Peru – Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca, Part 1

At the cost of 260,000 American Airlines Advantage miles, Kathy and I flew Business Class to Lima.

All the champagne you wanted!

All the Bloody Mary’s you want!


Filet mignon!

We stayed one night in a cheap hotel in Lima, and got a bus to Huaraz the next day.

The hotel

The hotel lobby

At the bus station

At the bus station. Left to right: Britt, Kathy and CJ

We purchased the more expensive reclining seats (with movie screens), for what was to be an all-day trip. The route to Huaraz followed the coast north, before turning inland and following a drainage uphill. Then the road switched-backed up and up, finally to go over a pass (in the Cordillera Negra) at 13,521′. Just beyond the pass we came to Lago Conococha, the source of the Rio Santa, and began our descent along that river into the very long valley called the Callejon de Huaylas, which runs along the western side of the Cordillera Blanca. We arrived in Huaraz just before dark and got taxis to our B&B.

We stayed at Mi Casa, which was recommended by Sierrarios. There, we were happy to dump the extra boating gear that we had carried down for Rocky, made possible by our Business Class baggage allowance.

The garden at Mi Casa

The garden at Mi Casa

Huaraz is all about the mountains that dominate the skyline to the east. Mountain trekking, along with mountaineering, is big business.

Climber statue

Climber statue

Mountaineering poster

Mountaineering poster, urging “good treatment” of tourists

Billboard showing Huascaran from the east, the view we had from Laguna 69

Billboard showing Huascaran (22,205′) from the east, the view we had from our base camp on our Laguna 69 hike

Telephoto image of Ranrapalca (20,217')

Telephoto image of Ranrapalca (20,217′), from town

Glaciated mountains form the skyline to the east

Glaciated mountains on the skyline to the east

Advertisement for Laguna 69

Advertisement for Laguna 69

The Plaza, shops, ATMs and some good restaurants were located within walking distance of Mi Casa.

Plaza view, looking east to the Cordillera Blanca

Plaza view, looking east to the Cordillera Blanca

Street band

Street band, on the Plaza

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The Plaza

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CJ had created a banner protesting the proposed dams (“Rio Marañon Vive Sin Represas”) on the Rio Marañon, here being displayed on the Plaza in the company of two alpacas, their keeper and members of our crew (left to right: CJ, Kathy, Nate, Karl, Pedro, Marion and Luis)

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Next to the Plaza, an artesanos market and a new church, still under construction

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Facade art

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CJ contemplates biting into her dish of “cuy”, which is guinea pig, a Peruvian favorite. This is at the restaurant that quickly became our favorite, Pizza Bruno.

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Two parades were held during our stay in Huaraz

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The traditional and modern rub up against each other in the streets of Huaraz. The blue fedora seen on the woman on the right is traditional garb.

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I was intrigued by the two girls in white face

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In Huaraz, the traditional woman’s fedora is decorated with a very fancy ribbon design, seen on the woman on the left (enlarge photo to see the detail)

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Behind the girl in the foreground is a girl wearing an aboriginal hat and clothing

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Religious themes were popular in the parades

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This float features a full-scale model of the Puya raimondii, a very large endemic plant

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Drums and flutes

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Dancing girls. Think of the time and money that went into these outfits.

Before heading off to the mountains, we did some side trips in the area, which are shown in the following post:

About Evensteven

I am a photographer and author, and live in Embudo, New Mexico, alongside the Rio Grande. I have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: The Grand: I have also published six additional iBooks: 1. The Salt River: 2. Coyote Buttes: 3. Four Cornered, the Land: 4. Four Cornered, The Rivers: 5. Rio Marañon: 6. Rio Grande:
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