Nestled in the Callejon de Huaylas valley of the inland Ancash region, the provincial capital of Huaraz is the perfect base for those looking for outdoor adventure. Bordered to the east by the remarkable snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Blanca – the world’s highest tropical range –with the dark and barren Cordillera Negra separating the city from the coast, Huaraz serves primarily as a launch pad for activities and exploration of the impressive mountainous region. Hikers, bikers, climbers and canoeists all flock to the region in search of outdoor thrills, bringing a lively atmosphere to cosmopolitan Huaraz. The streets buzz with excitement during high season as hordes of travellers plan their next mountain expedition and fill the local watering holes with stories of camping adventures.
As well as spectacular mountain scenery, the area around Huaraz also boasts natural thermal baths, vast glacial lakes, traditional mountain villages and impressive ancient ruins. A fifteen minute bus ride will bring you to the large thermal baths of Monterrey and provide a luxurious way of recovering from a challenging mountain trek. The slightly sulphurous hot springs are also close to a local waterfall. Further out, the unusual two-storey Wilkawain temple comprises a number of dark inner chambers with a series of ventilation ducts and super-imposed platforms and stairways.
An easy day excursion from Huaraz, the Punta Callan pass can be reached in two hours by bus and offers unrivalled views of the Cordillera Blanca and the soaring ice-capped peak of Huascarán. The picturesque grazing land of the area makes for a pleasant picnic spot and with an enjoyable walk back down the main road to Huaraz.