From the beach to the mountains, from 0 to 3100m within a bus ride; we knew it will take a day or 2 to acclimatise.
Upon arrival in Huaraz we were greeted by rain, altitude and cold. In Peru December means rain in the mountains and heat on the coast.
Our plan was to hike the 4 day Santa Cruz trek – unfortunately due to low season and weather conditions we couldn’t find a trustworthy agency offering it for our dates.
We spent one day exploring the little touristic sights in Huaraz town, mostly drinking coca tea to adjust to the altitude.
Alternatively to the trek we hiked up to the beautiful Laguna 69 (5 hrs walk in high altitude), a glacier lake within stunning setting. Coming down we got a good taste of the weather – hail and thunder during 2 hours.
The next morning we left town to spend 3 days in the mountains where a Canadian couple runs a comfortable eco-lodge. The Lazy Dog Inn is situated at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca national park . We were lucky enough to be the only guests so we had the whole house, dogs and the owner Diana to ourselves.
Diana and her husband Wayne have been living in South America for about 20 years, working on various ecological and social projects. After checking in, we went for a horsebackride with her own horses in the surrounding farmland. Gregory got an introduction into horse grooming and handling.
Dinner and breakfast are included so we got spoilt to 3 course dinners and very generous breakfasts prepared by a girl from the village using vegetables grown in the inn’s garden.
Despite the unwelcoming weather we did two hikes from the inn.
Llaca Valley (4600 mts)
So far our favorite day hike in South America. 3 hours and 1000 meters up through glacier valleys, green highlands and snowy plains until the lagoon. The glacier lake was frozen but we were lucky enough to get some sun and nice views. The way down was a bit more improvised, walking on cow trails, jumping over rivers, climbing up and down rocks, admiring wild horses and so on. We arrived back at the inn just before the rain hit and spent the afternoon playing board games and enjoying warm sauna times.
For our last day in the Cordillera Blanca we hiked to Laguna Churup up steap paths and climbing over large boulders. The walk was worth it as on top we were rewarded with sunny weather and beautiful views of the lake and glacier.
We decided to walk to all the way back to the inn where we we got picked up for our night bus to Lima.
- Cafe Andino Huaraz: try the Shara Shara tea – cures all kind of sickness. Also has a book exchange.
- Chilli heaven: for the spiciest Indian curries
- Lazy Dog Inn: options of guest rooms and private cabañas. Prebook as they are quite busy.