Gate to the peaks of the Cordillera Blanca
The town of Huaraz is located in the fertile Callejon de Huaylas Valley at the foot of the high mountain region Cordillera Blanca, a part of the Andes, where also the highest mountain of Peru, the Huascaran stands. Meaningful only for its agricultural role, Huaraz has become a popular base for trips to the mountains.
Whether long trekking tours or rather a fast downhill on the snowboard – the real adrenaline junkies and nature lovers have discovered Huaraz for themselves. No wonder that you can choose from the simple youth hostel to the luxurious lodge in the mountains.
Although Huaraz enjoys many advantages due to its location, it also carries great dangers. In the 20th century, the city was four times overrun by devastating avalanches that had dissolved in the Cordillera Blanca. In 1941, 5,000 – 7,000 people died when a mudslide (Huayco), caused by a break in the wall of Lake Palcacocha, broke over the city.
In 1971 things got even worse. An earthquake swept the region home and the city was almost completely destroyed to the ground. Even if there are no exact figures, the victims of the earthquake are estimated at more than 10,000 inhabitants. But the inhabitants Huaraz could not be stopped. Assistants from many countries around the world came to the rescue and thanks to the support, the city could be rebuilt again. Since then, it is also considered the city of international friendship.
During the reconstruction, tourism was also included more and more emphasis was placed on restaurants, hotels and other amenities. With success, because since this disaster with the subsequent restoration of the city, tourism is increasingly – in the truest sense of the word – uphill.
Huascarán National Park
It covers almost 340,000 hectares and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here are some of South America’s most breathtaking landscapes and glaciers with 25 trekking routes and 102 mountaineering sites. Luckily it stays extremely cheap. You can expect Puyas Raimondi, which will tower you about three to four times with completely standing flower core. Geysers and a beautiful winter landscape. The Puya Raimondi are the largest pineapple plants in the world. They flower once every 50-75 years for 9 months with 8,000-10,000 niches and a flower height of up to 10 meters in height, then they die. They grow at altitudes between 3500 and 4700 meters above sea level.
The Pastoruri is a beautiful glacier that is best reached by a tour. It is located at 5000 meters above sea level. Most tours leave at 9-10 o’clock in Huaraz and return at 18 o’clock. With the vehicle you need about 3 hours for one direction. Along the way you will stop on the way to an interesting little attraction, such as a small translucent lagoon, a small source of sparkling water and interesting giant plants. You then have to make a short easy walk of 40-60 minutes to reach the destination. Please note that you are here at an unusual height. If you intend to do this tour, please ask your doctor before starting the trip if this type of tour is suitable for you.
Lagunas de Llanganuco
In the middle of the Huascarán National Park lie the two turquoise Lagunas de Llanganuco at an altitude of 3,850 meters. Surrounded by the peaks of Huascarán (6,768 m), Huandoy (6,360 m) and Chopicalqui (6,354 m) is the lower lake (Lago Chinancocha – female lagoon), which is much larger than the upper lake (Lago Orconcocha male lagoon).
From Chinancocha you hike the about one hour Maria-Josefa-way. This leads through a green Quenualwald with colorful flowers along a small stream. On the other side, a path leads directly to Lake Orconcocha. Bromeliads grow in the ravine as well as the Polylepis trees, whose barks line the lakeshore like rugs.
The best time for the lagoons is the early morning at sunrise. The reflection of the blue sky in the water is fascinating. In the afternoon, it usually gets dark and the clouds cover the horizon. From Yungay, there are about 28 kilometers and there are regular trucks and minibuses. The lagoons are an ideal day destination or starting point for the Santa Cruz trek.
Laguna 69 is one of the most scenic mountain lakes near Huaraz. It is framed by the imposing ice-covered peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, among them the high peaks Chacraraju and Nevado Pico.
The Laguna 69 is not one of the most famous lakes in the famous Cordiliera Blanca, but enjoys increasing popularity. Perhaps the location and the inconspicuous name, which are a bit off the beaten track, also contribute to relative unfamiliarity. In Huaraz you can get a tour in almost any local travel agency. So you can first check if you can cope with the altitude conditions. In any case, the lake is easy to reach. The road leads from Yungay via the Portachuelo to Pomabamba. The path leads through a magnificent high valley under glistening white ice.
Well known and located directly on the pass road are the two lagoons Llanganuco, one of the known standard destinations of the region at all. To the lagoons day trips are organized almost daily from Huaraz. Some of these tours are not really exciting. If you get to a less well established tour partner, then you drive a good 2 hours to the lake, then has one hour to take pictures and drives back to Huaraz for 2 hours. Since there is no time to really experience this grandiose mountain landscape, let alone to hike. Much more interesting is the tour to the Laguna 69, which must be completely covered on foot, here gets a real insight into the greatness of this mountain region. The lagoons of Llanganuco you also get on the way to face.
The Laguna 69 is located directly under the huge ice walls of the Chacraraju, one of the most beautiful but also difficult 6000er of the Cordilliera Blanca. There are no guides for this mountain in Huaraz because it is too demanding. A beautiful splash of color between barren scree slopes is directly below the Laguna 69 with its deep blue color. Some more crystal-clear mountain lakes are located on the ascent path, plus a huge waterfall.
Total at least 6-8 hours. To the lake alone about 3 hours and then back 2 hours. The terrain is not difficult and easy to commit. Only on the Höhentaugluchkeit should pay attention and have got used to it well for a few days.