The setting of Huaraz, at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca, is spectacular. You can see over 20 snow-capped peaks over 5000 meters, of which the most notable is Huascaran (6,768m), the highest mountain in Peru.
The first thing that strikes you on arrival in Huaraz is that it cannot exactly be called a pretty place, with most of the buildings built from concrete. This is because the town was completely rebuilt following a catastrophic earthquake in 1970 which flattened all but one street of buildings and killed an important part of the city’s population.
However, Huaraz can provide all the facilities and infrastructure required by tourism.
Wedged between the dramatic snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera Blanca and the dry, dark Cordillera Negra range, the wide valley is split by the powerful Santa River. It is fringed by a group of picturesque little villages and towns that serve as starting points for hiking expeditions into the Andes. Situated among them is the town of Huaraz, a tourist hub and the primary base for exploring the area, which is surrounded by peaks of over 16,500ft (5,000m). Towering above them all is Peru’s highest mountain, Huascarán. The valley gave rise to the ancient Chavín civilisation and the spectacular 1,500 year old ruins of the Chavín de Huántar temple can be visited just hours away from Huaraz, stunningly set among the majestic peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. The region also offers hot springs at Monterrey, immense glacial lakes like Lago Parón and spectacular lookout points from the narrow and twisting roads leading into the valley.