How to Spend 2 Days in Huaraz
The Cordillera Blanca’s peaks and valleys are the dramatic setting for cities that predate the Inca empire by centuries. With two days in Huaraz, add some history to your mountain adventure—you’ll encounter an ancient culture and give yourself extra time to acclimatize before the challenging walk to Lake 69. Here’s how to plan.
Day 1: Chavín de Huántar
Morning: Start early for the 65-mile (105-kilometer) trip across the mountains to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Chavín de Huántar, keeping your camera out to capture the gorgeous views along the way. Upon arrival at the archaeological site, which dates back to 1500 BC, follow grassy pathways to a series of plazas and sanctuaries decorated with images of shamans, jaguars, and other animals.
Afternoon: After exploring the site, visit the nearby Chavin National Museum to see the ceramics and sculptures that have been excavated from Chavín de Huántar. Don’t miss the series of cabezas clavas, stones with shamans’ faces that once adorned the walls of Chavin.
Night: After a day in the ancient world, head back to Huaraz in daylight to maximize views in the mountains. When you arrive, visit Parque de los Periodistas for dinner and a drink in a cozy café.
Day 2: Lake 69 Hike
Morning: A scenic highlight of the Cordillera Blanca, Lake 69 has turquoise water framed by high peaks. Hop an early bus to the trailhead or join a hiking tour to experience the challenging trail that goes to 14,764 feet (4,500 meters). The 2.5-hour drive into the park is just as dramatic, and you’ll spot Huascarán—Peru’s highest mountain—from the road.
Afternoon: A 7.5-mile (12-kilometer) round-trip, the steep, beautiful walk to Lake 69 takes most hikers 3.5 hours in and two hours back. The payoff? Drop-dead views of a lake that many consider to be among the most beautiful in Peru.
Night: If you’re feeling the altitude after a day of hiking, search out a local remedy: a hot mug of tea brewed with fresh coca leaves. It’s a specialty served at cafés and restaurants throughout downtown Huaraz.