Huaraz: Gem of the Peruvian Andes
Huaraz, a little gem hidden in the Northern Andes of Peru. The town it self was wiped out by an earthquake in the 1970’s, and needed to be built from scratch. The town is filled with Peruvian ladies wearing hats and braids, carrying children, crops or groceries on their back. But the town is not what should bring you here. The insane mountain range of the Cordillera Blanca with almost all mountain tops above 6000m does.
Hiking heaven in Huaraz
You can easily get lost in the endless hikes that are on offer and maybe even fill up a whole month of trekking if you’re up for it. We unfortunately didn’t have that amount of time, so we had to stick to the day hikes. And to be fair, we had nothing to complain about. We did a trekking to Laguna 69, which might be one the strangest things I’ve seen on this trip.
Laguna 69 is a five hour hike that will bring you up to 4600m above sea level to this mind-blowing glacier lake. It’s a beautiful hike through a valley surrounded by mountains, glaciers and waterfalls. Cows will come and great you and if you’re early enough you won’t see a soul. It all sounds pretty good so far, hey?
Well.. wait for the final kilometers; you are in for a ‘treat’. It will all go up up up, which might be a challenge on it’s own, wouldn’t it be that Laguna 69 seems to actually put you through a survival of the fittest test. With the altitude as an extra kicking your ass, we had to catch our breaths every 5 meters. But once you’re there it’s like giving birth (apparently, i’m not speaking from experience here); you forget the struggles that brought you to the end because it’s that mind blowing. The water of this glacier lake seems unreal. It’s the brightest of the brightest blue surrounded by some sort of moon landscape. Bring yourself some food and there simply isn’t a better place in the world to have a picknick.
After a long and tiring day Huaraz will welcome you with it’s good food. Since hiking and food are like two peas in a pot, you should treat yourself to a red curry with shrimps (or any other dish) at Chili Heaven when you get back. You can thank me later. Peace out Huaraz, hopefully we’ll meet again soon!
Photos by: M. Barends, J. Roeland ©