Also known as the Switzerland of Peru, the beautiful Huaraz region gathers the most impressive scenery of the Peruvian Andes, where imposing snow-capped mountains, turquoise-water lagoons, and Pre-Columbian settlements make it one of the best travel destinations in Peru.
Huaraz is located at 3,050 meters above sea level and it’s flanked by the outstanding Cordillera Blanca, a part of the Peruvian highlands home to the highest peaks of the Andean mountain range. This region isn’t called the Trekking Capital of Peru for nothing. If you’re an adventurous traveler, make sure to add it to your itinerary, here we’ll show you why!
Although the surrounding natural wonders may overshadow the city of Huaraz, it’s cultural expression stands out in its local markets, streets, and museums. Huaraz played an important role during Peru’s independence by helping the army with equipment and military materials.
Likewise, the region is characterized by its exuberant nature that comprehends over 770 plant species, 120 bird species, and 10 mammal species which two of them are considered the most endangered species of the american continent. For that reason, it was declared a National Park and Biosphere Reserve to preserve its extensive biodiversity.
Weather in Huaraz
The Peruvian Andes has a distinctive weather condition with two stationary seasons, but due to Huaraz geographical position, it may be different from the rest of the region.
- Rainy Season: Heavy downpours of rain are expected during this period that takes place between December and April, being these the rainiest months of the year. Temperatures range between 17°C and 4°C.
- Dry Season: Also known as the “Andean Summer,” this season starts from May and ends around October. Temperatures range between 21°C and 6°C, and days are overly sunny with cold and dry nights.
Quick Tip: Due to the high elevation of the Huaraz region, it is advisable to take some time to rest before committing to any physically demanding activity. Thereby, you’ll be able to fight or prevent any altitude sickness symptoms.
If you wish more information about the weather in Peru, make sure to read our informative guide.
Why Visit Huaraz?
Most travelers often forget the cultural value of Huaraz city, but how to keep track of so many attractions in one place while you’re on a tight schedule. However, we just want to highlight that the Andean town is as culturally enriching as it can be packed with adventure sports.
Huaraz is the starting point for all trekking and mountaineering experiences to the Huascarán National Park, since this biological reserve is one of the most sought after regions in Peru. The site offers uncountable natural wonders, where snow-capped peaks, lagoons, forests and mountains complement the journey.
On the other hand, the cultural expression of the town overflows through its streets. As we mentioned earlier, Huaraz serves as a commercial center to almost all of the adjacent communities, where locals from different etnias come down to the city to sell their products or catch up with friends.
Therefore, the city itself provides a total immersion in the day-to-day life of the northern Andean population in Peru. Also, you’d love to know that prices are significantly cheaper here than in Cusco when it comes to accommodation, food, excursions and even souvenirs.
For that reason, we’d think you should include the so-called Peruvian Switzerland in your itinerary. The region will leave you spellbound to its cultural and natural heritage that you’d wish for more vacation time during at the end of your stay.
How to Get to Huaraz?
Planning a trip to Huaraz is easier when you have all the information. Therefore, here we are to take all that stress away. This city is currently accessible by bus or flying to the nearest airport. However, here are some recommendations so you can make the best choice:
- By Bus: Internal bus travel is possible to this outstanding location, though it is easier if you start from Lima, which is the starting point for most travelers in Peru. By taking a bus ride, you’ll be able to ascend gradually and slowly to this high-altitude destination, which will help with acclimatation.
While traveling by bus, you immerse in the authentic scenery of Peru. For some travelers, this transport option offers a more enriching travel experience rather than by flying to several destinations. However, we want you to see for yourself. Get to know more about this experience here! →
- By Flight: Unfortunately, Huaraz doesn’t have an airport. But don’t let your hopes down since you can fly to the nearest airport located in Anta, which is only 45 minutes away from the city. It is worth mentioning that there are no daily departures to Anta city, and you may have to organize your trip according to that.
If organizing a trip through this South American country, make sure to know what’s the best way to travel around Peru.
How Long to Stay in Huaraz?
We, as travelers, are aware that there’s not such a thing as ‘enough’ time while on vacation. For example, Peru does make things harder when you have from one to two week to complete a trip.
However, here we are to ease your mind and help you plan the perfect itinerary whether you have unlimited time or are restricted to a tight schedule during your trip.
1. For those planning to stay for at least a week.
First, let’s highlight that Huaraz has an elevation of 3,050 meters above sea level and if you’re coming from Lima, you’ll surely want to spend at least two days to acclimate before venturing out into the wild.
- On your first day, make sure to explore the town and get to know the most significant attractions within the city center, such as Plaza de Armas, the cathedral, the local markets and the museums.
- For the second day, start your adventure across the Andes with a not-so-high attraction but still as beautiful as the others. Visit the Wilcacocha Lagoon, located a few minutes away from the city of Huaraz at 3,745 m.a.s.l.
- On the third day, visit the largest freshwater lagoon in the Cordillera blanca, the Laguna Parón. The Huaraz region is surrounded by beautiful turquoise-water lagoons but each is complemented with a distinctive natural scenery. On this occasion, you’ll go up to 4,155 m.a.s.l.
- Go further up on your fourth day. Explore the Churup Lagoon, another beautiful waterbody located a few kilometers away from Huaraz. The trail is really easy in comparison to other hikes in the region, you’ll reach an altitude of 4,450 m.a.s.l.
- For the fifth day, now that you’d probably be feeling as acclimatized as a vicuña, dare to hike up to the most in-demand Natural Wonder in Huaraz, the Lagoon 69. It is located at 4,600 m.a.s.l.
- On your sixth day, if you’re still feeling as energetic as a Chaski, dare to explore the imposing Pastoruri Glacier, one of the most sought after treks in the region. The natural wonder is located at 5,240 meters above sea level.
- Once you’ve finished your adventure, you might want to have a day for a well-deserved rest. Take advantage of your last day in Huaraz and just unwind your mind to the glorious scenery before heading back home.
2. For those with less time, here’s a short itinerary for you.
Some travelers may want to visit Huaraz for a short time before touring the rest of the country, which is why we have structured an itinerary so you can see the most in-demand destinations of the region before continuing your adventure through Peru.
On this opportunity, you’ll be immersed in the beautiful natural scenery of the region, where snow-capped mountains and crystal-clear lagoons will captivate you from day 1. If you wish more information, check our Adventure in the Peruvian Andes package.
There are many things to do in Huaraz, and we surely know everything about it. Don’t miss this chance and take a look at our full attractions guide on the side menu. Start planning the trip of your life with Viagens Machu Picchu!