Peru Destinations – Huaraz – A New Definition of Adventure
Huaraz is the main city in the Huascaran National Park, listed by UNESCO as a nucleus of the Biosphere Reserve and a World Natural Heritage Site, including the Huascaran peak at 6,768 m.a.s.l. (22,206 ft). To the southeast of Huaraz, you’ll find the archaeological complex of Chavin de Huantar which consists of temples, tunnels, stone buildings and plazas. This site was the ceremonial center of the ancient Chavin culture.
The Huascaran National Park contains lakes, glaciers, rivers and mountain ranges that offer the ideal settings for the most varied adventure activities.
The Huascaran National Park, in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, covers and area of 340,000 hectares (840,154 acres) that includes 296 lakes and 663 glaciers- as well as the highest peaks in Peru, including Huascaran, Huandoy and Alpamayo. It includes protected areas and Andean plant species such as the Puya Raimondi, the queñual tree, and wildlife such as the Andean condor and the vicuña.
In the Callejón de Conchucos, to the southeast of Huaraz, is the Archaeological Complex of Chavin de Huantar (3,810 masl/12,500 ft) which consists of temples, tunnels, stone buildings and plazas. This site was the most important ceremonial center of the ancient Chavin culture and in one its tunnels is the Lanzon, an impressive and fierce-looking mythical figure 4.53 meters(over 14ft) and carved in the shape of a giant arrowhead.
The Cordillera Huayhuash lies at the extreme south of the Cordillera Blanca, on the border with the Huanuco region. Lake Conococha is the source of the Santa River, and the range includes Mt. Yerupaja (6,634 masl/21,766 ft) the country’s second highest peak and the most difficult to climb. The area’s most impressive and demanding trekking route (8 days) begins at the town of Chiquian (3,200 masl/10,499)
Huaraz is in the heart of the Callejón de Huaylas Valley. It is the capital of the Departament of Ancash, and the city is the starting point for a marvelous trip through traditional Andean towns, crystal clear lakes and, of course, ideal places to practice adventure sports. Those who love mountain climbing, trekking, high mountain skiing and other sports, gather here to begin the adventure of getting to know some of the most magnificent natural scenery in the Americas and, indeed, in the world.
Places to visitLlanganuco Lagoons
Following a scenic road flanked by Huascarán (6,768 m.a.s.l. / 22,199 feet) and Huandoy (6,428 m.a.s.l. / 21,084 feet ) one travels from Yungay to the Llanganuco Lagoons, about 25 km by car in approximately 45 min. The first lagoon, know as Chinancocha or “female lagoon” is surrounded by quenouille trees and its waters are of a beautiful turquoise color.
If one enjoys walking, one can continue towards the second lagoon, Orconcocha, “male lagoon”. The path begins at Chinancocha and the walk takes approximately one hour.Hauyhuash Mountain Range
The town of Chiquián (3,374 m.a.s.l. / 11,067 feet), located 110 km (68 miles) south of Huaraz, is the starting point of the journey to the Huayhuash Mountain Range. With an area of 30 km (12 miles), this mountain range is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. It features snow-capped mountains such as Yerupajá (6,634 m.a.s.l. / 21,760 feet) dozens of amazingly beautiful lagoons and a varied wildlife. This chain is ideal for expert mountain climbers or walkers. The only way to get there from Chiquián is on foot; the entire circuit is 165 km (102 miles) long, and the ascent to the mountains is difficult and requires much training.Callejon de Conchucos & The Archaeological Complex of Chavin
In Callejón de los Conchucos, three and a half hours southeast of the City of Huaraz (110 km / 68 miles away) is the complex of Chavín de Huántar, at an altitude of 3,180 m.a.s.l. (10,430 feet.) The Chavín archaeological site, which comprises approximately 17 ha, has been declared by UNESCO a World Natural Heritage Site. Most of the complex remains buried, but visitors can appreciate temples and squares, which allow them to imagine the importance of this culture. On average, the buildings date back to approximately 1200 B. C.
This architectural complex, made entirely of stone, was one of the most important ceremonial centers of its time, a sacred place, where rituals, essential for the normal development of life, were held. The site’s entrance is marked by an outer wall, which in the olden days was protected by the Cabezas Clavas (sculptured heads) of which there is now only one in place. The complex is comprised of the Great Pyramid, the Sunken Circular Plaza, the Rectangular Plaza, the Northern Pyramid and the Old Temple. Going into the temple, one can see many tunnels leading into dark rooms. Set in the intersection to corridors is the Lanzon, an imposing monolith measuring 3.74 m in height, ending in a gigantic pointed spear. Both the Cabezas Clavas and the Lanzon, as well as the low relief work that decorate the cornices the features of the serpent, all of which are present in the Chavín iconography.Olleros Chavin-Walk Llama Trek
The residents of Olleros and Canrey Chico invite visitors to relive the old pilgrimage route to Chavín, accompanied by slender llamas, the most suitable beast of burden to have when touring the four-day walk where one discovers the value of popular art, music, food and even the countryside. To take this tour does not only mean that one is practicing a sport, but, most of all, it is a opportunity to share the secrets, the skills, and the culture of these Andean towns. This is an unforgettable experience because of the low environmental impact produced by the llamas on their route and because this is a proposal organized by some of the rural communities of the area. The llama trek is developed within the context of a community-based tourist project, the purpose of which is the preservation if the Andean ecosystem and the revaluation of the cultural patterns.
Festivities which include lively marches, street parades, the entry of the Ño Carnavalón figure and the tree cutting ritual or yunza practiced in all the neighborhoods.
March – April
Easter (dates subject to change)
This is a religious festival which is very traditional in the area. It includes several processions, the most important being the Friday Procession, and that of the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday.
May 3, Feast of the Lord of Solitude
Many people from the different villages and communities nearby go to Huaraz to celebrate the feast of the Lord of Solitude. The pilgrims are accompanied by a band of musicians playing quenas (reed flutes) and drums as they lead the way.
Competitions in several adventure tourism categories, such as: mountain skiing, river rafting, hand gliding, delta wings and mountain cycling. Cultural and social activities are also held.
May 23-27, Patronal Feast of Our Lady of las Mercedes
In Carhuaz celebrations are held in honor of the virgin, with traditional processions, bands of musicians, bullfights and fireworks.