Huaraz and around

The main town in the valley, with a population of 80,000, Huaraz is expanding rapidly as a major tourist centre but it is also a busy commercial hub, especially on market days (Monday and Thursday). The region is both a prime destination for hikers and international climbers, as well as a vacation haven for Peruvian urbanites seeking clean mountain air and a glimpse of the glaciers. School groups flock to the city from mid-September to mid-December (the 'época de promociones colegiales'). The city was half destroyed in the earthquake of May 1970 so don't expect red-tiled roofs or overhanging eaves. What the reconstructed city lacks in colonial charm, it makes up for with its spectacular setting at 3091 m between the mountains of the cordilleras Blanca and Negra. The peaks of Huamashraju, Churup, Rima Rima and Vallunaraju loom so close as to seem almost a part of the architecture while, in the distance, the giants Huascarán and Huandoy can also be seen.

Getting there and around

The bus offices are in the centre of town and are conveniently close to many of the hotels and hostels. The city is small enough to get around by foot, providing sensible precautions are taken, especially at night. Huaraz has its share of crime, especially since the arrival of mining in the area and during the high tourist season. On no account should women go to surrounding districts and sites alone.

Tourist information

Information is provided by
iperú
. On the second floor of same building,
Policía de Turismo
, is the place to report all crimes and mistreatment by tour operators, hotels, etc. There is also a tourist
information booth
,
opposite where the tourist buses park.

Sights

The
Plaza de Armas
has been rebuilt, with a towering white statue of Christ, and a new cathedral is being constructed.
Museo Arqueológico de Ancash
, contains stone monoliths and
huacos
(pottery artefacts) from the Recuay and other cultures. The exhibits are well labelled and laid out. The
Sala de Cultura SUNARP
, often has interesting art and photography exhibitions by local artists.

The main thoroughfare,
Avenida Luzuriaga
, is bursting at the seams with travel agencies, climbing equipment hire shops, restaurants, cafés and bars. Within a block or two you can find a less frantic ambience, but a good alternative for those seeking peace and quiet is the
La Soledad
neighbourhood, six blocks uphill from the Plaza de Armas on Avenida Sucre. Here, along Sucre as well as Jirón Amadeo Figueroa, every second house seems to rent rooms, most without signs. We list but a few . There are several decent neighbourhood eateries nearby, plus many shops, internet cafés and other facilities.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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