As if Salkantay wasn’t enough Lars and I decided to stop at another place, famous for mountaineering. But when you see the pictures, you know why we couldn’t skip that part of Peru.
Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca were high on our list, so that’s where we went after having a few relaxing days in Ayacucho. Practically ready to hike up the next mountain (not), we arrived in the city of Huaraz in the early evening, having spent the last 20 hours in a bus. After a huge plate of Chifa – Chinese dishes prepared the Peruvian way (you can find them literally everywhere in Peru) – we tried to weigh up our option of how to spend the next few days. Inconveniently, we were too late to sign up for a 3-4-day trek that would have lead us through the mountain range, over passes and past countless lagoons. This time, we were sure that we didn’t want to walk it on our own, but rather let our stuff be carried by mules and our meals be prepared by a cook. So, the Santa Cruz trek wasn’t an option anymore. As we were also a little short on time, having agreed on a Workaway in Ecuador, we gave in to only spend one day hiking to the famous Laguna 69. (Don’t ask me why they call it like that.)
Long before sunrise, we hopped onto a minivan that took us up to the starting point of our hike passing many magnificent views along the way including seeing the sun rise through two peaks and incredibly blue water in a lagoon.
The hike turned out to be much easier than we thought, and the two to three hours of hiking went by fast. You hike up a valley and you don’t really know where you are when suddenly this even brighter and clearer blue lagoon opens up in front of you. That was pretty impressive! After all, we were right below the glacier on an impressive height of 4,600 m.
The best time to be in the mountains of Peru is definitely in between June and August, as the skies during Peruvian winter are always clear, but temperatures are low, whereas in summer it is rainy but warmer. We went there in the end of April and had a mix of both. The short time we spent in the region of Huaraz was nevertheless worth it. It is just a pity we didn’t get to spend more time hiking around the Cordillera Blanca, preferably hiking the Santa Cruz Trek as I heard so many great things about it. But definitely, next time!
Huaraz marked our last (real) stop in Peru. The 2+ months we spent in this country were full of diversion. Peru is really a country where you can get everything. From magnificent beaches, to sky-high mountains and on the other side of the Andes endless flats of jungle and the beginning of the Amazon basin. Bring your beach towel and bikini, your hiking boots, some mittens and a scarf, and loads of mosquito spray.
For us it was time to move on to new adventures in Peru’s neighbor country: Ecuador!