Perched more than 9,800 feet above sea level with the snowy peaks of the Cordillera Blanca mountains as a backdrop, the small city of Huaraz is a nature-lover's paradise. Set in the Callejón de Huaylas valley, the city lets you tour, hike, or indulge in adventure sports, explore hot springs or glaciers, all while enjoying local culture and fueling up on good food.
Condors, jaguars, and many other animals make their home in the spectacular park that takes up most of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range, a magnet for visitors to Huaraz and ideal for hiking and trekking.
Enjoy a range of adventure and winter sports in the region, such as ziplining, tubing or rafting down river rapids, and much more.
Explore the city's history and culture, including the ancient ruins at the Monumento Nacional Wilcahuain Ruin, the Archaeology Museum of Ancash, and charming Plaza De Armas central park.
Discover the centuries-old history of the Inca who once made this region their home at the UNESCO-listed Chavín de Huantar archaeological site, along with the living history of nearby towns such as Ticapampa.
Local cuisine is rich and flavorful, from Peruvian specialties like ceviche, or marinated seafood and grilled chicken, to drinks like the Inca Kola, Pisco Sour, and locally brewed beer.
Located approximately 8km to the north of Huaraz is the Monumento Nacional Wilcahuain. In Quechua, Wilcahuain means 'grandson's house.' It is indeed a historical monument, dating back to sometime around AD 600 - 900. There are seven rooms on every floor of this three-story temple. Each of the rooms was originally occupied by mummies. These were preserved by a complex and sophisticated ventilation system that kept them dry. While in the vicinity, pay a visit to the nearby Wilcahuain Pequeno ruins.
To get to this trout hatchery, take a 30-minute walk from the center of Huarez, then walk towards the east on Raimondi towards Confraternidad Este. On arrival, turn left and cross the bridge above the Rio Quilcay. Here, the stages in the life cycle of trout is explained from the hatching of their eggs all the way through to the development of the mature adult fish. The deliciously fresh trout is served for lunch at the entrance of the Recreo de Los Jardines.
This small but fascinating museum is where you can discover one of the most important collections of ancient stone sculptures in South America. Perhaps the most notable artifacts on display are the stone monoliths created by the Recuay and Wari culture of Peru's North-Central Highlands. These date back to between 400 BC and 600 AD. Don't miss the collection of ancient skulls that show evidence of trepanning, a form of surgery that involved drilling into the skull.
The Jirón José Olaya was the only street in Huaraz to survive intact the 1970 Ancash earthquake that wreaked terrible havoc in this part of Peru. Hence the street serves as a reminder of how Huaraz looked before the disaster. The best time to visit the Jirón José Olaya street is on a sunny Sunday, when regional foods are sold in a street market and there are plenty of opportunities to mingle with the locals.
Situated to the southeast of the town center (and approximately 45 minutes away) is the Mirador de Retaqeñua. This is the highest point in all of Huaraz. Witness the fantastic view of the city as well as its backdrop of impressive mountains. To get to the top, it is recommended that you take a taxi (S15).
Most visitors come to the region during what is called the Andean Summer, a dry, temperate season that extends from April to November and temperatures typically range between 55 and 70 degrees. Nights can always be chilly, even during the warmest months of July and August.
The closest international airport is Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Lima, with regular flights to the regional Anta airport or Comandante FAP Germán Arias Graziani Airport (ATA) about 17 miles north of Huaraz. A taxi into Huaraz costs about S/. 130.
There are good road connections with spectacular views along Cañon del Pato between Huaraz and Chimbote, eventually to Lima.
There are several bus companies that make the trip from Lima, including Movil Tours, Cruz del Sur, and Expreso CIAL. There are also bus connections to Chimbote and Trujillo.
You'll relax in comfortable modern decor with stunning views of the surroundings at the Andino Club Hotel, within walking distance of the Plaza De Armas. Enjoy the garden setting of the Hotel Colomba, a family-friendly property within walking distance of the downtown area.
Downtown Huaraz - centered around the Plaza De Armas park, this is where you will find the Museo Regional de Ancash along with many of the city's hotels, restaurants, and bars.
Huaripampa - south of downtown, here you'll find many options for accommodation and dining along Avenue Mariscal Toribio de Luzuriaga, along with parks and other tourist attractions.
San Francisco - this neighborhood to the east of the downtown area is home to boutique hotels, mountain outfitters, and the picturesque Iglesia Espiritu Santo historic church.
There is no public transportation service in Huaraz, but a number of private companies run van and minibus service along informal routes through the city.
Taxis are reasonably plentiful in the city, with fares that start at S/. 4, with an additional S/. 4 for each 0.6 mile.
You can explore the region with an SUV and 4X4 rental, available from local companies with or without a driver. Rentals are available from Lima airport from about S/. 50 per day.
You'll find shops with local artisan-made and other goods along the Plaza De Armas park, and other stores along Avenue Mariscal Toribio de Luzuriaga that runs through the central part of the city.
Novaplaza, Disley Market, and the Mercado Central de Huaraz are three of the grocery options you will find in the city. A quart of milk costs about S/. 3.65 and a dozen eggs runs roughly S/. 4.25.
Enjoy classic Peruvian and Andean favorites at Taita, where main dishes start at S/. 5.50. For an upscale approach to Peruvian cuisine with a Continental flair, try Bistro de los Andes, with mains that start at S/. 18.