Huaraz, 8 hours bus ride from Lima, is the main destination for visitors to the Callejon de Huaylas due to its central location and excellent facilities for travelers. The setting of the city, at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca, is spectacular. You can see more than 20 snow-capped peaks over 5000 meters, of which the most notable is Huascaran (6,768m), the highest mountain in Peru. The first thing that strikes you on arrival in Huaraz is that the town itself cannot exactly be called a pretty place, with most of the buildings built from concrete, however what it lacks in elegant architecture, it more than makes up for in the vibrant energy of its streets and the friendliness of its inhabitants.

The reason for the rather unattractive modern buildings is that the town was completely rebuilt following a catastrophic earthquake in 1970 which flattened all but one street of buildings and killed half of the city’s population.   However, Huaraz can provide all the facilities and infrastructure required by tourism. There are numerous hotels and hostels of varying kinds. Some are very basic, while some of the more expensive ones offer a luxurious mountain retreat. Just about everything you need is on or near the main street, Luzuriaga Avenue, including restaurants, banks and the post office. The city of Huaraz is the gateway to the mountains of Peru. Situated on the edge of the Cordillera Blanca and the Huascaran National Park, this area is often referred to as the Switzerland of Peru and it’s easy to see why! There is the same selection of pristine, crystal-clear lakes and jewelled white peaks: the only difference is that you don’t need to take out a second mortgage to buy a pizza! And, of course, the little matter that the spectacular scenery that has made Huaraz Peru’s trekking and climbing capital also formed the cradle for one of the most important pre-Inca cultures in South America: the Chavin – so there’s tons of archaeological sites for you to explore as well. If it’s trekking and climbing adventure in Peru that you’re after then our guide Peru treks company should help you to make it reality.

Just on the edge of Huaraz are the hot springs of Monterrey. The waters are famous for their healing properties and are a great place to relax and unwind – especially after you’ve spent a few days trekking and climbing! If you’re looking for something more intellectual then the Regional museum (Museo Regional de Huaraz) is fairly small, but has an interesting collection of Recuay, Huaylas and Chavin pieces.