Places in Ancash you must visit
Ancash is a beautiful region that extends along the coast and the Andes, its capital city is Huaraz and in 2018 I had the opportunity to visit it. The first memory I have of Huaraz is the dry cold weather and the beautiful view of the Huascaran, which is a huge pick and it is very easy to see from anywhere in the city. Many people call this city “the Peruvian Switzerland” due to its mountainous landscapes and blue lagoons.
Despite its beauty, the city of Huaraz is not too touristy, most foreign tourists prefer to travel through the cities that are in the south of the country or through the Amazon. In Ancash you can enjoy different things including mountains, rivers, wild animals and archaeological sites. Go ahead and visit Ancash, it is an amazing destination that will undoubtedly surprise you.
Where to stay in Ancash?
In Ancash there are many cities, but the best city to stay is Huaraz. This city is located in the Peruvian Andes, very close to the Cordillera Blanca and you can feel the fresh air when breathing. Any accommodation in the center will be fine since this city is pretty safe, no matter if it‘s day or night. From Huaraz you can take different tours, the options are very varied and the companies offer from cultural tours to hikes of more than 5 days and even tours to do ski.
How to move around Huaraz?
Huaraz is a fairly small city and you can walk almost everywhere. If you are staying in the city center, you will rarely need to take transportation to go anywhere, however, most tourist attractions are quite far away, so you will need to rent a car or book a tour.
This transport is really cheap and costs around 1 USD if the destination is in the same city center. They look more or less like a tuc tuc and you can find them everywhere, however there also official stops outside of the markets.
A taxi ride in Huaraz costs around 5 USD. This city is not known for being modern so do not expect the taxi to be nice.
Places you must visit
Chavin de Huantar
This is a temple that belonged to the pre-Inca Chavin culture. In addition to the temple, you can see a large open-air space that was used for ceremonies and many small tunnels through which the water slides. Chavin de Huantar is very famous for its caves. The temple itself has many caves and inside it, there is a monolithic sandeel carved with the image of what appears to be a puma. In Chavin there is also a museum where all the things found that belonged to the ancient inhabitants of this civilization are shown.
Pre Inca ruins of Chavin
Pastoruri is a beautiful glacier located 2 hours by car south of Huaraz. This glacier covers an area of about 2 km and is located within the Huascarán National Park. In photos it looks very nice, but the great size of these blocks of ice is not understood until you are face to face, it is really a very beautiful experience. However, it is a bit sad to know that year after year due to climate change the glacier melts and who knows if it will only last a few more decades.
Glacier Pastoruri full day tour
Lagoon 69 is a place you should definitely go to. It is located north of the city, very close to the snow-capped Huascaran. The tour is done by bus but it does not get very close to the lagoon due to the complicated geography, that is why you must walk and if you are in good physical shape, you will reach the lagoon in about 1 hour. Once in the lagoon you will be able to enjoy that wonderful turquoise color that the water has. Along the way it is very likely to see biscachas, which are rodents similar to rabbits.
Lake 69 full day tour
The Paron Lagoon is the largest lagoon within the national park. This lagoon is similar in color to Lagoon 69, this color is due to the accumulation of minerals at the bottom, which in combination with the light, creates that beautiful turquoise color that characterizes it. This lagoon is the favorite place for photographers and for marriage proposals. If you are not yet acclimatized to the altitude, don’t worry, you don’t need to walk too far to get to a good viewpoint.
Paron lake private tour
National Park Huascaran
Huascarán National Park is a wonder of nature. This wonderful place combines huge rock elevations with abundant vegetation, dreamy lagoons and glaciers. Wild life is abundant and among the animals that stand out are the Puma of the Andes. Many travelers hike and camp for several days inside the national park under strict government measures, since this place is jealously protected to ensure the survival of all its species. The area of this park is so extensive that you will undoubtedly pass through it when visiting any of the destinations mentioned in this publication.
Huascaran 6 day tour
Nevado Mateo is one of the highest peaks in Peru. The top of this snow-capped mountain is 5,150 meters above sea level. It is located north of the city of Huaraz, very close to the highest snow-capped peak in Peru, Huascaran. From the top of this mountain the views are spectacular and to climb it you don’t need as many days of acclimatization as in the case of Huascaran. Many travelers climb the it in a single day, however, there is also the option of climbing in 2 days. Remember that for this activity you need a mountain guide for safety reasons.
Snowy Mateo full day tour