The Switzerland of South America
Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
22Trip End Aug 25, 2010
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I arrived in Huaraz thinking I'd leave immediately for Caraz and spend the night there. Max (yeah, I doubt that's his real name too) from Hostal Virgen del Carmen though had other ideas, and perhaps more sensible ones as I'd have had to look for accommodation in Caraz at 11PM. This place isn't bad though. I have my own double bed, TV and bathroom for the equivalent of £8 - still slightly out of my budget, but worth it.
Huaraz was destroyed by an earthquake a few years ago and it certainly shows in the architecture, but the stunning surroundings more than make up for that. Snow capped peaks are a gateway between Huaraz and the neighbouring Andean villages. The views come at a price though, at approximately 3500m the air is thin and oxygen is valuable. Fortunately, I haven't felt any effects, but tomorrow I start trekking, so we'll see.
The trekking market here is far from monopolised, for every peak there are a dozen companies willing to take you up. I booked the 4 day Santa Cruz trek for $80 and was able to get the Chavin de Huntar ruins trip and a sleeping bag thrown in. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the 5AM start changed.