Huaraz is a seven hour bus ride from Trujillo. The route turns inland and up into the Andes. Huaraz weather is radically different from coastal towns. One can choose one’s preferred temperature by choosing one’s altitude. Huaraz is 10,000 feet above sea level.
The people of Huaraz suffered a massive earthquake in the 1970’s. It destroyed most examples of colonial architecture . Tens of thousands of people were affected, many homes were completely destroyed. The major aspects of climate and geography of Earth life do not go away and cannot be ‘fixed’ by modern science. Rock slides, mud slides, avalanches, and earthquakes are a way of life for people in the Andes. It is not a matter of ‘if’, but only a matter of ‘when’.
Nevertheless, the people of this region have seen fit to rebuild, employing more modern techniques and materials in their buildings. People do what they can to forget disasters and to continue their lives as though they won’t happen again. This seems to be true almost universally.
Huaraz and the Cordierra Blanca are considered by many as the ‘Switzerland of the Andes’. More than fifty peaks exceed 15,000 feet in altitude in the Ancash region of Peru. The high tourist season is during the Peruvian/Andes dry season: June/August. In the dry season, tens of thousands of trekers and alpine ‘technical climbers’ visit.
March is nearing the end of the wet season. There are still many rainy days and peaks are often obscured by cloud covering. Prices of tours and hotels understandably correspond to the seasonal conditions.
I signed up for a 4 day 3 night hike. I accomplished the Santa Cruz trek, about 48 kilometers total, which includes a 15,000 foot pass (Punta Union pass).
Huaraz and surrounding environs are unique, spectacular and amazing.
The internet, cell phones, large flat panel screens, television, and modern technology have changed the psychological and emotional environment here. Quechua speaking farmers and vendors wearing traditional hats and clothing are seen with cell phones up to their ears. Their children are playing video games, texting, and exploring all manner of world wide web content. The interests and information available to anyone/everyone brings constant change.
Was in a restaurant yesterday where there were two 3 x 4 foot screens. All the customers were focused on the screens. A soccer game was shown live. Espn was the network feed. There was an open bottle of Inca Kola (is yellow and tastes like bubble gum) on each table.
One of my very favorite things that exist throughout Colombia, Ecuador and Peru is the abundance, variety, and affordability of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and all manner of food products. These basic things are grown and marketed by a large percentage of the population. All one need do is to locate the local ‘mercado central’… the central market. I’ve not been to any town/city in Latin America that lacks one.
Basic foodstuffs are not monopolized/dominated by a small group of corporate entities. It is not difficult to make healthy food choices here for anyone. People here have a relationship with their Natural surroundings and still have a fundamental understanding of what ‘good food’ is and where it comes from.
People here watch soccer instead of football or baseball, they speak Spanish or Quechua instead of English, they wear different styles and brands of clothing, they listen to different kinds of music, they eat different types of food… yet Life is strangely very similar.
Daily I pass individual entrepreneurs; tiny sidewalk storefronts and sidewalk vendors of all sorts. I see book vendors, fruit vendors, small bakeries, tiny restaurants, ‘techno shops’… offering cell phones, cell service or offering to change internal cards, sell usb sticks/memory cards… tour guides, backpacking equipment, hardware stores, small ‘schools’/learning institutions of differing types of instruction, hotels/hostels/hostals… all these (and more) can be seen blatantly and professionally advertised in Huaraz during a fifteen minute walk.
According to archeologists one of the oldest (verified by carbon dating of artifacts) known human settlements in South America was discovered at Guitarerro cave, not far from Huaraz.
The Ancash archeological museum is directly across the street from the Plaza de Armas. This museum is home to perhaps the largest collection of early human stone carvings.
Next: The Santa Cruz Trek