Peru

Huaraz: Gem of the Peruvian Andes

Huaraz, a little gem hidden in the Northern Andes of Peru. The town itself was wiped out by an earthquake in the 1970s 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 backs. 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.

laguna 69 trekking cows view

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

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 come and greet 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.

view of the valley of the cordillera blanca
laguna 69 huaraz in Peru

At the end of the road

Hiking towards Laguna 69 means you are in for a ‘treat’. It all goes up, up, up. This might be a challenge on its 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 picnic.

Hungry in Huaraz?

After a long and tiring day, Huaraz will welcome you with its 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!

Marthe

lake and mountains of the cordillera blanca

Photos by: M. Barends, J. Roeland ©