Huaraz, Peru

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Huaraz is a city in Peru's northern Callejón de Huaylas valley. Capital of the Ancash Region, the city sits more than 3,000 meters above sea level, with the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca range forming its dramatic eastern skyline. Encompassing much of the Cordillera Blanca is Huarascán National Park, home to Andean condors and jaguars as well as Peru's tallest mountain, Huarascán.

Huaraz stands tall at 3100m; travellers from Lima might need a day or two to acclimatize to the change in atmosphere. See Altitude sickness for advice and more information.

July is a good time to visit the region; the temperature is perfect for walking and the sky is free from clouds / rain. It’s also a good time as the July period has many of Peru’s annual event celebration dates. The town puts on a tremendous night of entertainment each year for most of the days, featuring live music and more. Well worth a look if you are in the region.

A town of 100,000, it blends a mix of modern and native culture. The town has many markets and shops catering to tourist needs and local needs. The food markets are especially interesting and are a great starting point for getting supplies for expeditions. Be sure to shop about before purchasing/hiring (especially for mountaineering gear) as often a better price can be found elsewhere with a bit of bargaining.

The town has many places offering cheap internet access; although a bit slow, the connection is usually reliable. The town has a big post office and a few banks. Huaraz also has a mix of old and new restaurants offering a variety of dishes. Cuy (guinea pig) is a regional dish; perhaps something to say one has tried but not something to make a diet of! There are a few night clubs and many bars open late. Common sense would advise people not to travel alone at night, but one feels safe in the city where the locals were very willing to help out where possible. Like many places in Peru, it’s not wise to take much money with you at any one time if you can possibly avoid it.

Climate

During the dry season which peaks in July-August, the days are warm and sunny (perfect for trekking!) while the nights are clear (perfect for star gazing!) but can be extremely chilly.

During the wet season which peaks in January-February, the days are cooler with rain typically in the afternoons and extending anywhere from a few brief minutes to several hours. The nights are warmer than the dry season with the clouds trapping the day’s warmth. It is usually quite foggy in the hills above town at night so navigating can get a bit tricky.

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