Located in Peru’s northern region, Huaraz is a small town and trekking paradise, very much like Cusco in the south. It’s not as famous as Cusco, and mostly known for the crazy Huayhuash trek, in Huascaran national park and Cordilla Blanca. When I was planning my trip to Peru, Huaraz was high up on my bucket list and I dedicated about 2 weeks from my 1.5 months in south America. This small town was one of my trip’s highlights and is perfect for solo travelers and very safe for women. Why visit Huaraz? because of its stunning day-trips like Glacier Pastourori and lake Paron, and multi-day treks like the one I chose to experience, Santa Cruz trek.
Santa Cruz 4 days trek
Huaraz is mostly known as the embarking point to the 8-10 day Huayhuash trek in Huascaran National park and Cordilla Blanca mountains range. As someone who has never done camping before, and found hiking in high elevation extremely difficult, I had chosen Santa Cruz.
You can do these treks independently or book with a traveling agency in Huaraz, or through the hostel, as I had done. I strongly advice doing your research online and booking with an agency that has very good reviews. The weather in this region and conditions in Huascaran park, can change rapidly from sunny to pouring rain, day and night, so having a very good camping gear is crucial.
While I book my trek through my hostel, Jo’s lodge, and paid 360 peso, my partners booked with agencies in town, some paid more and received the same gear, even in worse condition, with leaking tents. So, read the reviews and be sure to book your trek with an agency that provides a cook, donkey man and guide. Our guide was also the cook, therefore, we were pretty much left alone the entire hike day, because he was always in a hurry to reach the campsite and set up dinner. We were a group of 7 travelers, 2 of us traveled alone and 2 other couples and we just had the best time together in our “social tent” which made up for the guide and terrible weather in the first 2 days. Can you guess what’s the best thing about traveling solo and why I think you should definitely travel solo once your life?
Huascaran park is absolutely breathtaking, and in May blooming with flowers, painted blue sky, rainbow and snow caped mountains.
The view from our last morning, the sky finally cleared…
and even on cloudy and drizzling days, it’s spectacular, here’s a glimpse to the first and second days on our Santa Cruz trek
and a bit of the beautiful trails, waterfalls, horses and landscape
If you are not an experienced hiker and have set your mind on doing the Huayhuash or Santa Cruz trek, begin with Glacier Pastourori
2 hours on bus and 40 minutes up a paved trail, Glacier Pastourori is a great way to get acclimatized to the altitude and a stunning place. You should definitely visit as in a few more years this beautiful glacier will probably be no more, due to global warming
Lake Paron is another great day hike, but be prepared to spend 5 hours on the bus. Paron is a bit far from Huaraz, but totally worth it and the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking and excellent to prepare your lungs for the challenging multi-day treks
Huaraz was one of my trip’s highlights: first time camping outdoor, climbing up another peak (and surviving:)), the awesome friends I met and the views, the views and again the views…
I chose not to do the Huayhuash trek as the climate conditions are more difficult and for me, 3 nights of camping were sufficient:) Tip: pack thermal clothes, wet wipes for shower, rain coat and sunscreen.
Where to stay in Huaraz?
I stayed in Jo’s lodge, 20 minutes by walk from the city center, but quite, with an amazing breakfast: pancakes, eggs, bread with jam, bananas and hot drinks and the most friendly staff. The pubs and restaurants are located in the city center and closer to Plaza de Armas. Right in front of the hostel there are 2 great local restaurants, one offers a daily menu for 6 peso, very good, and the second with a pricier menu and delicious pumpkin soup.
How to get to Huaraz?
Huaraz is a night bus away from Lime, I booked my 8 hours’ ride with Linea bus company, and it was great, so I highly recommend!
Huaraz is very safe for female solo travelers, going out in the evenings in the city center and walking back to your hostel, it is relatively small, so I spent a lot of time walking.
So, will you be traveling to Huaraz?