starts in Huillac. A few kms below Collón, the trail goes along the river and is very obvious. It is very pleasant with lots of queñua trees and spectacular views of the mountains.
Distance : 16 km one way
Duration : 2 days
Trek Time : 4-5 hours
Altitude : 3,200 – 4,400 m.
Rating : Easy – Moderate
Starting point : Collón
Finishing point : Huillac
Is one of the few quebradas that still has a large Quenuales and Quishuar forest which is a good place for bird watching. The hike starts in Joncopampa and although a day trip you could take 2 -3 days to enjoy the area.
Usually the hike around the Cordillera Huayhuash begins in the city of Chiquián (3400 meters), 111 km south of Huaraz. This little-known route is one of the most beautiful and impressive. The trek takes approximately 2 weeks and winds through such spectacular mountains as Yerupajá (at 6,634 meters, the second highest in the Peruvian Andes), Jirishanca, Siulá Grande, Rondoy, Ninashanca and Rasac. This trail passes incomparably breath-taking lakes of crystalline water and tiny villages seemingly out of touch with the rest of the world – a wonderful recompense for those willing to venture over these paths.
Distance : 134 – 156 km
Duration : 10 – 14 days
Altitude Between: 2,750 – 5,000 m.
Rating : Difficult
Starting point : Matacancha
Arrival point : Llamac
Highest mountains of the Cordillera Huayhuash:
Yerupajá – 6,634 m
Siulá Grande – 6,344 m
Sarapo – 6,127 m
Jirishanca – 6,094 m
Rasac – 6,017 m
Rondoy – 5,879 m
CORDILLERA NEGRA TREK
La Cordillera Negra also offers a popular hike from the top down to Huaraz along a well-marked Pre – Incan Trail.
Located 32 km from Caraz at an altitude of 4185 m, it was the largest lake in the Cordillera Blanca until its level was lowered a few years ago. From here you can appreciate in all their grandeur the impressive snow-capped peaks of Artesonraju, the Pyramid of Garcilaso and the famous rock wall called the Sphinx.
It is a perfect acclimatization hike. The trail starts by Wilcahuain and goes up a well-marked trail where you get one of the most impressive views of Huaraz.
QUEBRADA SHALLAP Y RAJUCOLTA
Are both beautiful hikes with a gradual and steady uphill until you reach the lakes. They can be day hikes; 6-8 hours .You can hire a taxi to take you to Jancu village for the Shallap hike and to the Gate of Rajucolta for the Rajucolta hike.
The hike from Llaca Vallunaraju moraine camp to Uquia is spectacular but challenging. 2 km uphill to almost 5000 meters from the trail head to base camp then 9 km down the back side, passing through enclosed valleys until you reach the road. The trail has been marked with white stones and leaves to the left of the base camp.
Tours usually depart at 8 AM. Book your ticket one day in advance. Check for reliable travel agencies to visit:
(3800 m.a.s.l.) These two beautiful lakes lie between the northern flank of Huascarán and the southern flank of Huandoy, about 80 km north of Huaraz. The turquoise green and light blue waters of Orconcocha and Chinancocha are trimmed by groves of quenual trees (Polylepis sp.)
CHAVIN ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE
Situado 109 kilómetros al sureste de Huaraz, este templo-incaica pre impresionante y misterioso fue descubierto por el arqueólogo peruano Julio C. Tello en 1919. Sus estructuras hechas de enormes bloques de piedra contienen muchas galerías subterráneas y esculturas finamente talladas con diseños de felinos, aves y serpientes característicos de la iconografía Chavín, que datan de 1000-200 aC.
(5000 m.a.s.l.) Ruta del Cambio climático: Pastoruri, Ruta de Cambio Climático:
Due to its retreating glacier and the effects of global warming, Pastoruri is being observed as part of the route of climate change. It was an area with easy access for tourists to ski and to walk up and touch the glacier, however this is not possible now. Pastoruri is located 80 km south of Huaraz. En route you can see the famous Puya raimondi plants with their gigantic flower stalks.
HUARAZ CITY TOUR
Including visits to the Archaeological Museum, the thermal baths of Monterrey and the Wilcahuain archaeological site.
THE ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM OF ANCASH
The Archaeological Museum on the west side of the Plaza de Armas contains the largest collection of ancient stone sculptures in South America. Passing through the entry hall of temporary photographic and artistic exhibits, you come to an introductory selection of highland and coastal cultures and sites of various time periods, including models of Guitarrero Cave, where the oldest human evidence (10,000 B.C.) has been found, Cerro Sechín (near Casma) with its sculptural panels showing a bloody battle scene, and a replica of part of the great Castillo of Chavín (800-200 B.C.) with its famous Lanzón sculpture. From 200-700 A.D., the Recuay culture, known for its abundant stone sculptures and fine ceramics of white clay with red and black designs, extended throughout the sierra of Ancash from the Marañón River on the east to the Pacific coast on the west. Their coastal rivals were the militant Moche of Pañamarca. On the upper floor are thematic displays of pottery, textiles, metallurgy and other artifacts mainly from later periods, including the Wari, Chimu and Inca empires and the local cultures that they influenced. Going back downstairs to the lowest level, you’ll see many sculptures of the Recuay culture, as well as the fine pottery and a scale model of the large tomb found at Jancu in 1969. Behind the museum is the beautiful sculpture park, where native trees, plants and ornamental flowers enliven the view. Most of the over 100 stone statues, lintels and tenoned heads adorned long-destroyed Recuay temple platforms and mortuary buildings.
HOT SPRINGS MONTERREY AND CHANCOS
MONTERREY: To 6 km north of Huaraz. It is easy to get to and offers a hotel and a variety of swimming pools and tubs with natural thermal water. There is also a big wall for rock climbing behind the hotel. To get there, take either the old green and white buses (S/.1 sol) or cab service (S/.10 – 15 soles).
CHANCOS: Located 27 km north of Huaraz and 3 km east of Marcará. The natural vapor caves are especially recommended.
RATAQUENUA SCENIC LOOKOUT
High above the city on its eastern side is a scenic lookout where you can get a panoramic view of Huaraz and the northern part of the Cordillera Blanca. Reached by car or foot via a 7 km-long zigzag road, the lookout connects with a road to Pucaventana, a colorful, eroded canyon southeast of Huaraz, through which one can either return to the city or continue south to the rural town of Macashca. It is recommended to go with a group because of recent reports of thefts.
A scenic viewpoint of the Cordillera Blanca, spectacular views, located int eh Cordillera Negra at 3743 m, 3 hours walk on a rustic trail or one hour by taxi from Huaraz. An ideal location to fly for Parapente enthusiasts.
CHAVIN DE HUANTAR
No visit to Ancash is complete without seeing the famous architectural ruins of Chavín, located 109 km (3 hours by bus) from Huaraz on the eastern side of the Cordillera Blanca in the Conchucos region. Between 800-200 B.C., this culture developed a powerful religion which had great influence over many parts of highland and coastal Peru. The great temple contains many stone-lined galleries where Chavín priests consulted their gods.
The Great Idol or Lanzón: performed sacrificial ceremonies and stored ritual paraphernalia. Though only one tenoned head is still in place in the outer wall, many more examples and explanatory information can be seen in the small site museum.
JONCOPAMPA, GUITARRERO CAVE, TUMSHUCAICO
There are many other archaeological sites in the Callejón de Huaylas that are worth a visit even though they have few services or explanations. Take a day hike from Pariahuanca to Joncopampa to see a complete ancient town near the mouth of Quebrada Honda. Go to Tingua and cross the Santa River for the short hike up to Guitarrero Cave where the earliest human remains were found. Visit Caraz and see the spectacular walls of the largely uninvestigated site of Tumshucaico. In many other areas you will see ancient terrace walls, burial structures called chullpas and fragile pictographs.