Peru // Huaraz, the cordilleras and the Ancash coast //

Cordillera Huayhuash

To the south of Huaraz, the Cordillera Huayhuash offers much less frequented but just as stunning trekking trails as those in the Cordillera Blanca. Most treks start in the small town of Chiquián, 2400m above sea level. The most popular trek hereabouts is the Chiquián Loop, which leaves Chiquián heading for Llamac and the entire Cordillera loop. There is also an alternative trek from Chiquián that is much easier.

The mountains here, although slightly lower than the Cordillera Blanca and covering a much smaller area, nevertheless rise breathtakingly to 6634m at the Nevada Yerupajá, some 50km southeast of Chiquián as the crow flies. Yerupajá actually forms the watershed between the Cordillera Huayhuash to the north and the lower-altitude Cordillera Raura to the south. Large and stunning lakes, flocks of alpaca, herds of cattle and some sheep can be seen along the way. High levels of fitness and some experience are required for hiking or climbing in this region and it’s always best to tackle it as part of a team, or at least to have a local guide along. The guide will help to avoid the rather irritating dogs that look after the animals in these remote hills and his presence will also provide protection against the possible, but unlikely, threat of robbery.

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